Wanting To Start A Business But No Pastry School

Business By lttlnutter Updated 9 Jul 2010 , 8:12pm by armywife1

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lttlnutter Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 4:00pm
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So currently i am going to college, i considered going to pastry school but its price is a little high for me, especially since all i want to take from it is cake decorating.

I have confidence that i would be able to start making cakes and become successful without pastry school, but i am not quite sure if i am being over confident in myself. I know that if i do this my parents will be worried about my success etc. But i know that if i give it enough time for my business to grow that i will be able to support myself.

I was wondering if anyone had any tips or suggestions about what i should do. What was your experience with pastry school or your own cake business?

10 replies
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CWR41 Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 4:48pm
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I wouldn't waste the money on pastry school. Since you're only interested in cake decorating, perhaps you could take specific cake decorating classes, and of course, add a business course as well to be better prepared to run your own business.

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johnson6ofus Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 3:01am
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Here in Austin, TX the local community college offers culinary classes. So you only pay for the courses you want. Wilton classes are where many start, and I know many famous cake artists offer one and two day classes. Sounds like that is where you want to be....

Good Luck, thumbs_up.gif

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ChefAngie Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 3:41am
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Happy Baking and Decorating,
Chef Angie

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thecookieladycc Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:39pm
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I'd take a business class over a pastry class any day!

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adventuregal Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:43pm
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I have been in a similar situation as you-and I decided on pastry school and getting my AA in business. I know you said you only wanted to learn cake decorating, but business-wise I know for me getting a broader pastry education is going to allow me to expand my business. For instance if you have a shop and you can offer pastries, breads etc...you are going to get more business than if you were a shop with cakes. This is completely up to the individual, but imho getting more pastry education would be a wise investment into your future. I know its expensive, but in comparison to my state colleges its not. Community colleges allow you to pick and choose your classes so maybe you can do a hybrid-business degree, but have all your electives be pastry classes. If you talk to your school counselor they may have some good suggestions icon_smile.gif

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CoutureCake Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 9:38pm
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Making and decorating cakes is the easy part... The hard part is the BUSINESS part of things and I hate to say this, but you're putting the cart ahead of the horse...

Finish up your B.S. degree and make sure "Business Accounting, Marketing, and Communications" are all part of your MAJOR!! The product is the easy part of most any business, it's what goes on behind the scenes of the product that is going to drive the BUSINESS. You're better off with an MBA than culinary school for the sheer amount of money invested and what it takes to own and operate a business. Also, with an MBA or Business/Accounting degree you'll have fallback options that pay VERY well. If you want to take a class outside of school, get your food manager's certification (ServSafe) because it'll allow you to apply for food manager positions and makes the inspection process a lot easier..

I would recommend instead of cake classes you take a job while in school working for the local bakery. Actually a place like Super Walmart decorating cakes isn't that bad of an idea given you're still in school. It'll teach you about production speed and everything basic you need to know and most of all, you'll get paid instead of having to spend money to learn. The other reason it's good is because you'll learn the customer service end of things. One of the best skills to learn early in life is to work a retail or gov't job and deal with John/Jane Q. Moronicpublic. You'll also discover is this the right profession for you. From there, the other thing to remember is that starting a business is not romantic nor are banks WANTING to just GIVE you money for a startup. You need to have a funding source BEFORE you even think about opening up a shop, then comes government red tape in that your cutsie little shop you want to have quickly gets squashed by an overflow of every detail down to the flooring and type of toilet that you install. Then there's the how are you going to make rent the first year while you're getting your name out there let alone paying suppliers and staff. Again, that's the behind the scenes stuff that no one thinks about just the "I'd like to get paid to make cakes because I think I'm good" ... instead of "I've got the business knowhow, I've got money in the bank to survive for three years while the business gets going, and I make a pretty darn good tasting and looking product..." Go to work for someone else for a while, you'll learn the in's and outs, but above all else, you'll get paid to learn it ;o)

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JessDesserts Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 10:09pm
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I just graduated from pastry school and even though I found it invaluable, the actual decorating of cakes lasted all of a week.

It worked out for me in the end because I did my internship at a local bakery and ended up loving every minute of it.

If cake decorating is your primary interest, maybe specific cake decorating classes would better suit your needs/desires at this time.

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jillmakescakes Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 12:49am
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If your more concerned with the decorating portion, use the money you would have spent on culinary school to travel and take classes from the best decorators that offer classes. The wilton school has some good classes and great instructors. Also, go to the Sugar art show and take classes there. Take classes through ISES. There are a TON of classes if you are willing to travel.

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IsaSW Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 7:00pm
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WOW CoutureCake said it so well!!!!! believe every word in that PM.
I find myself starting a business, and in my second year I am so glad I have a husband and my self with full time jobs. We would be so broke, if I would have quit my job and think that hanging a sign or getting business cards was it.
I am so glad I went to college to get a degree. I am so glad I had to work at other small places where you learn how to deal with people. I am so glad I am learning a lot about finances for your small business.
And yes, classes with good cake decorators and the basics Wilton classes will do, and of course lots and lots of practice in your kitchen.
Please get a college degree, if the business fails, you can always get a job with your degree. You need to pay bills first, then dream, then make your dreams come true.
Good Luck!

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armywife1 Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 8:12pm
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Definitely finish your college degree. I received mine over 10 years ago, and am SO glad I did. I can't tell you how many people I have met that regret not finishing school. It really is a nice thing to have to fall back on.

My question is this: If I wanted to open up a little kiosk somewhere, would that be a good starter before going all out?

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