Tasting Event Brainstorm

Business By FlowerGirlMN Updated 26 Sep 2007 , 3:21pm by FlowerGirlMN

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 25 Sep 2007 , 5:41pm
post #1 of 18

Hey all,

Just got off the phone with the manager of the venue whose kitchen I rent.

Given that I(we) am going to be on the news this week, we decided it's about time to set a date for our tasting / "show off" event. Well, we have the date - early November - now we need some direction before we order invites. We have some basic ideas, but figured I'd put it out to the CC community to see if anyone can add to it!

Right now, it's the two of us. She'll be showing off the banquet halls, running her champagne fountain, etc. I'll be baking sheet cakes of most of my flavors, and offering samples to brides. We have a contact list of 300 brides, we have the news (which will name/link my site), and we have our websites to promote this. It's a Sunday afternoon event.

Some of the things we're considering:

- Apparently the weekend we picked is the start of hunting season (November?? I don't know anything about it).. so she's thinking maybe a "the guys are away, girl's weekend" kind of theme.

- Another theme she had was a "roses, chocolate, and romance" theme. Not sure what the "and romance" would be, given it'll likely be brides and girlfriends, but whatever. We could elaborate on this somehow? We both agree that chocolate should be part of the theme.

- Given the INSANE number of people who ask me "Have you seen Ace of Cakes???" when they see my site... what about capitalizing on that somehow? Maybe some kind of cake demonstration? I think I'm insanely boring, so not sure how to "sell" that. Also, do I really want to make it look easy/fast, then ask $$$$$ for my cakes? Thoughts?

- Would it be really unreasonable to charge? We were thinking if we could get $5-10/person, that would help offset our costs (cake, champagne, etc).. especially where we're "advertising" (news) to the general public. I guess we could always accept the tickets towards the cost of a cake order they actually place? Thoughts? If we do charge, we'll be giving free tickets to certain businesses that we'd like to work with.

- Along the same lines of defraying our costs a bit.. if it's "all about us".. would it be lame to invite a DJ or musician to come, play music, & pay us a small fee to promote their business? I don't think we have any desire to have a full-out wedding show, but would a few complimentary businesses work?

I think that's all we really discussed.. I told her I'd run it by you guys for feedback! The main points:

- To charge or not to charge? How much?
- Theme? Event name?
- Anything we could do to make it more interesting than just a cake tasting.

Thoughts?

17 replies
swingme83 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
swingme83 Posted 25 Sep 2007 , 6:01pm
post #2 of 18

i dont really know as i have no experience in this but i like the roses, chocolate, and romance part. if you are directing it towards future brides then that is the romance part i would think. you could offer his and her items maybe?

Dont brides charge to get into bridal shows? i would think you would charge a small fee as well.

If nothing else heres a bump for you.


goodluck

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albumangel Posted 25 Sep 2007 , 8:09pm
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Quote:

- Apparently the weekend we picked is the start of hunting season (November?? I don't know anything about it).. so she's thinking maybe a "the guys are away, girl's weekend" kind of theme.
- Another theme she had was a "roses, chocolate, and romance" theme. Not sure what the "and romance" would be, given it'll likely be brides and girlfriends, but whatever. We could elaborate on this somehow? We both agree that chocolate should be part of the theme.




I think this is great! The roses, chocolate romance is enough of a theme. I don't think you need to incorporate "girls weekend" into the name of the event, but maybe promote it in other ways.

Quote:
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- Given the INSANE number of people who ask me "Have you seen Ace of Cakes???" when they see my site... what about capitalizing on that somehow? Maybe some kind of cake demonstration? I think I'm insanely boring, so not sure how to "sell" that. Also, do I really want to make it look easy/fast, then ask $$$$$ for my cakes? Thoughts?




I love the idea of having a cake-in-progress there. Maybe a styrofoam dummy wrapped in fondant, and you can be working on adding details to it- accents, painting, patterns, etc. Make it something that will have a wow factor, and that will show the amount of work it really takes to complete a beautiful cake! You don't have to do a formal demo, but it will attract attention, even if you are just working on a given step when someone approaches you, or if they see all of your tools and supplies out on the table with a gumpaste bow in-progress (drying), or something like that.

