Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Concerned - No cake artists at bridal shows
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Concerned - No cake artists at bridal shows - Page 3

post #31 of 54
I even told one of the organizers after the event: You got people here and sold them expensive tickets because of the dress designer and the promise of cake. You got me here because I want to sell cake to the brides. I felt the way the #2 draw of their show was handled was NOT going to help me sell a single wedding cake - which means no cake vendor will sign up for their show in the future, including me.

I hope that didn't fall on deaf ears!

On another note that I guess is a positive - I got to taste some of my competetor's cakes. All do beautiful work so I had high hopes. Am shocked at what some of them tasted like. A few I literally spit out!
post #32 of 54
FromScratchSF~~What an awful experience! I'm sure "livid" was a vast understatement.
--------------------------------
From a non-baker business perspective, I can't see any profit to be made from shows like this. (Cambo~~I'm glad you are the happy exception!!) Far too much information is being presented for any bride to make a meaningful contact for future work. (Information overload!)
Additionally, the show promoters are NOT there to promote your business, they are there to make money from the promoter business. The entire bridal show (or Quinceañera show) is geared toward profits for the promoters.

I would think that the same amount of money ($1800-$2500) would be far better invested in targeted marketing of the businesses in your local wedding community such as wedding planners, photographers, florists, venue management, etc. Those are the people who deal with brides on a daily basis and can most easily spread "word of mouth" referrals. Example of a client to florist: "Who makes really fabulous weddng cakes?"

(Chef Angie, I read your post just after I posted mine. This is exactly what I was talking about.)

I would assume that the best wedding planners may already have a relationship with bakers and other wedding vendors, but you can always do a successful sales pitch!
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF



On another note that I guess is a positive - I got to taste some of my competetor's cakes. All do beautiful work so I had high hopes. Am shocked at what some of them tasted like. A few I literally spit out!



This was my experience last week at the show I was at, too. I was horrified at what was passing for "good cake." Except their display cakes looked awful, too.
post #34 of 54
FromScratchSF I'm so sorry you had such a crappy experience. I am surprised the event was that disorganized. I thought with it being high brow and all, the guests would be better behaved. SMH.

It's good that you reached out to the vendors. At least when they talk to their clients they'll have good things to say about you.

I'm wondering if anybody has tried a hybrid between a bridal show and a tasting event. Where both potential clients and a small number of vendors are invited. The vendors get the opportunity to market their products/services (and try the cakes) while potential clients get the benefit of a tasting, and a mini bridal show. The cake decorator could share the costs with the vendors.

This is just an idea, and I bet it's been done before. Not sure what the logistics would be though.
post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

FromScratchSF I'm so sorry you had such a crappy experience. I am surprised the event was that disorganized. I thought with it being high brow and all, the guests would be better behaved. SMH.

It's good that you reached out to the vendors. At least when they talk to their clients they'll have good things to say about you.

I'm wondering if anybody has tried a hybrid between a bridal show and a tasting event. Where both potential clients and a small number of vendors are invited. The vendors get the opportunity to market their products/services (and try the cakes) while potential clients get the benefit of a tasting, and a mini bridal show. The cake decorator could share the costs with the vendors.

This is just an idea, and I bet it's been done before. Not sure what the logistics would be though.




I've done things like this before, and they're just as useless as larger shows.
post #36 of 54
LOL! Thanks for the candor costumeczar. For some reason I never got a notification, actually had to search for the topic. Good lawd, so what does work?
post #37 of 54
I have done 5 or 6 bridal shows over the past 6 years, I have had only one bride book me from one, eventhough I won best tasting cake at each and every one I attended, and my cakes are beautiful. The attendees generally are a year or more out from their events, and by the time they are ready to order they have forgotten who was who. The bride who did order from me, booked 2 years after the bridal show she went to, she found me again by accident. I opened my cupcake shop and she recognized me (mainly because of my mint green chef coat with my Cakes Divine logo) when she came in to get a cupcake. She didn't realize that Cupcakes Divine, and Cakes Divine were the same when she came in. She was happy she found me because she said she lost my card from 2 years ago but remembered she loved my cake. But one order after paying a few thousand in booth fees, decor, literature, and all the free samples is not a good return. The last one I did I paid a $400 booth fee, made 750 mini cupcakes, literature, and decor for the booth. We were told to expect at least 1000 brides. There were barely over 20 brides who attended and most had no idea of a date of when they would be getting married and the few who did have a date were a year or more out. That last one was just that for me...I will NEVER do another bridal fair ever again. They just aren't worth the cost.
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

The attendees generally are a year or more out from their events, and by the time they are ready to order they have forgotten who was who. .



