I'm Discouraged And Frustrated.

Business By Rose_N_Crantz Updated 4 Jun 2010 , 3:01am by Mabma80

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Rose_N_Crantz Posted 27 May 2010 , 10:02pm
post #1 of 19

I live in MN and in MN it's illegal to sell cakes from home. Fine. Doesn't make sense to me, but if that's what they want to do that's fine. I know I can always look for a commercial kitchen to rent or when hubby and I get a new house in a couple years perhaps that will have a building that I could convert to a kitchen. Or I could just keep petitioning to get the law changed. The next state south of us allows home kitchens, why not us? But I digress.

So a lady my hubby's friend works with asked me if I would do some graduation cupcakes for her. I'm thinking, I'd love to, but I can't. My husband, his friend, my mother in law, my brother, my mother, pretty much all the family I have is urging me to take the order. I keep saying it's illegal for me to, I can't! I just told my hubby that the lady called me today and I told her I wouldn't be able to do it. He seemed a little let down. He said he doesn't understand but he supports me.

Sigh. It's just so frustrating to know that I am able to do something, but my state doesn't want me to. Especially when I hear about all sorts of people doing it. My family just keeps saying who cares? It's a ridiculous law anyways, just do it!

Plus I'm having a really hard time staying motivated at work. I just don't care about grocery store cakes. They're cheap, they taste cheap and most of them look cheap too. Having to deal with penny pinchers that seem to think they are entitled to everything just because they placed one foot in our store. bleh.

I've heard everyone saying to call my local health/agriculture department to ask about home licensing. But I'm thinking if the state doesn't allow it, how can the city or county allow it? Does that happen that a state might not allow home caking but a specific county/city in that state would? Doesn't seem like they would.

I just suddenly felt the urge to vent to people that I know would understand and sympathize with me. At least I have a bridal shower cake for my sister in law to focus on right now. Then after that in August I have my other sister in law's birthday cake and her son's birthday cake as well. I hear the theme is pirates.

Thanks for reading and does anyone have any info on those city/county questions?

18 replies
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myslady Posted 27 May 2010 , 10:33pm
post #2 of 19

I don't know anything about the food laws in MN. The least you can do is to contact the departments so you can find out for sure what is allowed and also ask for alternatives to not breaking the law.

People will tire you out no matter what you do. No one wants to pay full price for anything anymore. Eventually the prices will be higher and the sales price will be the original purchase price they wanted you to pay.

Have you talked to your manager or pitched ideas of cakes that you can do that is beyond the normal flowers and borders. The cakes don't have to be time consuming, but something other that the normal grocery store fare.

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littlecake Posted 28 May 2010 , 12:38am
post #3 of 19

maybe it's not as far out of reach as you think to have a shop, i know a gal in houston who opened up with just 5 grand....where she was didn't require a comm. oven...and she got some awesome deals at some auctions.

i myself bought a 20 quart mixer off ebay for just 200.00

have you checked out how much rent is around there?

i got a fixer upper shop on a main street for 530.00 a month.

after working at the grocery store, i know you gotta be fast...and thats still the name of the game with your own place....so you're already up one.

don't give up your dream, i would have never thought i'd be able to have my own place either...i just started going in that direction, and pretty soon you're there.

good luck
ps i LOVE your avatar!

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tarheelgirl Posted 28 May 2010 , 12:55am
post #4 of 19

I just wanted to say that your cakes are sooo beautiful! Don't give up! I know its easier said then done.. I am luckily from an area that home based bakeries are legal. I can only imagine your frustration! It's not fair especially when you have the talent. Good luck!

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noahsmummy Posted 28 May 2010 , 12:58am
post #5 of 19

i know how you feel. my council is the same. and my family and friends are the same! lol. its so frustrating as well because there is a lady around the corner from me who is blatantly advertising her cakes which she sells from home.... which is illegal here. a friend of mine actually sat me down and just told me to go for it, that the laws are stupid, that the richest man in aust. atm taxable income is (acoording the the tax opffice..) only 12,000.

i dont know, its very tempting, i need the money, so unbelievably broke atm, and it would be the perfect fit seeing as i wouldnt need to put my son into daycare (another expense...) but i dont want to break the law, well i dont want to get caught. lol. Also, i really dont feel my cakes are up to scratch..

very very frustrating!!! especially seeing as the friends i make cakes for take it upon themselves to give out my number and then come back and tell me that so and so wants this cake.. and so and so wants a cake for this.. ahhh, then i have to tell them i cant do it. very furstarting.

