Doing A Big Event For The First Time, Seeking Advice!

Business By PixieNibble Updated 14 Apr 2015 , 9:33pm by PixieNibble

PixieNibble Posted 16 Feb 2015 , 1:14pm
post #1 of 9

Hello all!

I've been selling my cupcakes at a monthly carboot sale for a few months now, which only lasts about 3 hours but I always manage to sell around half my stock (about 30 cupcakes)

 

However, my little stall will be selling at an anime convention in early April for the very first time. Its a LOT busier than the carboot I've previously sold at.....and by busy I mean 1000+ people attend.

 

I'm a little bit lost as to how many cakes I should make. The table is a good size, 6ft by 2ft which is usually what I sell at, but its the sheer number of people that has rumbled me. Of course I want to sell out, but preferably not within an hour but there isn't the storage space for a dragon's hoard of cake.

 

I have planned to make the buttercream icing 2 days in advance, and the actual cakes the day before since I have to leave early to get to the venue which isnt very local to me. I know there is a thread talking about freezing cupcakes several days in advance, but to be frank my freezer does not have the room......at a stretch it could take half a batch? so this isn't really a viable option for me. I'm also a one-woman baker working from home.

 

Please help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

8 replies
julia1812 Posted 16 Feb 2015 , 3:43pm
post #2 of 9

AHmm, tricky question... Without knowing anything about the event, the visitors or your cupcakes, I can just guess. Would take very roughly estimated 400 cupcakes. If 10% are buying a box of let's say 4 that is... But on another note: I think your timing for preps is off. Do you have an idea how long it takes to bake a couple of hundreds of cupcakes in a not-commercial oven? Then cooling time, decorating (guess it's not a simple swirl, maybe spring flowers?), packaging them..? I would be terrified if I had to accomplish that in a single day!

PixieNibble Posted 16 Feb 2015 , 4:10pm
post #3 of 9

AThe only way I can describe the event is it is a gathering held over five floors (the sellers get the bottom floor) with attendees ranging from 12 to 40, although I have seen younger children there before.

My decoration is not very spectacular, a swirl or rose swirl with coloured icing or cut out marzipan or fondant shapes. I estimate we get about 4-5 hours selling time before we have to pack up to make way for a stage event........would 150-200 be a reasonable number? Usually I sell them in individual pods and have a small number of 4 boxes.

I dont blame you for being terrified at the thought of the one day bake idea, the last time I did my local stall I had six batches to make and I was running around in the morning frantically icing. I had icing sugar all over my glasses and didnt even notice!

julia1812 Posted 16 Feb 2015 , 4:31pm
post #4 of 9

AWell, if it's a simple swirl, it's certainly doable! The most I've done at once for an order was 120 and that was okay. I didn't know what design you pipe. At our local Christmas craft fair is a lady selling beautiful Christmassy decorated cupcakes with little Christmas trees etc. People normally go crazy about them as that is something they can't make at home, so they tend to buy more. And of course a "simple" piped flower allows a higher price...but only as a thought. Good luck! Am sure 200 cupcakes will not be too much. And even if you have left overs, you could then start to try out cupcake freezing

leah_s Posted 16 Feb 2015 , 8:17pm
post #5 of 9

Pshaw.  1000 people - piece of cupcake.

First, I do a lot of big events in my food truck (I sell desserts only.) 10% of the crowd will buy dessert.  So you will sell about 100 cupcakes.  If you do a splashy display around your table, you might sell 150.  So that's how many you take.  If you sell out in the first hour, that's fabulous.  it only teaches your customers and potential custmers how special you are and that they should hit your table first and buy early.  I *always* plan to run out.  Always.  Now customers will come to my window, "I know you run out of the popular things, so I came here first."  See - train your customers.  I also Tweet along the way - "Only 6 bourbon brownies left."  "Lemon Cucpakes sold out!"  etc.  No one has to know that I only brought 6 bourbon brownies, or 2 lemon cupcakes but me.

