Looks Like I'll Have To Rethink My Business Plans...

Lounge By kikiandkyle Updated 16 Sep 2013 , 4:42pm by kikiandkyle

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 2:57am
post #1 of 36

AI'm moving to a new subdivision this winter and had planned to get started with doing cakes and cookies under the Tx CFL, but I just heard today that there is already a lady with a cookie business in the area, who is doing pretty well by the look of it, I actually heard about her through the school my kids go to be because she has been doing cookies for them and a lot of the parents for a while.

I know that leaves cakes but I had been planning to focus more on cookies in the beginning while I worked out how I was going to figure it into my schedule. And I was kind of excited about doing cookies!

Oh well. That's life I guess.

35 replies
kaylawaylalayla Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 6:31am
post #2 of 36

AWhat kindof cookies does she do? Can the market not sustain competition?

Nadiaa Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 6:39am
post #3 of 36

Why not give it a go anyway? You'll be doing cakes and she doesn't do them. I think it's totally fine to start out with cookies and evolve to cakes later if that's what you want. If you're excited about cookies then go for it! She doesn't have a monopoly on the cookie market. 

MimiFix Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 11:54am
post #4 of 36

Is this a small, tight-knit community? You'll be the newcomer. While it's true that she doesn't own the rights to having a cookie business, it might be nice for you to first reach out and say hello. 

BatterUpCake Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 12:17pm
post #5 of 36

What types of cookies does she do? Maybe you can offer some gourmet varieties that she does not.

stephdover4 Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 12:30pm
post #6 of 36

I'm sure she has to turn some business away when she is booked. Invite her to have a cup of coffee and some of your cookies...you could handle your business and her overflow!?

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 1:26pm
post #7 of 36

AShe does the same kind of decorated sugar cookie as me (think Sweet Sugar Belle style), and she does them well. Although she doesn't live in the actual sub where the school is, she's in the next one over and is obviously close enough to have her kids in the same school. She's pretty much taken all my marketing ideas though!

I think I will just have to focus more on cakes, introduce myself and mention that I do cookies and would love to help her out if she's ever booked. I don't want to start beef when I'm going to be totally new to the place, so it's probably better to keep on her good side!

I was gutted though, just another disappointment in the sorry saga of this damn house we are building. At the rate it's going, her kids will have all graduated before we move!

as you wish Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 1:31pm
post #8 of 36

ANot knowing what the person is like, you might be setting yourself up for a bad time by starting off with cookies. Maybe the market can sustain both of you, maybe it can't. Maybe the cookie person will be very unwelcoming if she sees you as trying to move in on her customer base. How would you feel in her place? Welcoming or threatened? Could you start out with cupcakes instead? Once you are established (and have gotten to know a bit about the local market and what the other cookie business owner is like) you could expand into cookies if it seems like a good idea. Edit: I was typing this when you posted your last. It looks like you are thinking the same thing. :)

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 2:15pm
post #9 of 36

AI completely agree, it's not right to just waltz in and set up shop and I would be mad and upset if someone did that to me. I plan on living here for a long time and don't want to start things off on the wrong foot.

I'm definitely going to offer cupcakes, although I don't intend for that to be my main focus. There is a cupcake shop right by us, and a storefront bakery which also sells cupcakes (I had one the other day, $1.65 :-o).

BatterUpCake Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 2:19pm
post #10 of 36

How was your $1.65 cupcake? Was it a specialty cupcake or your run of the mill grocery type?

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 2:38pm
post #11 of 36

AIt was the size of a cupcake you'd bake at home, so small for a bought cupcake in my opinion, I got the red velvet and it was pretty plain, but fresh. The cream cheese frosting tasted a bit too cheesy, I suspect they had added flavor to it. $1.65 was probably a fair price for what it was but considering they're $3+ for essentially the same thing at Gigi's, I can't see them making any money on them.

BatterUpCake Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 2:55pm
post #12 of 36

Well if someone is charging $3 for a small plain cupcake and there are no gourmet cupcake places around then that is an angle to get your name out there...margarita cupcakes, Pistachio (been wanting to try that one), almond joy cupcakes with ganache/coconut fillings, maple/bacon, chocolate covered strawberries (if your area allows that from home)..stuff like that. AND pretty fondant covered cupcakes!

liz at sugar Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 3:06pm
post #13 of 36

How small is this place you are moving that you don't think you can set up shop?  Just because you won't be selling to your adjacent neighbors at first, there still has to be a market that the one-woman show who is your competition isn't covering.

 

You just need to tune your marketing plan up.

 

Although I know you don't want to upset the apple cart with your new neighbors, one person can't have saturated an entire city (unless the city only has 1000 people).

 

Good luck!