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MnSnow Posted 28 May 2010 , 2:56am
post #6 of 19

Ok I'm in MN too. I am licensed and legal and I agree it isn't always fair.
Please DO NOT LISTEN to your friends and family telling you to do it anyway. Seriously--the dept of Ag will make bogus calls and bust you!

There are no county laws that differ than the states--I wish there were. The only thing counties differ from is a CUP and zoning.

I'd be all for a petition!
Please feel free to PM me anytime icon_smile.gif

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cheatize Posted 28 May 2010 , 3:29pm
post #7 of 19

I feel for you. I have my own challenges to overcome and it's very frustrating. Would it help you if you started to create a business plan for your future cake business? You could plan for the day when you can open your own legal shop. It takes tons of time and research and would keep the dream alive for you while you wait. When the time finally arrives, you'll know exactly what to do and how to do it.

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Malakin Posted 28 May 2010 , 3:46pm
post #8 of 19

I know what you mean. Here in Ky things and items that are required change from county to county depending on who's working at the health dept. You would think that as poor a state as Ky is, and how high the unemployment rate is, that they would be more than willing to allow home bakers. Nope, here you have to have everything and in a totally seperate residence. There also isn't enough revenue here to even think of opening up a bakery. Best of luck.

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7yyrt Posted 29 May 2010 , 3:17pm
post #9 of 19

Are those who urge you to sell illegally willing to put up a bond to pay for the fines you will get when you are busted?

Say several thousand a piece, put in a special account they cannot access? No?

What about when you are prevented from even working in a bakery (as someone recently posted about her acquaintance) ?

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cs_confections Posted 29 May 2010 , 5:39pm
post #10 of 19

Unfortunately, I know exactly how you feel. icon_sad.gif My family is the same - not understanding why I refuse to take orders from their friends and coworkers. "Who will find out?" Ummm, who knows? I don't want to find out. My hobby is expensive enough, thank you very much!

Yeah, I could rent a commercial kitchen, but with working full time and living outside of the city - not to mention back issues and not being able to lug my mixer around (or lift some of my cakes) - it just isn't doable.

So I keep working a job a dislike, making free cakes for family and the charity, and dream about "one day".

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ladycakes85 Posted 29 May 2010 , 6:07pm
post #11 of 19

I totally hear ya too.
And I also work in a grocery store bakery.Which, I will say, actually has very good cakes and icing, so i'm glad I can at least back up the products that I sell. However, we don't do the fancy stuff that other bakeries can do. People ask about fondant and stacked cakes and I have to turn them away. That's the bad part. When you know the market is out there for your services, but you aren't able to do anything about it for them icon_razz.gif

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Ladiesofthehouse Posted 29 May 2010 , 6:35pm
post #12 of 19

Have you inquired at local churches? I always ask that because my church is legal and inspected to produce food since we host children's programs. Our kitchen sits empty all week except Wed. evening and Sunday--someone could be in there baking away 5 days a week.

I am licensed with my own commercial kitchen attached to my house, but before all that happened I asked our pastor and he said Sure! Lots of people over the years have come in to prepare food and sell it. One lady used to go there to prepare her salsa that she sold everywhere and all they charged her was a nominal fee towards electricity and a steady supply of salsa LOL

There must be other churches in your area in the same situation? Then it would be up to you to find out what all you need in your county to get licensed, etc.

Always go straight to the source for information too, don't rely on what you heard from someone else. You may be pleasantly surprised that ti is not as difficult as you think.

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mamawrobin Posted 29 May 2010 , 7:50pm
post #13 of 19

I use to work in a grocery store bakery. I quit my job in December and went to work for a bakery 25 minutes from me that specializes in custom cakes. I do understand how you feel. I am so blessed to have found this job. The lady that I work for does buttercream only and has been in business for over 35 years. For a 50 mile radius she is the only bakery that does wedding cakes. She thought it would boost her business to offer custom birthday cakes and hired me as a decorator. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy going to work everyday. I make more money plus I get to do cakes like I WANT to make.

I also get to do cakes for a catering company when they cater an event that needs a cake. Go knock on some doors and find other options than owning your own business if that isn't something you can do right now. Honestly, I would rather do what I'm doing than to own my own business right now. I don't have to worry about the cost of operation and still make a very nice salary and get to do cakes MY way.

