How Would I Go About Starting My Own Cake Business?

Business By amandajeancakes Updated 26 Jun 2015 , 8:13pm by pastrypet

amandajeancakes Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 4:32pm
post #1 of 17

I have been decorating cakes for a hobby for about a year or so. All of my friends and family LOVE my cakes and think that they're amazing. My dream has always been to open up a small cake/cupcake shop, but even if i wanted too, I wouldn't know how!! I live in Erie County, NY. How would I go about opening up a cake business? What would be the first step? I'm only 21 years old, and know very little about the business world. 

16 replies
Apti Posted 22 Jun 2015 , 5:59pm
post #2 of 17

First step:  Contact an organization that offers free (and fabulous!) advice re: new and small business. 

https://buffaloniagara.score.org/ 

SCORE offers your best opportunity to obtain meaningful information.  Do not, I beg you, depend on anonymous cake forums or well-meaning friends to provide advice.  Establishing a part- or full-time business is 99% non-fun business and 1% baking/decorating.   I wish you well.

johnson6ofus Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 2:14am
post #3 of 17


Quote by @amandajeancakes on 9 hours ago

All of my friends and family LOVE my cakes and think that they're amazing. 

Of course they do--- they get free cake!!!! Will they feel the same way when they have to pay for it?

Apti is right. Running a business, any business, is more about the mechanics of the business and less about the product itself. You will spend more time on the accounting, licensing, bookkeeping, customer service, etc..... than the cakes themselves, if you are the business owner. 

costumeczar Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 11:34am
post #4 of 17

Friends and family are you worst critics because the tell you what you want to hear. They're your worst customers because when they have to pay for it you'll find out really fast who your real friends are and who's just looking for free cake.

If you want to open a storefront you need to realize that the amount of decorating and hands-on baking time you'll be involved with is going to be small compared to the time involved with paperwork, dealing with customers, hiring staff, etc.  I have a home-based business and 90% of my time is paperwork, marketing, looking for customers, etc, it isn't decorating. That's the least of my worries. I have no desire o open a storefront because I don't want to work 60-80 hours a week.

 If you want to work at a bakery just go do that and save yourself the stress of running a business, especially if you have no idea where to start. Take some business classes or do a lot of research n the meantime and see f it's really something you want to do.

jgifford Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:20pm
post #5 of 17

Most universities have a Small Business dept. where they will help you formulate a business plan, secure funding, etc., and you usually don't have to be a student. Whatever you decide to do, please understand it is not a fast process.  It will take time and it's mostly un-fun stuff as costumeczar said.

The baking and decorating is the smallest part of the whole thing, but you have to take care of the business side if you want to have a business to take care of.

We see so many newbies here who have heard "Oh, what a wonderful cake! You should sell these." And they want to sell the next day. Then they come here for recipes and advice and "how do I do this" and "what do I charge for this?" All.The.Time. And get upset when they don't get the answers they want to hear.

You're young.  Take your time, decide what you want to do and do it properly. And the best of luck to you.

Webake2gether Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:50pm
post #6 of 17

I'm a newbie and no offense was taken @jgifford  because you are absolutely right :)

honestly my best advice is to take the next 6 months at least to research research research!!! Like the posters said learn as much as you can about the business side and in the meantime keep baking for friends and family only treat each cake as an order and price everything out as though you are selling them. Factor in time, ingredients,supplies and a rough overhead cost. Pay close attention to the time you put into them and your skill level. 

jgifford Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:54pm
post #7 of 17

 

Quote by @Webake2gether on 1 minute ago

I'm a newbie and no offense was taken @jgifford  because you are absolutely right :)

 

 

But you're doing it right.  You're putting in the time to research and practice and get all your ducks lined up. We don't see that very often and you'll probably end up famous one day. 

Webake2gether Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:58pm
post #8 of 17

Sorry posted too soon wacky typing fingers today lol. Anyways the biggest thing I've learned in my starting up process is that waiting is a blessing. I don't want to rush things and fail because of my hast. While I wait for things to line up for my commercial grade kitchen I bake and take every opportunity to get better at what I do and learn what's necessary to have success. My husband is a manager and service director so he is definitely business oriented and that helps. 

Allow yourself to have time and don't rush. Try finding a way to legally sell your products (cottage food laws exist in most state) and see what interest you get from others you don't know. Donate your goods and see what feedback you get. Because friends and family won't pay the bills you'll need an extended customer base to survive. Hope that helps and good luck to you :) 

Webake2gether Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 11:04pm
post #9 of 17


Quote by @jgifford on 3 minutes ago

 

Quote by @Webake2gether on 1 minute ago

I'm a newbie and no offense was taken @jgifford  because you are absolutely right :)

 

 

But you're doing it right.  You're putting in the time to research and practice and get all your ducks lined up. We don't see that very often and you'll probably end up famous one day.

Oh shoot you made my eyes well up with tears what a wonderful thing to say!!!! If I ever make it I will be sure to credit all the wonderful bakers here on cake central because honestly and truly I've learned a great deal from you all. What I've read on here has encouraged me to research and approach things a certain way because the cake world doesn't operate like most other businesses it can be very complex and not every order is the same. I want to succeed with every ounce of my being but I refuse to do it any other way that's not honorable so if I never make it I know I at least developed some character out of it lol. 

amandajeancakes Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 12:06am
post #10 of 17

I do understand that there's a lot of work behind opening up a bakery, and I appreciate all the honesty!

I'm definitely going to take @Webake2gether 's advice and research! In the mean time, I'll work on my cake decorating skills!


Thanks everyone, for the great advise!!

Pastrybaglady Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 7:44am
post #11 of 17
pastrypet Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 4:46pm
post #12 of 17

I recommend these books. You may not be interested in a home baking business, but there is still good information here.


Start & Run a Home-Based Food Business at http://bakingfix.com/startandrun.html

Not So Common Sense: Five Tips For Home-Based Business Success, http://acaketoremember.com/etsy-shop.html

There are tons of tutorials on-line and on You-Tube for decorating. Soak up as much knowledge as you can.

amandajeancakes Posted 26 Jun 2015 , 5:42pm
post #13 of 17

I would love to just sell cakes from home, but I know that there are rules/laws against that! I've tried contacting Erie County to see what those laws are, but of course no response from them! 

I'll have to check these out, thank you!! :)

amandajeancakes Posted 26 Jun 2015 , 5:55pm
post #14 of 17


Quote by @pastrypet on 2 days ago

I recommend these books. You may not be interested in a home baking business, but there is still good information here.

I would love to just sell cakes from home, but I know that there are rules/laws against that! I've tried contacting Erie County to see what those laws are, but of course no response from them! 

I'll have to check these out, thank you!! :)

Webake2gether Posted 26 Jun 2015 , 6:22pm
post #15 of 17

You've probably already read this but I found this information on cottage food laws in New York. Hope that helps :) 

http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/fs/consumer/processor.html

I looked on the erie county Health dept. webpage and there was nothing about cottage food laws or commercial grade kitchens anywhere on their site. 

I'm currently in the process of having a commercial grade kitchen in my house so that I can operate as a bakery and not under the cottage food laws. Here in Illinois our cottage food laws are very restrictive and I'm not interested in farmers markets no offense to those who do farmers markets it's just not ideal for what we want to sell and I don't want the stress of melting buttercream in summer heat  lol. For us having a kitchen in our home is what's best for us. Yes it's a huge investment financially but we can work from home while our boys are young and don't have stress about a store front and overhead expenses. I'd rather start smaller and grow into a store front if one is meant to be :) 

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