Your First Sale

Business By bakeforfun21 Updated 9 Jun 2014 , 5:56am by SystemMod1

bakeforfun21 Posted 27 May 2014 , 1:13am
post #1 of 24

When you started selling your cakes, how did you start? Did you just tell people you decorate cakes or did someone ask you to make one and you gave them a price? I ask because I am interested in selling my creations but I don't know how to start.

23 replies
Norasmom Posted 27 May 2014 , 1:26am
post #2 of 24

Once upon a time, I made a cake for my daughter, and another one, and then another one and next thing I knew my closet was full of cake decorating stuff…:-D

 

So I came onto this website for help with what was just an unpaid hobby at the time, and kept reading, and reading and reading…and admiring all of the talent!

 

Then, I decided why not earn money with my hobby to pay for my hobby?  So I practiced until I felt confident that my cakes were past beginner level.

 

That's when I legalized my business.  It's still hobby-like in that I don't take a ton of orders and market very little, but I do make a bit of profit, my kitchen is certified and I pay my taxes.  

 

Contact your board of health and your town's zoning board and they will tell you what you need to do to start a business in terms of regulations and legalities.

costumeczar Posted 27 May 2014 , 2:29am
post #3 of 24

A

Original message sent by Norasmom

Contact your board of health and your town's zoning board and they will tell you what you need to do to start a business in terms of regulations and legalities.

That's the first step!

cai0311 Posted 5 Jun 2014 , 9:29pm
post #4 of 24

AOnce you find out the rules and regulations for your area you then need a website. 99.9% of my orders are for people I do not know. Everyone uses the internet to find businesses so a web presence is a must. Business cards are needed too. Leave a couple cards with every consultation, delivery (unless a wedding, I think it is tacky to have cards at a wedding), people at the store that ask why you are buying 10 dozen eggs and 70 lbs of powered sugar...

Natka81 Posted 5 Jun 2014 , 9:55pm
post #5 of 24

There is 2 members here Costumeczar and Mimifix, they have books. I have read them and found so much very helpful information how to begin "right" and be successful with cake/bakery business.

Ninja13 Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 11:33am
post #7 of 24

Hello,

 

Sorry to jump in on this post

I'm a newbie but all my family and friends think i should become a cake decorator and start selling my cakes...

I don't think I'm that good but my question is how do you know you are better then a beginner?

 

 

Thanks

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 12:39pm
post #8 of 24

That's a very very difficult question to answer.  I have been making cakes for years for family and friends.  I didn't open my business until I felt I could produce a cake which would not look out of place in a magazine.  I know that is very subjective, but as I am a perfectionist...it took a while! Lol.

 

I started by the usual family/friend route but decided very quickly, I wanted to aim for wedding cakes.  Step 1 is the legal bit (which is very different in the UK).  2 was selecting your target market and building your brand/website around it, 3 was business cards, 4 was local wedding fayres.  I still work full time and have my business growing so I did not want to grow too quickly.  So far, it's slow but steady and I'm loving it.  I can still remember the buzz from my first 'non-friend' order...it was amazing! 

 

The only thing I would say is that there is a BIG difference between baking for friends and having a business.  I was raised in a family business so I was kindof lucky, but bear in mind that the paperwork and admin will probably take you as long as the baking does...and is exceedingly less fun!!!

 

@Ninja, you did a great job of covering that purple cake...I'd say you exceeded 'beginner' level on that one ;-)

Ninja13 Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 1:02pm
post #9 of 24

Thank you Snowflakebunny23

 

I understand the process for making it into a business. and i won't be doing it anytime soon.