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Rose_N_Crantz Posted 30 May 2010 , 4:26am
post #14 of 19

Thank you for all your responses. I got into another discussion with hubby today about it. The family is all in the group of "who would find out?" They just don't understand the consequences even though I've explained it to them. They just think I'm paranoid.

And now, at my day job, I keep finding grad cake orders that have a photo to put on them that was taken by a professional photographer WITH NO RELEASE FORM!!!! I think it was after the third one that I ran up to the manager to ask him if I can print up a sign explaining the copyright release and post it on our cake order stand. I was told I wasn't allowed to put up anything that's not company approved. I understand that, but the people that are taking these orders are not doing their job and it's my head on the block! I don't want to be the b%* that has to call these people the day before their cake is due to tell them the bad news that I can't put their photo on their cake. I was able to post a "nice reminder" sign next to the phone to help remind people.

Oh, and one of our new decorators was given the job of cupcake orders today. It took her 45 minutes to complete one order. 30 cupcakes with a bc swirl and a Dora pic. Seriously?

And it's only going to get worse this summer. . .

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littlecake Posted 30 May 2010 , 4:58am
post #15 of 19
Originally Posted by Rose_N_Crantz

Oh, and one of our new decorators was given the job of cupcake orders today. It took her 45 minutes to complete one order. 30 cupcakes with a bc swirl and a Dora pic. Seriously?

And it's only going to get worse this summer. . .

i know that's painful to watch. huh?
when i worked at albertsons bakery we had a lady slower than that, all afternoon to decorate a tray of cookies...the managers mom....me and the other decorator really hauled butt every week...didn't take breaks or a lunch so we could get all the orders out...come to find out later, she made the same as us...that still chaps my hide!

don't give up...maybe you could build something on your home?

i bought a place to build a bakery on....i haven't made much progress since i bought it 5 years ago, but i'm still gonna do it...just keep trudgin on in that direction....i wish you lived near me, i'd let ya rent out my kitchen...on the cheap....oh well.

hang in there.

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ladycakes85 Posted 30 May 2010 , 12:34pm
post #16 of 19

Yeah, professional pictures are just about all we get. Our head decorator has just always done it. Her theory, "The evidence is going to be eaten".

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Rose_N_Crantz Posted 30 May 2010 , 1:54pm
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by ladycakes85

Yeah, professional pictures are just about all we get. Our head decorator has just always done it. Her theory, "The evidence is going to be eaten".

Unless there's a copyright lawyer at the party. A couple years ago we got a call from a photographer (this bakery I only helped out at during the grad rush, I wasn't back there even part time really) who yelled at one of our decorators over the phone because he discovered one of his photographs was used on a cake that he didn't give release for. Honestly it didn't surprise me that it happened because I'm about the only decorator that refused to copy a picture without permission.

I've always seen it as in integrity and respect issue more than the legal issue. If we're going to be selling this cake for money because of the picture on it (some people do go to other bakeries when they find out they need a release form) the least I can do is ask permission from the person who took the picture. As a fellow artistic professional, I totally understand that it's the respectful thing to do. Luckily my managers back me up on that issue. They've heard the horror stories!

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abeane Posted 2 Jun 2010 , 9:32pm
post #18 of 19

I'm having the same issue with my friends and family! I hate to even call it an "issue" because they are just trying to be supportive but I do not have a commercial kitchen to work from so I am not comfortable with selling my cakes. I'm lucky to live in a state where home kitchens are allowed, however my current home is a tiny rental with a closet-sized kitchen, a miniature fridge and dishwasher, and a cat and there is no way I could possibly get my kitchen licensed. Not to mention the fact that I am fairly new to decorating (but have been baking for years) and I need a lot more practice before I would consider taking on a real commission. Despite all this, my best friend has come to me with cake orders for baby showers and a few weddings which I have had to turn down. My mom keeps urging me to hand out business cards but I don't have a business lol. At least you know that when you have the right set up to start selling, your friends and family will be out there advocating for you!!

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Mabma80 Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 3:01am
post #19 of 19

I used to live in Minnesota, about five months ago actually cause we just moved to Wisconsin. I would make cakes all the time for my friends and never had a problem. I never took money, but they would give it to me anyway. I thought of it as practice rather then business. SO, go ahead. I think that if you start selling to the general public, that's where you get into hot water.

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