Business Name Issue And Getting Paying Business

Business By nancylee61 Updated 11 Mar 2015 , 3:50pm by nancylee61

nancylee61 Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 3:03pm
post #1 of 30

Hi all,

I have been taking a break because I got pretty discouraged. I have great recipes, my cakes taste awesome!! My more rustic cakes look fabulous and my few paying customers have been thrilled. My discouragement came from the fact that I live in a small town, and there aren't a lot of people here, and most can't pay for a custom cake, so I branched out and advertised in nearby towns that are more affluent. But still...no paying business. 

Two questions: 

1. We have a bakery in my area called the Town Name Baking Co. I have a property in this town, and lived there for the past ten years. When I named my bakery, I couldn't decide on the name I now use, or the use the Town Name Bakery after checking to make sure it wasn't taken so I put up a facebook page in both names and towns.  The owner of the Town Name Baking Co. called me and threatened to sue me, "because everyone calls them the Town Name Bakery" even though their name is Town Name Baking Co. 

I explained that I checked the names, I checked for the availability of a web address, I checked the town hall and Town Name Bakery wasn't taken. He said, "Well, I'm going to sue you, because people call us 'Town Name Bakery.'" My friend said I should have said, "You are also known as "Schmuck," so I can't use that either??" Haha!! But of course, I didn't. I told him to do what he needed to do, but I live in Town Name, and work out of a commercial kitchen in Town Name, so do what he had to do. I don't think people can claim all of the Town Name names for similar businesses, and I can't help that he named his bakery a Baking Co. He is known for being a bully, and has a very good business, so he just really got my back up. 

2. Getting more customers - I offer organic, all-natural, no mixes, no Crisco, so I advertised in a local new age type magazine. I have given away more cakes than I can count for charities. I have done cakes for less money for friends to get my name out there. I know, people here said to not to the second two things, and they are right. It doesn't get business. I would love some suggestions to drum up more business. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks for reading!! 



29 replies
cakegrandma Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 3:31pm
post #2 of 30

Who had the name first? If he named his first, even though it is town name baking co he has the right to sue.  It would be too close to his business name and therefore you can be made to change yours.  Sorry for him being such a bully.

nancylee61 Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 3:36pm
post #3 of 30

He had it first. I know he can sue, you can sue for anything, but how many variations are there on New York Pizza? I just googled it and stopped at 3 pages.  I was thinking that having a geographical name made that different. I can always use Town Name Cakery, but he'd probably object to that, too. 

And I do work from this town. I'm not just using it. 

melmar02 Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 3:43pm
post #4 of 30

So when you checked with your town hall, and the name wasn't taken, did you register it as your dba? Have you checked with the county and state as well? 

Natka81 Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 4:14pm
post #5 of 30

I would just use another name, anyway Town Name bakery is very simple name and there is no big difference between Town Name Bakery Co. and Town Name Bakery. 

nancylee61 Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 4:24pm
post #6 of 30

Hi,

No, I didn't officially register it, as I was still figuring out where I was going to end up living. I'm still not sure, so I didn't want to give it up. But it wasn't taken in the town, county or state registry. 


And without your town in a name, in a resort area where brides come from far away to get married, I think it makes it a lot harder for people to find you. 

fcakes Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 4:45pm
post #7 of 30

How about, for example, Nancy's Sweets - Town Name? Use this format for your business name everywhere, for the website, SEO, everything... This will still ensure people find you. 

Town Name Bakery and Town Name Baking Co. Are quite similar, and frankly, it's not fair for the other bakery who's been established longer.

fcakes Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 4:47pm
post #8 of 30

Since you're offering organic and more wholesome desserts, you could contact the local newspaper and magazines with a short press release on how you've launched this new business and how it's different from what's in the market.

I used to operate in a small town before moving, and newspapers were read everywhere :)

nancylee61 Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 4:47pm
post #9 of 30

That's a good idea!! I was actually going to make it Town Name Cakery, but was worried, because I also make cookies and am working on some great pastry recipes. Thanks!!

nancylee61 Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 4:48pm
post #10 of 30

Thanks!! I did the one magazine, but that's a great idea - I should send it to the other, small local papers. 


lmnissen Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 6:46pm
post #11 of 30

If your town is so small and you are actively seeking business from other areas, I would recommend changing the name. 1) Some people may already associate the town name itself with the other bakery. 2) The town name in the bakery title may deter new customers that don't like the perception of driving a town or two over. 3) The names really are much too close for a customer just trying to find a bakery. You should try to differentiate yourself with the other bakery considering you offer items they do not. Don't let customers ever be confused by which store you are.

nancylee61 Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 7:10pm
post #12 of 30

Imnissen, good point, since they use box mixes and shortening in all of their frostings, and I use all natural and mostly organic ingredients. I don't want anyone thinking I am them when I get busier. 

