Hello! I am still rather new at this and actually only started taking my cakes public last March. At this time I am working from my home kitchen and finalizing all of the legalities so that I am 100% legal and credible. However things are taking off MUCH quicker than I anticipated. Recently I have been contacted by "The Knot", and some of the bigger bridal shows in our area who have come across my website and want to sell me space. My philosophy when getting into this is to NEVER go into debt to turn a quick buck, and I have held true to that so far. Some of the shows that I have been approached with are upwards of $700+, and The Knot being around $100/monthly. I have been able to put some money aside from the cakes I've done over the past few months and I'm trying to research whether these advertising options would be a good investment. Does anyone have experience with these type of situations? Was it worth your investment? Any information you could provide would be very appreciated! Thanks so much!! :)
AIf you are working from home I assume you are working alone. If you were to generate enough business from these sort of things to make it financially worthwhile, would you have the time to make all that cake? I ask because I am having a week where I took way too many orders (always learning) and while I am able to do all of them, as I knew I could, I do not have time for anything else this week (like spending time with my family, weeding the garden, going for a walk...) and I got this busy just by word-of-mouth connections. Maybe just give it a bit of time and see how busy you get before spending money on advertising; you might gain clients only to have to turn them away!
As you wish - that is a really good point! Do I want to spend money on advertising only to have to turn people away??? Hmm...
Yes, I am working alone right now, however on my very busy weeks have the option of enlisting help. Which has been great. But I do hear what you're say about sometimes having TOO MUCH work. I think in those times it has been a scheduling error on my part. I guess when I start considering these other advertising options it because I'm an "over planner". Trying to consider "worst case". And all-in-all just trying to learn.
I am still interested in hearing others opinions if you have done the shows, for future reference!
AI would recommend starting with the free sites. My first year, my sole advertising was word of mouth & wedding wire.
When researching where to advertise be sure to ask the target audience of that resource. This year, I chose to use Wedding Row over The Knot. It's a better fit for me personally. Next year, I hope to afford both.
This year, I also chose to participate in a Bridal association over the bridal show. By sponsoring an event (providing the desserts) I was awarded a free year membership. I still have to spend money on providing the desserts, but it's less expensive than a show & I get in front of a lot of vendors.
When you are ready to do a show, most will discount the booth $100 because of the expense of samples. Most also allow a payment plan.
The first question you should ask yourself is, why do you have so much business? If you have a ton of business it could be that your prices are the lowest around. Make certain your not the cheapest decorator out there!
If you've done things well, you're busy because you do great work, not because your cheap. In your case since your fairly new to decorating I'd suggest you not take on any advertising until: you're certain your making a good profit from each cake and that you can handle more business with-out ruining the good thing you do have.
It's flattering to have those magazines contact you and they really tell you how great your work is and how great they are at getting customer. BUT remember they are in the business to make money for themselves. They approach everyone because that is their job, to increase their own sales.
Take steps based on what your ready for, don't do things that your not ready for.
P.S. do a 'search' of your topic here, you'll find tons of info. and opinions. Your question has been asked dozens of times and it's hard for people to answer the same question every time it's been asked.
We haven't done The Knot personally, but we never plan to because we have heard so much negative about them. I'm sure some people have been successful with them, but everyone I have heard has said they didn't get any business from it. Plus I just don't like how they so often publish articles that undermine the vendor and make it sound like we are just out to take as much of a bride's money as we can.
We just did our first bridal show in January and we are doing another one in August. We were very pleased with the results from the first one, so I have high hopes for the next one! Just keep in mind that they are A LOT of work, and since you said you can enlist help, I would definitely avail yourself of it for a bridal show. HTH!
Thank you all for the great tips and ideas! I really appreciate them. My prices are right on track with the industry standard in my area, sometimes a few dollars less, sometimes a few dollars more depending on the product. I think I am just in an area where there is a desire for custom cakes, but the only two competitors (in my immediate area) go for bulk rather than specialized custom cakes.
I've been decorating cakes for years, but so much to learn on the business aspect. Wow! Thanks again!!
AI paid to advertise on The Knot at one time and I cannot recommend it at all! Especially if you don't live in one of their "regions". Any leads I got from them read very strangely and they usually seem to pop up right before or after a sales call. I NEVER booked a single cake from one of their leads. The worst part is that after I decided to stop being a vendor they kept charging my card. After 2 months I had the card cut off and they still kept calling!
Now bridal shows on the other hand, I have had very good luck with. I see it as not only your opportunity to meet brides. But also make connections with other vendors, which can also drive a ton of business your way.
Original message sent by cupadeecakes
I paid to advertise on The Knot at one time and I cannot recommend it at all! Especially if you don't live in one of their "regions". Any leads I got from them read very strangely and they usually seem to pop up right before or after a sales call. I NEVER booked a single cake from one of their leads. The worst part is that after I decided to stop being a vendor they kept charging my card. After 2 months I had the card cut off and they still kept calling!
Me too for the Knot.