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Starting a mini cake business? Customers...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if you guys had any good tips for starting a little cake business from home? Like...how do you get customers?!

All I can think of at the moment is friends, etc and Facebook. As I only want to do this on the side and mainly for fun, I don't want to be very bothered with getting a 'food health standard' kitchen and any of the other malarky, so I wouldn't want to draw attention to myself?
post #2 of 18
Hey Faith, I'm not sure where in the world you are, but I'm in Australia and here's my 2c worth. If you want to start a 'cake business' from home you are going to have to be bothered with getting your kitchen registered. It's not malarky, you are dealing with food and food comes with hazards, potentially fatal ones. Plus there is the fact that if you are caught selling without a food business licence you face major fines.

If you just want to do it for fun for friends and family, then don't charge and you wont have to bother with any other malarky.
post #3 of 18
Hiya, friends and family are definitely the best place to build a business from as they are good for 'word of mouth' recommendations. Work (either your own or partners) is another good place to spread the word that you are opening a business.

Now ... brace yourself for the responses to your OP. Being legal is always a hot topic on this forum so be prepared for lots of 'comments' about your choice of words.

Good luck with your business I'm sure you will make it a real winner icon_cool.gif
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Haha. Well thank you so far! I'm honestly not looking to do anything major, so perhaps friends would just be the idea for me.
I'm on 20, starting college soon and all sorts so I'm not looking for anything big at ALL.
Also, I live in England.
post #5 of 18
Hi Faith - I'm afraid you're setting yourself up to get flamed by disregarding completely the need to get registered. As Pixie said, as soon as you start charging for your cakes, and start looking for customers, then it's no longer just for fun. You are selling a product and as a seller you will have responsibilities. Depending on where you are in the world it can range from straight forward to very difficult, from what I've seen here. I've just registered my kitchen (I'm in the UK) and I've found the process very easy and straightforward, and I did so even though I only plan like you to do very few cakes and just for my own pleasure, but when I do charge for these I will also have peace of mind.
post #6 of 18
Hi I agree you need to be legal.
I would like to know what you have to do to become legal too.

So far I have only made for friends and family but people keep asking if they can buy cakes from me so am thinking of setting up after my kitchen renovation.

I am in the UK too so could you outline the prossess please idontknow?

I will only be doing 2 or 3 cakes a month as thats all I have time for but want to be legal and have insurance.
post #7 of 18
Hiya,

I am also in the UK and looking to start off very small (would like to do cakes for friends etc and maybe sell at fetes etc). I want that piece of mind that should anything go wrong despite all precautions, i won't be stung with any legal action!!

I have just been in contact with food standards and basically you will need to register as a business, and have your kitchen inspected (they will give you guidelines to be prepared beforehand). You will also need to be responsible for tax returns etc so it may pay to see if you can find a course (some are free) for starting a new business- this will often include tax information.

You will have to keep records of ALL the products/ingredients you buy, where from, use by dates etc so that if a customer DOES become ill, you can trace where it may have originated.

Lots to look at, but well worth it if you want to have a legitimate and SAFE cake business, no matter how small. Good luck!!! icon_biggrin.gif
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post #8 of 18
Oh and with regards to customers- friends and family (as others have said) are a great starting base to get the word out. Lots of freebie tasters will help icon_wink.gif

Also, as I mentioned before I plan to sell cakes/cupcakes at fetes etc. Try craft fairs- once you're all legit, they may be the kind of places where you are likely to come across the type of people who are willing to pay that little bit extra for a quality cake, as opposed to dry, tasteless supermarket cakes.

And also, visit http://www.vistaprint.co.uk where they often have offers of free business cards (which you can hand out at your sales etc), and at the moment I believe you can also set up your own website free through them. You then just pay a small fee each month. Well worth a look!! HTH
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Newbie Caker, but loving it so far!!

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post #9 of 18
There's some great comments on this thread already...I have no idea what the process is for running a legal food business in the UK, but in general you will probably want to take a look into that process if you will be using facebook and other methods to advertise. If you rely solely on word-of-mouth, do not advertise at all, and sell only to close friends and family the risk is lower. Since you're starting college soon the latter might be the better route to take, it is very time-consuming running a real business.

If you do decide to eventually go legit there are several other types of customers you can look at selling to -- for example, you could provide desserts to local restaurants or sell your products through coffee shops or supermarkets. A business plan is also important, so you know which products to sell, how much to charge for them (knowing your costs is critical), which groups of customers to market to, and what sets your product/business apart from your competitors.

Whichever way you decide to go, best of luck with your business!
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

There's some great comments on this thread already...I have no idea what the process is for running a legal food business in the UK, but in general you will probably want to take a look into that process if you will be using facebook and other methods to advertise. If you rely solely on word-of-mouth, do not advertise at all, and sell only to close friends and family the risk is lower. Since you're starting college soon the latter might be the better route to take, it is very time-consuming running a real business.