Best - 

-K8memphis Posted 6 Mar 2015 , 11:12pm
post #13 of 30

not to mention -- being in business comes with it's own set of issues that must be addressed -- why fuel a feud -- also since he is established already he has inroads established with venues and florists and churches and perhaps dress shops which is where you need to be focusing also -- he could be mentioning the look alike names which does not paint you in the best light -- like has been said already by imnissen and possibly others you want to differentiate yourself and not by being difficult yes?

what about using the street name or number -- or the name of the larger locality but being as different as possible is better --

i know you've given away too many cakes but i love to hear when someone does a cake for a military couple -- good news travels fast -- 

how much 'organic' business is in your area anyhow -- post a sign at yoga places and outdoor markets and health foodie places like that -- can you market to some gas stations and coffee shops with your pastries and cookies and stuff?


nancylee61 Posted 7 Mar 2015 , 5:21am
post #14 of 30

Hi k8! 

Thanks for the wise advice. I changed the Facebook name to Town Name Cakery - may decide on a different name before I finalize it. I was actually thinking of Town Name Cakelicious or something like that. I wasn't trying to be a jerk or eat his lunch because he does things so differently than I do and has a very different Oxus, mostly walk-in business for regular baked goods. And he is a bully. That's ok, I had bought the domain townnamebakery.com soif he wants it, he can pay me 50K! 


Great suggestions - I like the yoga one, especially! 

SugaredSaffron Posted 7 Mar 2015 , 7:06am
post #15 of 30

I would not use the town name bakery thing, and if I was the business owner I would be pretty annoyed too. Imagine you built up a name fore yourself and then someone just decided to use your business name, but with the slightest change.

nancylee61 Posted 7 Mar 2015 , 6:23pm
post #16 of 30


Quote by @SugaredSaffron on 11 hours ago

I would not use the town name bakery thing, and if I was the business owner I would be pretty annoyed too. Imagine you built up a name fore yourself and then someone just decided to use your business name, but with the slightest change.

Well, I think there are only so many ways to say "Bakery." Google NY Pizza and see how many there are. And I didn't tell him to name it Baking Co. instead of Bakery. He made a stupid business decision. Not my fault. 


Thanks for chiming in with your helpful advice! :) 

-K8memphis Posted 7 Mar 2015 , 7:40pm
post #17 of 30

nancy, the new york pizza illustration helps you mostly if you name your bakery new york pizza or if new york pizza will rescue you when you get whackered for this or if you just call and order one while chewing on a less divisive name --


it's interesting/surprising  to me that you are so adamant about this -- are you punkin' me?


geez now i'm dying for pizza

nancylee61 Posted 8 Mar 2015 , 12:03am
post #18 of 30

No, I'm not adamant about it, but I don't like the implication that I was being dishonest with this name. Not from you, but someone else. I needed a name, it wasn't taken, it is the town I lived in and may go back to. I bake stuff, thus, I have a bakery.

How do you delete a thread?? 

-K8memphis Posted 8 Mar 2015 , 1:21pm
post #19 of 30

you can ask a moderator or ask jackie to delete a thread -- you might could do it by reporting a post when you click on the 'actions' field there on the top right of each post --

i just read this over and another place to advertise is with spas to get in touch with the health food conscious if you have any there in your resort area including delivering a goodie basket to the people who work at the resorts -- 

is there a more general name for your area -- like if you were in martha's vineyard and 'mv bakery' was taken could you go with east coast bakery -- i mean that's super broad but anything like that where you can encompass more of the area actually or is there a particular landmark like 'plymouth rock bakery' or anything like that? just tossing out ideas -- the name of a popular beach? 


nancylee61 Posted 8 Mar 2015 , 4:45pm
post #20 of 30

I'm in the Adirondacks, but it's 6 million acres, so that wouldn't help! I'm also in a resort/destination area where brides from out of town come to get married, so a town name is important for out-of-towers to find me.

I have a lot to chew on - and thank you, k8! 


-K8memphis Posted 8 Mar 2015 , 7:54pm
post #21 of 30

you're welcome -- try to get on' the destinations' approved vendor list

costumeczar Posted 9 Mar 2015 , 12:00pm
post #22 of 30

 

Quote by @nancylee61 on 19 hours ago

I'm in the Adirondacks, but it's 6 million acres, so that wouldn't help! I'm also in a resort/destination area where brides from out of town come to get married, so a town name is important for out-of-towers to find me.

I have a lot to chew on - and thank you, k8! 


 If people are coming to you from out of town they're probably looking online to book vendors. Make sure you have a good website that they can find...Get your SEO straight. you might want to call local reception venues to see if they would meet with you to talk about getting on their referrals list. If you get to know the coordinators there they'll refer you to people who call to book their weddings, and that's the best source of business.

pastrypet Posted 10 Mar 2015 , 3:17am
post #23 of 30


Quote by @nancylee61 on 2 days ago

<snip>  he does things so differently than I do and has a very different Oxus, mostly walk-in business for regular baked goods.


What does Oxus mean?

nancylee61 Posted 10 Mar 2015 , 12:49pm
post #24 of 30


Quote by @pastrypet on 9 hours ago


Quote by @nancylee61 on 2 days ago

<snip>  he does things so differently than I do and has a very different Oxus, mostly walk-in business for regular baked goods.
What does Oxus mean?

