How Many Ways Could This Bite Me In The Butt?

Business By Annabakescakes Updated 22 Aug 2013 , 1:09am by scrumdiddlycakes

Annabakescakes Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 5:56am
post #1 of 23

I did a wedding show for $675 in June, and every single bride is for next year. I only have 4 bookings for next year, and would really like to focus on the wedding cake business. I would really like to do 1 large cake, or 2 smaller per week and be done. So, what I was thinking was contacting each bride that entered my drawing and offering them $50 off their cake if they book this year, over 100 servings. I charge $3.50 minimum, and recently raised prices from $2.75 minimum, so I would still have more money than I did....

 

Before *someone* gets on her talking about overhead and such, it is very minimal. Like $30 a week, minimal, so I would consider it a non-issue. I am wondering about any other potential issues. I want to stay busy, too.

 

Can you think of other incentives? Maybe 2 dozen free cupcakes? It would be cheaper for me, but I hate cupcakes. I would rather just give them the cash! And I have walked out without them and had to bring them to the venue after delivering the cake, which sucks.

22 replies
Smckinney07 Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 6:14am
post #2 of 23

AWhen I did a my Bridal Show I threw several smaller discounts out after I had my master list but I put a expiration date on them-your idea is better lol. If you are still making a profit that your happy with then go for it. I've been searching for more Bridal Shows in my area because like you, I want to do more wedding cakes, but people have to plan so early and the show I participated in is only twice a year. Many of the cakes are winter or spring or next summer. I suppose this is normal for people starting out or expanding.

I had originally thought about offering a free anniversary tier, same flavor simple design a year after. Then I came across an idea from Earlene's website that I thought was brilliant; she offers(Ed) a small heart shaped cake in a coordinating flavor with a simple BC design (hers are always the same) for the wedding night. I think it's a simple 4/6" cake that she has boxed up and ready for the couple to take on their honeymoon encouraging the couple to designate someone to add other sweets to the box since typically the couple is so busy they don't have time to try everything. I love it but I don't know how I would advertise it as an incentive.

mjbarbee516 Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 3:17pm
post #3 of 23

AFrom reading bridal magazines years ago, I think most women who go to bridal shows this year are planning weddings for next year. Those shows are like "The" go to place for ideas. A girl can find stuff there that they normally aren't going find anywhere else. Some women take a full year to plan out their perfect wedding., other can crunch it together in 6 weeks.

Maybe giving cards to caterers, dress shops, florists, etc, might help find more immediate weddings, especially if there are coupons or contests on the back. Just an idea.

jason_kraft Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 3:39pm
post #4 of 23

AThe question you need to ask is why you are having trouble attracting customers for this year. It's possible that most brides who are getting married this year have already chosen their vendors, in which case there's not much you can do on the wedding cake front. If you are having no trouble booking brides for next year this is most likely the case.

If you are focusing on providing value through quality instead of low prices it's not clear how discounting will help, unless your prices exceed perceived market value/budgets for your target customers (in which case you should look at changing your underlying price structure or your target market instead of applying temporary discounts) or your competitive advantages are not as strong as you think.

howsweet Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 4:01pm
post #5 of 23

I don't know the answer.  But this is something I've pondered because my business is high end birthdays and though I have a business plan to increase my business in that niche, I consider the wedding business as a backup and have considered some of the steps I'd take if focusing on weddings.

 

The first thing I'd do is make a whole bunch of stunning dummy wedding cakes for my website. I'd make some significant changes to my site and put the wedding cakes first and foremost. I think I'd consider having lots of helpful info for brides on the site - not sure about that. I'd be testing new flavors, and I'd take pics of the insides of the cakes and I'd come up with some delicious flavors not every one is offering - with pics of those flavors.

 

I'd come up with a system for a lovely cake tasting experience. Right now I just give customers a free sample pack of four cupcakes.

 

I'd focus on coming up with some things to distinguish my business from the crowd,

OccCakesMT Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 4:04pm
post #6 of 23

With a degree in Business and a cake business on the side - The rule is always: discounts are only effective when you can measure the incremental business received from them.  The only reason to grant a discount is if you are going to earn an EXTRA dollar - not just another dollar.  If you are going to do a $400 wedding cake - but only earn $370 that's fine as long as strictly because you offered that $30 discount you got a supplemental $80 groom's cake. Ergo, you earned $450 when you would have only earned $400 by not offering the discount.  However, Just offering a discount to offer a discount is just reducing your prices to buy friends to come to your business closing event. 

 

That being said, its hard to invest that kind of money without seeing the immediate payout - but think about when you attended wedding shows and when most of your cakes book.  For me, I get the initial contact 4-5 months before the event (but I'm fairly new to the game). See when most of your clients have been calling you - if it is most common to have your cakes book a year out - target shows that way. 

 

But bottom line, if you are actually baking cakes as a business vs as a hobby, don't sell yourself short.You have a talent and a value. Other people wouldn't be paying you money if they could do what you do. 

jason_kraft Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 4:20pm
post #7 of 23

A

Original message sent by howsweet

The first thing I'd do is make a whole bunch of stunning dummy wedding cakes for my website. I'd make some significant changes to my site and put the wedding cakes first and foremost.

When targeting different markets I find it's helpful to create dedicated pages (or even different web sites) for each market. This allows you to funnel web ads targeted at specific markets to a page that caters directly to them instead of dumping them on your home page, and it also lends to the customer's belief that your sole specialty is what that customer needs.

howsweet Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 4:29pm
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


When targeting different markets I find it's helpful to create dedicated pages (or even different web sites) for each market. This allows you to funnel web ads targeted at specific markets to a page that caters directly to them instead of dumping them on your home page, and it also lends to the customer's belief that your sole specialty is what that customer needs.