Quote:
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- Would it be really unreasonable to charge? We were thinking if we could get $5-10/person, that would help offset our costs (cake, champagne, etc).. especially where we're "advertising" (news) to the general public. I guess we could always accept the tickets towards the cost of a cake order they actually place? Thoughts? If we do charge, we'll be giving free tickets to certain businesses that we'd like to work with.




Yes! Charge! I think $10 per person is very reasonable. But add value and make sure you advertise it. For instance, in addition to cake & champagne samples, give them a "goodie bag" of information, freebies, coupons, etc. Make sure they know that was included in the registration fee. It also gives you a better idea of how many people will actually attend- when they need to get tix ahead. It's sooo worth the effort.

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- Along the same lines of defraying our costs a bit.. if it's "all about us".. would it be lame to invite a DJ or musician to come, play music, & pay us a small fee to promote their business? I don't think we have any desire to have a full-out wedding show, but would a few complimentary businesses work?




As a bride, I would like that very much. But I don't know your space and how a band would work into it. As long as they kept the volume low, I think it would work.

It sounds like this will be awesome! Congrats on getting the TV coverage! You've got some great ideas!!
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peacockplace Posted 25 Sep 2007 , 8:24pm
post #4 of 18

Ok... don't hate me, but I think the roses and romance thing is a little cheesy icon_wink.gif To me it seems a little outdated ( I would expect to see cakes with fountains and stairs and buttercream swags) Again, I know some of you love that style, it's just not my taste. I think the girls weekend sounds a little more current. I think you could have a lot of fun marketing it that way, and let's face it... men don't typically go to these events anyway. I'd love to go with a girl friend to "girl thing" with great drink and desserts.

I think the cake in progress sounds fun, but don't let it take away your ability to talk to the future clients. If your too busy with cake you might miss out on some great face to face time with your customers.

Keep us posted. thumbs_up.gif

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authress Posted 25 Sep 2007 , 8:44pm
post #5 of 18

How fun! I think you can charge, but I'd suggest some kind of giveaway (perhaps in addition to a goodie bag). Also, I like the idea of billing it as a "girls" event, but are you actually going to exclude men specifically (really involved finaces, gay men planning a ceremony)?

You may want to consider take-home samples as well, since it seems like the cake is the one part of the wedding the guys want to "help" with icon_biggrin.gif

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 12:51am
post #6 of 18

Thanks for the great feedback... a few thoughts..

- I'm not really sold on the roses/romance thing. I agree with the buttercream swags comment. I think my style's a little more funky than would be implied with the roses/romance thing. She's thinking that, I'm looking for an excuse to light up my cakestands with electoluminescent wire. Know what I'm saying?

- As for the demo.. you know, the state fair here has this attraction where they get a pageant winner to sit in a big glass fridge while someone sits and sculpts butter to look like her. Hugely popular. Not sure why.. but kinda made me think the demo would be cool.

- LOVE the goodie bags idea!

- As for the space, it's a huge gorgeous reception venue. The ballroom fits over 400 people, and there's a big, open, gorgeous lobby for cocktail receptions.. space will not be an issue!

- Love the giveaway idea. Shouldn't be hard to get a package together!

- After a bit of thought, I'm leaning towards making mini cupcakes in each flavor, and setting it up buffet style with several amazing dummies on display as well. I think the big swirl of ocing on top would be pretty. If I go insane enough, maybe I'll pipe a few hundred monograms of "CG" (Celebration Generation" in RI to put on top.

- Take home samples.. good idea. Maybe I'll have the brides narrow down to say 2 or 3 flavors and have little boxes to accomodate the final selections to bring home?

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indydebi Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 3:43am
post #7 of 18

Roses and romance makes you think of buttercream swags???? Geesh, how old are you guys? icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif I'm almost fifty and that's not what popped in my mind.

Chocolate fountains, choc covered strawberries, glasses of champagne (fake or real, depending on your liquor licensing), outstanding wedding cakes (doesn't the word "wedding" just ring "romance" in itself?).

Red roses all over the place, over white tablecloths, square mirrors on the tables, covered in rose petals, with small candles lit (candles!! Now THERE'S some romance for ya!), with some gold accents. To me, nothing looks better than red roses on white anything!

