I live over in the UK and have started a cake decorating business in the last 6 months or so formally. I have a website which rates as second on google when you type in wedding cakes Swansea, which is where I live. Although I am not getting as many requests as I would like. I have some links with local wedding businesses but it appears that most are not keen and have friends in the field that they are helping to promote only. I have been given mixed ideas about doing wedding fairs and whether they pay off at all.
I am wondering if there are any other ways which I can promote my business. I'm not sure how much money to put into advertising as I don't know if the rewards of it are enough.
Any advice would be great.
I looked at your website which makes a very nice presentation. There are two BUTS...
In the galleries, there is a link to your facebook page under the page header. Why isn't that just shown under "contact"?
My browser froze before the entire wedding cakes gallery loaded. Something is trying to run much bigger files than other sites with similar catalogues.
So--I don't know what that does to your local sales. You may be coming across as "too big" in a market where there seem to be local decorators.
You will already have read on Cake Central, that in North America, bridal fairs are generally not worth the investment. We don't know what level of fees you would be charged in Swansea or Bristol or London for that matter.
So maybe you need to link up with a local venue that is known to host high-end weddings.
Thanks for the reply, I'm unsure what you mean by "too big" Are the pictures too high quality ?
Facebook? not sure how that happened as I am a bit of a novice
I meant that the pictures make you look like a very high-end and therefore high-priced business.
Let me steer you to what might be a local example. If you have ever been to Plas Bodfa, you might know that it was at one time an expansion of a cottage-sized Victorian-reproduction needlework business. The prices went up from 70 to 105 pounds each for the regular kits at about the time that the expansion took place. There was a lot of marketing to "spend the day at Plas Bodfa" but needleworkers soon noticed the increased prices and stayed away in droves.
That business has since moved on to Oxford, with a by-apppointment-only office. That business has stabilized by making significant changes. The original distribution of products through needlework shops has resumed, and the prices have not gone up in several years.
I have worked in small towns and I can tell you that it is very important to have your ear to the ground when you are trying to build up a small business. If you are asked to provide your wonderful modelled flower arrangements for other peoples cakes, do so. That's a very good foot in your local door.
Thanks once again for your reply. I am pleased you like my work.... Maybe I need to put some more basic wedding cake designs on or prices on some of my cakes not to frighten people away. Its all new really so I will keep on trying
I would highly suggest doing any sort of fairs, festivals, or any place you can find to get your name out there in the public. Of course this depends on any booth or table fees they may chage for you to attend. If it's an outrageous amount then at this early stage I would wait. Also, don't limit what you offer to just wedding cakes. In fact, don't limit to just full size cakes. Here in the US cupcakes and cake pops have become a BIG party trend, EVEN for weddings believe it or not. Here in the states as part of weddings vendors also rent out chocolate fountains and other such items to make the event more fun and enjoyable. Check into having other services you can supply. And don't limit yourself to just weddings. Bridal and baby showers are becoming a BIG deal here where I live. My family and I own and manage a small independent living retirement community and as part of that we have just about the best large room in which to hold a function in my small little town. I see bridal and baby showers growing to the size of 50, 60, or even 70 or more people. It's crazy! They're getting as large as the weddings sometimes. Where ever you display your work have samples for these events and perhaps include other events such as groom's cakes, anniversaries, birthday party cakes for adults and children, and any others that are popular around your area. Decorate and take numerous examples you've decorated using the fake styrofoam cakes. And all cake vendors around here have large photo albums of their past work. Most importantly, offer free samples that include both cake and some frostings. People always pay attention if you offer them some free food, especially men. Men have been known to order cakes and other desserts for parties. Here a big event is the Superbowl party (our big American football event) but I'm sure you have HUGE sports events that people want sweets for also. These are all things that I did to promote my home selling business I did for 17 years with an American basket company. I wasn't trying to get them to place orders for cakes but instead book home shows for ladies to have people in to buy the baskets and pottery I was selling. I often included food in my displays as examples on how to use the items and when you offer free food you'll always get people stopping by. The concepts to growing and promoting a business are basically the same no matter what business you're you have.
Be willing to do functions for non-profit or charitable organizations either free or at a reduced rate. Obviously we live under two different tax systems so I don't know how you'rs works but here in the states when you do donations, either financial, goods, or services to non-profit groups it's a tax deduction. If you have this also then you will get some benefit besides a good reputation from donating cakes. I've received quite a few orders for a "pink ribbon" cake which is a major symbol for a breast cancer awareness group in the US. It's the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure and their major symbol has become a pink ribbon. Shaped cake pans can now be purchased like these ribbons (and used in numerous ways other than this one) and by making and donating just one I've received numerous paid orders for others. This is how it can often work. I also make quite a few things for my church, some simple items which they use for the coffee fellowship between services and others quite large and formal. Most people in church now know I bake and SEEM to enjoy my baked goods.
I just got off the telephone with a friend who does wedding cakes and other types for individuals and groups for payment. She was placing her latest order for numerous dozens of my parent's farm fresh eggs. We both believe in using 1st rate ingredients in our items. She has coming up next weekend besides a wedding cake two other large cakes for non-profits. I'm pretty sure she'll offer these cakes free to the organizations since they're both connected with military veterans groups. She spent much of her married life as a wife to an Army chaplain and they are both still very involved with veterans. Her work is beautiful and her cakes delicious so that while she won't be paid for these, the word gets around to hundreds of individuals that she baked the cakes. That will be better publicity than anything in print could do for her.
One of the things I was taught while working towards my Master's degree in Management is that by far THE best advertisement (for better or worse) is word of mouth. You'll find you'll get more orders from friends, family and people who know you if they like your work than any advertising you can do anywhere else. But on the other hand, poorly satisfied customers can also spread a bad reputation faster than you can blink an eye. I guess in the long run what I'm advising to you is just get out there and bake, and bake, and bake for anyone, anywhere that you can find and if they like you're work, your business WILL grow. This same friend that I was telling you about gave me a wonderful compliment after the first very large cake I baked for our church several years ago at Christmas for the children's pageant. She said the cake was beautiful but tasted even better. THAT is what you're striving for in every product you produce. No matter HOW beautiful or incredible the cake looks, THE most important thing is it taste even better. When you're customers feel that way about you they WILL keep coming back again and again. In my family we had a beloved friend, now sadly passed away, who I first know baked for our family was my parent's wedding cake. I couldn't count the number of items she created for us, not just for big events in the family, but even small orders like little mints at Christmas, to use for parties, and the very last cake she did for our family was the one she did for my graduation party when I earned my Master's degree, over 30 years after that first wedding cake for my parents. In fact, after she retired from baking when my brother and his wife were expecting their first child and I was having a shower, I was completely clueless on who to get to do the cake. I followed someone's recommendation and it was HORRIBLE. I swear it had to be the dryest cake ever baked. I learned a good cake decorator is like gold. There's very little that can spoil a function worst than a miserable tasting cake. It was lovely to look at what this lady did, but none of that made up for it's poor eating quality. So good luck and let me know how it goes.