Business By Kitagrl Updated 11 Jul 2010 , 12:23am by cheatize

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Kitagrl Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 10:19pm
post #1 of 13

Okay...sort of a halfway hypothetical question here...

Say you are a home baker, and you are just starting to get pretty successful...including a cake in a magazine, and you are in a big city, high cost of living area...getting good prices for your cakes.

Then say your husband's job gets relocated and you have to close down shop, but you end up in a place where its still legal to do cakes from home but its more rural...lower cost of living, no local cake supply places, etc.

Would it work to advertise yourself as a "big city" successful baker and continue to try to command something close to your "big city" prices if your work looks "big city professional"? Or would that be a miserable failure to price yourself twice as high as all the rural bakers (most of them home bakers)?

Okay so yeah its halfway hypothetical because its what's going on with me right now...BUT we do not know where we will end up right now...or when...and also, I do not know if I should restart my business if I have to close my current one down, because of the renewed start up costs as contrasted to possible lower prices in another area.

I'll find out more in a few weeks...but just thinking things over and wondering if basically, in a general way, I could walk into a market that's paying rural prices and still get "big city" prices for my work, although maybe be less busy (which would be fine, as long as I would not lose money for insurance and stuff.)

So from a business sense, I guess I'm looking for advice to decide if in the future should I just be a mom and wife again or if I should restart a business in a lower cost area...of course we do not know for sure where/when we are having to go...I'll be able to update that later...but its just filling my mind right now and I have to chat about it. icon_smile.gif

12 replies
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cakesonoccasion Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 10:23pm
post #2 of 13

Just a guess here- but I would think you won't be able to charge the same. There's no way the market would support it. You'll either need to lower your prices or put the biz on hold. Hopefully you'll end up in a metro area. Good luck with it all- kinda a stinky situation to be in...wish you the best!

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thatslifeca Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 10:42pm
post #3 of 13

relocation-wow that's a big one to try and figure out. I wouldn't jump to any conclusions on the giving up the cake biz till you get where you are going. Advertising as a big city succues could either work for you or against you.....again don't decide till you get there and feel things out. The beign just a mom and wife thing....thats going to be hard...there is a cake artist inside of you that won't let you go! It's hard when a biz is doing well and has stable customers, then all of a sudden life forces our hand to make some quick changes, I've been there and it's hard. {{hugs}} but DON'T make decide on anything till you get there. Never know, biz might do better there then in a big city. thumbs_up.gif

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kansaslaura Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 10:47pm
post #4 of 13

I'm here to tell you right now that rural areas will not pay big city prices for cakes. My jaw drops everytime I read some of the prices others get here for cakes. I charge $50 for my 12x18 sheet cake and am far from as busy as I'd like to be. Rural folks are more likely to do it themselves or consider it 'just cake' and pick up a Wal-Mart cake for $24.95..... And forgeetabout getting to live out your artisitic fantasies by creating carved masterpieces on a regular basis. Even my best customers still want the sheetcake.

I wanted to give it to you straight from one who is living it--not meaning to be a total wet blanket, but I'd take a hard look at your market close will you be to a large town??

Good luck, I hope you can continue to charge what you do and stay busy!!

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cakes47 Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 10:52pm
post #5 of 13

Oh Gosh!!! I pray you won't have to move to small town, USA!!! Your work is
absolutely wonderful to not be able to continue with it. But who knows, you
just may luck out and hit a sweet area to continue with your creations!!
Good luck and all the very best!!! icon_smile.gif

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Kitagrl Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 10:55pm
post #6 of 13

Thanks everyone so far!

Kansaslaura....Nope I totally appreciate the blunt truth. That's what I was looking for.

I'll be able to tell you guys more when I find out...there is a "city" about 30 minutes from the place we are looking at but its not as big as, of course, the Philly area. And even a larger city, if its a "rural" general area, still...judging by the few prices for cakes I've seen online (and the cakes looked pretty good, they weren't amateurish) I had to give a *gulp* and an "uh oh". My problem is I'm spoiled...due to the market here, I can easily charge high prices and still the fancy cakeries will STILL outcharge me! I don't know if I can go much lower and still be happy doing cakes though..ya know?

Hmmm good thoughts, love reading all this...I'll keep you all posted but keep posting thoughts, its great....I hesitated even posting until I knew for sure but I like to have other viewpoints to think about...since I can't get it off my mind. haha.

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All4Show Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 10:58pm
post #7 of 13

Kansaslaura, just curious. What do you charge per serving for wedding cakes and what part of our fair state are you located in?

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deMuralist Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 11:11pm
post #8 of 13

It looks like you are truly talented, maybe with the Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes on tv, you can create a niche. Maybe be able to find a group of wanna bes that would be willing to pay a bit to create a buzz around their party?