That's a good idea - I already use 3 websites and I would hate to take anything away that they've achieved in terms of coming up high on the first page by changing stuff around.

leah_s Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 4:53pm
post #9 of 23

Annas cakes are beautiful and I can't believe she JUST raised to $3.50 minimum.   I did a promotion once where I gave a dozen cupcakes with a wedding cake order, specifying that the cupcakes had to be all one flavor and the flavor had to be in the wedding cake already.  Sold several because of it.  Cost practically nothing,  They could use them for kids at the reception or for the bachellorette party.

amethystjcm Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 4:56pm
post #10 of 23

How about offering a "free upgrade" equivalent to the discount you were planning on giving? That way, you maintain your price level and you get to work on more fun cakes for your portfolio

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 20 Aug 2013 , 6:52pm
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by amethystjcm 

How about offering a "free upgrade" equivalent to the discount you were planning on giving? That way, you maintain your price level and you get to work on more fun cakes for your portfolio

I like this idea! Provided the upgrade isn't something too time-consuming, like doing a ton of gum paste flowers for free! But I guess that's where the equivalent to the discount would come in- you would make sure it wasn't adding a ton of work and materials to the cake that you weren't getting paid for. 

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 4:25am
post #12 of 23

AThanks for the comments! I want to answer and ask further questions, but I can't quote on this phone, so I will have to do it another time.

One thing I did want to address is that I am not having trouble getting orders. Out of the blue, I am booked every week, almost. I just would rather do weddings, birthdays are often so time consuming, they wear me out. I turned down 6 cakes for this week because I am booked. 400 cupcakes, a cake with modeling chocolate sculpted dogs on it, and my twins' birthday.

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 4:26am
post #13 of 23

Aactually, i am booked the next month and a ahalf.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 5:03am
post #14 of 23

A

Original message sent by Annabakescakes

One thing I did want to address is that I am not having trouble getting orders. Out of the blue, I am booked every week, almost. I just would rather do weddings, birthdays are often so time consuming, they wear me out. I turned down 6 cakes for this week because I am booked. 400 cupcakes, a cake with modeling chocolate sculpted dogs on it, and my twins' birthday.

Sounds like you need to increase your prices again.

howsweet Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 3:46pm
post #15 of 23

That's kind of what I was thinking, too.
 

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 4:04pm
post #16 of 23

AMy prices are already higher than everyone else in the area.

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 4:13pm
post #17 of 23

AI really don't get how raising my prices is going to get me more wedding cakes? I was just thinking the $50 discount thing might get around, and I could be veiwed as dishonest because I give everyone a discount, and people who didn't get one would feel cheated. And then I would be like a mattress store, Jack up prices and advertise crazy sales, but charge my regular prices, and lose trust. I just want to have wedding cake sales, and large orders, so a minimum order of $200 or so might help, but I don't have enough of them yet to turn away the smaller sales.

howsweet Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 4:16pm
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes 

My prices are already higher than everyone else in the area.


Do you have employees? If not, maybe it's time to start considering it. You don't want to build up the business of someone else by turning away customers...if you don't have to. If something happens to slow business in your area you're better off having to let go an employee than compete for the business that's left. Just a thought.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 6:15pm
post #19 of 23

A

Original message sent by Annabakescakes

I really don't get how raising my prices is going to get me more wedding cakes?

My suggestion was because you are consistently booked and are regularly turning away a significant amount of business. This is a red flag that demand for your products is greater than your supply...without an equilibrium you are leaving money on the table. If you can't increase your supply (by hiring employee and scaling up production) you can lower demand by increasing your prices.

This should be done on a per product line basis. For example if you have too many birthday cake orders and not enough wedding cakes, increase the price for simpler cakes people typically order for birthdays and leave wedding cake prices as-is while increasing your advertising spend for ads targeted at brides.

howsweet Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 6:55pm
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes 

I really don't get how raising my prices is going to get me more wedding cakes? I was just thinking the $50 discount thing might get around, and I could be veiwed as dishonest because I give everyone a discount, and people who didn't get one would feel cheated. And then I would be like a mattress store, Jack up prices and advertise crazy sales, but charge my regular prices, and lose trust. I just want to have wedding cake sales, and large orders, so a minimum order of $200 or so might help, but I don't have enough of them yet to turn away the smaller sales.


You do have to be very careful about that sort of thing. I had a July sale and it only got me one more order, but I had 3 customers who'd already ordered at regular price find out and I wound up giving them the discount, too. What a disaster! lol

Annabakescakes Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 7:24pm
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s 

Annas cakes are beautiful and I can't believe she JUST raised to $3.50 minimum.   I did a promotion once where I gave a dozen cupcakes with a wedding cake order, specifying that the cupcakes had to be all one flavor and the flavor had to be in the wedding cake already.  Sold several because of it.  Cost practically nothing,  They could use them for kids at the reception or for the bachellorette party.

Thank you Leah.

 

I did that, but I did forget the cupcakes a couple times, out of the 12 or so brides that signed. I had to drop the cake off and go back home and make them, which really blew, since I just wanted to go home and crash! And it was written right on the order, I just missed it somehow. I would seriously rather just write a check for the value, at that point!

sixinarow Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 7:31pm
post #22 of 23

AHave you thought instead of offering money off the wedding cake, perhaps offering a discount on a grooms cake when a wedding is booked by a certain date? Maybe that type of incentive would help seal rhe deal. Kind of up-selling but you're not stuck with making cupcakes that you love so much! ;)

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 1:09am
post #23 of 23

I did a free first anniversary cake for awhile, just a 6", same flavour as the top tier of the wedding cake. I kept them simple, I would stick to the same colours/theme as the original, but if it was a crazy design, I'd majorly simplify.

That went over well, I sixinarow's idea as well!

 

omg anna, raise your prices!

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