 

its just hard to know if I'm as good as friends and family say as for them its the best cakes i have ever done :D

 

Thank you soo much for your compliment i asked in my profile for comments but its not active yet as I'm still a newbie on here. I brought the purple icing instead of making it (worked 1000 times better) it looked AMAZING before we put the tracks in but thats what my best friend and i had designed for the cake (for his brothers surprise wedding present) so after we put the first track we were so devastated but it turned out how we wanted it except being 2" high cakes not 3" due to baking issues but they loved it :)

 

Thanks again :D

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 1:10pm
post #10 of 24

I was looking at the top tier and the straight sides...good job :-)  I know how you feel though - I did a wedding cake a while ago and got to a point where it looked stunning....but the Bride was desperate for a bow on it.  It wasn't too bad but I thought it destroyed it so I took the pictures for my portfolio beforehand because I hated it!!

cupadeecakes Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 1:15pm
post #11 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowflakebunny23 

The only thing I would say is that there is a BIG difference between baking for friends and having a business.  I was raised in a family business so I was kindof lucky, but bear in mind that the paperwork and admin will probably take you as long as the baking does...and is exceedingly less fun!!

Amen, sister!

Ninja13 Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 1:22pm
post #12 of 24

A

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflakebunny23 

I was looking at the top tier and the straight sides...good job :-)  I know how you feel though - I did a wedding cake a while ago and got to a point where it looked stunning....but the Bride was desperate for a bow on it.  It wasn't too bad but I thought it destroyed it so I took the pictures for my portfolio beforehand because I hated it!!

 

THANKS AGAIN :D and good idea i got a photo just not the best one was in a hurry

Ninja13 Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 1:24pm
post #13 of 24

Awow thats kewl i just got little chef hat smiley faces :D first time for everything :p

petitecat Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 1:30pm
post #14 of 24

Bakeforfun, here in the UK I started by calling the local council who inspected my kitchen. Got in touch with HMRC for filing income tax, then proceeded to tell anyone who would listen that I make cakes as a business. No one will ask you to make a cake unless they know you actually make them! I made a website and had business cards printed. Also have a blog, facebook, twitter. It doesn't automatically mean that when you do all those things the orders will come flooding in, but it's a start. 

 

Also, read all the threads here about pricing (there's plenty to read!). It's best to get your pricing right from the beginning otherwise you run the risk of underpricing your work, which means it's all been for nothing. 

 

All the best!

costumeczar Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 9:56pm
post #15 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ninja13 
 

Hello,

 

Sorry to jump in on this post

I'm a newbie but all my family and friends think i should become a cake decorator and start selling my cakes...

I don't think I'm that good but my question is how do you know you are better then a beginner?

 

 

Thanks

here comes the dream crusher! (That would be me)

 

It doesn't matter how good you are, to tell the truth. You can always get better or hire someone to do the decorating. And I've seen some horrific decorating out there from people who are selling tons of cakes form people who apparently don't care what they look like.

 

If you're going to run a business the business side of it is way more important than the decorating side of it. If you can't say to yourself that you know exactly what kind of paperwork you need to do on a weekly basis, or how to find clients, or how to price things to make a profit, don't start selling anything until you understand what's involved. The people who research business advice on youtube probably do a lot better running businesses than the people who spend a lot of time watching decorating videos.

 

And never start a business because your family and friends tell you that you should. They risk nothing in telling you that, you're the one who will have to do all the work, and they'll disappear as customers when you start charging them full price. Make sure that you have a good understanding of what's really involved before you start or you'll have a much harder time of it.

Ninja13 Posted 6 Jun 2014 , 11:20pm
post #16 of 24

Hello costumedzar,

 

I actually understand business better then most when and if i decide to make a cake business i will be fine but that was not my question at all.

 

i know family and friends are just saying it because I'm getting better(and they have to) and I'm actually in the process of looking for a new career anyway.

 

BUT my question was actually when do you know you are better then a beginner and in a post earlier someone said don't sell until your better then a beginner.

