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Wedding Expo opinions

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

I'm doing my first wedding expo next month and have been reading the threads on it. I think I've found most of my answers, but still have a few.

 

I think I will go with one flavor for my samples. What flavor? I'm thinking white cake with buttercream. American BC or SMBC? I plan on putting a small sample in a souffle cup with a lid cut from a sheet cake. Maybe a silly question, but for those that do it this way, do you have enough room to pipe a small dollop of your frosting on there without the lid squishing it, or do you spread a thin layer on with your spatula so it's flat?

 

Also, I feel uneasy about having a lot of negative signs up ("do not touch," "no pictures," "samples only for bride and groom"), but see why people might do this based off of their previous experience at these expos. Any thoughts on this? My husband came up with an idea for the picture issue. He suggested putting 1-2 business cards on the cake dummies so that if people take pictures, our logo is visible. Does that sound like a good idea or would that look weird on our cakes?

I'd also like to ask how people feel about handouts. I almost made my mind up to only do business cards and direct people to my website, and I would like to keep it at 1 handout to save money. However, now I'm questioning if my card would just get lost with all the other business cards brides will be collecting that day. Should I hand out postcards or rack cards instead? Maybe a larger handout would be less likely to get lost in their bags? I was planning of only putting my flavors on there with a few pictures, not my pricing. They should get a good idea of my pricing from my dummies as I plan on having 8-10 on display with signs saying how much they are and how many it would serve. They will range from "less expensive" (smaller, simpler designs) to "more expensive" (larger, more elaborate designs).

 

Any other thoughts/advice would be fantastic! TIA!

post #2 of 44
Thread Starter 

One more question: what size souffle cups do you get? I've found 2oz. - 5.5oz. cups on amazon. Obviously, the bigger ones cost a little more, but I don't see the dimensions and can't picture how large these cups are. 

post #3 of 44
2 ounce are perfect.
putting biz cards on the cakes is a great idea. With all the camera phones you can not control the picture taking.
I would Definitely offer more than one sample flavor.
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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #4 of 44

I offer 3 mini cupcake samples at bridal shows.  I also pick unusual flavors to help my business stand out.  All the other bakeries offer white and chocolate samples so people remember me over them.

 

People bring with them their brides maids, parents, frients, family...all of them want to try the cake.  You have to have enough samples for everyone.  I think your business will come off as rude if you put a sign up reading samples for bride and groom only.

"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #5 of 44

Yes I agree you need to let everyone try the samples. I had my first bridal show a few weeks ago. I had groups of family members each pick a different flavor and they told the bride what they thought of the flavor they tried. Worked out great that way! I brought 3 of my best flavors and I had great reponse from that. All the other vendors only had one flavor. This helped me stand out! Love the card on the cake idea! I will use that next time!

 

I also did mini cupcakes. I thought this worked really good for me. Everyone wanted to try the samples right away and Everyone kept commenting on the wounderful sweet smell coming from my booth.

 

I did rack cards with flavors and info on cake tasting and a business cards. I had price sheets I brought only for thoose how asked for them.

 

Wish you well on the expo!

post #6 of 44

I did one last month, too, and I always had a crowd at my booth. I had 4 sample flavors out and I let the janitors, and photographers and DJs and other cake vendors eat them. There was one lady who grabbed all 4 (which happened 50% of the time, not a problem!) and she says, "What?? Can't we try all 4? Ain't that the point?" , very loudly, to no one and everyone icon_confused.gif I was thinking "Bee Itch, Who you talkin' to? I didn't say Shiznit, and it's my darn booth!"  But I said, "Oh, please do thumbs_up.gif, there is plenty to go around icon_biggrin.gif" But I wonder if she was PSYCHOTIC, feeling guilty, or a plant to make me look like a meanie?" 

 

There was a florist who kept grabbing one every time she walked by, and I just smiled and chuckled, then 3 days later I got a lead who eventually booked, that the came from the florist, so 10 samples equaled a $600 wedding cake. 

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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 #7 of 44

Always make sure you take samples to your fellow vendors along with some cards.

 

I suggest instead of having a buffet of samples at your table (that people eat then forget all about you), you see if the venue is giving away goodie bags - generally only brides/grooms get those, and you put your 2oz sample cups in them instead - and make sure all your info is on that cup.  I did an expo where I did that and I had people call me 6 months later that saved their cup lid when they were able to try the cake at home going thru the bag!

post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the input and advice everyone!

Annabakescakes: Wow! I hope I can handle everyone as classy and professional as you thumbs_up.gif 

 

I just spoke with the people in charge of the expo and they're expecting about 800 brides and maybe 3000 in total attendance. I agree that I should definitely not be restrictive in who gets my samples, but if I account for 3000 attendees, that means 3000 samples and that's not including vendors. Then, if I do 2 flavors, that means 6000 samples. Three flavors would mean 9000 samples. I'm a CFO baker. Just 3000 samples from my home oven, even if I got one other person to help me, would be quite a lot to do. I would really like to do at least 2 flavors, but 6000 samples? Well, now I'm bummed icon_sad.gif 

 

I also asked about putting my samples in their gift bags and that's not probable. Thank you for the suggestion though FromScratchSF.

