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More - or any - orders! Do I live at the wrong place?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I am just wondering,
I am making cakes from home, living in Southwest of UK, and I usually got 1 order per month. I charged around £50/cake lately, and they were all big cakes, feeding about the same amount of people (50), so £1/portion.
I work so hard and it took me about a week to get the designs ready for the customers.
I am very polite and hardworking person.
I just wonder, seeing all these cakes here... and reading some of the forum posts... do I live at the wrong place? I wish I could make more money by this, and I think I am good at it (check out my cakes please!), plus I LOVE baking and making cakes, so any advice would be appreciated.
I have posters around my village, which is 30min drive from any town, and for my marketing purposes, I use mainly internet. I had a baby recently and used this break to raise my pricelist, too, and I suspect that might be the reason why there's no orders coming. People here must think it's too much to pay £70 for a cake? But what I say is my cakes are more than just a cake, it's a work of a sugar artist, what do you think?
Any comments appreciated!
K.
Karolina Cake Designer
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Karolina Cake Designer
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post #2 of 14
Your cakes are beautiful! I wonder about the same things you do. I also look at cakes as another form of art, and not just another form of desert. I would, and have paid for cakes that you know someone is putting their heart and soul into, and not just a cake someone is kicking out at a supermarket to make their cake quota for the day. It does get a bit frustrating that some people just don't get that, and I doubt they ever will. icon_sad.gif
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
thank you debidehm I know, I have seen some cakes made home sold as cheap as £15, well to make a cake, pay all the bills costs about £20 so I don't know how they do it? I only charge for about half of the time I spend working, and I still put the minimum wages down for myself. often not even that (if I do cakes for friends). it is frustrating! I heard many people tell me I would do much better if I lived in a big city, but I am not sure that's what I want for my kids, so there we go. I just wonder if there's anything I do wrong. I have learnt so much after my first two years of cake decorating and I love this profession although it's hard and stressful as only we know, but it's something I can imagine doing till the rest of my life. only if I could make enough money by doing so for the family! because in the end, that's what matters the most for me. icon_smile.gif
Karolina Cake Designer
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Karolina Cake Designer
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I will try to post this here...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFgpDFBLYq8
it's my cakes slide show...

hope you have a good Sunday.
Karolina Cake Designer
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Karolina Cake Designer
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post #5 of 14
Hi I also think your cakes are lovely. You do have a talent.

I too live in the south west and when you first start baking from home, it can take a while to build your customer base.

Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool. Also make sure you hand out business cards with every cake.

Have you thought about doing Wedding fayres when they are in your area. I pick up quite a few orders from those.

Maybe also have a website? I have a small website just to showcase a few cakes, so people can see what I do and offer.

Maybe have a chat with a local bridal boutique if there is one near you and ask if you can put some cards or flyers with them and maybe offer to take some of theirs to hand out to your customers in return.

Good luck. I too have a love of baking and cake decorating, but it will all come with a bit of planning and a lot of patience!!
Dont get stressed - eat a cupcake
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Dont get stressed - eat a cupcake
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post #6 of 14
Sorry just noticed you do have a website! I should pay more attention!!
Dont get stressed - eat a cupcake
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Dont get stressed - eat a cupcake
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post #7 of 14
Your cakes really are lovely!
Im slowly emerging now from being in the same boat in Northern Ireland- pants population with tight trouser pockets! janbabe is right- business cards with every cake works great, Vistaprint did a good deal on groupon recently Im sure theyll do it again. I also found that the odd box of cupcakes donated to charity events along with postcard sized flyers with (importantly) pics of my cakes and lots of business cards helps get the word out. The best thing for me tho is facebook- I know a lot of people hate it but I find that since cakes are so visual everyone wants to share theirs, plus everyone who likes the page sees new cakes as you do them and it keeps your cakes fresh in their mind- half my site traffic comes from facebook now.
Ok this is getting long but one last thing- Id recommend simplifying your price table a little and put it on a different page- let people see your cakes, get hooked then wonder about cost; try three or so size or detail level bands and let them have any flavour for that price (except fruitcake maybe).

All just my opinion of course but I found it helped me to the point I almost wish I hadnt done it all as I want a holiday!!

Best of luck icon_smile.gif
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hiya, lovely people,

wau thank you, I only just seen your replies to this! I really appreciate this!

