Ok I am really scared. I have my first wedding show in 3 weeks. Can anyone give me advice on this. They said there will be about 2000 people about 900 brides. That is not the big time but for me and my first show that is a lot of people. There are 220 booths but only 5 cake decorators. I know everyone will want samples. How many sheet cakes should I make? Should I just offer the regular chocolate, white and butter cake or try the more expensive cakes? Do I bring contracts? What in the heck do I do? LOL.
How may cake dummies should I make? How big? Do you make grooms cakes? Do I make all of the "extras" that I offer as favors? I don't have an extensive portfolio..really just what I have posted...so I do I sell myself? Man I hope I can make it!
Thanks for all of your advice!!!
I have no experience with this but I just want to wish you good luck and hope everything works out. Sorry I can't help.
There have been numerous posts in the past with notes, suggestions, and photos of booths. I would do a search of this Business Forum for words like "booth" or "expo" over the last year or two. Here's one I found that has tons of advice:
But I know I've seen many others with photos attached. There is a lot of information here to sort thru, but it will be worth it!
Good Luck with the show!
Please don't take this the wrong way but did you think about all of this before you signed up for this show?
I don't think you need to give out slices of cake..small samples in nut cups would be sufficient. Are you going to try and give out 2000 samples? If so you will need alot of sheet cakes.
I would make dummies of my best cakes..something different with each one.
Do you think you will have time to discuss cakes with Brides and have them sign contracts with 2000 people milling about? If so bring contracts..if not bring cards and your appointment book. Book tastings or consultations.
I can tell you that you need to be organized or at least look organized for this show. Your cakes may be great but if you appear to be unorganized or unsure of yourself you may lose business. Brides tend to want to deal with vendors that are organized and professional.
You have one chance at a first impression for thousands of people. Get organized..quickly!!!
I did my first one in Feb. I had 8 display dummies and cupcakes. For my tastings I made french vanilla cakes a lemon filling and mocha. For the cakes I used my largest cookie sheet pans 12x16 just put enough mix to cover the bottom in 2 pans so I would have thin layer and I didn't have to torte just put filling on one and put the other one on top I then put a thin layer of icing on the top not the sides I had a friend there to take care of the cake for me so I could talk with the brides I made 6 sheet cakes for 1000 and had 3 left. Cut into small pieces and put them into the small cupcake cups. It work out great.. the other thing I did was have an index box and cards for the brides to fill out if they requested and appt but I also offered a disc. if they filled out the card. Name, phone#, wedding date , email I have recieved so much business from it that the show was paid for in the first week. Just make sure you have someone to help you so you can speak to as many as possible and don't waste time trying to book appt at that time get there info then contact them. Be yourself and have fun. Get organized!!!!! it made things more confusing trying to book ,so the cards work out really well. Im, still reciving business off the index cards.
I don't have any advice about the show but wanted to say that I looked at your pictures and I don't think you'll have any trouble booking brides once they see your cakes. I do recommend having a few dummies on hand so they can see more than just pictures but your cakes are stunning! The seashell cake is gorgeous, as is the cake topped with roses. You said you don't have many pictures for a portfolio so I would print larger copies (5x7 or so) to fill more pages and allow the brides to see the details. Good luck! I have no doubt your calendar will be filled.
i had my first show in feb.
i took fabric and different size boxes to give the dummy cakes height (photo of my display is in my album). i think i took 6 dummies.
if they let you in a day early to set-up, GO!!! do NOT wait to organize your booth just before the brides show up.
for the actual show, TAKE A HELPER!!! BELIEVE ME! even if they dont know all the answers, they will be there to straighten up, keep the sample tray stocked, pass out brochures or information sheets, business cards... they will hear your answers and start to answer some questions themselves!
i took 2 flavors for samples, yellow with raspberry filling and choc with fudge filling. i cut small pieces and wrapped each piece in clear cellophane.... i wouldnt do that for 2000 people though! just let them take a sample in a cupcake paper and a napkin. do not waste time with forks!
take a photo album, maybe 2 with copies of the same pics in each so people arent waiting in line to flip through it.
say "our prices start at..... per serving" to everybody. say you cant quote exact prices now because every cake is different and you dont want to miss a single special detail, need to go over the details at a personal consultation... believe me there is no way to remember every single bride's favorite color choice! you can say "make a note on your entry slip that we discussed lime green/whimsical cakes/orchids/whatever and i will contact you personally as soon as i can."
