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Concerned - No cake artists at bridal shows

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
I just saw a wedding cake and bridal show advertised here on Facebook for end of this year and the list of exhibitors contains no cake artists. Last year I went to a huge bridal show and there were only two cake artists. This year, neither of them came back to the show and there were no new cake artists. Is this something you have noticed in your area as well? Am I to assume they got so much business from it they are overwhelmed or actually believe the event flopped for them? I have never done a bridal show because they are all very new here in the last two years and I am watching to see the success of each one but it is concerning that a cake and bridal show hasn't pulled in at least one cake person yet the prizes include a free wedding cake along with other stuff. What do you guys think? This is abnormal or cake people are cautious of bridal shows for many reasons?
post #2 of 54
My biggest problem with bridal shows is they are expensive. The organizers expect you to pay for the booth AND give out free cake, some even expect you to raffle off prizes. No other vendor at the show has so much out of pocket expense, I don't think.

So basically the price/time to participate is steep.
post #3 of 54
Most cake people around here can't afford a booth. I did shows when I first started out and the ROI is pretty low.
post #4 of 54
Thread Starter 
Yes the booths are expensive and all the free samples and promo material to give out would add up. Thanks for the responses.
post #5 of 54
Many times vendors dbl up - share a space, so that might be what's happening.
post #6 of 54
I recently attended a luncheon hosted by a bridal show company that does events in my area twice a year. By the time you add up the cost of the booth, signage, fliers, creating the cake dummies, samples, paying staff to assist, etc. the bottom line is about a $2,500.00 investment.

I have been on the fence about doing their large show in February so yesterday they gave me VIP tickets to their August show. There were about 50 vendors there but only four cake vendors when I know good and well there are at least a dozen bakeries in my city that have store fronts that do wedding cakes and then who knows how many smaller bakeries I know nothing about (i.e. home based). Out of the four, two were handing out samples and were busy and the other two had no one at their booths. I am sure that a lot of the traffic at the cake booths giving out samples was simply due to people wanting free food. However, I am sure they would do more business from the event than those that did not offer samples.

I am still deciding as this would be a large investment with an uncertain return. Personally, for now I am going to continue to meet and do tastings with event organizers at the local hotels and conference centers and see where I stand with my business activity come November or so before I make a decision.

Don't know if I helped your question but thought I would chime in.

Creating works of art every chance I get! And yes, I am licensed, permitted, inspected and insured! Check out my website!


Creating works of art every chance I get! And yes, I am licensed, permitted, inspected and insured! Check out my website!

post #7 of 54
Thread Starter 
Hi yes thank you. I was concerned about all the extra costs of doing a bridal show like you mentioned and the ROI. All the fliers, signage and how could i forget the dummy cakes! My gosh. I don't think I would do this anytime soon. I feel like the money that would be spent for a bridal show could go towards more targeted advertising and upgrading my website and kitchen.
post #8 of 54
I don't do bridal shows anymore...too high a cost and since my business is established my business comes from referrals now and simple word of mouth
post #9 of 54
Thread Starter 
Hi thanks for your input. Interesting responses. Seems like a lot of cake artists use other avenues for getting wedding cake business with a more predictable ROI than bridal shows.
post #10 of 54
Our business (non-cake related) is part of trade show every year. Like others have mentioned, there is the booth fee, cost of flyers and business cards, supplies, displays, overtime for employees, etc to consider. Our business doesn't really get any new business from these things. The people that actually do well are the people that have supplies to sell on the spot.

There is little ROI like most of the people have mentioned.
post #11 of 54
Originally Posted by momma28

I don't do bridal shows anymore...too high a cost and since my business is established my business comes from referrals now and simple word of mouth

Most of my business comes from referrals at this point too.

My favorite comment was from one of the organizers of one local show...The booth cost something like $700, and she said "All you have to do is sell one cake to make that back." I told her that I didn't know what kind of profit margin she thought I had but it wasn't that!
post #12 of 54
I did my first bridal show 1.5 years ago and it was an awesome experience! There are several shows in my area, so the year before making my decision, I attended ALL of them to see which one I thought was right for my business. It was the best decision I've ever made! Yes, there's an initial investment (which deterred me for years), but I got most of that back with two bookigns and in the weeks following the show, booked my calendar almost a year out! I know not everyone will have this kind of response, but I couldn't have asked for a better experience! I haven't done one since because I stay pretty booked by word-of-mouth. It put my business on the map in my area!

I would really like to do another, but will have to change from a February show to an October one because I found that the February brides were booking for that summer and since I'm booking further out, I've gotta back that date up! I loved everything about the experience!
post #13 of 54
I was at a wedding show yesterday that had five cake businesses displaying (I was there for my bridal assocition, not for cakes.) The best advertising that I could have had for MY business was having these particular businesses there, because I tasted their cake and it was pure crapola. One of my friends took a bite of one sample and threw the rest of it out, and a girl had some from a different baker and couldn't eat it either. I've been to shows where poeple were giving out cake mix with canned icing as examples of their "best work." My point being that if you do a show, make sure that you have the quality behind it because if you're handing out sub-par samples, word will get around, and the word also spreads to the other vendors who are there. Those vendors will then not refer people to you because they tasted your heinous samples.
post #14 of 54
Thread Starter 
Well I'm happy you had success at your bridal show 1 1/2 years ago. Unfortunately, I think the ones here by me are still underdeveloped. I'm still watching them to see how they evolve. Not seeing how I can get the ROI on this event just yet.

The reviews seem consistent that it is hard to re-coup the costs and more. The fact that I'm not seeing more than two cake artists participating in local bridal shows with almost 50 exhibitors worries me. One bridal show had zero cake artists last year! One of my friends shared a booth for her events planning business and paid $2000 and said she never got the business back from people who took her cards. Of course, she didn't go back this year.
post #15 of 54
Excellent point - not all bridal shows are created equal. The one and only show I did last year was sponsored by David's Bridal, it's a traveling show with the same national vendors - very little local. It had over 3,000 people that came from all over the bay area. I was the ONLY cake vendor they got to sign up for it. I gave over 2,000 samples and I only booked 4 weddings from it, all four were high price-point cakes. Sure, I made my money back but that's still horrible ROI. No offence, but I learned the pricepoint for my cakes tends to be above what your typical David's Bridal bride has a budget for, and if the bride lives over 50 miles away chances are I'm not going to make the cake no matter how good it is. So in November when the promoter for the show calls, I'll be declining.

I'm giving it another try this weekend with a different show, it's a much more exclusive event, sponsored by Vera Wang and Martha Stewart Weddings. The vendor list is people more in line with my price point (now that I know what to look for!) and they are all local. I must have chosen well because I found out that 4 other cake artists are going to be there. I'm hoping my ROI will be much better (although the competition coming is pretty steep)!

So yeah, not all shows are created equal.
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