Ha!! Sorry!! He has a different business model than I do, a walk-in business, plus a lot of cakes. And he uses mixes and shortening buttercream, while my business is all about all-natural and mostly organic. 



Gingerlocks Posted 10 Mar 2015 , 3:52pm
post #25 of 30

I'm just going to chime in, as I've been reading this thread drinking my morning coffee here. I think you do need to come up with your own name, if not for the fact that you could be sued; do it to differentiate yourself. You are not Town Name Baking Co. you offer something completely different and your name needs to reflect that. You need to play to your strengths and highlight the fact that you use organic, all-natural, no mixes, no Crisco without throwing the other guys under the bus...i.e. I wouldn't go around saying "they use mixes and Crisco" many potential customers/people find that off putting and can create a lot of enemies; and nobody wants that. It's fine on here, but just be careful is all I'm saying. I think another issue for why your not getting customers is that you need to build up your decorating skills; your gallery has some really cute work, but I do think that could be part of the issue. I think once you build up your decorating skills, you'll be in a much better place; you've already differentiated yourself in your market by offer an all natural alternative, so you are on your way :)

nancylee61 Posted 10 Mar 2015 , 6:53pm
post #26 of 30

Hi Gingerlocks,

Yes, to the decorating part!! I know!! I brought a cake to work yesterday, I got about 15 emails telling me that the cake was awesome (It was a sheet cake, chocolate and yellow, SMBC, all recipes I found or bought from here) and two people told me that the cake was the best cake they EVER tasted. I also got two jobs out of it. But the decorating is tough for me. I'm not sure HOW to get better except to take classes (and I'm looking into that) and practice, practice, practice, which costs $$$$$. I can generally pipe pretty well (the SMBC was a mess the other day, I had no bags, I was winging it because it was a fun cake for work) but getting a smooth SMBC and edges and bows, grrr........

Suggestions?? Just do it over and over? I also make jewelry and pottery, and need to have one of these work for me as a retirement job, but I'm in the same place with all three things. I am newer at them, and need to build up my skills. I am the closest with my jewelry, I think, but my pottery sells more. So I'm confused, because you really need to put the time in to get good at this, and my time is split between the three things.

And thanks for mentioning it, I am careful to NEVER throw the other business under the bus or criticize them publicly. I have had a number of businesses and don't ever do that!

Nancy

Gingerlocks Posted 10 Mar 2015 , 8:29pm
post #27 of 30

Getting smooth SMBC just takes time and practice, there are some great tutorials out there with helpful hints and tricks to getting it smooth. There are also other kinds of butter cream you could try as well that might be easier for you to smooth, its just a matter of preference and unfortunately trial and error. 

You have so many diverse interests it may be time to really focus your efforts on one or two and put your spare time, cash, and efforts getting really good at that particular interest. Not to say you have to leave your others behind, but I think it would be beneficial to focus your efforts. The thing with cake decorating is that you really need to "get into it to get good"; but if you are making money in Pottery maybe that's where your efforts should be.

nancylee61 Posted 10 Mar 2015 , 11:20pm
post #28 of 30

Gingerlocks, the issue is that pottery, while it brings in money, is very hard to make a living at. You have to sell a ton of low priced stuff, almost production pottery, and that would bore me to tears. I made about 50 mugs this Christmas and wanted to cry by the end. I know the cake business is tough, too, but if I move to an area with more wealth, I think there would be more people. And, yes, I know I have to get my skills up - absolutely!!!

Quote by @Gingerlocks on 2 hours ago

Getting smooth SMBC just takes time and practice, there are some great tutorials out there with helpful hints and tricks to getting it smooth. There are also other kinds of butter cream you could try as well that might be easier for you to smooth, its just a matter of preference and unfortunately trial and error. 

You have so many diverse interests it may be time to really focus your efforts on one or two and put your spare time, cash, and efforts getting really good at that particular interest. Not to say you have to leave your others behind, but I think it would be beneficial to focus your efforts. The thing with cake decorating is that you really need to "get into it to get good"; but if you are making money in Pottery maybe that's where your efforts should be.


Gingerlocks Posted 11 Mar 2015 , 1:04am
post #29 of 30


Quote by @nancylee61 on 1 hour ago

 I know the cake business is tough, too, but if I move to an area with more wealth, I think there would be more people. 

Honestly please don't uproot and move to sell cakes, unless you have other reasons to do so. It won't guarantee anything for your business and might actually be worse for business. I live in one of the most affluent areas in North America; it has some of the highest incomes per capita in Canada..and it make's this business extremely hard and extremely competitive. 


Best of luck Nancy, I hope it works out :)

nancylee61 Posted 11 Mar 2015 , 3:50pm
post #30 of 30

Oh, no! I would never uproot myself for any job! My whole family lives downstate NY/NJ area. I miss my kids. :( 

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