Home Bakers.. Where Do You Meet Your Brides For Tastings?

Business By tarheelgirl Updated 22 Jan 2010 , 5:26am by bonnscakesAZ

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tarheelgirl Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 3:49pm
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I normally meet at a local coffee shop. Looking for new ideas on places to meet. Do any of you do them in your home?

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Loucinda Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 3:54pm
post #2 of 33

Yes, I have them meet me here. I am happy with the situation, they can see exactly what my house/kitchen looks like - they can see how clean I keep my home.

I have had a couple that didn't have the time to drive here (I am north of the metro area) so I have either met them at a coffee shop or at Michaels for them to just pick up a tasting "kit".

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tarheelgirl Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 4:41pm
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I am thinking of starting tastings in my home this year. Its such a hassle taking everything to another location. I agree.. its not a bad thing to see how clean a persons house/kitchen is. Especially if they are putting down big bucks for a wedding cake. Of course, the hubby and kids would have to leave for a short time! icon_biggrin.gif

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kellertur Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 6:23pm
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I'm by appointment only, but I do all tasting in my home. I have a room right off the kitchen. When they walk through the door they can see how clean the kitchen/home is kept and my license on the wall.
On occasion I mail samples to out of state brides, and later do a consult. My cakes, etc. don't require refrigeration. This has also worked out very well.

I did do one tasting at bride/groom's home because they had a new baby. They booked and opted not to do another consult... personally, I'd want to see the kitchen.

Tarheelgirl~ My husband and daughter are usually home when I do a tasting, just in another part of the house. He keeps her well entertained. I'm also home with my daughter, so my customers are made aware of this (one reason I'm by appointment only, I bake at night). No one's ever complained, but I only have one child. Multiple kids may be more difficult doing this...

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MalibuBakinBarbie Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 6:37pm
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IF I were lucky and fortunate enough to have a home-based baking business, I would prefer to meet clients at my home. I would want them to see my kitchen and baking/decorating environment. icon_smile.gif

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Kitagrl Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 6:49pm
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I have been having them in my home but something happened yesterday that made me change my mind haha. I have four boys and generally I have to have my husband help me take them out or something. Sometimes he can't, and then I meet at a coffee shop.

Yesterday my husband was out and I sent all the kids for naps (or quiet reading time) in various bedrooms so the house stayed quiet for my consult. It did stay quiet...however shortly a horrible smell hit the house....my two year old up in his bedroom had filled his diaper with some HORRID smelling stuff! I was SO humiliated. Its just really hard for me to remain professional in my house with so much activity (or potential activity) and even if my husband takes the kids or whatever, its happened in the past where the meeting has gone long and the kids and hub come tromping in just at the end of my meeting.

So...in 2010...I will be having future tastings at a coffee shop. If they really want to come by and see my clean house they can feel free....but otherwise I need a quiet, bother-free (and dirty diaper free!) environment for my consults!

If I did not have kids, or if I had teenagers, I would certainly not mind having them at my home.

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kellertur Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 7:05pm
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kitagirl~ I'm sorry that happened to you. Maybe this will make you feel less alone (it's meant as empathy, as weird as I may communitcate it)
Anyway ~ a month ago I had my renewal inspection with the city. RIGHT before, and I mean RIGHT before the health inspector showed up my daughter decided to go poop in the potty. She chose to do this in her litttle potty instead of the "big potty"... (who knows WHY?) My house previously smelling of sweet peas and lavender, now as you can imagine smelled like (fill in the blanks). I lit every candle I had...and sprayed like crazy. icon_cry.gif

The inspector showed up just as I finished cleaning / freshening the house. She laughed right out loud when I told her what had just happened (I had to...). She had a great sense of humor!

I only have one child... I can understand how stressful that must have been for you. You have my respect.

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PinkLisa Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 7:29pm
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Do client ever think it's odd to meet in a coffee shop? Also do you meet by you or closer to them?

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PinkLisa Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 7:30pm
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Also, some coffee shops (like Starbucks) seating fills up. What happens if you go there and there are no seats? Do you buy your client coffee?

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Uniqueask Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 7:32pm
post #10 of 33

Sometimes having a clean house is not the problem, Your house can be clean and you still have to have tastings else where.

I am approved to bake at home,(licensed) but the zoning board has given me permission to bake out of my home, for Production only, meaning that I have to meet clients elsewhere coffee shops etc. Because where My house is located it is at the corner of two busy intersections, and my driveway is very bad, and they wish to avoid any accidents. I know how to get in and out of the driveway without any problems, and not to say others would not, but those are the rules.

