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Noob at the Farmers Market-- Need Advice!

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

Hey everybody! I am about to take my first step from hobby baker to legit seller of baked goods by joining my local farmers market (in a suburb of Dayton, OH). I plan on selling mostly cupcakes, but potentially also muffins, cookies, and/or brownies. I have a full-time job, but my hours are about to be cut by one whole day a week, costing me 20% of each paycheck. Coincidently, the workday I'm losing is Friday, and my FM is Friday afternoons 3-7 (weird, I know).

 

So, to cut to the chase, I need advice!! How much should I make? How should I price things? Should I sell individual cupcakes? Packs of 4? Packs of 6? What's the best way to transport them from my house to the FM? What about hot weather? 

 

For some background: I am required to purchase liability insurance that costs about $250 for the year, and I may also need to buy things like a table and/or tent, since my FM just gives me a physical spot, I provide the rest. My production cost is approx $0.50 per cupcake, not accounting for those big one-time expenses.

post #2 of 50
How many people visit the farmer's market, and what type of customer does the market attract?
post #3 of 50
Thread Starter 

I have no idea how many people regularly visit, but it's in one of the more up-scale high-income neighborhoods in the county in a pretty busy shopping center. The FMs in surrounding towns are much smaller and less organized than this one (which is why I'm going to sell at this one instead of the one a few blocks from my house). Last year they had around 20 vendors selling a variety of things from your usual veggies and produce to honey and jams to soaps and lotions. There are two existing baked item vendor: a very established local company that makes artisan bread and an organic bakery that sells bread, granola, whole wheat muffins, etc. They don't make dessert type items except the occasional cookie, so I wouldn't really be competing with them.

post #4 of 50

I would have cupcakes packaged individually and in sets of 4.

 

cupcakes are something most people will eat while they walk around and shop.

 

i would make 4 different varieties, and a total of 100 cupcakes to start...use this first farmers market as a test...you can gauge what you will need from here on out based on what you sell or don't sell at this first one.

No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government...

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No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government...

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post #5 of 50

I agree with Paperfishies. After the first time you should have a better grasp for how many cupcakes to make. When weather gets hot sometimes frosting melts. I don't know if dry ice would help in a cooler or not. I am sure others here will have a solution for the hot weather issue. Good luck and I wish you lots of sales. Most people love cupcakes!!!! If I was in a market and saw cupcakes I would head right on over and buy me one or a few!!!
 

post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys! That's actually just what I was thinking in terms of ~100 cupcakes, sold individually or in packs of 4. Thanks for validating my ideas!

 

Any suggestions for pricing? I was thinking maybe $1.50 for one or $5 for 4? Do you think people would pay more than that? Production costs are around $0.50 each including packaging costs, but I need to make enough profit to cover my liability insurance and one-time big purchases like folding tables, etc, and also come out ahead enough to make the whole venture worthwhile. Most bakeries in my area charge around $3 per cupcake for "gourmet cupcakes", FYI.

post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 

Tried to post a reply once and it didn't work, so sorry in advance if it shows up and double-posts.

 

Thanks for the advice! I was actually thinking of doing ~100 cupcakes sold individually or in groups of 4, so thanks for validating my ideas!

 

How much do you think I could charge for them? Pro bakeries in my area sell $2.75-$3.25 each for "gourmet cupcakes", but I figure I'd have to go much lower as I'm not an established brand and I don't have a storefront or anything. I was thinking $1.50 each or 4 for $5? Do you think I could go higher and still have people buy them? My production cost is around $0.50 per cupcake including packaging, but I need to make enough profit to cover the major one-time purchases like required liability insurance, tables/tent, etc, while also making a profit for myself.

 

What do you guys think?

post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiseBaker View Post

I was thinking $1.50 each or 4 for $5? Do you think I could go higher and still have people buy them? My production cost is around $0.50 per cupcake including packaging, but I need to make enough profit to cover the major one-time purchases like required liability insurance, tables/tent, etc, while also making a profit for myself.
How much is your labor and overhead cost per cupcake?