 

Liz

reginaherrin Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 4:25pm
post #14 of 36

I have to agree with Liz.  I am not sure if you are moving to a new city or just a new neighborhood but you should want to market to the entire city not just your neighborhood.  I also have to say that specialty cookie shops (at least where I am in Texas) are non existent.  There is actually only 1-2 store front bakeries and only one of those offers cookies but not the specialty cookies so I know a cookie shop or two in my part of the state would be very welcome and I'm betting it probably is where you are too.  But definitely offering other items like cupcakes is a good idea.

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 4:54pm
post #15 of 36

AIt's in the western Houston suburbs. There's actually quite a few custom cake shops here, and a lot of them do cookies too. This particular lady has a cottage food business just like I will, but I think it's kind of rude to just set up doing the exact same thing as her in the exact same place. She doesn't do cakes, so I'll just have to focus more on that, I'm not looking to make it a full-time thing anyway, at least at first. I would like to eventually open my own store one day but I'm trying to be home with my kids for a few more years yet. I certainly intend to run my business professionally (read: priced correctly!) but I'm not going to be devoting very waking hour to it.

I'm not mad at her, it's just a bit of a bummer that she already got in before me! Who knows, if I can get to know her maybe I'll find she gets a lot of orders that she can't do and it will work out fine. We'll just have to see!

liz at sugar Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 6:58pm
post #16 of 36

Well Kikiandkyle, you seem to be very polite in not wanting to step on this lady's toes, but if everyone had that attitude, there would only be one hairdresser, one mechanic, and one doctor in your neighborhood, too.  :)  And most people like to have choices, so there is probably someone out there who doesn't like her cookies, and would be a possible customer of yours.

 

I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to concentrate on cookies - Houston is a REALLY big place, and I know there is room for you both to co-exist.  That doesn't mean you need to go out and poach all of her existing customers, but just get your own customer base in place.  Don't let the fear of direct competition deter you from focusing on what you love to do most.  You shouldn't live your life settling on something that isn't your first choice just because someone else beat you to it.

 

Liz

MimiFix Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 7:45pm
post #17 of 36

While I agree with Liz's overall assessment, there's one caveat: we're discussing a home-based business set up in a residential area, not in a business district where these kinds of competitive issues are less personal. If kikiandkyle rented a store front in a business district and competitor issues arose, she would be able to retreat to her home sanctuary without the weight of this issue. I would tread carefully. 

 

kikiandkyle, sorry for talking about you in the third person... If it were me, I would continue to be polite while mapping out a plan for initial products that do not compete directly. And then get to know the neighborhood and the current business owner. If your worst fears are founded you can still offer products that fit your business style, but keep it low key. Do other products such as cakes or cupcakes and let cookie sales move slowly along. If your cfl allows for wholesale, that would be a good way to move some product sales out of your neighborhood.  

 

Hope you enjoy your new home!

kikiandkyle Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 8:17pm
post #18 of 36

A

Original message sent by liz at sugar

Well Kikiandkyle, you seem to be very polite

Ssshhhh don't let it get out! :grin:

I know what you are saying, but since I'm trying to keep things small in the beginning, while also trying to find my feet in a new area, I think the softly softly approach is going to have to do for now. Who knows, maybe she'll move, or get a different job, or change directions herself. I'm not going to just give up entirely but ruffling feathers isn't going to do me any favors.

liz at sugar Posted 7 Sep 2013 , 8:59pm
post #19 of 36

I understand you want to get off on a good foot in your new neighborhood.  And I won't tell anyone about your impeccable manners. :)

 

Liz

cakesbycathy Posted 9 Sep 2013 , 2:05am
post #20 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

While I agree with Liz's overall assessment, there's one caveat: we're discussing a home-based business set up in a residential area, not in a business district where these kinds of competitive issues are less personal. If kikiandkyle rented a store front in a business district and competitor issues arose, she would be able to retreat to her home sanctuary without the weight of this issue. I would tread carefully. 

 

kikiandkyle, sorry for talking about you in the third person... If it were me, I would continue to be polite while mapping out a plan for initial products that do not compete directly. And then get to know the neighborhood and the current business owner. If your worst fears are founded you can still offer products that fit your business style, but keep it low key. Do other products such as cakes or cupcakes and let cookie sales move slowly along. If your cfl allows for wholesale, that would be a good way to move some product sales out of your neighborhood.  

 

Hope you enjoy your new home!

 

 

This ^^^^

 

I live in one of these kinds of neighborhoods and word is going to travel fast if she steps on this woman's toes.  It sounds like she has a very loyal fan base and all it takes is one mom to start bad mouthing the OP on how she is trying to hone in on the cookie lady's territory....yada yada yada... the OP is going to find out that she can't get any business.

