BatterUpCake Posted 26 Aug 2013 , 11:22am
post #1 of

I went as a guest just to check things out to see if it would be worth the vendor fee. It was a pretty small show. I could not believe there were no cakes there! There was one crazy lady that rented faux cakes...not that there is anything wrong with that except her displays had cheap silk flowers and chipping "icing". O hand they were very dated. She also said she was not associated with the show. My GUESS is they won't allow her to vend because of the quality of her product so she just rented this meeting room off to the side.

 

They have a bigger 50th anniversary show coming up in November. I spoke with about 1/2 of the vendors and they all seemed very pleased with the results they get from this show. I got to speak with a few bridal magazines and planning guides about advertising (btw, I am not ready to make wedding cakes so I will be showcasing my stands. and will make dummy cakes hoping to get some bookings for bridal showers, grooms cakes, engagement parties)

 

A few of the wedding planners asked if I would be willing to rent cake stands and asked for my cards. I picked their brains about what sizes of cakes most brides get. They were very impressed they were made of wood. I never realized before you guys pointed out how unusual that was.

 

Anyway, there seemed to be a lot of positive feedback from other vendors so I have decided to go for it! So I need to get busy selling cakes and stands to earn my vendor fee. I am doing a children's event as a vendor in November too. I am hopeful to get a lot of cake bookings from that.

 

What are some of your experiences tips from those of you who have done smaller local shows?

96 replies
DeliciousDesserts Posted 26 Aug 2013 , 12:52pm
post #2 of

AI've already given you my advice, but I'm gonna say it again. Brides are not your target. The vendors at the show (planners & other cake people) are your target.

The only benefit from doing a show, for you, is meeting the other people in the industry.

The brides may think they are your client until they get in front of their cake artist. Once they see they can rent a stand yet will forget all about yours. Trust me. I've seen it. Sure a rare bride will provide her own stand. Not enough to cover the cost of a bridal show.

BatterUpCake Posted 26 Aug 2013 , 1:11pm
post #3 of

are there shows that target others in the industry? Or any idea how to reach those folks? Part of the reason I was going to do it was to get exposure to decorators. Ughhhh...this is so frustrating. I got cake dummies and am practicing techniques to build my confidence and skill level. My biggest issue is patience. I want patience and I want it NOW! lol

Edit: I have talked to a direct mailing provider but their list was not targeted enough.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 26 Aug 2013 , 3:08pm
post #4 of

AInternational Cake Exploration Society holds a conference ever year.

I would join a local bridal association.

Channel that energy by using the Internet to make a list if all the planners, rental companies, & bakeries.

Don't pay for a list you can easily make yourself.

BatterUpCake Posted 26 Aug 2013 , 3:15pm
post #5 of

That is what I am doing....I have my business card guy working on some postcards and as soon as I get better pictures he can finish them up. I'm glad ya'll are willing to help me with all of my crazy ideas!

Elcee Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 1:20am
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by BatterUpCake View Post

are there shows that target others in the industry?

Cake shows. Most of the larger ones have vendors.

BatterUpCake Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 1:52am
post #7 of

Thanks....I will check into that!

jason_kraft Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:14am
post #8 of

AYou might be better off just visiting the bridal shows as an attendee with some professional printed materials and talking to the vendors during slow periods.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:15am
post #9 of

A

Original message sent by jason_kraft

You might be better off just visiting the bridal shows as an attendee with some professional printed materials and talking to the vendors during slow periods.

That's a Big No No!

Our show has a huge sign warning they'll kick ya out

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:23am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

You might be better off just visiting the bridal shows as an attendee with some professional printed materials and talking to the vendors during slow periods.


lol, that's a great way to get kicked out of a trade show of any kind.

jason_kraft Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:25am

A

Original message sent by DeliciousDesserts

That's a Big No No!

Our show has a huge sign warning they'll kick ya out

I suppose that makes sense. In any case, you can achieve a similar result by surreptitiously picking up a business card from each vendor and contacting them after the fact with your elevator pitch to arrange an in-person meeting so they can see your product in-person. Some shows even publish a list of vendors online so you don't even have to go to the event.

BatterUpCake Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:25am

Yeah...I was very careful not to discuss my product with the vendors at the show I attended. I just asked if they were returning vendors and if they felt they got what they paid for. Some did ask me what I did and if I considered renting stands....but the producers of the show knew I was there and what I was doing....it will cost me $85 to get 500 informational postcards printed. And I got a very nice photo from one of my clients to use on them and she is working on another one with another one of my stands...You can see the photo on the front page of the gallery...I think it is #2 on the favorites list icon_biggrin.gif The cake is simply unreal!!!

Annabakescakes Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:34am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts View Post

That's a Big No No!

Our show has a huge sign warning they'll kick ya out

I suppose that makes sense. In any case, you can achieve a similar result by surreptitiously picking up a business card from each vendor and contacting them after the fact with your elevator pitch to arrange an in-person meeting so they can see your product in-person. Some shows even publish a list of vendors online so you don't even have to go to the event.