Heck, they forget who was who after they go home that night! I've talked to brides about this, and they say that they're so overwhelmed after a big show they take the bag of business cards and toss it in the corner when they get home, and then they never look at it again.

I think I mentioned this before, but I've had people call me and insist that they met me at this or that show, and even when I tell them I wasn't there they still insist that I was. Okay, whatever.
post #39 of 54
I feel like I already posted this - must've been another similar thread. I have done one show, in my second year of business, when I was shifting focus to making more wedding cakes. I went, in typical OTT perfectionist manner, all out creating a beautiful booth, in my business colours, with 4 different display cakes and a cupcake tower, plus display and sample cookies. Ordered in new cards and leaflets.

For samples, I have 5 varieties of cake in thin finger servings I had precut. I was plating portions (with napkins and sporks) as I spoke to clients, and had my daughter luring in the crowds, offering plates when we were slowing down.

I booked about 6 cakes from the show, which was amazing considering there were around half the numbers there than anticipated. Since then, I have not advertised anywhere besides the phone directory (online and hard copy), plus my website. I get all my business through referrals. I WILL NOT ever do another bridal show!

In a similar vein to what costume czar said, I have brides saying they met me at a recent show, and furthermore, every time there is a big bridal show on in my town (currently the spring shows are on) my phone/email is inundated with flow-on enquiries.

What I hated about the show I did:
1. The organizer looked like a sloth instead of a well groomed professional. She was wearing jeans and an old stained polo shirt. During the show she was sitting on the edge of a display table set up as a wedding table, fully decorated, like some overgrown kid swinging her legs, as she was hollering at the attendees into her microphone. Ugh.
2. Awful wedding vendors also exhibiting. There were two other cakers there. My cake samples were the most generous, and had the most variety and tasted way better than the others. This meant I had other vendors STEALING plates of cake from my table when I turned away briefly, and even right from under my nose without so much as a "hello" from the offender. After the show, one particular woman (DJ business) who had fed my cake to all 6 or 7 of her attending family during the show, and her partner came up to me and asked if I had had any banana cake samples left as they "hadn't tasted those". I said "I think you've had enough"...and turned on my heel. The hide of people!!
3. The amount of preparation is insane for cake decorators! And adding in the cost of a booth, plus everything else, while NOT booking cakes for the weekend of the show makes it almost prohibitive unless you are a big cakery.

In my town, the two biggest bridal shows are run by organizations who have a local wedding directory. So you need to first sign up with the directory (min. spend of $500 pa), and then you can buy your booth, IF they still need cake businesses represented.

For me, it's just too much outlay, and not enough ROI. I really don't need to chase for clients that hard.

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply

Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

Reply
post #40 of 54
I think, unless you are willing to take a loss, these bridal shows nowadays, and in my case "exhibitions" are not something that will bring in a lot of revenue. I was just asked whether I would participate in an exhibtion for a typical European christmas basar, in a location of potential 50,000 people for the period of 20th Dec- 1st of Jan. In other words, pay for a booth (expensice here in Shanghai), have samples, give aways and all the promo material out of my pocket. All they do is rent me space, deco is mine, time is mine and all other expenses as well, cause even if I offer cookie or cupcake decoration, that would have been out of my ppocket, they wanted someone to take care of the kids, and the only one earning something would be them. Had they offered to pay me, hell yeah, but I won't pay them to let me work for free and all expenses would be mine as well. And 50,000 wanting free samples???? NO WAY!!!

And why on earth would they have a christmas exhibition until the 1st of January????
regards from Shanghai, China
Ursula
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanghai-schroeder/
Reply
regards from Shanghai, China
Ursula
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanghai-schroeder/
Reply
post #41 of 54
I have had such a different experience than the rest of you guys! There are 2 main shows here per year that I do. There are a few others that I have done in past years but decided were too small and don't do anymore. One of them was just yesterday. We put all of our samples (3 different flavors, all filled) in 2oz portion cups, drag in the dummies from our shop, and Command Strip a few large pictures from the shop to the walls around our booth. I bring my laptop and run the slideshow from my website as well as having our photo books onsite. I do a drawing for a gift certificate as that will get people to stop by the table and spend a moment for sure.

In a 5 hour show that cost about $300 (booth fee only) I got about 18 names of brides who would like to set up consultations now. I will call all of them over the next few days. Probably 12 will actually book consults and 6 will book their cakes then. I will typically get another 3-4 cakes booked over the year where brides will cite that show as where they heard of me. Since our average wedding cake is over $700 and I'm also getting samples in the hands of the other vendors and the non-brides there who will need random cakes throughout the year - I think they are a damn good investment of my time icon_smile.gif

In my area, when I see that a cake person isn't doing shows, I figure they are on their way out.
post #42 of 54
The tricky thing about the bridal show outside of money, time and samples it costs you, is the follow up process when the event is over.

