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Selling Cupcakes/Cakes as a Vendor or Exhibitor

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm looking into becoming a vendor/exhibitor at local expo's and conventions. I've never done this before and I'm a small business owner (operating out of a licensed home kitchen) so I really need some advice!!

First, how many cupcakes should I anticipate making for sale per event. For example, this first event is expecting between 10,000-16,000 people (it's a huge kid-friendly event) so how many cupcakes should I anticipate making? Please keep in mind that I will be selling cupcakes, not sampling for free. As of right now, there are NO other cake/cupcake vendors selling cupcakes. I was thinking of doing some cupcakes, minis, and cake slices but I just have no idea how many to make of each.

Second, how should I structure my 10x10 booth? I have created easy-to-read menus and signage to hang on the back curtain (somehow) and will likely have two "cashiers" (operating out of little cash boxes). I plan to have several cupcake stands to hold the cupcakes and also display fake cakes for advertising. Each cupcake/cake slice sold will have my logo/contact info and will also get a business card. Because of all of this, I was thinking a table in the back with all of the cupcakes and stands (so that no one thinks they are free samples and just walk off with them). A table in the front with the cashiers, two tables on each side with display cakes and extra cupcakes. Any thoughts??

Thirdly, who should I be contacting to get the connections I need to be sure that I can continue being a vendor at these functions? (just thought I'd ask in case there's a trade secret icon_smile.gif

Fourth, if there are any tips you have gained from your experience in selling cupcakes at large scale events, I'd love to hear it. Oh, I plan to make large cakes (4-5 inches tall, torted, filled, and frosted) and sold by the slice. Any thoughts on how much you'd charge for those, regular cupcakes, and minis?

I know it's a lot to ask and I'd appreciate any and all thoughts. I've already read through all the threads I could find on anything similar and have learned so much! Thank you, CC family!
post #2 of 27
I'm no expert but do have some experience in selling at flea market. display a sign in big bold letters clearly stating cake and cupcakes for sale and the prices, so you don't have to repeat it 1000 times. Don't hide your cupcakes for sale on the back table, you want it under peoples noses. Do see that they are covered with something transparent though. You don't want coughing and spitting on a product that people are going to consume. Also, at an event like that feet kick up alot of dust. Display your bigger cakes for advertising on the back table with something that says "cakes made to order" or similar.
You can charge alittle more for the sliced up cake than you would for what you sell the cake whole to cover packaging. I'd have a variety of choices although I think the cupcakes are more practical to sell. I'd work on a figure of one portion for 15-20 percent of expected feet bying if you are not well known, if you are only there for one day. Hope this helps
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Wow! Thank you so much! That is some great advice! I just learned that I cannot sell slices of cake so I'm really limited to cupcakes and minicupcakes (which is fine by me).

I'm super excited about it but I also stay up at night just thinking "Wow, what does 1,000 cupcakes and 2,000 mini cupcakes even look like???" haha. Thank you again, Sharonvdberg!
post #4 of 27
I have never sold at a show like this, so take my advice for what it is worth icon_rolleyes.gif But when you said mini cupcakes, I thought of the sheer amount of work, no less work than a regular cupcake, yet some how worth less because of the .05 less of batter and icing. I FLAT OUT would NOT sell them at a large event like this. I would only sell regular cupcakes. And speaking of the dirt, I do think a large covered display in the front to show examples, but serve from boxes in the back. If you use a cake board in the bottom, you should be able to stack them high. I would go with at least 4 flavors, so there is "something for everyone" I think I would do no more than 8 flavors. And I would probably fill half of them as well.

Considering 1 piece of pizza goes for $6 or $8 at a show like this, you could probably sell a cupcake for $4, but I don't buy pizza for that much and I certainly wouldn't spend that on a cupcake! I am sure there are more like me, and if I saw pizza for $8, and cupcakes for $2, I would let my kids fill up on cupcakes! But keep it at an even number for ease of math because it will be hard to think when 10,000 people are walking past!

Also, if you are certain there will be at least 10,000, maybe 15,000, I would bring AT LEAST 5,000. If you have the freezer space, you could make up a big box of cupcakes, ice and fill them, slide it in a garbage bag, and pop it in the freezer. As you run out of freezer space, make the rest of them closer to the date. Put the frozen ones on the bottom of the stack, and the fresh ones on top. LABEL EVERYTHING!! And twice as much yellow and chocolate than everything else.