 

Any thoughts on ABC vs. SMBC?

post #9 of 44

Will they not let you put samples in the gift bags?  Every expo/show I've ever done they ask for materials to put in the gift bags.  You do your portion cups as normal, put a lid on them, then print a bunch of little labels and stick them on top.  It's the only way you will make sure people that can refer you business will get your samples and associate what they eat with your business.

 

I did a huge expo, I put together over 3000 samples and I was mobbed, I guess there were over 4000 people there, but only about 700 brides.  I had no chance to talk to anyone, no chance to do anything except try and hand out cake in a somewhat orderly manner.  Despite having that much cake, I ran out in less then 2 hours.  People were coming back for 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc.  Trust me, you don't want to go that route if you can help it - you need to be able to talk to people too and promote yourself as much as your cake.

 

As for buttercream, make what you based your business on and what sells.  People generally specialize in one buttercream or the other, so If you sell SMBC as your primary, then that's what you should pass out.  

post #10 of 44
Thread Starter 

I can put something in their gift bags, but they usually will only put a flyer or business card in them for you. The bags are actually from Men's Warehouse. The event sponsor gets the bags the day before the show, so they think anything more than a piece of paper to add to the bags would be too much for them to handle. It sounds like the huge expo you're referring to might be what I can expect at this expo. Now, I'm worried (more than I already was) icon_cry.gif Did I mention that this is a 2 day show? If you ran out in the first 2 hours with 3000 samples, what if you had to do it again the next day? Yikes!

post #11 of 44

all of that sounds exhausting!

post #12 of 44

OK to be clear, did the event coordinator tell you that you cannot put a sample of cake in the bags?  It's no different then putting a piece of candy in, and a lot of vendors tape candy to their postcards and flyers.  If you are working with one of the big events I can't imagine they are shocked, surprised or impressed with your creativity by suggesting this, because this is a somewhat common thing that bakeries and cake designers do.  If they didn't tell you expressly NO that you couldn't put cake in the bags, I'd probably just show up expecting it to happen.  It's a much better use of your time then dealing with the mob!  

 

Look at it this way, no way are you packaging 3000 cake samples the morning of your event - you do it the day before at minimum.  What difference does it make when it gets in the bags?  It's not going to go bad, it's in a small airtight container.  Events I've done say you need to drop off at X time the day before if you want them to do it, and show up at X time early if you want to do it yourself.  

 

Men's Warehouse doesn't care what's in the bags, trust me.  And nobody cares that the bag is form Men's Warehouse.  

 

I'm just trying to help since I have been in your shoes and know what you are in for!

 

If you do not want to do bags, then maybe try only passing out X amount of samples per hour.  When you run out tell people to come back in 40 minutes or whatever.  That way you can spread your samples out over the day and you'll have samples for people that come later.  This will only work though if you have extra hands (like 2 more people) helping you at your booth and you do NOT cave to people demanding a sample.

 

And a 2 day event?  Oh, heck no would I sign up for a 2 day event.  So triple good luck to you, my friend!

post #13 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellavanilla View Post

all of that sounds exhausting!

My thoughts exactly! And this is my first expo icon_redface.gif

 

 

FromScratchSF: I know you're trying to help and I really do appreciate the suggestion, which is why I asked the event coordinator about it. Unfortunately, she did say no to the cake samples in the bags, even after I explained they would be in lidded cups. She didn't say anything about possibly putting them in myself and I didn't think to ask. Maybe I'll ask if they'll allow me to do that. That's another good idea about only passing out X amount per hour. I will only have 1 other person with me each day, but I still plan on having them in lidded cups, so maybe 2 of us handling them will be enough. 

Thanks! I'm gonna need lots of luck!

post #14 of 44

I just did my first bridal show a couple months ago and it went great.  I did have my business cards and a brochure made up  to hand out.  I offered two different samples and on one did the swiss meringue and everyone loved it because it was different than what they were used to.  I really had no issues with any one touching the cake dummies (I had 6), but I had them on a bookcase and not on a table.  As far as samples I had the 2 or 2.5 oz souffle cups with lids and yes if you use a sheet cake and put frosting on the frosting will stick to the lid.....so I just turned the piece of cake sideways and no problems.  Everyone seems to appreciate having the option to take it with them if they wanted as they were sampling so many other foods as well.  I had the small tasting spoons to go along with these and it was very easy to refill as samples were depleted.  I also printed out pictures of all my photos and placed them in a binder.

 

Good Luck!

post #15 of 44

My show was a 2 day show, too. Wendy's Bridal Show. I got about 10 times more business from it already, than the 1 day, and it was only about $300 more. I actually loved not having to pack it all up and take it home the same time, since we were exhausted. It was long, but looking back, I feel better about it tahn the 1 day event. 

 

I brought about 1000 each day. Lidded, 2 oz cups, with a tasting spoon. There were just over 1000 registered brides. I ran out the first day, and had a box left over the second. 

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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