Yeah, I FREAKING LOVE getting calls from a-holes who didn't pony up the $1000 but want me to carry their product and market it to my brides. I get phone calls from one such D-bag every month, asking me to carry his ugly-butt LIGHT UP cake toppers. It is a chunk of glass on a rotating light up stand with the couple's photo engraved with a laser.... TACKY and stupid. But what pisses me off most is the fact that he spend $9 to get in, went around collecting business cards and is marketing to people who shelled out good money to be there. 

jason_kraft Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:40am

A

Original message sent by Annabakescakes

Yeah, I FREAKING LOVE getting calls from a-holes who didn't pony up the $1000 but want me to carry their product and market it to my brides. I get phone calls from one such D-bag every month, asking me to carry his ugly-butt LIGHT UP cake toppers. It is a chunk of glass on a rotating light up stand with the couple's photo engraved with a laser.... TACKY and stupid. But what pisses me off most is the fact that he spend $9 to get in, went around collecting business cards and is marketing to people who shelled out good money to be there. 

I think OP's product is in a slightly different category. If you get contacted by a vendor who has a complementary product that can help differentiate your business, I'm not sure why it matters how they got your contact information. And if you don't like what the vendor is selling, it's easy enough to block their phone number if they keep calling.

Life is too short to get that worked up over unsolicited calls from vendors. :)

BatterUpCake Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:43am

The lady that wasn't part of the show and rented chipped cake dummies had those lighted things, the whole fake cake with cheap silk flowers were lighted and she went on to tell me how expensive they were.......they were just as horrid as her cakes...DD have you told him exactly that? I bet he would quit calling then!

 

EDIT...OOPs meant Anna

Annabakescakes Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:49am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post

Yeah, I FREAKING LOVE getting calls from a-holes who didn't pony up the $1000 but want me to carry their product and market it to my brides. I get phone calls from one such D-bag every month, asking me to carry his ugly-butt LIGHT UP cake toppers. It is a chunk of glass on a rotating light up stand with the couple's photo engraved with a laser.... TACKY and stupid. But what pisses me off most is the fact that he spend $9 to get in, went around collecting business cards and is marketing to people who shelled out good money to be there. 

I think OP's product is in a slightly different category. If you get contacted by a vendor who has a complementary product that can help differentiate your business, I'm not sure why it matters how they got your contact information. And if you don't like what the vendor is selling, it's easy enough to block their phone number if they keep calling.

Life is too short to get that worked up over unsolicited calls from vendors. icon_smile.gif

 A topper is on top, while the stand is under it. It makes no difference what category it falls into, since either product NEEDS a cake, or it is useless. As a provider of cakes, who spent good money to get in there, I find it offensive that cheapskates are trying to piggyback me, or ride my coattails into fortune, without spending the money I HAD to get in the door.

 

BTW, what have you done with cakes these past few years since "closing your business" besides Google? I think if you were closer to to this, or had a pony in this race, you would see it differently. 

BatterUpCake Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:54am

My cake stands are not useless without a cake!! They serve the same purpose as my mom's treadmill then, you can pile crap on top of them!! Can't do that with an ugly cake topper!! lol.

jason_kraft Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:58am

A

Original message sent by Annabakescakes

 A topper is on top, while the stand is under it. It makes no difference what category it falls into, since either product NEEDS a cake, or it is useless.

By "different category" I was referring to the quality of the item, not where it goes on the cake. IMO a hand-crafted, premium quality wood cake stand would complement a high-quality cake quite well, and if OP had been in the SF Bay area I would have more than likely offered her cake stands as an option to my customers as a rental.

As a provider of cakes, who spent good money to get in there, I find it offensive that cheapskates are trying to piggyback me, or ride my coattails into fortune, without spending the money I HAD to get in the door.

Any smart entrepreneur will look to maximize the ROI of their marketing strategy by minimizing advertising spend when it won't provide the needed results. I much prefer working with smart entrepreneurs, assuming they have complementary quality products that my target market would appreciate at a price point that works.

sixinarow Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 2:59am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post

 A topper is on top, while the stand is under it. It makes no difference what category it falls into, since either product NEEDS a cake, or it is useless. As a provider of cakes, who spent good money to get in there, I find it offensive that cheapskates are trying to piggyback me, or ride my coattails into fortune, without spending the money I HAD to get in the door.

 

BTW, what have you done with cakes these past few years since "closing your business" besides Google? I think if you were closer to to this, or had a pony in this race, you would see it differently. 

Those shows are not cheap for vendors to get into. I'd be ticked as a promoter too, if I'm trying to set up an elegant event and qualify the vendors just to have a bunch of people standing outside the door to capitalize on this event. It could back fire and the vendors might not want to work with you.

sixinarow Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:01am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post


By "different category" I was referring to the quality of the item, not where it goes on the cake. IMO a hand-crafted, premium quality wood cake stand would complement a high-quality cake quite well, and if OP had been in the SF Bay area I would have more than likely offered her cake stands as an option to my customers as a rental.
Any smart entrepreneur will look to maximize the ROI of their marketing strategy by minimizing advertising spend when it won't provide the needed results. I much prefer working with smart entrepreneurs, assuming they have complementary quality products that my target market would appreciate at a price point that works.

