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So I am looking to take somewhat of a unique approach to my business, and unsure of the strategy... - Page 3

post #31 of 48

I think an aspiring cake business owner should never be afraid to be different! Here is just my two cents-

 

I feel like now cake decorating has taken off and people are not afraid to do something out of the box. Of course you will have those brides that still want traditional wedding cakes but are maybe looking for something unique and different for maybe a grooms cake. I think if you are able to break down a design and figure it out- 'jack of all trades, master at none' sort of mentality- then I believe you can make your business work.

 

First thoughts when I see your logo- I think of unique flavors, quirky flavor combinations, some sort of 'scientific' research/background when into making some sort of unique flavors. I can see you decorating style being fun, unique, non-traditional style cakes. Now whether or not any of this is accurate- I don't know. But as someone 'looking from the outside' this is what I would think if I saw your business name.

 

I agree with a lot of the information and comments provided by other members- you will win some and lose some- this happens to the most successful decorators out there. If they REALLY want you to make their cake for them, they will come to you no matter what. Its all about what type of image you put out there. Best of luck to you!

post #32 of 48

Hi there, 

another Orange County baker here. I think that here in OC there are customers who are looking for something unique and of high quality. If you can provide that, you will probably have plenty of business. Does your name "the nerdy baker" mean that all your cake subjects have to have a comic book or video game theme? I don't think so. There are plenty of elegant and unusual wedding cakes, which are sans flowers and frills. 

 

Stick with your vision, make the value of that vision clear to your customers, and persevere. 

 

I will chime in with what Jason has offered. Overhead here in the OC is outrageous and the costs of maintaining a food business can be prohibitive. OC has some of the toughest food handling laws in the country. Get some money in the bank by becoming permitted as a cottage food operation and you can test the waters.

 

My sister and I were one signature away from a 5 year lease on a retail location when the market crashed. Thank god we didn't sign it. The economy has been so variable that there is no way we would have made it. Take your time and get your feet wet, is my advice. 

 

JEn

post #33 of 48
Thread Starter 

Still can't believe all the great feedback I am getting, I was expecting this thread to fade in to oblivion o.O...Thanks again, and keep it coming!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy-Gray View Post

You'll win some customers and you'll lose some to others just like all the other bakeries :-)

I think your concept is excellent and I think you’ll fast receive as many orders as you can handle and will wonder why you worried about losing out on the pink ruffles!

 

It might be fun to hide your wee blue logo somewhere on the more traditional cakes, or offer a pair of bright blue ‘nerdy cupcakes’ (complete with glasses!) with every traditional order; it will grab those people who want a little quirkiness but feel that they have to get something more traditional because it’s what’s expected....

 

One last wee thing, on your logo I felt that the border draws more attention than the actual logo; its very stark… maybe a lighter shade or a slight redesign would help.

 

The very best of luck to you!

Gray

Here's to hoping I get all those orders!  I would love to just dump all of my order slips on my bed and roll around in them..........too far?!

 

And you are definitely thinking along the same lines I was!  I was looking in to the possibility of giving clients a gift for their events (given a big enough cake order that is!), as well as the 'Hidden Mickey' type concept you mentioned.  As it stands now, whenever the bakery I work at does ANYTHING Disney, I foce them to put a hidden mickey on the cake (Hidden Mickey - http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Hidden_Mickey )

 

As for the logo, I was starting to get worried about all the different colors I was using so I tried the finish it all off with black.  I definitely understand where you're coming from though.  I'll toy with it some more!  Thanks for the input =)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus View Post

Sometimes I wonder why naming a business has to reflect "ME"?

 

The name is your first "marketing" tool to draw in customers, so I think it should reflect what you do well, and what your focus is.... from a business stand point. I am not patronizing your business to "friend" you, I just want a great cake at a fair price. 

 

The concept sounds fun, but if the product is not some "extreme" element cake, I would be disappointed. And I certainly don't think, as I scan bakeries for a wedding cake, that this name/concept would draw me in. But then again, it may totally suck me in for an awesome groom's cake.

 

Really... just trying to help... playing devil's advocate here... and bringing new thoughts to the discussion.

 

Best of luck!!!

 

I understand the marketing aspect, i really do, however I don't feel I would be as dedicated to a business that I wasn't really 'in to' per se.  

