I live in west KY and I'm currently unemployed. I'm only 23, I'm going to college in the fall and I'm trying to decide what I want to do with my life. I have a love and a passion for cake and a piping bag like I know most of you do. Is there any tips you can give me on how much its going to cost me (equipment, supplies, etc...) laws and or regulations I may or may not run in to, options I have in choices and different things I can do.....I'm at a point in my life I need to do something that I'm going to love....what a better time then to start now.... opinions and ideas welcome...
AGenerally it will cost at least $1000-2000 in startup expenses plus at least $1000/year in ongoing overhead. You'll need to start with your business plan (what to sell, how to price, who to sell to, how to reach them). Once you have your business plan ready you'll need a health license, if KY has a cottage food law you may be able to bake from home, otherwise you will need to rent a commercial kitchen. You'll also need a business license and zoning approval (usually from your city), business liability insurance, a marketing strategy, a web site, and accounting software (or a hired accountant).
AWhat is the best way to get started? Ie would it be best to bake a bunch of different things and make a professional portfoilo? Or just start off advertising after the legal stuff is taken care of?
AOnce you figure out what you are selling, creating a portfolio of products is a great way to start. While you are working on getting the necessary licenses you can practice on dummies or give away real cakes after taking professional photographs for your portfolio.
Ideally you should have your marketing strategy prepared and ready to execute on your "grand opening" date when you flip the switch on your business web site and make it available to the public.
I live in south central KY, close to BG. KY does not have a cottage food law. So you will have to find a commercial kitchen to rent, create a storefront, or build your own building. Everything that is sold has to be baked and decorated in a commercial kitchen. We chose to build on our property. Our county required that our building be separate from the house and I could only occupy more than 1/4 of that building-We could not just build a stand alone. I know-didn't make sense to us either.
Permits, building, septic/grease trap system, equipment all totaled a little more than thirty thousand. I bought most of my equipment used from auctions, craig's list or ebay. I bought my refrigerator and one of my freezers new.
I am not sure where you are, but the illegals here really are rampant. So, do your homework before you spend a dime. It might be better to work for someone else while you are deciding that this is how you want to spend your future.
I live in NKY, in the peak right between IN and OH. I, too have a commercial kitchen, but we HAD to have ours connected to our home, so counties differ. Counting cake pans and tile and tables and grease trap and licenses, it cost about $17,000. We just converted a garage. I am still buying a lot, 2 years later. Almost everything goes right back into the business. I already had a ton of things, since I had been decorating for 20 years before I started the business, but as a hobby. (I had 2 18"x4'x6' cabinets full of things)
AI just feel I'm at a vital point in my life and I have a fork in the road decision both of them are going to put me in debt with school and what not but if I could I would eat breath sleep cake idk why its my medium of choice but it is I just want something that I can be proud of and we have no true bakerys here other then Walmart kroger and about a year old cup cake shop.... Other then the cup cake shop there is no true custome cake shop in the area.... So i don't know I just really want to do this I did my first fondant coverd cake at the age 16 ish and it didn't look to bad... So I know that I'm ment to do this weather professionally or not is the question....
Do you have any current, recent pictures of your cakes? I just looked at your gallery, and I am concerned you may need more practice before starting a business under KY law, since it is a considerable investment. If this were a cottage food law state, I would say go for it. There will always be an opportunity, even if there are lots of bakeries that crop up. I would suggest going to business school, and learning the "other stuff" needed to run a successful business. A cake business is less than half cake, the other half is paperwork and taxes.
I would highly recommend you get a job in a bakery decorating cakes. You need alot more experience before you tackle opening your own business. Not only will you learn more skills, you will have the opportunity to see if this is really something you want to do for an extened period of time, learn what it takes to run a business, learn some do's and don'ts, and gain the speed and style you need to be a competitive business owner. You are young and have plenty of years ahead of you. Take baby steps, learn from others, mature, save money, then take the big leap! You not only need the money to open the doors, you need to have money saved up to support yourself because it takes some time to establish a business. Good luck!
Another option would be to take some culinary classes or attend a culinary school. That might give you some more experience and professional grounding while you're building your cake portfolio.