I am in the process of getting all the insurance and other papers together, hoping to start business, by the end of the month early feburary, and I plan after a couple of months, to try and rent a small office space, so I can meet clients there, also I can have displays and such like.

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Loucinda Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 7:47pm
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My tastings are always by appointment also, and my baby is 21, so don't have the issue of little ones anymore. icon_smile.gif

Yes, if we meet at a coffee shop, I would buy the client their cup of coffee. I have a Breville, so I offer them lattes here at home too. icon_wink.gif

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leah_s Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 7:51pm
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I meet them at home, in my dining room. I'm forever running into the pastry closet to get something to show them.

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love2makecakes Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 8:21pm
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I have a at home business too and prior to my new kitchen I held my consults in my dinning room. I run things by appointment only, I only book consults when I have someone to stay with my son. In 2009 we built a new and bigger cake kichen in my basement that has steps from my garage so now I put a tall bar top table (enough for 3-4 people) with 2 stools right in my kitchen and let them see where the cakes are being made. They can enter through my garage so they never see the inside of my house.

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tarheelgirl Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 9:17pm
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My kids are 6 and 9 but are very active as most kids are. I would also do it by appointment only and make sure the hubby takes them out for that amount of time. I am a super clean freak so the cleaning was not the issue for me not having tastings here. I think its just the fact I thought it would be more convenient for us to meet centrally rather then coming to my home which is outside the area for some.

Kitagrl- been there done that! I know how horrible it was for you to have someone there with poopy smells filling the air!! icon_smile.gif

As for the coffee shop.. I always arrive at least 30 minutes early to find a good seat. I did talk with the manager and she said that if we purchased something it was fine with them. I always buy the client coffee or water. I have noticed quite a few business people having meetings there as well. I guess its what works best for you. I am always trying to remember everything but always forget something. So having the convenience of having all my paperwork, etc on hand would be great.

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bobwonderbuns Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 9:28pm
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Mine are always by appointment and I go to the client's house. They feel it gives them an edge and makes me look like I give extra customer service (or so I've been told.) I'm good with it! icon_biggrin.gif

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jammjenks Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 9:51pm
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I do them at my dining room table. Most of the time I get my pans out to stack and show them different configurations. It helps them to have a visual.

My kids are 6 and 7, and are very self-sufficient. I like to meet during school hours, but if DH is not home, I sit my girls in front of the TV and they KNOW not to "show out" when Mama's busy. icon_biggrin.gif

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PinkLisa Posted 10 Jan 2010 , 9:52pm
post #17 of 33

tarheelgirl -- so as not to forget something, you should prepare a "bring list" so you just have to refer to that prior to your meeting each time. That way you won't forget anything.

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niccicola Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 2:51am
post #18 of 33

In Virginia, I am not allowed to have clients come to the house. Since it is a residential zone, I can not operate my business as I would a storefront (i.e. no signs outside, no parking lots/spaces, no clients coming by)

I have not had a client question why I don't meet her. I sometimes will say "Because of regulation, I am not permitted to hold consultations here....."

I meet at Starbucks or Panera Bread or their residence. Whichever they are convenient with!

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Lita829 Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 3:06am
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I am in the process of becoming licensed and may acquire some bridal clients in the future. I have been following this thread for a while and I was wondering if third party establishments (Starbucks, Panera, or any other place where they also sell baked goods) ever have a problem with someone bringing in items not purchased there for sampling?

I am also a home baker so I am just curious to know if anyone has ever had a problem because this is the avenue I might take.

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niccicola Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 3:29am
post #20 of 33

I have not had a problem with Starbucks yet. BUT--i always make sure to buy something from them. I come in 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time to meet because sometimes it takes FOREVER to make my coffee.

On days that are nice, I get a table outside. They are pretty cool about letting people socialize for whatever reason.

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Lita829 Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 3:41am
post #21 of 33

Thanks for the response, Niccicola! I agree that it doesn't look bad since you buy something from them. Getting a table outside also is a good idea.