i had slips of paper that the bride was to fill-in for a drawing for a free groom's cake. it will be a 6 & 10 stacked, they have the option to upgrade for an extra fee. the best way to get info is promise something for free! i had 2 clipboards with pens tied to them, we just said "would you like to register to win? try some cake while youre here!" to every person we could. name, date, email, phone number, address, reception location. the brides put the slips into a large glass vase.
at home we divided the responses by wedding date, reception location, etc. then sent a "thank you for visiting us at the show" letter with an extra business card.
HAVE A WEBSITE before entering the show. i had 500+ hits to my website the day after the show. at least have a cake picture and your contact info on the net!
im sure there are other things i should mention, but i need to go make dinner lol
I used a 13" tv and made a dvd for my portfolio it ran non stop and I didn't have to worry about resetting it. I figured having a porfolio wouldn't be enough for all to view.
Thanks everyone for you help!!!
I will let you all know how it went!
I also do not have any advice but wanted to wish you good luck and say that there all the info on this site has been very helpful and hopefully I will be able to use it someday too!! Your cakes are beautiful and I am sure you will be successful!!
I put my cake samples in little souffle' cups with lids so I didn't have to cut cake and hand out samples and talk to the brides....way too much for a one women show. I would make more cake than you think you need, the brides all want to try cake, but so does the groom and the mother and the bridesmaid... I personally would make enough to pass out at least 1000 samples. but thats not so much cake, each piece is very small.
also, bring dummy cakes.
one thing I saw the last time I was at the bridal show was one cake decorator offered to give a way a wedding cake, 110 servings or so, and she got tons of names and phone numbers right then that day....putting her way ahead of all the rest of us cake people...we got our list three weeks later.
I am going to do that next time also.
I would not plan on contracts that day...too much going on. but maybe they can make appointments to meet with you that day.
No advice sorry, but I do want to wish you the best of luck and please let us know how it goes because I would love to hear all about it.
Relax and have fun. Dont forget your appointment book
I agree with the PP about making sure to bring help along with you! Even if the ONLY thing they do is hand out samples. Also, GO to the pre-bridal show setup night! Even if all you do is take the cake dummies in you'll be able to scope things out and make any last minute corrections or get supplies. As a chocolatier friend learned the hard way, when it comes to shows, ALWAYS have your backup with you because you won't be able to just run get something when you're over an hour of travel time away from your home base.
First things first, ORGANIZE EVERYTHING you are going to need in rubbermaid storage containers or something that can easily be rolled in because you're not likely going to be able to park right next to the door for the show and by the time you hit 100 yards it's all going to be heavy!
Supplies to bring:
Roll of paper towels
Hair net or hat for whomever is doing the samples (you'll score a lot of points with brides and other vendors if you're following whichever set of rules your state requires)
Copy of your licenses to display with pride even if it's only at the start of your photo album.
Cake cutting knives/trowel to put next to your cake dummies
Some sort of photo album whether it be digital or scrap book
Take home boxes to send leftover samples home with other vendors at the end of the show!! Remember, they talk to brides too and are a great source of word of mouth advertising. Besides, what are you going to do with the leftover cake!?
Extension cords if you are using electricity
Disposable forks, plates, etc.
Cake cutting knives and metal spatulas if you're doing sheets (notice the PLURAL -- you aren't going to be able to just run to the kitchen and wash/santize things.
As for the samples, I'd honestly say to do mini cupcakes. 5 sheet boxes of mini cupcakes (~1000 servings) will give you a TON of servings and won't take up as much space as sheet cakes, then do a tower display on a lazy susan (so the person doing the filling can just give it a whirl and have access to the back).. The mini cupcakes are great in a lot of ways, but primarily because you don't have to have someone wasting time cutting and plating samples and you reduce the contact time that you're going to have with the samples. They're easy, you can do different flavors with the flick of the wrist.. If you go to my tiered cakes link, the cupcake tower I've got was one that I did for a bridal show. It's just cake dummies covered in foil alternated with masonite cake rounds. It worked great, was cheap and was light as a feather. You'll also spend less by doing your samples this way because you won't go through any forks and only a few plates and napkins.