About To Take The Plunge.....just Wondering .....

Business By Somethin-Sweet Updated 11 Sep 2009 , 11:38pm by zdebssweetsj

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Somethin-Sweet Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 4:59am
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if I've completely lost my mind!!! I currently have a full time job that I am about to quit and open my own cake shop!!!!......OMG- its all happening so fast! I have just passed my Serv Safe Certification, have the space rented, and am working on getting it ready..............I have been making cakes for about 10 years but over the last 2 or 3 have really grown it into a great part time business....I figured when I started turning down more cake orders in a week, than I make in an entire month at my job, then its time to take the plunge.

Anyway- just wondering if yall think I'm crazy for only wanting to do special order cakes, or should I have some generic cakes made for people to just pick up? I'm thinking of doing a cupcake flavor of the day- and maybe cake truffles........but its only going to be me for quite a while.......I really dont have the man power for to have a full fledged bakery, but I would like to have a few small things to drive traffic in......the town I live in is a small college town (15,000 people ) with only a donut shop and the local grocery store as an option for sweets.........what do yall think? Am I nuts?

23 replies
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LaBellaFlor Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 5:04am
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Get ready to grind and do what you can. It sounds like your business is about to take off and Congratulations!

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Motta Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 5:32am
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Congratulations!!!! This must be so very exciting for you.

There are a couple of newer bakeries in my town that are doing mainly custom order cakes but they do have cupcakes to offer for sale every day and I believe it is just for walk-in traffic and to create interest from nearby stores and businesses. It works well for them. One of them also offers a "last minute" cake which is a giant cupcake cake (wilton pan) and she charges $60 for it. It can be done in a couple of hours lead time, I suppose.

I think if you have a store front, you pretty much have to offer goods for sale for walk-in traffic or it'll be boring for those who stop in to check you out.

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Somethin-Sweet Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 5:39am
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Thanks Motta! Thats what I was thinking as well...........but just wondering how much I am going to be able to with all of the orders I already have on the books...........without having to hire help- LOL! I think I'm just startin to freak out a little!

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Motta Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 2:44pm
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Yeah, that's hard.....hmmm...I have one idea but I don't know if it'll work if you have small children you need to take care of in the morning. You could bake the cupcakes early in the morning and decorate and be done with it by like 8am. Then put them in the display case or counter and when they are sold out, that's it for the day.

You could also bake and decorate them at the end of the previous day and they could be ready for you the next morning. If they are just buttercream swirls, it won't take you long.

I think if someone comes in and you say "sorry I sold all of them!" that's not necessarily a bad thing. Makes you look like your product is popular and in demand. Then you could give them a free cupcake coupon for next time???

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costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 4:25pm
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Originally Posted by Motta

I think if someone comes in and you say "sorry I sold all of them!" that's not necessarily a bad thing. Makes you look like your product is popular and in demand. Then you could give them a free cupcake coupon for next time???

I wouldn't even give them a free cupcake coupon, I'd just tell them that the cupcakes usually sell out daily, so they need to make sure that they get in early!

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Somethin-Sweet Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 9:24pm
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That's a great idea! Thanks so much yall!

Another thing I have been thinking about...........Bubble Tea. My shop will be located in our small college town, and there is nothing like Bubble tea being sold......plus, I have been checking out the start up cost, and its pretty minimal - easy to make, and a profit margin of 300%!!! Does anyone have any experience?

Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas! Keep 'em coming!

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snarkybaker Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 2:41am
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That's super exciting for you!! I saw your garden fountain at the Washington DC cake show, and it was fantastic!

I have a shop in a college town. If it's going to be just you, it's going to be hard to have anything like bubble tea etc, simply because to make a living, you need to have your most skilled worker ( you) doing the most difficult jobs. You'll be running to the door every time it opens. A small case with some lemon bars, brownies and three flavors of cupcakes, some self serve coffee, and some cold drinks are all you need. If you want to have a cold case with half a dozen cakes ready to sell ( 6 and 8 inch - popular flavors), you will pick up a little money with those.

The cupcakes are great because if someone just pops in to talk about wedding cakes, yo can give them a box with a couple of cupcakes along with your brochures

If it is just you, keep your offerings in your area of specialty. It is the best and fastest way to build your brand.

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DanaG21 Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 3:16am
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This is so great for you!! I agree that you should try to do cupcakes and/or possibly a cookie or brownies or cake bites for the walk in traffic at least until you feel confident to do custom orders only - it doesn't sound like that will be to far off for you! Best of luck!

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madgeowens Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 3:34am
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You are quite talented and I wish you success in your new endeavor.....you are very talented,, if the cakes you make are as tasty as they are gorgeous I think you will be very successful.

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cakesweetiecake Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 2:09pm
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Wow! Congratulations on your business!!