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elliespartycake Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 9:56pm
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I too have a licensed home kitchen and I held a wedding consultation yesterday at a Barnes & Noble Bookstore Cafe. It was a location part way between my home and theirs. It worked well. I brought the cake samples in a small pie sized box with the cake samples on a plate and the frosting/filling samples in those little nut cups you can get at the party store. It was all tied with a ribbon and I even included twoplastic forks in a little cellophane bag. Each sample was labeled. We talked cake and then they took the box of cake home to sample later. I sent them an estimate today so we'll see..... icon_biggrin.gif

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tarheelgirl Posted 11 Jan 2010 , 11:14pm
post #23 of 33

I have never had an issue having it at the local coffee shop. Be sure to buy something and they don't have an issue with it. Of course, ask the manager if they mind first. Shoot most of the time my clients are up there ordering a Latte before our meeting. If anything it brings more business into their shop.

I once had a client show up at my home out of the blue! She was supposed to mail a napkin for a color sample to me. Next thing I know she is at my front door on a Sunday afternoon! Very frustrating! This is why I am trying to decide if I want clients in my personal space. If they insist on doing it here that is different. I have nothing to hide! I just don't want anyone to show up without calling 1st.

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Jenn2179 Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 2:27pm
post #24 of 33

We meet at my house. I usually do them in the evening when my boys are in bed already. If they need to come during the day when my husband is at work I tell them my son will be around and most people don't mind at all. He is quite a little charmer, those little blue eyes make you melt. I have it set up on my kitchen table. So far haven't had any problems. I always tell people if they need to drop something off to give me a call first.

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tarheelgirl Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 2:39pm
post #25 of 33

Is it easier to do a tasting back to back or spread them out? I have 4 booked and have spread them out over a week to 2 weeks.

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Jenn2179 Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 2:46pm
post #26 of 33
Originally Posted by tarheelgirl

Is it easier to do a tasting back to back or spread them out? I have 4 booked and have spread them out over a week to 2 weeks.

It all depends on you and your schedule. I have 3 tasting this week. One yesterday, one Thursday and one Friday.

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tarheelgirl Posted 13 Jan 2010 , 9:17pm
post #27 of 33

I am swamped with tastings.. which is not a BAD thing! I've heard of some doing one tasting a month. Great concept but don't think it would work for me.

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tulips_n_truffles Posted 15 Jan 2010 , 1:27am
post #28 of 33

I haven't posted much, but I've been lurking here forever!!

I operate tastings a little outside of the box. I'm also not allowed to have clients in my home (insurance...and I try hard to follow those stinking rules!), but I do two different types of tastings.

One is more of a drop-off. I bake mulitple flavors based on their preferences as mini cupcakes and frost with various frostings (again, based on their preferences). If they want a filling, I pipe it into the cupcakes. Anyway - long story short - I pack everything up in a cute box and drop it off at their home for a tasting at their convenience. It's worked out extremely well for me - I've never done a drop-off that the client hasn't ordered from me. Bonus!!

The second is what the poster above referenced - a monthly tasting. Not every month, but generally January through April or May and then again in the fall. Mostly brides getting ready for summer weddings. I host those from a friend's art loft and it's very casual - more of a passed cake party than anything. People look at fabulous art (!!) and eat fabulous cake (!!!)! icon_smile.gif

Just my 2 cents.

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Kitagrl Posted 15 Jan 2010 , 1:37am
post #29 of 33

The girl who was at my house for the tasting when my kid stunk up the house...I said that I thought maybe I'd be doing alot more Starbucks...she said all the photographers (or alot of them) met at Starbucks because they mostly work out of their home...she said the ones with shops were totally super duper expensive. I assume Starbucks is a pretty common place to meet....

I would definitely offer to buy my clients coffee (I don't care for it myself) but usually they are up there buying their own (or someone who is with them) before I can offer, haha....so, so far, the two Starbucks tastings I've had, the store has made extra money they wouldn't have made.

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SparkleCakes1 Posted 21 Jan 2010 , 6:26pm
post #30 of 33

I also am a home baker with little ones running around and I love the idea of having cake tastings at a coffee shop! The "take-home" cake tasting idea was unique also, do those of you who do that find it impersonable or do the clients find it odd?

Also, I dont have much experice with cake tastings...one was for my own wedding cake which was a couple of silces of cakes already filled and iced. I wasn't crazy about that because what if I wanted to come up with a different flavor combination. So when my friend got married thats what I did, I had cubed pieces of diferent flavor cakes and had little bowls of various fillings and icings and they just spread it on the cake peices and mixed and matched as they pleased. Now this was sort of an experiment since it was my friend. I tried googling and looking here on cake central for cake tasting presentaion ideas, nothing. I may not be searching it right on here though.

Does anyone have pictures or ideas on how they presented tastings? I like the idea of of boxing it up like elliespartycake and tulips_n_truffles mentioned.

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