 

 

Thanks for the negativity

Norasmom Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 2:33am
post #17 of 24

You know you are better than a beginner when someone who is not a friend or family offers to buy your cakes.  Your purple cake is better than beginner, I would buy it.  To some here my cakes may look beginner, but the people who buy my cakes like them so it's all good.  And remember…Monet and Picasso were VERY different, some would say Picasso can't paint and wouldn't pay for his work…

Ninja13 Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 5:14am
post #18 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norasmom 
 

You know you are better than a beginner when someone who is not a friend or family offers to buy your cakes.  Your purple cake is better than beginner, I would buy it.  To some here my cakes may look beginner, but the people who buy my cakes like them so it's all good.  And remember…Monet and Picasso were VERY different, some would say Picasso can't paint and wouldn't pay for his work…

Thanks Norasmom,

 

This makes a lot of sense thank you :) and thanks for the compliment on purple cake!

 

:) Ninja13

costumeczar Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 3:19pm
post #19 of 24

A

Original message sent by Ninja13

Hello costumedzar,

I actually understand business better then most when and if i decide to make a cake business i will be fine but that was not my question at all.

i know family and friends are just saying it because I'm getting better(and they have to) and I'm actually in the process of looking for a new career anyway.

BUT my question was actually when do you know you are better then a beginner and in a post earlier someone said don't sell until your better then a beginner.

Thanks for the negativity

Not negativity, reality.

AZCouture Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 3:36pm
post #20 of 24

A[@]Ninja13[/@], costume's advice trumps any sweet encouragement you could possibly come across. In a perfect world, everyone would be an awesome decorator that clients threw lots of money at, and everyone was just rich and happy. Truth is, there are too many of us, selling too cheap, and the market has been practically, and really ruined in some areas because of people jumping into sales with zero business experience. So when you read something like you just did, maybe think about it first. Or go watch some more happy YouTube tutorials, I don't know.

cakebaby2 Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 3:41pm
post #21 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ninja13 
 

Hello costumedzar,

 

I actually understand business better then most when and if i decide to make a cake business i will be fine but that was not my question at all.

 

i know family and friends are just saying it because I'm getting better(and they have to) and I'm actually in the process of looking for a new career anyway.

 

BUT my question was actually when do you know you are better then a beginner and in a post earlier someone said don't sell until your better then a beginner.

 

 

Thanks for the negativity

I think CZ was trying to be helpful as caking as is any creative business is very different from selling groceries or other commodities, and she is very experienced in the cake decorating business (currently saturated by homebakers ) The best way to know how experts view your work is to upload pics and have them critiqued by the people on here with hundreds of years of experience between them. Good luck!

pastrypet Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 4:52pm
post #22 of 24

If you want to receive a truthful review of a cake, put it in your gallery and post the link on this thread, asking for a critique:

http://cakecentral.com/t/755127/peer-review-cake-club/735

costumeczar Posted 7 Jun 2014 , 8:17pm
post #23 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by cakebaby2 
 

I think CZ was trying to be helpful as caking as is any creative business is very different from selling groceries or other commodities, and she is very experienced in the cake decorating business (currently saturated by homebakers ) The best way to know how experts view your work is to upload pics and have them critiqued by the people on here with hundreds of years of experience between them. Good luck!

Exactly, and my point is that asking for critiques from other bakers is totally different from asking the general public what they think. They don't know and mostly don't care about the things that we do or don't notice about cakes, and the number of underpricers who have entered the marketplace in the past few years has seriously devalued custom cakes in the minds of most people. There was a bakery in Boston that sold the ugliest, nastiest pastries and cakes I'd ever had, and they were super busy all the time because they were right near the train. People would get off the train, stop in on their way home to get dessert, and the business was doing great. It was all about convenience, not quality. You could be a novice decorator and get away with selling from that bakery.

 

I would say that you're not a beginner when you don't need to go ask people what they think about your cakes all the time. and you're ready to open a business when you have all your ducks in a row and know what's really involved work-wise. These days it's just as much about marketing as it is about decorating. And running your own business is 180 degrees away from working for someone else.

SystemMod1 Posted 9 Jun 2014 , 5:56am
post #24 of 24

This thread has run its course and excellent advice and feedback has been given.  Thank you for your participation.

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