I'm Going To Try To Go In Another Direction....

Business By littlecake Updated 16 Jul 2008 , 10:07pm by melodyscakes

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littlecake Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 4:51am
post #1 of 17

i'm really getting burnt out on doing sooo many party cakes every week....i'd like to go into more high end cakes.

the stress level of doing so many cakes is really getting to me....but i must right now as this is my sole income.....

so...i've ordered enough dummys to make a bunch of new....really nice wedding cake dummies...like the hat box, some "duff" looking cakes with cake curlers....some with gumpaste etc.

i also ordered about 15 sheet cake dummies...for basic themes....

my plan is to do some simple but cool designs on the sheetcake dummies...stuff i can teach my helper to do...and i'd like to concentrate on doing the higher end cakes.

i've been in my place 7 years now...so the decorating is looking dated...i did some murals and roses on the walls...but i'm thinking for the more expensive look...it needs to be more sophisticated looking.....maybe pink black and silver accents.....stripes maybe?

i guess i have thought that the people around here just wouldn't go for the more expensive cakes....so i've kept things more affordable.

those of you who do the very fancy cakes....theres enough business to live off of from these cakes?

ChAnGe Is ScArEy...............but i'm getting older now, i just can't stand there forever making all these little cakes...

HELP tell me your experiances.........

16 replies
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AZCakeGirl Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 5:47am
post #2 of 17

I always think that change is good, especially if you feel like you are needing it, so go for it!

By the way, I don't mean to get off subject, but what are "cake curlers"?

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littlecake Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 5:57am
post #3 of 17

i don't know if that's the real name...it's what duff calls them...the curly wires that sometimes have stuff like beads hanging on them

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Mike1394 Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 9:53am
post #4 of 17

Cool. As for the painting. I like the splatter look. Kind of a designed chaos. My walls are going to be a pale yellow w/ red, and blue splashes.


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AllCakedOut Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 12:36pm
post #5 of 17

It depends on your area, but I do think there's usually a market for higher end. It's just in how your present yourself.. and to whom.

Good luck with it! Sticking with higher end cakes is so much less stress than pumping out small/cheaper cakes.

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foxymomma521 Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 12:42pm
post #6 of 17

I love the idea of pink and black! You could start using pink bakery boxes to coordinate! What about sending out postcards with your new "look" to higher end neighborhoods in your area?

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johnniekake Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 8:47pm
post #7 of 17

Littlecake just do it Girl!! Its hard at first(scary) but man is it worth it!!

I have been in my shop for 5 1/2 years ,the one thing I refused to do is sheet cakes................not because I'm above it, but because I HATE frosting them! Actually I suck at it!

But I do alot of 8 inch rounds at $25 a piece (3 layer, made from scratch, one cake at at time) of course these are dessert cakes undecorated.

Anyways.......about 1 1/2 years ago I started to focus on high end cakes,
wedding cakes, sculpted cakes.....fancy tiered b-day cakes, put a price I could make a living on and prayed people would buy them.

OOOOH......my shop is in the middle of no-where USA!

So is it working...................Yes!! for instance I have one birthday cake this week that is the equvalient(sp?) to 14-8 inch cakes... (price wise).
Less ingredients,less baking time.......but triple decorating time.

Dont get me wrong there are stressful times to...... the summers around here are pretty quiet! So of course I still do the 8in dessert cakes.....I try to please everyone icon_wink.gif but if they want me to decorate it I charge double.

Im a one woman show........cake decorator,baker,dishwasher,receptionist,garbage taker, babysitter(kids in the summer time)the list goes on and on!!

You can do it......... one cake at a time!!!

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indydebi Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 11:30pm
post #8 of 17

As Dave Ramsey says all the time, "If you're not growing, you're dying."

Live on!! thumbs_up.gif

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eiyapet Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 1:30am
post #9 of 17

Doing up some dummy cakes is a great way to find out if there is a market for that kind of stuff in your area. Shows like Ace of Cakes have made the general public just what you can do with cake and many of them will pay what they are worth because the know it is a conversation piece and they want to "keep up with the Joneses". I get a lot of business from people who saw a cake I did for so and so...
As far as doing up sheet cake dummies that your assistant can do, check in to decopac.com. It is the same line that most grocery stores carry and they give you all of the advertizing stuff. For each kit that you order you get an instruction card telling you how to make it. I sell the same exact sheetcake that walmart does for double the price and no one ever says a thing. They know they are getting a better product with the look that they want.
Decor - my advice, come up with a cool logo and design your shop around it. People will remember an image before they will remember a name and your logo will become recognized. I have magnets on my car and I get followed by strangers who just want to stop and say hi to one of the cake ladies.

