Feel Like I'm Drowning. . Advice???

Business By forheavenscake Updated 29 Sep 2009 , 8:15pm by cakesbycathy

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forheavenscake Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:35pm
post #1 of 13

So just about a month ago I decided to start trying this whole cake decorating stuff. I absolutely love it and am so excited to see what will come of it. . .well I didn't quite expect such a big response. (bit for me anyway) I already have 3 cakes requested from friends. Since I am just starting out I was just going to charge for how much it costs me to actually make the cake. Figuring it is good practice for me and free advertising cause they are all for big events etc.

Well because I am starting out I have absolutely NO SUPPLIES! Which means for every cake I have to spend a butt load of money to get the pans/molds/tools etc.

I assume I am not the only one facing this beginners challenge. . how did you all handle it or what would you suggest I do to be able to afford the supplies. . cause I was honestly not expecting to have to pay so much so quick, figuring I'd just make a cake here and there.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me ramble. . I would really appreciate some advice.

12 replies
Auryn Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Auryn Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:45pm
post #2 of 13

If your friends want you to make them something and you don't have the pan for it, tell them and let them know they are free to by it for you.
If they don't want to buy the pan then you can only make shapes and sizes you already have.

Its one thing for you to buy yourself a few standard sizes, but if they want something weird or out of the ordinary that you wont use often, they should buy it for you.

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mcdonald Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:47pm
post #3 of 13

well.. in the start up phase you might want to "control" a little more of what you sell.. in other words, if a client wants a 10 inch round and you don't have one, suggest an 8 inch round and maybe a few cupcakes to fill in. Try to suggest things that you have or might be a bit more afforable.

Hang in there.. before you know it you will need a room added on for all the crap (I mean "stuff") you will accumulate!!!

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forheavenscake Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:54pm
post #4 of 13

Thanks for the responses!

Well that's the problem. . i don't really have ANYTHING. The only pan sizes I have right now are 9". . which I'm starting to wonder why in the crap did I buy 9" pans. . .anyway, so it's not like I won't use the pans they are requesting, I just wasn't expecting to buy them so quickly. For instance my first cake is three tiers, 10, 8, & 6. . so I have to buy 2 of each of those. . that's costly. The second cake is for a new baby, so i am looking at getting molds and things cause I have NOTHING. . .so again, these thigns will be used again I just am freaking cause I don't necessarily have the money to get them right now.

Credit card??? LOL

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sadsmile Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:56pm
post #5 of 13

Yup the cost of supplies needed to make each cake and the experience and skill needed can be pretty heavy, which is why custom cakes cost so much.

First thing first. Make sure you can legally sell cakes from your home where you live. Any exchange of money=selling.

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WendyB Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:59pm
post #6 of 13

I know your question & issue are bigger, but you don't need 2 of each pan to start out.

Bake the first layer, empty the pan, bake the second layer. You've just cut your investment in half.

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__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:00pm
post #7 of 13

Welcome to the world of spending more than you make until you have a nice healthy supply of....erm, supplies. icon_smile.gif

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__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:01pm
post #8 of 13

And then Wendy, you find yourself never ordering just one pan of a particular size. I have two of every size, and four of some. I guess it depends on the volume of work you produce too.

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CakeMommyTX Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:08pm
post #9 of 13

Back when I was 18 and my sis wanted me to make her grooms cake I did'nt have ANYTHING, so she bought everything, pans, ingrediants,boards the whole nine. And I made it for her, she spent about 80$ on everything, I did'nt have to buy a thing and she did'nt have to "pay" me because she supplied everything. (This was'nt my job, just a hobby at that point)

And I still use the set of square pans she bought me 10 years ago!

So if they want a cake have them buy everything for it, chances are the supplies will be less then what you would charge so its a win win, they get a deal and you get supplies.

Of course this only really works for family and close friends, so it's not a way to run a biz, but it's how I was able to make cakes when I was younger for my friends and family.

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Texas_Rose Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:10pm
post #10 of 13

You can find coupons for the craft stores to buy your pans and stuff cheaper. If you sign up for Michaels and Joanns emails they send you coupons, and Hobby Lobby has a website with a printable coupon every week (sometimes not for anything useful though, last week's was 30% off spray paint icon_razz.gif)

Wendy's right, you don't really need two of each size pan to bake your tiers...just bake one layer of each size at a time...I can fit a 10", 8" and 6" pan all in my oven at once (different baking times for different sizes of course!). So one pan of each size should do for now. Buy a flower nail for each pan though, it really helps it bake more level and reduces waste. Maybe eventually if you're running a bakery you'll need several of each size of pan, but in the beginning you really don't.

For the baby cake, you could make a loopy bow which doesn't take many tools...rolling pin, ruler, pizza wheel. You could also use cookie cutters to make decorations for the side of the cake out of fondant.

The cheapest way to get a good-sized fondant mat is to buy a piece of thick clear vinyl from the fabric store. You can't store it folded up though, has to be rolled up.

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catlharper Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:12pm
post #11 of 13

Before I made this a business I was already collecting cake stuff so I've not really been in your position BUT I did have a client ask for a soccer cake last year and I just let her know that I didn't have a pan for that and either she could pay the extra for a handcarved cake or pay for the pan...she gladly paid for the pan! LOL! So, yes, if your client wants a 10 8 6 then have her buy the pans for it or charge her for the real price of the cake (as in $3 per person x 75 people -= 225) and buy the pans out of your profit.

As with the others, when I had to make a cake where I only had one pan then I'd just bake twice. Slowly I'm doubling my pan supply but I don't have much space to store them so I'm still baking twice more often than not.

Someone already mentioned this but check your state laws and see how much of this baking you can do legally before you need a professional kitchen and license.


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adree313 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:36pm
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by catlharper

Someone already mentioned this but check your state laws and see how much of this baking you can do legally before you need a professional kitchen and license.


i love that someone put it like this. in my state if you bake under a certain amount of cakes per week, you're considered "low risk" and don't need a professional kitchen or a license (as long as you stay under that number). so, i always feel a little... sneaky or bad or something, i don't know... when people say "well, if it's illegal in your state, it's illegal. period." well, no. you always need to check with someone who knows what the real particulars are in your state! icon_smile.gif

as for the cost, yes, it is A LOT. but like others have mentioned, michaels or joann's give out lots of coupons (and many times there are nice people on these very forums that will post the coupons for any of us to use). use these to your advantage! you can get two sets of round wilton pans (which are perfectly fine for beginners, in my opinion) for the price of one. can't beat that!!

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cakesbycathy Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 8:15pm
post #13 of 13

First, I think you should decide if you want to do this just as a hobby or turn it into an actual business.

Second, find out if it's even legal in your area to do this.

Third, if you are going to do this as a business then buying pans and other supplies is part of your start-up costs. Yes, it is expensive! So you can either fork over the cash or limit the types of orders you will accept until you have aquired more pans.

You can always try ebay or craigslist for supplies.

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