And everything the pp said.
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #5 of 27
Just have to agree with the pp about not doing the minis. People will opt for them because they are cheaper but, they will not take you less time to make. Stick with one size. And I would stick with just 2 or 3 flavors (jmho). Maybe 2 classic flavors...like a chocolate and a white and then something a little different than ordinary.
Have fun and good luck!
post #6 of 27
Please let me know how everything turns out.
I WISH YOU GREAT SUCCESS.

I did a small function and sold out I used 12oz. cups and lids.
The cupcake sat on the lid and I covered it with the cup. Clear and tall enough to accomadate the decorations on top.

Happy Baking and Decorating,
Chef Angie
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefAngie

Please let me know how everything turns out.
I WISH YOU GREAT SUCCESS.

I did a small function and sold out I used 12oz. cups and lids.
The cupcake sat on the lid and I covered it with the cup. Clear and tall enough to accomadate the decorations on top.

Happy Baking and Decorating,
Chef Angie



I love the idea of the cups! How did you transport them? Do you think several thousand would take up too much space? Do you think a shorter cup would work as well? I saw some that were recyclable also. I am not a "tree hugger" but I try to buy recyclable when I can, and recycle everything I can. I know that most of those cups aren't recyclable at all. Generally a 5 or 6, and in my area you can only recycle a 1 or 2. .....Though I doubt there will be many recycle bins there.....
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
post #8 of 27
I recycle,too.
I had some flower boxes that were sturdy and held 20 cups each. The base of a full sheet cake box is sturdy enough to hold the cups.
If you have access to bakers racks(roll of plastic wrap or bakers rack covers will hold the cupcakes in place) and a truck - The cupcakes sit on full sheet pans lined with antislip pads- you can transport a lot of cupcakes. The 12oz. drinking cups and lids worked extremely well and were cheaper than the single cupcake containers.
I get the antislip pads from Dollar Tree.
Hope this helps.
Happy Baking and Decorating,
Chef Angie
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
Well, I booked the booth! Woo-hoo! Then, I realized there is a convention or expo every two weeks that I can participate in and then one of the coordinators for a show contacted me asking to do mini-cake-lesson on the main stage in exchange for a $350 discount! Yowza! How can I say no to that? It's basically free advertising for the cake classes I teach anyway! I'm learning that it's amazing what you can get by just asking "Hey! Are there any discounts that I can get in on??"

I've read through all of your great advice and posts and unfortunately, due to the restrictions of the expo center, I can't sell individual cupcakes (bummer, I know!). I have to sell in cases of 6 or 12 and I can also do a 12 pack of minis. Not ideal, I know icon_sad.gif

I know it's not ideal to imagine me baking 3,000 cupcakes in one day but I want them all to taste their best without freezing (I never freeze my cakes and so I wouldn't want to mess with a new method on such a big day). Any suggestions on how to keep them all fresh over night?

Thank you again and keep the advice coming! icon_smile.gif Happy baking!

P.S. Anyone know where to buy bulk cupcake liners and mini-liners that are cheaper than Walmart's prices or cheap, plain bags to put the containers in?
post #10 of 27
Go to plasticcontainercity.com. If you have your tax ID number you can order from DECOPAC, BAKERYCRAFT.
Plastic Cupcake & Muffin Containers

At Plastic Container City, we sell beautiful & strong, clear plastic cupcake containers, for bakery packaging of cupcakes & muffins.

LBH7212-1
12 mini cupcake & mini muffin plastic container
Outer Dimensions: 8.63 x 7.13 x 2.38"
Bottom Cup Diameter 1 3/8"
Case Pack: 250 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.45



LBH6162-1
12 mini cupcake & mini muffin plastic container
This container can hold mini cupcakes with a narrow cap & extra frosting on top.
(This container has a deeper inside height than LBH7212-1 but less space for a wide cap.)

Outer Dimensions: 8 3/4 x 6 3/8 x 2 1/8"
Bottom Cup Diameter 1.5"
Case Pack: 225 pieces
Each Piece $0.45




16115f1007p1-16115f021-lid-1
17 mini muffins in round black tray with clear dome
Outer Diameter: 11 5/8" x 2 3/16"
Bottom Cup Diameter 1 1/2"
Case Pack: 100 pieces
Each Piece $1.50



S-SD5-SDL58-lid-1
1 cavity plastic cupcake cup with dome lid. Base has slight indentation.
Dimensions: 3 1/2 x 3 1/2"
Bottom Cup Diameter 2.5"
Inside Height 3 "
Each $ 0.45