 

I would definitely re-think your plan and focus more on cakes.  Maybe introduce yourself to the cookie lady and see if you two can't team up to provide matching cakes and cookies for parties or something?

SugaredSaffron Posted 10 Sep 2013 , 10:49am
post #21 of 36

Quote:

Originally Posted by liz at sugar 
 

Well Kikiandkyle, you seem to be very polite in not wanting to step on this lady's toes, but if everyone had that attitude, there would only be one hairdresser, one mechanic, and one doctor in your neighborhood, too.  :)  And most people like to have choices, so there is probably someone out there who doesn't like her cookies, and would be a possible customer of yours.

 

I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to concentrate on cookies - Houston is a REALLY big place, and I know there is room for you both to co-exist.  That doesn't mean you need to go out and poach all of her existing customers, but just get your own customer base in place.  Don't let the fear of direct competition deter you from focusing on what you love to do most.  You shouldn't live your life settling on something that isn't your first choice just because someone else beat you to it.

 

Liz

This.

kikiandkyle Posted 10 Sep 2013 , 6:52pm
post #22 of 36

Looks like the baker may actually be a teacher at the school, or related to one. Def not stepping on any toes now! 

Nadiaa Posted 11 Sep 2013 , 12:13am
post #23 of 36

Yeah, if that's the case then best to concentrate on cakes :) They don't even have to be wedding cakes or anything (if you're trying to keep it simple) you could start with cupcakes and birthday cakes. 

ladyhawke917 Posted 11 Sep 2013 , 4:42am
post #24 of 36

What about  baskets or trays? You could have a mix of "fancy" cookies, truffles, chocolate covered fruit, brownies, peanut brittle, pralines, bite sized cupcakes or whatever else the law allows you to make. You could make it a very different product from the sugar cookies she offers.  Go for a different market. Sugar cookies are great for kids birthday parties, get well gifts and things like that. You could aim for the dinner party and other more elegant occasions. An example might be to have a tray with a 4 or 6 inch chocolate cake with strawberry filling and chocolate ganache surrounded by chocolate covered strawberries and brownie bites. Or a nut themed tray with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, peanut brittle, fudge with walnuts, and buckeyes. I don't know what all kinds of foods your laws will allow you to make, but hopefully you at least get where I am going with the idea. If you can find a different market, you won't be direct competition.

kikiandkyle Posted 11 Sep 2013 , 4:48am
post #25 of 36

AThe cute sugar cookies are what I love doing though! I'll still do them but they won't be my main focus. I like the ideas though. There are a lot of very high end homes in my sub, filled with ladies who entertain so I think the market is there for the higher end cookie and cake, not just people wanting stuff for kids parties.

howsweet Posted 13 Sep 2013 , 3:52pm
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

It's in the western Houston suburbs. There's actually quite a few custom cake shops here, and a lot of them do cookies too. This particular lady has a cottage food business just like I will, but I think it's kind of rude to just set up doing the exact same thing as her in the exact same place. She doesn't do cakes, so I'll just have to focus more on that, I'm not looking to make it a full-time thing anyway, at least at first. I would like to eventually open my own store one day but I'm trying to be home with my kids for a few more years yet. I certainly intend to run my business professionally (read: priced correctly!) but I'm not going to be devoting very waking hour to it.

I'm not mad at her, it's just a bit of a bummer that she already got in before me! Who knows, if I can get to know her maybe I'll find she gets a lot of orders that she can't do and it will work out fine. We'll just have to see!

Kiki - someone selling cookies in the greater Houston metropolitan area does not have to feel guilty even if her next door neighbor is in the cookie business. I bet there are a bunch of others selling cookies you don't even know about.  It sounds like you think if you were already established in the area, someone else wouldn't have the right to come in and compete -- that would be setting yourself up for getting really mad at somebody, because it definitely would happen.

howsweet Posted 13 Sep 2013 , 10:46pm
post #27 of 36

Wow, I just reread that and it sounded really harsh! That wasn't my intent! I was really just trying to say if you want to make cookies, go for it :D

MimiFix Posted 14 Sep 2013 , 11:07am
post #28 of 36

Still, I would be careful when starting a home-based business in a small development. Some missteps are hard to undue. Good luck! 

howsweet Posted 14 Sep 2013 , 4:10pm
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

Still, I would be careful when starting a home-based business in a small development. Some missteps are hard to undue. Good luck! 

It's basically Houston,Texas.  In my experience, selling to friends and neighbors is nothing but a pain anyway. I don't have school age children anymore and although I'm sure I'd send pretty things for their classes and parties, I'd avoid getting business customers there.

MimiFix Posted 14 Sep 2013 , 4:14pm
post #30 of 36

My point is that it makes sense to think before moving ahead.

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