No matter how hard I try, I just can't get any business. I don't have family to spread the word that I do cakes and I don't have any friends who have lots of other friends. I only have one best friend and that's it. She doesn't know people either (maybe that's why we're best friends). I belong to a cake club and I hear all the other ladies talking about all these orders they have while I just sit there in silence. I go to church but a lady that is in the same cake club goes there also and everyone goes to her for cakes, not me. I just don't know what to do. I can't really pass out flyers in fear that I will legally get in trouble for baking and selling out of my home not licensed. From what I believe, where I live you cannot bake and sell out of your home, you have to open shop for that. What am I doing wrong? How can I get more business without spending too much money (I don't work so we're alittle tight on cash)? With Christmas coming, we could really use the money. Where am I going wrong?
post on craigslist.org. You can post pictures of cakes with your ad.
Another thing you can do is make a cake and take it to your bank.....a Thanks for whatever. do the same with your doctors office, dentist ? hairdresser...the people you do business with....its like networking. If you show them what you can do, then when they need a cake, You will come to mind!
Thanks for the ideas but I have tried all that and nothing!!!! People will tell me they want to order and they'll call me or whatever and never do and those that actually do order end up cancelling. I'm at a loss......I just don't know what to do anymore. My hairdresser goes to my church and is the sister in law of the other lady that does cakes so that's out of the picture. I've dont craigslist and still nothing. I don't have a bank cause I'm not working to put money in. I don't have a doctor but did make a cake for my kids pediatrician. The doctor said she was gonna order from me for her son but ended up not doing so. I don't go anywhere or do anything. All I do is take care of my children and my cake club. I don't work so I don't have coworkers. I don't have a bank cause I don't have money to put in the bank. Aaahhhhhh. I am getting so frustrated over it. My hubby wont take cakes that I make to his work for them to eat, and besides that, they dont want them to because they are laying off alot of people and they feel that it's inappropriate to do that. Hubby's family wont do it either. I just don't know.
Have you thought about donating them to charitable events? For our Relay For Life in my county, I donated a Deer Head Cake for a cake walk and provided 3 cakes for the wrap up party.
If you look in the news paper, you can always see who is having an event. Plus, a lot of schools and towns begin having their festivals this time of year.
You can donate to any bank or office or anything... I don't think you have to be a "member". Especially at a large place like the bank... who the heck knows you don't have an account? Just say you do and thanks for being a great bank!
And THEN if still nothing is coming your way you really need to stop and evaluate why with a hard mind. Do your cakes taste good? (as in better than others? if not, why? and then fix it) Do they look good? Are you charging too much? Too little? There has got to be a reason.
Thank you for your help and suggestions. I will have to see how things go for me and my cakes.
A fellow Texan!!! Hi!
Try myspace, I know alot of people are against it but it's worth a shot.
Make yourself a profile and then seacrh for people in your area. When I did it I seached mostly for women with children (kids b-days) and I got some orders. One of my best repeat customers (6 cakes so far) is from myspace.
Just keep trying, sometimes all it takes is one cake to the right person to get the ball rolling.
hi everyone, have you thought of first trying to get your name and your work out there by starting with decorated cookies or maybe even decorated cupcakes first?? you could take them to your childrens school (not sure if you can, but its an idea) and leave them to be put in the teachers lounge with your name and contact info. i haven't sold my stuff yet, but if i did, i would be in your same situation. i stay home with my children and don't really have friends, also don't know alot of people. altho the ladies and men on here are super nice and i like to consider them friends!! well i truly wish you the best of luck!!
Try signing up for your local craft fairs and bridal shows. Make sure that you have plenty of samples and business cards. I have started to get business from them. I also like the myspace idea.
there are some really good ideas here...
here's my 2cents...
people are ordering from the other lady, ok, she has a reputation.
how are you different? you need to find a way of separating the two of you.
think critically, are her skills more advanced than yours? should you then try to go after a lower-end market (i.e. cheaper and simpler)
or maybe, as suggested start with heavily going after cupcakes.
maybe even filled cupcakes?
have you tried her cakes, whose are better? if yours are, you really need to get people to taste as many of yours as possible. (see other posts)
what is it that really interests you? cute cakes? intricate cakes? elegant cakes? again, think about your niche compared to the competion.
hope this helps.
I know it stinks not getting orders. where I used to live, I sort-of used up my friends, and didn't have any new leads. where I am now, there is a well-known baker who does really good cakes. where I decided to be different, is in my decorating (hers are cute, mine are elaborate and more sophiticated). it's been working.
