NatalieC923 Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 2:39am
post #1 of

I am in the early stages of opening a retail bakery, and I've decided to blog about the process. I felt like anything I learn might help others, and writing has always helped me clarify my thinking. I've never written a blog, so it may be too boring (I've only made two entries), but I felt there might be bakers on Cake Central that could also learn from my experiences and mistakes (I'm sure there will be many!). I would also love for bakery veterans to read and let me know if I'm screwing up!! I fully believe in getting help from people smarter and more experienced than me!

Here is the blog:

http://buildingnataliesbakehouse.wordpress.com

If it interests you follow along. I'm very excited about changing careers instead of just baking part time, and despite the numerous hours spent studying and reading, I'm enjoying the process. icon_smile.gif

Thanks,
Natalie[/url]

17 replies
Elcee Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 3:30am
post #2 of

Hi, Natalie! Best of luck in your venture. I signed up to follow your blog. Even though I won't ever be opening a retail bakery I do find the process interesting.

icon_smile.gif

miwhitern Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 3:41am
post #3 of

Thats awesome! I would love to start a bakery of my own but have no clue where to start. I will definately be following. Good luck!

jason_kraft Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 7:11am
post #4 of

Great posts, it sounds like you really have a handle on putting together your business plan. One recommendation would be to choose your target market based on demographics as opposed to proximity, if your own zip code happens to have a more affluent population that would work, but if not you may want to choose a different area assuming you want to focus on premium baked goods.

scp1127 Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 8:21am
post #5 of

I agree with Jason. But since we don't know your demographics, we could be wrong.

I live in the border of MD and WV with my home and business based on the WV side. Demographically, the WV side could not support my business. I market to Hagerstown, 10 minutes down the road in MD. We already consider Hagerstown our real home. My daughter goes to school there and we do all of our shopping, socializing, and dining there. The demogtaphics support my business model and my business is a good fit in the bakery industry there.

So don't limit yourself. Look demographically instead of geographically.

One red flag in your blog is your lack of business knowledge. All of the book learning in the world will not take the place of experience. Please try to get a management position in a similar business to gain experience. You need to be in a position that impacts the bottom line, not just minding the store. Please take the time to do this very important step.

Good luck in your venture. Making a dream into a reality starts with the first step.

By the way, I have always started businesses based on what I loved and what I liked to do in my spare time. My whole family did that and now my daughters are doing it.

There is a new degree being offered now in entrepreneurship. Top business colleges offer it as a four year degree. In addition to the practicality of educating to be self-employed in a start-up business, employers look to these graduates for management positions that require a well-rounded knowledge of all business aspects.

NatalieC923 Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 7:24pm
post #6 of

Thanks for the encouragement! And thanks Jason and scp1127 for making me question my assumptions -- that is always a good reminder. I live in a fairly affluent neighborhood, so I think I'm ok focusing on the zip code, but it could be that the market research will tell me something else. My zip code has about 11,000 households and 28,000 people. About 70% are married with kids. The average income is just over $90,000. Currently the only bakeries in the zip code are grocery stores, Costco, and Panera. There are some coffee shops selling baked goods as well. There is a custom bakery about 7 miles away, then 2 or 3 more about 10-12 miles away.

So I think there are enough people and enough money, but I do worry if there is enough demand. First, why are there no bakeries now? Maybe I'm lucky, or maybe others are smarter! icon_smile.gif Also, it is a very health conscious community, so they may not be willing to buy enough sweets to support a bakery. These are some of the things I'm trying to learn from the market research.

And scp1127 I totally agree with you on the school - I looked long and hard for an entrepreneur degree program that I could do, but it really came down to a choice between that and funding the bakery. It would take such a significant portion of what I have put away for this, that I wouldn't have enough left to open with sufficient funds. I do have a minor in business (and boy do I wish I had done more now), but I'm also taking some entrepreneur and accounting classes at my local community college to refresh. I was already planning to work in a production bakery for a few months, but I will also look for a management opportunity, that is a good idea. I'm just not sure how many are available near here right now...

But I would love to hear your thoughts on the neighborhood stats and also on how you went about estimating your market when you were starting out. The survey and watching the competition are what I know I need to do now, but if there are other thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

Thanks again,
Natalie

letsgetcaking Posted 6 Mar 2012 , 7:50pm
post #7 of

Good luck with your new venture! Thanks for sharing your blog.

mightydragon663 Posted 7 Mar 2012 , 12:41am
post #8 of

Good luck Natalie! I'll be following your blog. thumbs_up.gif

scp1127 Posted 7 Mar 2012 , 8:41am
post #9 of

Natalie, you new post was much more insightful into your knowledge base and your education.

An associates degree is great. What you will need for small business is all there.

Your demographic research is spot on. It sounds like a neighborhood bakery is a sound business model... one I envy.

Stay as low as possible on your buildout. Remember how much you will have to bake to overcome each aspect. I have some ideas there too if you pm me. I will give you a way to reach those people and guarantee a name for yourself.

It is so refreshing to see a post where an aspiring bakery owner has done the background work. It really sounds like you have a great plan. Some practical experience is still a good idea. I would go outside my market area and get a part-time job. You want to be friendly with your close competitors.

Bridgette1129 Posted 7 Mar 2012 , 3:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by NatalieC923

My zip code has about 11,000 households and 28,000 people. About 70% are married with kids. The average income is just over $90,000.




This sounds a lot like who I'm marketing to, lol. You don't happen to be in WA state do you? icon_confused.gif

NatalieC923 Posted 7 Mar 2012 , 4:32pm

Hi Bridgette,

No, I'm in Colorado -- but how is it going with your target, are they receptive?

tigachu Posted 7 Mar 2012 , 6:23pm

Your blog has a lot of helpful information! I am now a follower thumbs_up.gif

Bridgette1129 Posted 7 Mar 2012 , 10:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by NatalieC923

Hi Bridgette,

No, I'm in Colorado -- but how is it going with your target, are they receptive?




I have a very small business while I'm in school. Just so I can be legal and get paid for cakes so I haven't done MUCH marketing yet.

designdiva22 Posted 7 Mar 2012 , 11:57pm

wow... I'll follow your progress.. good luck!

nicunurse Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 12:06am

Good Luck Natalie!! I will be following you as well!! icon_biggrin.gif

NatalieC923 Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 1:02am

tigachu - Thanks! I'm glad you found something helpful. It has helped me solidify my thinking as well.

And thanks everyone for all the good lucks and well wishes! I am so excited, and I really do believe that good thoughts can create good things. icon_smile.gif

mightydragon663 Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 2:49am
Quote:
Originally Posted by NatalieC923

Hi Bridgette,

No, I'm in Colorado -- but how is it going with your target, are they receptive?



Natalie, I'm also in CO -- Jefferson county. Where abouts are your stomping grounds? (if you don't mind my asking). icon_biggrin.gif

NatalieC923 Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 3:23am

Hi mightydragon663,

I'm about 15 miles outside of Boulder, so pretty close to you!

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