AF-872-1
Single cupcake container with hinged lid. This container features extra space for a cap that can measure up to 3 3/4" with a snap-lock lid.
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2.68"
Cap Width: 3 3/4"
Height: 3 1/4"
Case Pack: 200 pieces
Each: $0.28



1611-02409-1
Single cavity hinged muffin container
Outer Dimensions: 5 1/2" x 5" x 3.43"
Bottom Cup Diameter 2 5/8"
Case Pack: 400 pieces
Each Piece $0.27



LBH411-1
Oblong plastic container. Can hold one cupcake. Depending on size, cupcake may be loose in package
Inner Dimensions: 4 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 2 3/8"
Outer Dimensions 4 7/8 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/8"
Each $ 0.23



LBH413-1
Oblong plastic container. Can hold one cupcake. Depending on size, cupcake may be loose in package
Inner Dimensions: 4 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 3 1/8"
Outer Dimensions: 4 7/8 x 4 1/2 x 3 1/8"
Each $ 0.24



LBH431-1
Square plastic container. Can hold one large muffin. Depending on size, muffin may be loose in package
Inner Dimensions: 3 5/8 x 3 1/4 x 3 7/16"
Outer Dimensions: 4 1/2 x 4 7/16 x 3 7/16"
Each $ 0.26



R-2002-1
2 cavity cupcake muffin container with deep dome
Outer Dimensions: 6.25 x 3.5 x 3.5"
Bottom Cup Diameter 2"
Case Pack: 100 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.55



1611-02126-1
2 cavity muffin container with deep dome
Outer Dimensions: 8 15/16 x 5 15/32 x 3 1/4"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 1/2"
Case Pack: 250 pieces
Each Piece $0.36



1611-02341-1
Three cavity muffin container
Outer Dimensions: 12 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 3 1/8"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 3/4"
Case Pack: 300 pieces
Each Piece $0.57



LBH6404-1
4 cavity cupcake container
Outer Dimensions: 6 3/4 x 6 3/4 x 2 7/8"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 1/8 "
Case Pack: 250 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.38



LBH7104-1
4 cavity cupcake muffin container
Outer Dimensions: 7 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 2 7/8 "
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 1/2 "
Case Pack: 500 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.41



LBH8204-1
4 cavity large muffin container
Outer Dimensions: 8 x 8 1/4 x 3 1/4"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 5/8"
Case Pack: 250 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.46



SL72-1
4 cavity 6 oz muffin container with black base & clear dome
Outer Dimensions: 7 9/16 x 8 x 2 7/8"
Bottom Cup Diameter:
Case Pack: 300 pieces
Each Piece $ 1.05




F-T6806-1
6 Cavity muffin tray with no lid.
Outer Dimensions: 9 1/2" x 6 5/8" x 1"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2"
Case Pack: 1000
Each Piece: $0.21



LBH6636-1
6 cavity cupcake containers & muffin container with shallow lid
Outer Dimensions: 9 3/8 x 6 3/4 x 2 3/8"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 1/8 "
Case Pack: 250 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.39



LBH6646-1
6 cavity cupcake containers & muffin container with standard lid
Outer Dimensions: 9 3/8 x 6 3/4 x 2 7/8"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 1/8 "
Case Pack: 250 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.44



LBH6656-1
6 cavity cupcake containers & muffin container with deep lid
Outer Dimensions: 9 3/8 x 6 3/4 x 4 "
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 1/8 "
Case Pack: 250 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.48




W-10X7H356CSLP-1 Super Clear Container
6 cavity cupcake containers & muffin container with deep lid
Container locks by snapping down all 4 corners
Outer Dimensions:
Bottom Cup Diameter:
Case Pack: 125 pcs
Each Piece $0.74




1611-02006-1
6 Square cupcake/muffin
Outer Dimensions: 8 1/4 x 5 3/4 x 2 1/2"
Bottom Cup Dimension 2 x 2"
Case Pack: 200 pieces
Each Piece $0.30



LBH8906-1
6 cavity 5.5 oz muffin container
Outer Dimensions: 11.19 x 8.25 x 2.88"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 13/16"
Case Pack: 250 pieces
Each Piece $ 0.51




1611-02364-1
9 compartment muffin & cupcake hinged plastic container black base & clear dome
Outer Dimensions: 11 3/4" x 2 5/16" x 3 1/2"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 3/4"
Case Pack: 100 pieces
Each Piece $2.37



1611-02050-1
12 compartment cupcake muffin container low dome
Outer Dimensions: 12 13/16" x 9 7/8" x 2 7/8"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2"
Case Pack: 100 pieces
Each Piece $1.02