I was basically in the same situation as you when I started out. Although I was just making cakes for my children, not trying to sell anything, I didn't have a network of friends or family to help out. My first orders were from Moms who had seen my cakes at my kids birthday parties. It doesn't have to be expensive to throw a kids party, kids are happy to run around in the sprinkler and have some cake. Halloween is coming up, you could do something for that. Then Christmas. Invite the neighbors to a Christmas open house, have a display of cupcakes and cakes for people to eat. There's all sorts of ways, but it starts with not being afraid to approach people and say "Hi, I make cakes "! Good luck !
I am fairly new at the cake business....I had so many people that were sceptical when I quit a very good job to stay at home and bake.
I am very busy and glad I did it. I had a few tricks up my sleeve for getting business!! I will share....
1 I set myself apart by not doing the norm for my area... be differant.
2. I try to give to charity...it comes back to you. Not only charity but take a small cake to the doctor...or bank girls that are so helpful, nail lady ect. Just to say thanks...;o) your saying thanks...but you will earn the business.
3. Del. it beautiful....nothing leaves with out a matching ribbon on the box. And of course a business card.
4. Make friends with the florist...wedding planner. We have one wedding planner in our area, he is now my buddy.
5. Make it taste better than everyone else...20lbs later mine tastes better than the lady who taught me!!! Laura
Your cakes are well decorated so I don't think that is the issue. Ask your s-i-l, your husband, and your friend if there is a problem with the taste of your cake. Be willing to accept honest feedback and don't become defensive if they tell you something you do not want to hear. That may not be the issue, but it is a good place to start. Good luck; I know it's difficult to get started but if there is a problem you need to know so you can change it. You are clearly talented as a decorator!
My suggestion is to bring one to your local emergency room-one for the night shift and one for the day shift. Not only do they appreciate things like this, but they are potential customers. Between all the staff (nurses, techs, docs, etc) that are always around, you are bound to get some calls after they taste your cake! Hope this helps and good luck!
My advice would be charity fundraisers and dummy cakes. Just to keep you practicing and perfecting your skills. Something will come along in the meantime, don't worry. The economy doesn't help the situation I'm sure.
First of all, you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Others can smell the desperation, and do their best to avoid you. It sounds like you need to get out more. Apply for an interesting class at university or even the local community college. If you can't make it during the day, take a night class. See if there is an adult education center around and apply for something there... pottery or creative writing or something else that might interest you.
gee i think the erdocmom has a great idea! i would never have thought of the er. Great idea!!
I love the ER idea too. Never really thought of that and I work in the medical field myself~ I do my cakes on the side.
1)I would suggest going to local florists. Luckily for me, my mom and her best friend own a local florist. You would be amazed at the amount of brides and others that come in for flowers and ask about cakes. Almost every bride that comes through my mom's flower shop asks her if she knows someone who does cakes!!
2)I have a website that I made myself too. That works as well.
3)Try not to feel intimidated by this other "cake lady". Have you tried to talk with her about sharing a little of her business? If everyone is using her, I can almost guarantee you that she must have to turn someone away if she has a conflict. Ask her to refer them to you when she does. BUT with that also comes her thhoughts of your "competence". If she is going to refer her customers to you that also associates her name with yours. So you are going to have to make sure your cakes are just as awesome if not better than hers. Plus you will need to reassure her that you are only here to co-exist with her not take all of her business cuz truthfully you can't do it all yourself- that is physically impossible- until you have an official shop and you have employees. Let her know that you will refer back to her as well when you have too many orders at one time. Work with her not against her. I have learned this through watching my mom and the flower shop. It doesn't always work cuz there are always "buttheads" out there and they are stingy. But I can tell you that some will be open and receptive to helpin you out.
Make sure you have an order form or template to go by. Don't sound unorganized when you finally get an inquiry. If you sound that way then they are more likely to go elsewhere for the cake. They are going to want someone who has their "stuff" together. YOU ask the questions. Take control of the conversation. If you know what questions to ask they are really going to feel your confidence.
BTW.. Where are you located in Texas. I am here in Texas too! IF you are close enough to me I can help with this too!!!
Thank you everyone for your wonderful ideas. I am really going to take them to heart and consider them. The other "cake lady"....I have asked her to refer people to me if she is unable to do a cake because I don't have orders and I would love to help her but she never does. She doesn't have business cards and no website, everything for her is all word of mouth. I have tasted a cupcake from her but I didn't care for the taste of it that much. And it was for a church activity (where her daughter was supposed to make it). She said she used the amaretto flavoring and I personally didn't care for it and heard the others saying they didn't like the flavor all that much either. I like the other cake lady, we are friends, I just don't understand how she can get sooo many orders and I'm not. Thanks again everyone for your ideas. I will be using them and hopefully become successful from them.
I am from Houston for those that are wondering....lol.