Soft music .... "mood" music, if I may be so bold! icon_redface.gif soft christmas lights behind yards and yards of tulle over windows and wrapped around stair banisters. The room slightly dark, illuminated mostly by the small soft christmas lights.

Yes....charge an admission. Otherwise you have every no-account from skid row showing up for free food.

Ok...gotta go find my hubby ..... all of this "mood" setting has....well ... uh .... well geesh, where's a man when a woman is looking for one!!! icon_twisted.gif

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SpringFlour Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 4:00am
post #8 of 18

You briefly mentioned giving a discount on a cake if the ladies later presented you with their ticket...I think that's a great way to justify spending the money to attend. And in the end, you'll be drumming up so much business that you won't likely miss the $5 or $10 off that you'll give them. Plus, most of them will lose the ticket, anyway. icon_wink.gif

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jnoel Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 7:13am
post #9 of 18

I personally would not charge because I would want as big a crowd as possible, but Indydebi's right - you will have to people show up just for the free food. If you do charge, maybe send a "free" admission ticket out to some of your hot prospects. I would also try to get family and friends to come. The more people there, the more excitement there will be for the people who attend. Also, for people who pay, I would definitely offer them that amount off their order if they book that day. And if there is any incentive you can give to get people to book THAT day only (something free?), I think that would be great.

I'm assuming this is geared toward wedding cakes and brides? The chocolate and romance theme doesn't bother me, but I don't love it either. I can't really think of anything better.

In terms of working with other vendors, like the DJ, I really like that idea.

I would also have a door prize drawing of some sort so you can get people's names and contact info to build a mail/email list.

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roseyrider Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 7:41am
post #10 of 18

Hey there, that sounds great. I think chocolate, roses and romance go really well with what you are aiming to do. Do not hesitate to charge! Not only will the brides come with their friends, but with their mothers too!
Just an idea, but if you are looking to defray costs, why not get a photographer and dress maker to join in, that way the bride can get all of her ideas in one place!
Good Luck!

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CambriasCakes Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 8:13am
post #11 of 18

I like the idea of the "girls weekend" theme. I think that's really popular right now so you might as well capitalize on it! Definitely charge for admission. I think most brides expect to pay for things of this nature. You could even look up a Pure Romance consultant and have her set up a table. While they do have "adult toys", they have lots of other items such as body splash sprays and other discreet creams and things so as not to offend anyone with crazy looking toys!!

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jen1977 Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 11:11am
post #12 of 18

I think if you go for a girl's weekend theme, you're going to get a lot of people there who are getting married.

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 11:43am
post #13 of 18

Thanks everyone!!

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heavenlys Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 11:59am
post #14 of 18

I just hosted an event to promote the bakery and celebrate our 5th birthday. We used a d.j. and we had a lotof compliments that we had music and it livened up the mood. we go tthe d.j for free. we told him he could promote his business at our function.

We have also put together bridal shows before and even had hapists and piano player scome and take turns and play as people walked around the booths. Most musicians will do this for free to get achance to get themselves out in front of potential clients.

I think charging is ok but you need to promote hard what they are getting out of it though. Brides are a different creature and they feel they are entitled to alot of things. We have done wher ethe bride is free and the friend costs. Just so ideas. good luck with your event.

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sunflowerfreak Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 12:21pm
post #15 of 18

Are you going to make any dummy cakes? That would be a really good idea. Most brides are looking for designs for their cakes and someone to make them. I would definitely have some tiered dummies made up.

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 2:15pm
post #16 of 18

Yup, definitely planning to have a few good dummies there.

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thedessertdiva Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 2:32pm
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowerGirlMN

Yup, definitely planning to have a few good dummies there.




Better a good dummy...then a lousy dummy... icon_wink.gif

I am planning on doing something similar to this with a local coffee shop that will have my items for sale. We have a catering company, a flower arranger and our local radio station. I am watching this thread because you all have some AWEOME ideas!!

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 26 Sep 2007 , 3:21pm
post #18 of 18

I was going to make a snotty comment like "a few dummies.. and a few fake cakes, too"... but I'm so impressed with DH's SPS knockoff, I'll hold off on stuff like that icon_smile.gif

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