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snarkybaker Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 2:29am
post #10 of 17

In our window right now, there is a three tiered cake with a " wedding party", all little cows dressed up in tuxedos. The cake is "cow-print" and the borders are rope. It literally beckons people off the street. The other cake is a 5 tiered homage to the movie Ratatouille with the sewers of Paris, the kitchen with all of the characters cooking, the streets of Paris and a sugar Eiffel tower on top.

We have people walk in off the street EVERY DAY and book multi-hundred dollar cakes. We just had a bride show up last Thursday and book a wedding cake with us for THIS WEEKEND. She abandoned her deposit with another baker and booked a $900 cake with us because she like what she saw in our window. She said the other baker and she just didn't "mesh".

We get $38 dollars for an 8 inch round. The cools thing about getting a reputation for high end cakes is that you can raise ALL of your prices. When we deliver a cake, people get all excited about even the box showing up.

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southernbelle Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 4:00am
post #11 of 17

littlecake, I feel your pain. I will be celebrating my shops first year anniversary in August. My bills get paid doing the simple birthday cakes etc....but I am also known in my area for doing "specialty cakes" Most people know that they have to order their cakes ahead of time and I get more orders for "high end" cakes. I have booked ton's of weddings this year and have started booking for next year as well. Those small sheet cakes and birthday cakes pay the bills and it is really scary to venture out with the more "high end" cakes when you are worried that people in a small town won't pay the price.............but trust me, they will! More people than ever watch the Food Network and the challanges and more people than ever endulge their children in expensive cakes for their birthday's. I find that more people will pay high end for a birthday cake than for a wedding cake........go figure. While I still do the simple birthday cakes, more and more of my business is becoming the specialy high end cakes. I have a florist friend who swears that dressing your windows in your store with your high end, eye attracting products can do nothing but benefit your bottom line...............

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mom2spunkynbug Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 4:36am
post #12 of 17

I say go for it!! "If you bake it, they will come" icon_lol.gif It may take a while for the "transition" and for the high end people to find you, but I bet they will.

I have started my prices a little on the higher side for my area - there are people that can't afford me or think I'm too expensive, but I have been finding that there are just as many - even more - who are willing to pay my prices. I just keep telling myself I have to "weed out" the ones who don't wanna pay my price! LOL

Unlike Southernbelle, most people do not want to order a birthday cake from me - they'd rather get the wedding cake.

And I'm sorry, but I don't know if Mike was kidding or not icon_confused.gif but I would definitely NOT go with paint splatters. Right now I'm a licensed home baker, but one day when I have a shop I want it to be pink, black & white! My favorite color is pink. But by the time I'm ready to have a shop trends may have changed by then LOL!

Good luck to you! thumbs_up.gif

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Petit-four Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 1:54pm
post #13 of 17

As far as shop decor....I'm sure you know about these sites, but these are helpful for charting upper-middle-class color preferences, tastes, and ideas.

Calico Corners (calicocorners.com) is the go-to place for upper-middle-class women around here. If you like some of the colors in fabrics, the staff can help you find the right paint colors, or tell them you are looking for a timeless look, and they are good about pointing you towards that. Since some of their clients will spend thousands on a room, they generally have colors and ideas that hold up for a few years.

For really upper-class, try Architectural Digest (more educated, more sparse) or House Beautiful (a good cross-section of the top-notch NYC and West coast designers). They both have websites.

Of course, this is my region, and I don't know what's elite for your area... thumbs_up.gif

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mkolmar Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 1:55pm
post #14 of 17

That sounds like a wonderful idea Littlecakes. Why make a bunch of smaller cakes for the same amount you could make off of one high-end wedding cake. You may end up having more time also in the long run without yout bottom line being affected.
I love the idea of pink black and silver for a shop.
Good luck with everything. I'm sure in no time you won't regret your decision.

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gateauxdamour Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 3:00pm
post #15 of 17

There is usually a market for every niche you come up with in regards to food!

Now, I'll be up front and say that cakes are strictly a hobby for me. However, I own a catering business that I inherited from my father (we have bakers on staff that do the cakes!). We are based in a small town in AL. We've always wanted to be selective in the number of events per year (still have a life beyond work!).

How do we achieve that? Product & Price.

We offer gourmet/specialty meals and charge an average of $40-$50 per person for the meal alone (non-alcoholic beverages, meal & dessert).

The people who can afford to spend money know what they want and are happy to pay for quality product and specialty service. Just my 2 pence!

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jenbakescakes Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 3:36pm
post #16 of 17

Good luck on your new venture! Sounds like a winner to me! As far as decor, what I did in my bakery (in my converted garage) is a "Shabby-Chic" theme. Basically pink white and green. It is always such a hit with brides. It has some elegant touches but is still comfortable.

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melodyscakes Posted 16 Jul 2008 , 10:07pm
post #17 of 17

also, if you give your customers a-b-c or d choice of basic cakes then your assistant can decorate those as you d the other/bigger cakes. then your making money off the smaller cakes, and the high end. ummm sounds good!

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