There's a fine line between minimizing advertising spending and coming off as cheap and/or tacky.

jason_kraft Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:03am

A

Original message sent by sixinarow

Those shows are not cheap for vendors to get into. I'd be ticked as a promoter too, if I'm trying to set up an elegant event and qualify the vendors just to have a bunch of people standing outside the door to capitalize on this event. It could back fire and the vendors might not want to work with you.

If you just pick up each vendor's business card (or get their info from the online vendor list) there would be no way for the vendor to know that you were even at the show.

I'm not talking about standing outside the door handing out business cards here.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:03am
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixinarow View Post

Those shows are not cheap for vendors to get into. I'd be ticked as a promoter too, if I'm trying to set up an elegant event and qualify the vendors just to have a bunch of people standing outside the door to capitalize on this event. It could back fire and the vendors might not want to work with you.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:05am

I recently spent $35 to find out if the show would be worth it to me.  I saw the sign.  I saw the warning.  I took it to heart.

 

I was very careful, as I made my way around the room.  A few vendors recognized me & hugged my neck.  I wasn't going to ignore them, but we didn't talk shop.  

 

I had a WONDERFUL opportunity to FINALLY meet a vendor I REALLY want to do business with.  I can't seem to get her on the phone or email or even in her office.  This would have been THE moment.  Still kept my mouth shut.  Kept on moving.

jason_kraft Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:07am

A

Original message sent by sixinarow

There's a fine line between minimizing advertising spending and coming off as cheap and/or tacky.

That's certainly true. But paying for a booth at a bridal show that targets brides when your primary customer base is other vendors doesn't seem like the best use of time or money.

A show that targets other professionals would be a different story.

sixinarow Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:08am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post


If you just pick up each vendor's business card (or get their info from the online vendor list) there would be no way for the vendor to know that you were even at the show.

I'm not talking about standing outside the door handing out business cards here.

Possibly, but if you make a habit out of doing it, you'll build a reputation (through the grapevine) of being cheap. Might not be the best image if you're trying to market to higher end vendors or get into good bridal shows.

Annabakescakes Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:09am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post

 A topper is on top, while the stand is under it. It makes no difference what category it falls into, since either product NEEDS a cake, or it is useless.

By "different category" I was referring to the quality of the item, not where it goes on the cake. IMO a hand-crafted, premium quality wood cake stand would complement a high-quality cake quite well, and if OP had been in the SF Bay area I would have more than likely offered her cake stands as an option to my customers as a rental.
Quote:
As a provider of cakes, who spent good money to get in there, I find it offensive that cheapskates are trying to piggyback me, or ride my coattails into fortune, without spending the money I HAD to get in the door.

Any smart entrepreneur will look to maximize the ROI of their marketing strategy by minimizing advertising spend when it won't provide the needed results. I much prefer working with smart entrepreneurs, assuming they have complementary quality products that my target market would appreciate at a price point that works.

As to the quality of the item, it was superb. Just tacky and ugly. Fine wooden bases, beautiful shiny glass, precision laser work, it just seemed like you should be looking at 2 dolphins cresting, rather than 2 people. Or a mama bear with her cub, or a wolf howling at the moon...

 

And what sixinarow said. Maximizing ROI and being a tightwad are too different things. 

jason_kraft Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:11am

A

Original message sent by sixinarow

Possibly, but if you make a habit out of doing it, you'll build a reputation (through the grapevine) of being cheap. Might not be the best image if you're trying to market to higher end vendors or get into good bridal shows.

Simple solution: send someone else to pick up the cards. ;)

It's something of a moot point anyway...I've never been to a bridal show, but I have attended several trade shows (as a vendor) aimed at gluten-free living and food allergies. In all cases the vendor list was publicly available online and in ads for the event, so I would assume this is typically the case for bridal shows (since one of the draws for vendors would be piggybacking on ad exposure for the show). Even if a vendor list is not available, there are many other ways to gather contact information for local complementary vendors.

BatterUpCake Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:18am

I am googling cake decorators and getting mailing addresses. Then I will send the postcards. I have to count on the product catching their eye. I have had 2 orders today...without any advertising. The bridal show obviously isn't the way to go. I will keep looking for a trade show...I appreciate all of the feedback

jason_kraft Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:21am

A

Original message sent by BatterUpCake

I am googling cake decorators and getting mailing addresses. Then I will send the postcards. I have to count on the product catching their eye. I have had 2 orders today...without any advertising. The bridal show obviously isn't the way to go. I will keep looking for a trade show...I appreciate all of the feedback

I think a big plus for you will be offering the stands for rental to decorators. This will open up your market to smaller businesses who may not want to purchase a stand outright, but still want the option to upsell customers to a higher quality stand.

BatterUpCake Posted 27 Aug 2013 , 3:25am

I agree. Never thought about it until one of the planners asked me. Would you recommend getting a deposit from well established businesses?

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