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Sensitive question

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am not sure how to ask this in order not to sound uppity or anything else negative, so please take it with a grain of salt... icon_biggrin.gif

I have seen a few local bakeries online, as well as a few grocery stores that sell a certain number of customized 3D kids cakes. I mean, there are some sites from people on here that I am in awe when I see their stuff, but honestly some of the local sites I have seen (in my geographical area), I could easily make cakes just as nice. (That is what I hope people will understand what I am saying and not take it wrong...)

My question is not that I think I am better than others, but I am just wondering what their secret is? I mean, they are obviously making enough money to upkeep a bakery and I am only getting a few cake orders here and there. Granted, I work out of my home...but I have heard of lots and lots of big time bakeries that started out that same way. How is it that many, okay, "average bakers" (everyone here is way above average icon_biggrin.gif ) have a booming business yet some incredibly talented home bakers (I wouldn't consider myself incredible although I am shooting for it someday!) don't have very many customers?

Any ideas?
post #2 of 19
Kitagrl~ How long have you been in business? How do you promote your business? Price might be a factor...because it certainly dictates some people's purchases. Are you making yourself visual? There have been some really good threads recently discussing just HOW to get yourself on the radar screens of potential customers.

Your cakes are beautiful.........can't imagine why these people aren't ringing your phone off the wall! LOL Shame on them!
It's FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!! WOO-HOOOOOOO! I'm for whoever is playing OU!!!
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It's FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!! WOO-HOOOOOOO! I'm for whoever is playing OU!!!
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post #3 of 19
your cakes are definately incredible. in fact i want to do the oscar one you did for my nephews first birthday. (his name is oscar) maybe you just need more advertisement. i really cant tell you cause i dont get any orders either. i do mostly for family but i just recently got an order from the strawberry short cake i did for my daughter. so i am happy about that. hope things pick up for you soon.
Carla-wife to Anthony, Mother to Tony and Sera, Servant to God

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Carla-wife to Anthony, Mother to Tony and Sera, Servant to God

www.facebook.com/cakemeaway
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post #4 of 19
I think it has to do with marketing. A lot of times restaurants and other food establishments (i.e. - Starbucks) buy their desserts from bakeries. They then slice them up and sell them to their customers. Even businesses that celebrate employee birthdays on a monthly basis may have a standing order with a local bakery. The cakes don't always have to be good just decent and affordable.
If you are going to doubt something, doubt your limits.
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If you are going to doubt something, doubt your limits.
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post #5 of 19
I really think word of mouth is the way to get the ball rolling. Do you give out business cards with each cake? One happy customer tells 10 more...

The stores near you are busy because people know about them and maybe even pass by them every day. They may think those bakeries are their only choice in your area and they resort to using them.

But YOU offer personalization, greater skill and more choice to customers. Get them to realize that and watch how busy you become! icon_biggrin.gif
post #6 of 19
I've been getting busy lately; the best thing to do is make a bunch of free mini cakes for people. Go all out on them; decorate them to the hilt, use the best ingredients, make them so gorgeous that people don't want to eat them. And then hand them out to people in the event industry: florists, bridal shop owners, photographers.....and also people you know. Hand out a bunch of business cards along with the cakes, and tell people you have a cake business. You'll start to get hopping! People will remember you. It's an investment on time and of money, but it's worth while. You would not believe how it is working out for me.
I love my lil' munchkin
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I love my lil' munchkin
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post #7 of 19
Your cakes are awesome, but they are speciality cakes. You need to find people who are spending a lot of money on children's birthday parties. How about visiting some of the more expensive daycare centers or private grade schools and offering them a free cake? You could give them a freebie in exchange for posting one of your flyers. You could ask if you could participate in their next carnival or other school function.

