Third year as a home-based baker but am getting a ton of inquiries and a couple bridal show invites this year. Would like to take the plunge eventually BUT it's just me. There are no cake shops, just grocery bakeries here in my town. Some home based girls here and there.
How to take that first step out of my comfortable situation and into the world of full time wedding cakes? First employees? Getting start up capital? Moving out of my kitchen? Do I *need* business classes? I tend to over think/prepare for everything.
Thanks a Bunch! Barbara
It's never bad to be overprepared! IMHO, the first thing you should do would be to find out the legalities in your country/state/city/county. It varies so much - you may have everything you need to open up shop or it may be next to impossible in your town. I would start by contacting either your local health inspector or get in touch with your state's Dept. of Agriculture. You really don't want to miss this step. Lots of venue's will require that you show your health/food license before you can even deliver a wedding cake there. Bridal shows are also starting to require it too of food vendors, since you'll be giving out free eats at the show.
I'm a one-girl (OK my hubby helps part-time), fully licensed bakery and I keep myself busy doing nothing but wedding cakes. I have been in business about 7 years - it didn't start out that way. You get there my building your business and reputation. I have had employees, and honestly, I like working better by myself. When I compared the extra money the workers brought in compared to their wages, it almost always was a wash.
If you do a bridal show, and you have a good product, cake orders will start coming in. Make sure you are ready for them. Bridal shows should start very soon (usually January). Either pay to go to one, or contact the show promoter and get a free vendor pass (as just a visitor). Take your camera and notepad. Take pictures and notes of what other people are doing. Don't limit yourself to just the cake booths either; Photographers usually have the nicest, most elaborate booths!
I took some Small Business Admin classes from the local college, and they were somewhat useful. They talked a lot about business plans and such, but they also told us no one would lend us money based on a business plan. For (our) small businesses they said prepare to put up your house as collateral for a business loan. These are my experiences and others may have had different ones. Your mileage may vary!
Best of luck!
Now that you mention it, I talked to my local health dept inspecter. (I'm in OH) last year and I was pretty astonished when he told me they didn't want to know about me as long as I wasn't making over x number of cakes per month and not leaving ohio with them etc. But the more time goes by the more sort of illigitimate I feel. I have been asked by a couple people if I'm licensed.
Another quick question if you would be so kind, Did you incorporate, go LLC or Sole Proprietor?
Thank you so much Cupadeecakes! I have watched your videos recently on youtube and have been thinking about it when I'm trying for crisper edges! lol!
Thanks for watching my videos! Glad to hear they are helping. I need t get out the old camera and make another one soon. too many ideas, too little time!
I have a friend who is a bankruptcy lawyer and a real financial whiz and I went LLC based on his advice. My kitchen is actually separate but attached to my house, so the LLC helps separate me and my personal assets from the business and it's assets.
Where in Ohio are you located? I am in Kent, Oh.
I am in Ashland County. Do you participate in cake shows there or anywhere? and if you don't mind my asking, what is your cake pricing situation there in Kent?
(Sorry Off topic)
I am sending you a PM.