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Kiddiekakes Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 3:43pm
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There is a popular cupcake cafe here in this large city that is sold out everyday with cupcakes by 1pm...and they don't rebake.They charge $2.95 per cupcake and they are always lined up.Selling out isn't bad..it just teaches your customers to get there early if they want your product.Supply and demand!

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BabyC1985 Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:06pm
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congratulations, i just had a look at your photos and you are very talented!! they are really good. I'ld say cupcakes and cookies would do great. Good Luck!!! Keep us posted!!!

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Somethin-Sweet Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:19pm
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Thanks for all of your encouragement! For some reason, I am not recieving notification of replies, even thought I am signed up for them- hummmm, go figurfe! LOL!

This is such an awesome sight with so much support! It has helped my to grown my skills by being a member here. Thanks again yall! I will definately post pics of the shop when its almost complete! icon_biggrin.gif

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chrstmaskd Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:30pm
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i think that is awesome. scary but awesome. there comes a time when you have to decide between going crazy at 2 jobs or doing 1 that you really enjoy. i wish you all the best in your bakery.

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littlecake Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 4:53pm
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wow girl...you got da skilz ta pay da bilz!!!

your cakes are great!

i have a special order bakery for 8 years now....you'll do great!

tell us about the place you rented!... how big is it? did you get a good deal?

i find my most needed piece of big equipment i have needed to fill lotsa orders is the big mixer, do you have one yet?...for me more so for the icing...you go thru hundreds of pounds...

i had some treats for walk ins when i first opened, i don't anymore...cakin takes up all the time since i'm a one man show.

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Somethin-Sweet Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 5:24pm
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aw thanks littlecake! My space is about 900 sq ft........I got a GREAT DEAL- which is why I acted so quickly....only paying $400/month- and this includes water & garbage! I signed the least so fast! I have been wanting this for so long, and this space came open, I figured it was God's way of telling me to get the lead out! LOL! I have a space in the front that I am putting SS tables, and lots of shelves with all of my supplies. The back was already a kitchen space, so all I had to do was move in my appliances and shelves...........I have a 6 qt Kitchenaid, and am planning on buying a 7 qt Viking.........until I can save up enough $$ to buy a 20 qt Hobart- (I will be checking out ebay)...........I am still working my full time job, and making cakes at home until I get opened up, so I'm worn OUT! But I know it will be SO worth it when I am done. I'm hoping to be open for business in about 2 weeks!!! OMG- I still can hardly believe it!

Thanks again yall!

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snocilla Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 5:46pm
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wow! I just looked at all of your cakes! No wonder you get more requests than you can handle! Your cakes are awesome! Good luck, I think you will do great!

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maryjsgirl Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 6:06pm
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Congratulations! I can't wait for all the updates and photos! Good luck!

Like Snarky said I would make bars like brownies, lemon bars, blondies, etc. They are so easy and way less time consuming then cookies. I like to line my pans with foil so dishes are a breeze. Take a large bench scraper to cut them it nice, clean bars.

For cupcakes what I've been doing is basing all of my cupcake recipes on my two basic recipes of chocolate and vanilla. So I'll do a batch of vanilla and then split the batter into three bowls and add in what have you to get the flavors I need. It is a major time saver. I do the same thing with the buttercream. For example I do a seven minute type frosting for my Smore, Hostess, and Coconut cupcakes. So I always plan to have those three on the same day.

Whoopie Pies keep nicely for days. They even get better after a day or two in the fridge.

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littlecake Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:40pm
post #20 of 24

you'll be surprised how much time you will save doing it in a place where you are set up for it.

wow you did get a great price on the rent...GOOD DEAL!...you should keep us updated with pics....(=

well since God was helping you get the rent at such a great price, he'll help you get the other stuff at a deal too....keep your eye out at craigslist too....

my son got all his big equipment for just a oud bucks...the deals he has been finding are amazing.

so happy for you!...it's gonna be great!

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cib Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 10:07pm
post #21 of 24

Oh yes please post pics when you get a chance. I just looked at space today, 1200 sq ft for $490. But the place was a dive. Guess I'll keep on lookin. Congrats! So excited for you.

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shalini1 Posted 11 Sep 2009 , 6:39pm
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OH WOW! Congratulations! I hope one day to have my own full fledged retail store.

Hmm..since you're close to a college. How about cupcakes for your traffic..and cookies (if you choose to offer these). Exam Cram Nights are killer and students always need a sugar high icon_razz.gif HTH

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Somethin-Sweet Posted 11 Sep 2009 , 11:15pm
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Yall have given me so much to think about...............I really am thinking about the cupcake deal.........easy & inexpensive to make, and a great profit margin!


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zdebssweetsj Posted 11 Sep 2009 , 11:38pm
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Your living your dream, good luck. I've looked at your pictures they are fabulous you'll do wonderfully with a custom shop.

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