You have to network. If you don't belong to a large church, then go visit one. See if you can bring in a cake for the sunday school snack. Check out a local SAHM group and offer them a cake. Have you contacted anyone who hosts children's parties? If the parents will spend $400 on having Strawberry Shortcake at the party, then they'll probably spend the extra money to have a cake that looks like her too.

hth
Sleep deprived
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Sleep deprived
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post #8 of 19
i agree with everybody else. its all a matter of advertisment. i am just starting out in my business, so not much money to adverstise.....so i think the free give away cakes are the way to go. just be on the look out for events in your community and offer to do the cake for them, in exchange for adversistment.
like i said, very new to this, so i dont have customers just rolling in yet....but i did a couple of craft shows that only cost me $30.00 each and i got lots of exposure from that, and some cake orders for b-day cakes.
i have been dying to do a wedding cake, but dont know any brides.
\\
i think i am going to try ellepals advice and make some mini cakes.
one question, can i see a picture of a mini cake? please
my brain is blank
thanks so much
and i wish each of us in the cake business success for the new year!!

melody
post #9 of 19
melody.....go to the wedding cake gallery, and click on mini-cakes. They have a plethera of them as examples.
I love my lil' munchkin
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I love my lil' munchkin
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post #10 of 19
thank you ellepal! btw i love your cakes!!!!
melody
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks all!

I have just now started doing a bit more advertising. Also I think its price. I am hooked up with one kids party lady and only now just had my first order from her. She thinks I charge kind of alot but says she doesn't mind if her customers are willing to pay it. (I charged $60 for that castle cake for her...my online cake friends tell me I could be charging even more than I do now, but somehow I think I am at my maximum for what people will pay me at this stage.)

I feel like I haven't hit my market quite yet...my cakes are different from alot of people's around here (at least that I've seen) and I am thinking maybe people aren't quite willing to pay more for that. I am getting customers, but for some reason, even with my referral bonuses I offer, I have gotten zero referrals. They even rave about the taste, the look, etc, and that their friends loved the cake...but where are the friends now? haha.

I think my key will be making the beautiful sample cakes....great idea. With the holidays I haven't gotten to do that yet but that needs to be my next step. Thanks!
post #12 of 19
It is a matter of marketing. I know there are 2 cake places in my area that do "ok" cakes and about the prices that I charge. But since they are a business w/a location that people see, they are "out there" more. So as an individual, you have to do more advertising and getting the word around then they would. You aren't going to have that luxury of people just driving by.
Although----I have had a number of people come up to me at a party and ask about the cake. Then I proudly say I made it and hand them a business card.
New Year's Resolution: I will not keep making the same old mistakes-I'll make all new ones.
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New Year's Resolution: I will not keep making the same old mistakes-I'll make all new ones.
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post #13 of 19
Kitagrl~ I love your castle cake! I think that though many customers would love it too....$60 is beyond their budgets. I know that location determines what you can get for any product. If it were me, where I am located...I'd have to provide less for awhile to get their attention. Then work up to the realy cool designs, like the castle. With the enconomy like it is, many are tightfisted- and understandibly so. Don't get me wrong~ there is a market for these cakes...but finding it might take awhile when you're just starting out. HANG IN THERE!
It's FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!! WOO-HOOOOOOO! I'm for whoever is playing OU!!!
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It's FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!! WOO-HOOOOOOO! I'm for whoever is playing OU!!!
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post #14 of 19
kitagirl,
Your cakes are amazing. I understand where you are coming from. I am just starting out and want to charge a measly 20.00 and my sister thinks that is to high. Do they realize how much time and effort we put into this? Its our art!
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've been doing cakes now for about, I guess.... 6 years or so. I started out making them really cheap for friends and word of mouth, also I lived down south where the cost of living is less. I moved up here and I am not rich but I am definately surrounded by rich people and the cost of living is very high here in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I have had customers buy over $100 worth of cake alone for their kid's first birthday and that isn't even half of what they paid for the party.

I personally could not pay $60 for a cake either...haha...I'm too cheap. But if I don't charge that much, then I am not getting enough for my time to make it worthwhile. I know people here can afford it, I think its just going to be about getting my name out there.
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