I am a small town baker (making cakes, cupcakes and cookies) and have been asked if I wanted a table at a local ladies shopping night event. It is christmas themed, attracts about 400 people, and there will be an assortment of products that people can buy, such as jewelry, candles, crafts, beauty products,,etc. I am very excited for the opportunity, and am just wondering what sorts of goodies I should have available for sale? I was thinking of having bags with 3 or 4 mini decorated cookies in them, maybe some bags with one larger cookie, and selling individual cupcakes. I have never done an event like this before, and was just wondering how successful things like that sell, especially given that the event is taking place one month before christmas. I just don't want to end up an epic failure, nor do I want to invest all the time and money into it if things aren't going to sell. I would so much appreciate you sharing your own experiences with similar events and your thoughts. Thank you!
My small town bakery has participated, now, in two Ladies Shopping Luncheons. The first year, we made table center pieces as part of our donation to the cause and we actually had items to sell, such as boxes of chocolate sweets (bars like s'mores and mint brownies) and cupcakes. We found the items did not sell well. The ladies were spending big bucks on purses, jewelry and other items, but the bakery items were not being purchased. We did find that we had many ladies visit the bakery after discovering us and tasting our goodies (centerpieces). This year, we again participated in the table decorations, but displayed Wedding Cake dummies along with fliers and our business cards. Many stopped and talked with us and we were quick to let them know the cupcakes on the table were made by us. Our logo was on every cupcake, but we wanted to personally let them know. We have had several Wedding Cake consults from the luncheon and made several promising contacts.
My experience says not to waste time with trying to sell, but maybe give mini cupcakes as samples. You don't have to have a sample for everyone, but as many as your willing to give. The contacts can help your business, especially if you are a new bakery in town. The ladies which attending our function were of the age of mothers of the bride, which was important.
Thank you for your reply! Your advice is much in line with my original thinking, which was to create a small dessert table with a variety of items for people to try,such as cookies, cupcakes, cake pops, etc. I'm going to have a list of items (with pictures) of everything that will be available for christmas time, and that way, I think people could preorder instead. That way I can make a certain amount of goodies for sampling and pretty much guarantee they will be eaten, instead of making up a lot of packages that don't sell. I did donate cupcakes to the same event last year and they were a huge hit, and they got people buzzing and I received orders because of it. I just don't like the pressure of having to sell. Lol.
puddles, I have a couple of extra points to throw in. I wouldn't make anything that you don't want to continue making. I don't sell cookies, but I made some for a similar program when I first started my business. I STILL get calls from people wanting to buy those cookies!
Also, if you are unsure about how much to bring, or how much you'll have left over - try to bring items that will either keep or freeze nicely. I have found that cookies, brownies, and stuff like banana bread will store in the freezer until you can find a proper home for them.
Those are some good tips cupadeecakes! Thank you so much for your input! I would have never thought about making things now that I might not make later- makes perfect sense!
I'm doing an event that sounds almost exactly the same (are you in PA?). I plan to bring a few dummies, a bunch of flyers, and I made promotional magnetic calendars for 2013.
I'm also going to sell 4 packs of cupcakes. I'll probably bring about 40 or so. I don't want to deal with the hassle of individual ones and messing with what flavors people want. Plus the 4-pack will go for $10 which is a nice round number for making change. I'm hoping to at least make enough to justify spending the 3-4 hours there. And of course, hopefully get some cake business!