For example, if annual overhead is $1200 and you forecast selling 4 dozen cupcakes per week on average, overhead cost is $0.50 per cupcake. If it takes an hour to make 2 dozen cupcakes and your wage is $12/hour, your labor cost is another $0.50 per cupcake. Add that to your production cost and you are already at $1.50/cupcake, so if you sell at $1.50 you are making zero profit for your business.
post #9 of 50

That is way too low, if you don't think your cupcakes are worth what the other bakeries' are, then neither will potential customers.

You really need to figure out exactly what each market day will cost you, at only $.50 or less profit per cupcake after baking expenses, it is very unlikely you will make anything.

That means if you sell all 100, you would only have $50 left over to cover insurance, gas, electric, table and tent rental, the cost of any advertising, (our farmers markets require a banner), and then your wage.

I wouldn't go a penny less than $3.

 

I'm in a different area, but I take 10% of the estimated turn out and almost always sell out. I do packs of 6 assorted or singles, $20 for 6 or $3.75 for a single.

Prices in my area are between $2.75 and $3.75 for a cupcake if you go into a bakery.

post #10 of 50
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much! You guys are really helping me out. 

 

I think my cupcakes are at least as good as what you can get from local bakeries and probably worth just as much. I was just afraid customers would think less of me selling from a Farmer's Market stand like I'm not a "real" bakeshop, even though my cupcakes look and taste awesome and I'll have a professional-looking stand and a facebook page for my business and everything. I guess that's just poor baking-self-esteem, haha. I know people would be interested in my cupcakes because I donated some batches to a charity auction in my area recently and there were more bids ($1 = 1 bid) for each batch of my cupcakes than for things like $50 gift cards and such. One of the cupcake winners shared with the rest of the group and I was bombarded with requests to buy more! So yeah, my product is good enough for me to charge more, I guess.

 

I'm really excited about the idea of being able to make a profit off of something I love to do so I'm researching everything I can about how to be successful at it. I already have the awesome product, I just have to find an efficient, profitable way to sell it!

post #11 of 50

Undercutting the local bakeries in price is really, really, bad form.  MATCH their prices.

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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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 #12 of 50
Thread Starter 

Oops, I wasn't trying to be a jerk and undercut them! I was just afraid people wouldn't be willing to pay as much for my cupcakes since I'm not a legit "real" bakery with a storefront and everything, I'm just some random chick at the farmer's market, lol.

post #13 of 50

Don't ever consider that you are not a "legit" baker.  Ohio has cottage industry rules so we are allowed to sell items baked in our homes (within their restrictions.)  Think of yourself as a great, creative baker who just happens to bake out of her home!!  Think of all the Amish home bakeries in our state! 

Have a professional appearance - buy some nice professional looking, business cards and labels from some place like Vistaprint.  And make sure to make labels that include the ingredients.  (You can easily set this up on your computer and pick up some labels at a local office supply store.)  Wear a nice clean apron - maybe something with your business name embroidered on it.  Good luck with your new venture.

 

One of my favorite vendors at the farmer's market close to me, was a wonderful older lady who baked delicious pies and sold slices as well as whole pies.  Unfortunately, she is no longer there.  Another vendor who took her place sold shortbread cookies.  (I was shocked at her large inventory.)  I bought some the first time and they were delicious.  However, several weeks later when I bought them, they were stale and tasted like they must have been the same ones from the first week. 

Love cakes!!
Valerie
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Love cakes!!
Valerie
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post #14 of 50

A far as price you need to take many things into consideration.  You need to do a total breakdown of your costs.

for example, the flour I buy comes out to be .18 cents per cup, sugar is .28 cents per cup, .12 cents per cupcake liner and so on most of my cupcake recipes, each cupcake costs me between .70 and .95 cents to produce...then you need to price your packaging.

 

My cupcakes start at $3 each, or $30 per dozen.

No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government...

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No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government...

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post #15 of 50
Wisebaker, I'm also trying to start selling cupcakes at my local farmers market and liability insurance is required. Where did you purchase liability insurance? Was it a local company or online? I live in south Florida and trying to get quotes. I got one for $350 for the year. I'm trying to find something cheaper.
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