 

Now, will it be a successful day if you sell 150 cupcakes?  Are there any other items you might take that have a longer shelf life?  Do you have another event following this one to sell "leftovers"?  If not, then your goal is to sell *exactly* what you bring.

craftybanana Posted 16 Feb 2015 , 8:49pm
post #6 of 9

leah_s, does the 10% buying rule still apply to an anime convention where there will be 1,000 + sugar addicts? Just wanting to clarify for the OP since that type of events generally have tons of kids and adults who are thirsty and have a sweet tooth. (gamers, anime, comics people are generally coffee/sweets people... keeps our brains functioning so we can play/read more)

 

OP, if you put little anime-type designs or chibi-art on your cupcakes, I bet you'll sell out pronto! Think of those generic big-eyes or something like that. Pocky-sticks ahoy! *cough* sorry about that.... I'm going to be having some girls over for a film and my wheels are turning for cute anime treat ideas....

 

Edit: Please share pictures of the event when you're done though!

julia1812 Posted 17 Feb 2015 , 4:57pm
post #7 of 9

AAnd have you thought about your profit? If I would need to spend half a day just to sell 100 cupcakes, I would rather spend it in bed, LOL! Don't want to sound wired, but the hours you spend making them, driving there, standing around selling them vs ingredients, rent/tax/etc to be paid, booth fee, fuel etc etc..... In all that time you could probably make some cakes which go for way more. Unless people pay good $ for your cupcakes or it's your hobby? Just saying... Are you sure it's worth it?

PixieNibble Posted 14 Apr 2015 , 9:33pm
post #8 of 9

Hello all! I wanted to give you an update on how the day went. I meant to do it earlier, but I am awful for remembering my password on different devices...

First of all, I want to give the folk that gave me the freezing tip a massive hug. It worked an absolute treat and I was able to fit the baking around my classes at college even if icing day was a lil bit stressful

My total cupcake count was 100 as I did have a few cakes that werent up to standard, with supplements of molded chocolates and un-decorated gingerbread bears to help boost my takings.

Did I sell out in a hour? No. But I DID completely sell out hours before we had to pack up. :) I had staff buying cakes before the doors were even open. Doors officially opened to the public at noon and my table was bare by 3.15pm. One poor soul came up to my table looking for the treats and seemed quite disappointed when I told her I was all sold out There was almost an issue with theft, but it was by a kid barely as tall as my table that was after a pink strawberry cake.

I raked in £200 in sales, and did make a little bit of profit after all my deductions!

Would I do it again next year? Would love to! I can only hope if I am accepted on my higher level course that I will be able to cope with it. Perhaps next year I may not sell my cakes in their own little pod containers to save myself a little money, as a few folks merely devoured my cakes right on the spot.

PixieNibble Posted 14 Apr 2015 , 9:33pm
post #9 of 9

Hello all! I wanted to give you an update on how the day went. I meant to do it earlier, but I am awful for remembering my password on different devices...

First of all, I want to give the folk that gave me the freezing tip a massive hug. It worked an absolute treat and I was able to fit the baking around my classes at college even if icing day was a lil bit stressful

My total cupcake count was 100 as I did have a few cakes that werent up to standard, with supplements of molded chocolates and un-decorated gingerbread bears to help boost my takings.

Did I sell out in a hour? No. But I DID completely sell out hours before we had to pack up. :) I had staff buying cakes before the doors were even open. Doors officially opened to the public at noon and my table was bare by 3.15pm. One poor soul came up to my table looking for the treats and seemed quite disappointed when I told her I was all sold out There was almost an issue with theft, but it was by a kid barely as tall as my table that was after a pink strawberry cake.

I raked in £200 in sales, and did make a little bit of profit after all my deductions!

Would I do it again next year? Would love to! I can only hope if I am accepted on my higher level course that I will be able to cope with it. Perhaps next year I may not sell my cakes in their own little pod containers to save myself a little money, as a few folks merely devoured my cakes right on the spot.

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