Baking for the Home Business Start Up – Cake Decorating
There are so many positive aspects of starting your own business. Being Your Own Boss is an exciting opportunity to be creative and flexible, although working from home does require self-discipline and ongoing motivation.
If you love baking and enjoy being creative, establishing a cake decorating business will be a natural and enjoyable next step for you.
A cake decorating business can be a good retirement source of income and a part-time job for a second income or to support stay at home moms and dads. You can pace your work only taking on cake decorating jobs you can fit it between other commitments.
The cost of starting your cake decorating business is a lot less than you might think, especially when compared to more traditional brick and mortar businesses. Since your first step should be to create a service from your home, you can save on overhead costs, such as rental space, larger equipment and of course, staff.
Baking for the Home Business Start-Up – Cake Decorating
To start your business, you will just need the essentials:
Your business name and what type of decorating you will focus on.
Will you supply decorated cakes to shops, selling at markets, promoting your cakes to other school moms, decorating on consignment with special orders for weddings, birthdays, Easter, religious events?
Make a few choices about your priorities and remember these will change as you grow into your business. Just start and let people know you are decorating cakes. Over time you will learn what the market wants and the respond to their needs.
Always check out your competition, look at what they do well, their price structure and create ways to be different or better. Focus on what the customer wants, provide value in unique cake decorating designs, quality ingredients, beautiful packaging and always deliver your orders on time every time.
Never underestimate ” word of mouth” as your best promotion strategy.
As you decide where you want to focus on just to launch your business, You need to consider promotion, and this can be both offline and online.
Don’t worry about a website just yet, however, a business Facebook page is all you need.
Whether you intend on focusing just on this market or expanding to include other special events like anniversaries, birthdays, catering or restaurants, there is a lot of potential and an enormous opportunity for you to make an ongoing, steady profit just by baking and decorating these cakes.
Wedding Cake Consultations
The bride or her mother will request more information (prices) via email or phone. When setting the appointment for a consultation, ask the bride to bring any photographs or magazine clippings, sketches, whatever is needed to communicate what her wedding is in her mind.
You will be reviewing all the details, decorations, and colors. Ask her to also bring any fabric swatches (or even paint chips) if she wants color in her cake design. If she already bought a cake topper or other ornaments for her cake, she should bring them as well.
A cake tasting is usually the first step toward making sure the finished cake is exactly what the bride wants. The bride will sample the different cake flavors that you offer, and you will work together to figure out the costs. Use your best china and silver or flatware. When serving cake the interested party, serve hot coffee or tea and water.
One way you can set yourself apart from other bakeries is to show how you can truly tailor the cake to their needs. As a sole operator you are here for them, not just bake and decorate another cake.
Discuss the budget genuinely as being up-front with your clients regarding pricing is the best way to avoid misunderstandings later.
During your cake consultation, there are several key areas that should be discussed:
Cake Design & Style:
Have her bring photos, if possible, of cakes that she likes.
Buttercream, fondant, royal icing, etc
Fresh flowers, edible beading , etc
Cake topper styles
Traditional, fresh floral, sugared fruit
Pricing and Delivery Fees and Terms
Cancellation and Change to Requirement Policies
Conduct the consultation assuming that the order will be closed and deposit received at this meeting. Begin filling in the blanks on the agreement and discuss the cost of everything as you go along.
Remember to be especially tactful and sensitive when discussing your cancellation policy.
Brides usually do not come to a wedding cake consultation with thoughts of canceling on their minds! Make sure you mention it but don’t dwell on it.
A very important part of your agreement is the list of telephone numbers of various people that you may need to contact before the wedding and possibly on the day of the wedding.
If all of those names and numbers are not yet known, be sure to follow up later.
The discussion of the cake tier sizes and artistic design of the cake can be very quick and easy if a bride comes with pictures and firm ideas.
Have your own portfolio of cakes handy, don’t forget to take a photo of every cake you decorate for your portfolio and as your business develops these can be placed on your website or facebook site. It’s Ok to promote offline when you get started to get you name in the market place.
Once the design decision is made, be very careful to put every minute detail on the agreement, using separate pages if necessary.
Include your sketches, magazine clippings, photographs, and any color samples brought by the bride.
It is very important to note the size and shape of each tier requested, as well as all design details. Write down these details.
If the couple desires a groom’s cake, the same attention to detail is necessary as you complete the section of the agreement for this second cake.
Once the agreement is filled in, ask the bride if she would like to go ahead and reserve her wedding date on your calendar today by signing the agreement and paying a deposit.
As your business grows, you will be able to mention that “dates are filling up fast.” This isn’t a “hard sell” per se, just the truth.
When the agreement has been signed, make a copy for the bride.
Occasionally, a bride will have already set up a consultation with another cake decorator and will prefer to wait before signing the agreement. This is all part of being in a service business particularly the wedding service business.
Brides will occasionally want to check out at least one other shop before making a firm decision. (Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you or your cakes.) It often depends on how prepared the bride is. If they are organized and have plenty of time to shop for services, they’ll shop around. If time is of the essence, they may be ready to sign the contract and leave a deposit.
If the bride left the consultation without having made her final decision, send a letter immediately thanking her for her time for coming to discuss her wedding cake.
If she left with any unanswered questions, provide the information she needed. Remind her that you are available by telephone and e-mail to answer any questions she may have and wish her well as she plans her special day.