I am planning on my little cake (&cookie) shop taking part in the Great American Bake Sale this year, and I want it to be REALLY great! Here are some things that I'm thinking about, I'd really like to hear your thoughts about it!
* Should I host the bake sale elsewhere (Community Building or the like) since my bakery is quite small, or maximize the exposure for my shop by keeping it at my shop? (Health dept. is not a concern, as I have a catering permit.)
* Should I invite home bakers to participate?
*Should I recruit an event planner and/or incorporate other services (clown, face painting, ice cream, coffee...)
*Should I only offer cookies, brownies & cupcakes? Small cakes? Other desserts?
*Do I offer pre-sales for pick-up on that day?
What would YOU do if it was YOUR bake sale?? I'm anxious to hear!
As a mom, if you keep my kid happy for even a nano-second, I will be your best client. My suggestion to you is to have a station where kids can decorate a cake ( a small 3 x 3 x 1 cake) that has a coloring book type thing on it and piping bags with icing in it. you might go through a lot of icing, but I bet it's a hit. And if you were going to hire a clown anyway, this is at least investing in yourself!
Oh my, when would you have this? Because if I had TIME, I'd definitely try to do a big shebang, but that may be just me! I'm thinking, if you do it at a community center, there's a possibility of more people coming, because it'll be BIGGER, and more easily viewed as a community event, rather than just a way to drum up business for YOU... Or maybe people don't think that, but I'd certainly worry about that if it were mine...
PLUS, with more space, you could spread out a bit, and like you said, get some kiddie-friendly things in there! Moms like me would probably NOT go to a bake sale in a small cozy shop if we had to bring the kids, but if there were face painting or balloon animals or something going on, I'd know that my kids were welcome!
I don't know that having home bakers would be a bad idea, since they'd probably invite their friends and family! And for a fundraiser bake sale, more sales are MORE SALES! You could still advertise your shop and get good exposure, because you never know, "Great Aunt Edna" may make the cakes NOW, but someday they may want more than sprinkles on their cake... (No offense to Great Aunt Edna, they probably taste great! )
For the bake sales I've had, I find that SMALL things sell really really well. I mean, you could price a cupcake at $1.50 or $2.00, and most people wouldn't bat an eye, but if you put a plate of five out, good luck selling for more than $5... Just MY observation, anyway... Anything portable will sell better, because people will buy and eat as they look around! Plus, if your cupcake is really tasty, they may come back around for a business card...
As far as pre-orders, do that if you wish, just think about how much you'll have to keep track of, along with planning the event and all. Some people are really organized and would do FINE, others of us may be a little overwhelmed at the prospect... If you DO preorders, I'd pick only two or three things to offer... Otherwise people will probably be overwhelmed. Say, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin or snickerdoodle cookies. Then offer whatever you WANT to at the bake sale itself, but I'd keep it simple for preorders...
Wow, that was long. I'll stop now...
Ooohhh! I love the decorating station idea! I would probably do it with cupcakes/sprinkles & cookies iced w/dried royal icing to color on, but that is a really awesome idea. Thanks for your posts!
Keep 'em coming please! I have a lot of work to do on this! TIA
anyone else have any thoughts &/or suggestions to add?
perhaps you could approach some non-profit groups (girl scouts, boy scouts, church groups) to see if they were interested in joining.
I think this would be great especially if your community has a lot of diversity... you could invite different multicultural groups to join in. Most cities have different ethnic clubs... it would be fun to try sweets from all over the world!
If you got some of these different groups involved you may find a large venue for free, and it gives groups an opportunity to fundraise a little.
Oh, dear my mind is running in circles! Where to start!!!
I have experience in planning many types of non-profit events for our school and church, PLUS helping my sister with marketing her home-based business AND trying to workout a marketing plan for me. Did I mention I majored in Communications? Anyway, here are my thoughts.....
1. What time frame are you looking at? AKA When is the Great American Bake Sale this year? This will HIGHLY influence your decision!
Plan A: Having it at your shop
Pros: Something your familiar with; can spend all week prepping the location/set-up; don't have to worry about transporting baked goods; BIG PROMOTION for your shop; sounds like you're a one-woman operation ~ you'll need A LOT of help (either way). It'll be on a much smaller scale than it would be at a venue w/other bakers, groups.
Plan B: Having it a venue
You'll be able to 'Sponsor' the event - thus it could basically be like a bridal show that you are sponsoring. You'll be asking vendors to sign-up and trust me organizing a show (the school did a children's fair two years ago) is A LOT of work! From securing the location, doing an layout map, getting all the vendors info, PROMOTING the event, clean-up, etc.... HOWEVER, a bigger event is SURE to have a MUCH bigger outcome than if you just did at your shop.
The key to either of these plans to to create a well-thought out marketing/promotional plan. You need to set-up deadlines for when to send out press releases to the local media, advertising, promotion, giveaways, licenses, etc....
NOW, after my long o' message - I may be outlining something on a much bigger scale than you had envisioned.
if you have the pre order pre paid thing, you can leave those orders behind at the shop and have someone there to be in charge of the pick ups.