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costumeczar Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 11:30pm
post #9 of 13

I think it's fair to warn you that if you do move to a small town, you should check out the opinion of the "locals" toward the "come heres", as they so snottily refer to people who have relocated to Richmond (where I live). You should feel around first to decide whether people have a good attitude toward new arrivals, or if it's going to be like banging your head against a brick wall trying to get people to realize that you live there. In Richmond it's really laughable...Unless your great-grandparents were born here, you're considered to be a newcomer. I had one person tell me that if this was my home I'd feel differently about some local news...Uh, I've lived here for almost 12 years, dummy.

I think that if the place you end up is like this, it could really hurt your business if you come in all gangbusters, like you've come from the big city to save them from their rural nightmare. A softer approach where you mention your background and achievements, but don't throw that out as the first thing, might be better.

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JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 11:30pm
post #10 of 13

I would NOT advertise myself as a "big city" caker worthy of charging higher prices. Doing that insinuates that big city is better than rural, which would be pretty offensive to the RURAL people whose business you're going after. It's also a good way to insult the cakers already working there who believe their cakes are just as good as anyone elses. You don't want to offend the competition.

I grew up in a small, rural town and people who live in rural areas tend to be a bit more down-to-earth...even those that have the money to pay "big city" prices. In fact, many move to rural areas to get away from the big city and that mindset. They don't take kindly to "big city" folk who think rural people are less sophisticated just because they live in the country. I can already hear people saying, "She can take her big city prices right back to the big city!" icon_lol.gif

Now, if you do something that no one else in town does, charge what you want, keeping the local economy in mind. You will likely find SOME people who will pay, but not nearly as many as you're used to. You might even charge a bit more for all your cakes than the competition does...a bit, but not double...and certainly not because you're from a big city.

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Kitagrl Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 11:42pm
post #11 of 13

Just as an aside, I'm a "big city transplant"...I have rural roots. icon_smile.gif I just haven't been in a rural area for awhile. I started caking in a rural area but then of course price wasn't even an issue. I learned pricing in the big city area and got used to my business here.

But I do love rural areas and was raised that way. thumbs_up.gif Really, if I just close up shop and buy the kids a dog, I think I'd be happy...but on the other hand I want all the information to decide what I should do...I don't want to waste all the experience I've had, and the portfolio I've made, and all that...unless its just what ends up being right for us.

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JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 11 Jul 2010 , 12:00am
post #12 of 13

Kitagrl - If you're in no rush to start your business in the new town, what you might do first is get involved in the community, church, etc. That gives people a chance to get to know (and like) you. People are often more likely to buy from someone they know and like. (Also more likely to take advantage of people they know and like, but you can't win 'em all!) Start taking cakes to things...for free...and people will definitely ask you about them. That will lead you to talk about your previous business and how you've thought about starting again but aren't sure you can charge what you'd need to. You'll learn pretty quickly what people will pay for your cakes. But also, through conversation, you can subtly educate them on just what goes into decorating amazing cakes and build value in your product.

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cheatize Posted 11 Jul 2010 , 12:23am
post #13 of 13

It's a whole new marketing plan, that's for sure. If a big city is near enough, you can get business from there. However, you will be more likely to have to travel to meet the customer instead of them coming to you. I live fairly close to Columbus. I have a friend who I grew up with- we lived 5 minutes apart by car- in a rural area. She lives in Columbus now and thinks driving 20 minutes to my place to "too far, too long" to travel. Shoot, we used to walk farther than that just to hang out with each other. I know a lot of people with this mind-set. If it takes more than 5 minutes to drive there, it's a "trip" and is too far- as if it's an all day event. LOL

Something else to keep in mind is the cost of living. Grocery, gas, rent, insurance, etc... may all be cheaper. Looking online at what people charge for cakes doesn't tell you the whole story. You may not have to charge what you charge now to keep the same income.

As for people who move from the city to country, in my small town I've found they bring big city expectations with them a lot of the time. I have talked to a lot of people who moved here because they wanted a small town and the housing is cheaper. Then they tell me how unfair it is that the school doesn't have a swimming pool, that the school building are too old and they can't believe people won't vote to raise taxes to build new ones. Umm, new taxes= more money from your pocket and you wanted cheaper living. Some people think it's great that their child goes to middle school in the same building that the child's grandmother graduated high school.
Sorry, not trying to start a school funding debate. icon_smile.gif I understand both sides of the issue.

My point is that former city folk who now live rurally sometimes ARE willing to pay the big bucks and consider the higher price to mean higher quality. After all, they are generally the ones who move into the newly built $400,000 houses that are surrounded by the $60,000 40 year old (and older) homes.

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