The area I've lived in the last 22 years is not poor. The majority are cheap.....looking only at the dollar and not what you're getting for it. So many of them compare prices to grocery store prices. Grrrrrr.........And everything I make is from scratch and I make nothing but IMBC. I know I don't live in the only area like that. It's really starting to discourage me. What do you do with that??? Any suggestions??
That's the big problem these days because of a bunch of things that have happened in the past 5 or 6 years to drive prices down. People expect to pay lower prices than custom cakes are worth because there are so many people making them for next to nothing.
The first thing you need to think about is to do an honest assessment of whether your area even has a need for custom cakes and whether it can support a business or not. Some places just can't provide enough business for someone who only wants to do that. If there are other towns near you look at them too if it's feasible for you to deliver there. Maybe if you go outside your normal area a little there will be more demand.
If you really can't find enough customers to make it worthwhile, maybe you should look at doing other things and adding other products. Is there anyone near you who makes cake pops or decorated cookies? Something that's different might give you a leg up. Maybe offering cookie platters or something like that would work. See if adding some things to your menu helps.
It's everywhere really and your not alone. I deal with it to a degree but generally can't spot them coming and refer them to my menu and price list immediately. That weeds them out a bit. Costumeczar advice was good and I would definitely see if you could branch out a bit. My city is fairly big and one of the suburbs just on the outskirts is fairly wealthy but I've seen a similar trend. The smaller communities here are the ones who seem to have a greater appreciation for custom work. Also the age group you target is very important well at least it is for me. My age group (20's and 30's) generally want a cheap deal 40 and up have proven to be my best clients. I'm still figuring out quite a bit and testing the market for what is really going to be the biggest demand and the most profitable for us. So far the semi custom cakes seem to be working the best. Giving them quality cakes that they can't get at grocery store but not so custom we're losing money. Don't be discouraged I'd just try to find your niche where you are at and run with :)
Thank you both for responding! I left out that I do offer offer desserts....pies, baby pies, pie pops (adorable!), cookies, brownies, decorated sugar cookies, French macarons, cupcakes, rice krispy treat pops decorated in tinted white chocolate, and more...... I'm getting in on the wedding market of course. But I'd like to do more of the everyday or every week desserts and cakes to fill in in between wedding cakes and I'm having a hard time getting the word out. I've done paid Facebook campaigns and they help. Anything else u could suggest also would be fantastic..Thank you!!!
Oh and I serve at least an hour drive area all the way around me.
"Semi custom".....hmm....going to chew on that awhile. Maybe some easy designs with add on fondant gum paste pieces that can be added on easily??
Yeah, or a basic design that people can choose one of two custom colors or something like that. Then you can make up a bunch of the decorative pieces and keep them ready to go. So it's sort of custom because they have a certain amount of choices, but not really.
Great idea. Thanks!
That's exactly what I do two choices between 2 sizes with a little fondant work. It's usually super easy for us to do but gives it a look that separates it from a grocery store sheet cake. Also I find if I ask for their budget and servings needed and they say $40-$50 for 25-30 servings I can usually find something I can do for them it is always more than their budget but 9 times out of 10 they place their order. Using words like speciality and custom also makes it clear to them that your not a grocery store and they are getting something specifically for them.
for us paid fb ads did absolutely nothing so we stopped doing them. Most of the people inquiring about our products on fb are the ones who don't want to pay. Word of mouth, getting out there pounding pavement introducing myself with cards and menus and the article in the local newspaper has produced the best clients so far. I've done a few local events for free and gained some good clients from that as well. While I post stuff on Facebook I still put a lot of my effort and energy in our website. It generates more traffic. We're on google and Yelp as well. The more places your name pops up in online searches the better. We have a good friend who works in marketing and has done a lot for us. You can never really stop promoting and marketing yourself it is by far the biggest thing I've learned lol.
Good to know! Thanks!