If you do decide to eventually go legit there are several other types of customers you can look at selling to -- for example, you could provide desserts to local restaurants or sell your products through coffee shops or supermarkets. A business plan is also important, so you know which products to sell, how much to charge for them (knowing your costs is critical), which groups of customers to market to, and what sets your product/business apart from your competitors.

Whichever way you decide to go, best of luck with your business!


Did all of you notice that the state of Texas passed a cottage law that allows home bakers to sell up to $50,000 a year....and they are NOT subject to health department regulations! I'd bet more and more states will pass such laws in the future as it looks good on politicians because it empowers the people to make an income at at time when jobs are scarce.
post #11 of 18
In answering your question about getting new customers- focus on word of mouth amongst family and friends. Also, talk to local charities and churches...donate some time to help kids decorate cupcakes and mini cakes and you'll be surprised how quickly your name will spread. Even though your 20 years old and in college you should make your business legit and who knows... You may be able to start a business you'll keep forever.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take;But by the moments that take our breath away- Maya Angelou
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Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take;But by the moments that take our breath away- Maya Angelou
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post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharon24

Hi I agree you need to be legal.
I would like to know what you have to do to become legal too.

So far I have only made for friends and family but people keep asking if they can buy cakes from me so am thinking of setting up after my kitchen renovation.

I am in the UK too so could you outline the prossess please idontknow?

I will only be doing 2 or 3 cakes a month as thats all I have time for but want to be legal and have insurance.




Here in the UK it is quite an easy process to become "legit", so I thought why not rather than suffer the worry of not registering. First, you will need to complete your Food Hygiene Level 2 certificate (you can do it online for £30, just google it) this course will teach you all the things you will need to consider when baking for sale - like cleaning rotas, fridge temps etc a lot of which is common sense.

once you have this, call up your local council's environmental health department and ask them what is involved in registering a cake business from your home. My EH told me that once I sent off the simple form to them I could start trading and they would contact me to make an appointment for inspection. I asked about surprise visits and they said they could happen, but as it was also my home it's not something they do often and also, I could also refuse entry and ask them to make an appointment to visit.

In addition to these two steps, you will also need to register as self-employed (you can do this online very easily, again just google it) you can be self employed and an employee at the same time, so for example I have a full time job so I am an employee but I have also registered as self-employed for my cake business which I plan to do around one or two cakes a month.

After you've sorted the above out, you can then think about getting some insurance - if you join the British Sugarcraft Guild you can get their insurance tailored for home-bakers who don't make more than £7000 profit so for a part-time caker this is more than enough.

That's really all there is to it, and as I said earlier I've found everything to be quite straightforward so far - although I haven't had an inspection so far! The thing that took the most time relatively speaking was going through all the material for the online course, around 3 hours.

I'm now about to start working on dummies to build a little portfolio and I've registered the domain too.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Quote:

Here in the UK it is quite an easy process to become "legit", so I thought why not rather than suffer the worry of not registering. First, you will need to complete your Food Hygiene Level 2 certificate (you can do it online for £30, just google it) this course will teach you all the things you will need to consider when baking for sale - like cleaning rotas, fridge temps etc a lot of which is common sense.

once you have this, call up your local council's environmental health department and ask them what is involved in registering a cake business from your home. My EH told me that once I sent off the simple form to them I could start trading and they would contact me to make an appointment for inspection. I asked about surprise visits and they said they could happen, but as it was also my home it's not something they do often and also, I could also refuse entry and ask them to make an appointment to visit.

In addition to these two steps, you will also need to register as self-employed (you can do this online very easily, again just google it) you can be self employed and an employee at the same time, so for example I have a full time job so I am an employee but I have also registered as self-employed for my cake business which I plan to do around one or two cakes a month.

After you've sorted the above out, you can then think about getting some insurance - if you join the British [blocked] Guild you can get their insurance tailored for home-bakers who don't make more than £7000 profit so for a part-time caker this is more than enough.

That's really all there is to it, and as I said earlier I've found everything to be quite straightforward so far - although I haven't had an inspection so far! The thing that took the most time relatively speaking was going through all the material for the online course, around 3 hours.

I'm now about to start working on dummies to build a little portfolio and I've registered the domain too.



idontknow- I had no idea you could start trading before an inspection!! So glad you mentioned that as I would have been sat around twiddling my thumbs waiting no doubt ha ha!
Newbie Caker, but loving it so far!!

....waiting for my next challenge....
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Newbie Caker, but loving it so far!!

....waiting for my next challenge....
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post #14 of 18
I didn't know either, until I spoke to the Environmental Health office and asked what the process was, who told me I was able to start once I'd sent off my form. It may be different from council to council so always best to ask.
post #15 of 18
Very good point- I've been in contact with someone but will rememebr to ask that question specifically.

Its a headache to sort everything initially, but I know i'll feel so much better knowing everything is above board and I'm not going to have any nasty house calls if someone found out I wasn't legit!!
Newbie Caker, but loving it so far!!

....waiting for my next challenge....
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Newbie Caker, but loving it so far!!

....waiting for my next challenge....
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