 

I will try all your advice. I too find Facebook is a powerful marketing tool, you can see me there as Karolina Cake Designer.

What I find difficult now with my level of experience and prices around £50/cake - people rather go and make their cakes by themselves. Never the same, of course, because I AM AN ARTIST but it's their choice and I totally respect that. And I know times are hard and money short.

 

So I thought and thought and thought and now I try to do something smaller, cheaper (in their eyes) which I found is easier to sell therefore to make money. I decorate gingerbreads in royal icing, and invest a lot of time in training myself in a very precise piping techniques. I feel the more skills/expertise I have, the more it shows and helps to sell. Am I right to think so? I hope so! I am hardworker and will never give up.

 

So I am looking up to all the decorated cookies and learn lots. Of course, I would love to make cakes, too, but there aren't many orders coming, I have posters out, donate cakes, biscuits, give out leaflets, have a webpage and FB page... all will happen at the right time, I think, and meanwhile, I train myself, learn, do whatever I possibly can with my two little boys around, it's not easy but it makes me happy.

 

Thank you for your advice, keep on baking, -  I will check out your albums now ;-) thank you again. Good luck to you all.

 

K. xxx

Karolina Cake Designer
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Karolina Cake Designer
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post #9 of 14

Hello sweetie, Reading your post and knowing how hard it is to get started.  You said something that I thought might help.  If the people think they can make their own cake, maybe you can help them.  Offer short little classes.  I give mini classes (1hr - 1 1/2 hr) focusing on just one thing.  Such as proper techniques, boarders, bows, chocolate.... whatever.  When I did this my orders began to shoot up including the types of cake I was teaching.

 

Other than that, the others are right, you will have to get the word out. daily.

Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
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Virginia 323.253.8213
www.urbanainez.com
He is the man of my dreams, my prince; He gives me the desires of my heart, He completes me. His name is Jesus
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post #10 of 14
Is £1 a slice a typical price for your area? Or are you still cheaper than the busier bakeries? Because if you are on the cheaper end of the market, you will tend to find most of your customers are the type to just make their own to save a few quid. You need to figure out how to appeal to the higher end market, which has customers that will pay £3 or £4 a slice for a quality cake, with absolutely no intention of making their own, not because they can't but because they don't want to. Busting your butt all week to basically make no money is just a waste of your time and your resources.
elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

I think the worst and biggest obstacle in making my business grow is the fact I don't drive a car. If I did, I could go to town and place some posters around there, but I don't, and a few people that promised me to do so had let me down. I can not rely on anyone, basically, so what I don't do, isn't done. Except my website which is done by an old friend of mine. I will have a good think about all your suggestions, but I have a poorly boy here right now. It's always something, isn't it icon_lol.gif I do try to do something every single day, I work hard to be good, and if I didn't believe one day it will pay back, I wouldn't! Other fact - if I want to do some teaching, would I need to invest into a lot of stuff? I haven't got a spare penny right now, in fact, we kind of have too many bills to pay. Not that it takes the joy of baking/cake decorating away from me. Just saying, every single thing means an investment, I do anything I can that doesn't require money, but when it comes to those, I am as poor as a church mouse (slovak saying). Thanks for your advice, I will try my best! thumbs_up.gif

Karolina Cake Designer
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Karolina Cake Designer
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post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

... and £1 per slice is still cheap price, but people don't calculate it like that, they only see the final cost. and secretly (as if I didn't know they do) roll their eyes... hah hah. I had a few good customers that didn't mind paying me my full price, plus gave me an extra for being extra happy! I wish I had those all the time. icon_smile.gif

Karolina Cake Designer
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Karolina Cake Designer
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post #13 of 14

I don't know what that converts into American dollars, but in my area (Santa Barbara, CA), the average price is 3 to 4 dollars per slice. You have to know the wholesale cost of your cakes. When you figure in all the money you've invested in equipment, supplies, education and training, as well as your time, charging that much is not unreasonable. You'll be respected by customers when you know your worth. And you'll weed out the people who are just trying to take advantage.

post #14 of 14

Hi :)
Just a thought, maybe someone you know/friend of a friend etc would do cake delivering trips for a small charge which could be added to the price of the cake. I live in Leeds and the local cake maker pays her friend around £5 a trip to deliver cakes.

 

Good luck!

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