LBH9222-1
12 cavity cupcake muffin container deep dome
Outer Dimensions: 13 x 10 3/8 x 3 5/8 "
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2 "
Case Pack: 100 pieces
Each Piece $ 1.02





W-13X10H3512CSLP-1
Super Clear Container 12 cavity cupcake muffin container deep dome
Container locks by closing the two bar locks & snapping down on the 2 back corners
Outer Dimensions: 12 3/4" x 9 7/8" x 3 2/3"
Bottom Cup Diameter: 2"
Case Pack: 75 pcs
Each Piece $1.30

Hope this helps.
Happy Baking and Decorating,
Chef Angie
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltCakeCity

.........I know it's not ideal to imagine me baking 3,000 cupcakes in one day but I want them all to taste their best without freezing (I never freeze my cakes and so I wouldn't want to mess with a new method on such a big day). Any suggestions on how to keep them all fresh over night?.........



I don't know how you bake, but I do know that freezing ONCE does not mess up the flavor at all, in MOST cases. I understand that there are some organic or scratch recipes that get a little crumbly after being frozen, but in MOST cases, freezing 1 time and thawing 1 day can actually make cakes and cupcakes more moist.

And I know of places that sell that many cupcakes everyday, and they don't freeze, but they have tons of staff and ovens large enough to bake a group of 6 people at once! (5 of us all walked into the oven when it was being repaired one day, just to see if we would all fit, we had room to spare)

Rather than trying a new method for such a big day, why don't you bake up a batch of your famous cupcakes, and freeze half and cover the other half overnight? Thaw out 1 of your cupcakes in the morning and try it around lunch, and have one of your "fresh" ones. keep thawing and testing each day and see if they taste bad.

The grocery store cakes do taste weird and often-frozen, but they are baked in disposable cardboard boxes and they taste like wet cardboard boxes when thawed. They are also frozen and thawed several times in most cases, though you get some fresher ones sometimes. Plus, they start with the cheapest sub-standard ingredients they can get. If you use good ingredients, don't bake in a cardboard box, and freeze only once in a clean, fishstick-free freezer, and serve at room temp, you will be just fine. Just try it! It will make your life easier!

P.S. I think cupcakes are dry the first day, I prefer them on the second day, and I always freeze my cupcake orders, with the filling in them. I ice them when they are still frozen and put them in the box and close it. If they have gumpaste or fondant decorations, I put them on when thaw. They are AWESOME!!!
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
post #12 of 27
Great idea with the lids! SCC bake some cupcakes beforehand and do what Annabakescakes does then you will know for sure. you don't want to wear yourself out before the show and not beable to do the demo. You will see what works and what not at the show. pretty soon you'll be a pro and give us advice. Best of luck.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice! I've never frozen cakes or cupcakes before so this will definitely be a first if I do (and it would be SUCH a time saver). So today, I baked a few cupcakes and minis and just popped them into the freezer in three different ways (after doing my research on CC, I've learned that there are several ways to do it).

1. Wrapped unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap and then put in a ziploc bag.

2. Placed unfrosted cupcakes in an air-tight plastic container.

3. Placed frosted cupcakes in an air-tight plastic container.

I will be sure to check back in a few days with my scientific findings! Thank you!
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltCakeCity

Thank you for the advice! I've never frozen cakes or cupcakes before so this will definitely be a first if I do (and it would be SUCH a time saver). So today, I baked a few cupcakes and minis and just popped them into the freezer in three different ways (after doing my research on CC, I've learned that there are several ways to do it).

1. Wrapped unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap and then put in a ziploc bag.

2. Placed unfrosted cupcakes in an air-tight plastic container.

3. Placed frosted cupcakes in an air-tight plastic container.

I will be sure to check back in a few days with my scientific findings! Thank you!



you forgot

4. stick a tray of uniced, filled cup cakes in the freezer. When frozen solid, dump the whole tray into a CLEAN FRESH UNSCENTED garbage bag. Cram bag half on top of ice cube tray, half on top of pot pie and chicken fingers and freeze dried curly fries.

Then I take 2 out at a time and ice them (with a butter knife!) and put them in a sandwich baggie for DH's lunch.

Or, yesterday, I took the bag out, put it on the counter and an hour later we all grabbed two and ate them. They had been frozen a week and a half and they were good!
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
Reply
post #15 of 27
He he Anna, you're funny. SCC, love to hear the outcome. Do report!
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