I did a bridal show once and the turn out to the show was great. I got a lot of compliments on my booth but I didn't get anyone to sign up for a wedding cake during the event.

I had to use that bridal show as a place to advertise a more in-depth cake tasting and showing with just me and my company. It was a follow up show.

The follow up event was much better because the people that came were serious about a wedding cake.

I signed 7 clients at the follow up event. That was the good news.

The bad news is, when it was all said and done, I think I only broke even because my contracted prices ended up being too low.

Sigh... You live. You learn.
Despite difficult economic times, I'm determined to be rich!
Reply
Despite difficult economic times, I'm determined to be rich!
Reply
post #43 of 54
No more shows for me, either. But for those who want to do them, I highly recommend that YOU get the names and contact info of the brides who stop by your booth. That way, you can call them to set up a private tasting, etc, after the show. If the wedding is in a year, put it on your calendar to call them in a few months. Handing them a card and hoping they'll call you gives you absolutely no control of the sale.

Someone else suggested hosting a tasting for wedding planners in hopes of becoming their preferred caker. I think that's a better idea, but be careful because some of them will want you to sign crazy contracts that basically leave you with no profit and lots of work!

What has worked for me is, I've "partnered" with a local florist and a photographer...both of whom are amazing and appeal to the same clientele as I do. When one of us is contacted for a wedding, we always refer the others. Doesn't mean we all get the gig...some brides pick me for cake but go with a different florist, for example....but it has worked out well for all 3 of us in at least getting people to consider us.
post #44 of 54
As I am in Germany my experience is not that relatable to the US but over here, especially in my densly populated, affluent area, wedding fairs (as we call them over here) are extremly popular and the 2 big ones I attend (albeit expensive, the booths I book are close to 1.000 $ each) are the only marketing I need to do each year. During wedding season I am completely booked and I turn away orders almost daily. 75% of the bookings are related to the fairs. As we Germans are such organised people icon_wink.gif) most brides plan their weddings meticiously with folders and binders where they organize all their ideas, vendors, business cards etc. I had brides contacting me almost 2 years after the show where they saw my booth!
My booth is usually elegant and simple with 5 dummies as the main focus and 2 high tables with photobooks and some promo material on them. I give out mini cupcakes as samples (just 1 flavor), but I control who I offer them to. Sometimes people try to grab one behind my back without asking which really pisses me off! I am usually not very nice to them - people like that are not my customers anyway.
Also, the good fairs are usually over 2 days with quite different crowds on Saturday and Sunday. They are very exhausting but I love them! And, as some have mentioned already, networking with other vendors and especially venues is quite important as well!

My next fair is in early November and I am already planning my dummies!
post #45 of 54
I have to say i was VERY scared to do a bridal show but in Jan of this year we signed up for one. Now the city i live in is about 30-45 min outside of a LARGE city (KC) and in KC they have the really expensive shows with a TON of vendors (including cake people) and their lowest cost is $1,000/booth. We definitely werent doing those shows...no point. So we looked around our city which is considerably smaller than KC and a college town lol. Anyways they have 3 bridal shows here a year and the most expensive was $300/booth... and the leas $150. Needless to say we signed up. Now we try to ask all of our customers how they heard about us... with that being said...The first one we did we only put fliers in the bags and did not attend. We got zero business from that. Waste of about $150 (flier cost plus $50 to put in bags).
The 2nd show we attended, cost us $300/booth and being our first show was alot of work and even more cost for signs, displays, etc. But, it was a HUGE success. We ran out of cake samples halfway thru and we brought ALOT! We booked 11 wedding cakes and got a ton of referrals from those brides.....plus met alot of local vendors.
After that show we decided since we already had all the displays,etc why not do another show. So we signed up for the next one (another $300) and this one was not nearly as successful. We did book i think 3 or 4 cakes and def got our name out there for other orders but i think overall this bridal show was just not as good. Plus we were in an akward spot you could hardly see lol....

Now we are actually going to be in the cheaper $150 show in a month....so we will see how that goes *fingers crossed* icon_razz.gif

I can honestly say our BIGGEST advertising has been referrals.... over google (and we are high on the search engine-FINALLY), ads, etc... referrals referrals referrals. Friends on facebook, meeting other vendors, take them some cupcakes, etc...they love it!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Decorating Business
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Concerned - No cake artists at bridal shows