 

As far as the extreme elements comment, that is DEFINITELY something I am looking in to incorporating; lights, sounds, laser beams, waterfalls, pyro!  Everything! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enga View Post

 

 

I really like the concept you are going for and the fact that you are staying true to yourself.  I say break up the monotony of the bakery world and go for it and get yourself established.  You can always go to the wedding expos and showcase traditional styled cakes and ad your signature logo, maybe with a pair of glasses and a bow tie some where in the display that ties into the storefront bakery.

 

When they come to your actual bakery for a consult or tasting, they can see the wide range of cakes you have to offer and It could potentially lead them into ordering a grooms cake too.  Hey, it could happen, Nerds get married too,lol. 

 

I wish you luck with your bakery

 

I love your idea for the wedding shows.  Go in with high class, then make it accessible! 

 

I was most definitely planning on having a good supply of dummies on hand to showcase work!

 

 

 

Let me clear up a few things, after reading all the other posts.  I am not really looking to corner the wedding market in its entirety, I guess I was just worried, like any business owner would be, whether or not I would make any money on this concept, and in my mind, I viewed the wedding market as the big bucks.

 

I want to create a clear, defined niche for myself, including, but not limited  to, wedding cakes.

 

All of your comments are definitely giving me the boost that I need to take the next few steps though!

post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker View Post

Hi guys and gals!

 

Long time lurker, and brand new account holder (it is my new favoritest place EVER!).

 

Over the last year or so, I have been slowly fleshing out what I want out of my business when it is realized (the look, the clientelle, the offerings, the location, the services etc...) and I am starting to have a few reservations about the direction I am heading.

 

A little background info first though:  I live in Orange County CA, and we are completely inundated with super frilly, pink bakeries/cupcakeries.  Now, I am a 23 year old man who is by no means pink and frilly, so I was determined to find a route to break up the bakery monotony that I have experienced my whole life.  I was determined to find something that reflects me as a unique individual.

 

The concept that I came up with was 'The Nerdy Baker.'  In short, this concept was me in a nutshell.  I was a chemistry major in college, an avid video game player, and an all around slave to the internet, so I was hoping to roll all of this up in to my business model, and hope to attract a unique client base with the direction.

 

It would be a full service store front bakery with cupcakes, cakes, brownies, and of course, custom cakes by order.

 

I was hoping to have a somewhat immersive store front (I have described it as a a storefront a Disney Imagineer could have created) including custom displays/furniture, arcade cabinets/video game displays, and a soundboard which trigger lights and sounds based on certain guest interactions (a happy birthday sequence for instance).  I'm not looking to make Chuck-E-Cheese by ANY means, but I want a tasteful way to incorperate fun elements in to a space which I have personally found to be fairly cookie cutter.

 

 

 

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

 

Make sure that you can consistently bake and decorate excellent tasting cakes.  This is a year's worth of learning curve.

 

Make sure that you have excellent customer service skills. 

 

Make sure that you can make a profit with whatever overhead model you choose.

 

You are describing the appearance, you haven'tr discussed the goods.  To tell the truth, what stops me from walking into a store is so much flash in the pan that I can't smell the good baking smells coming out from the kitchen...Good baking smells are what get people in the door.

post #35 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

Make sure that you can consistently bake and decorate excellent tasting cakes.  This is a year's worth of learning curve.

Make sure that you have excellent customer service skills. 

Make sure that you can make a profit with whatever overhead model you choose.

You are describing the appearance, you haven'tr discussed the goods.  To tell the truth, what stops me from walking into a store is so much flash in the pan that I can't smell the good baking smells coming out from the kitchen...Good baking smells are what get people in the door.

Yea, I am trying to take this as constructive, but I am a little baffled that you would think look would be the last thing I would work on.

I worked inside Disneyland Stores as a lead and new hire trainer for years preaching the value and execution of guest service. My values line up with theirs and my guest service skills are second to none.

I have been baking in a professional setting now for 2 years, with many more years of solo research and execution on my own. I have each and every one of the recipes that are my tried and true all set and ready to go, and as I stated in a previous post, I am capable of really any kind of decorating, however my 3D and sculpting is lacking.

I understand your reservations about all look no substance, but I am not sure you understand the kind of person I am.

All or nothing, no in between...
post #36 of 48
Hi Nerdybaker, and welcome to Cake Central!

I love the 'nerd' angle for your business and can see how you would have no difficulty luring in the gamers and nerds, and building up a reputation as a desirable brand. I'd definitely buy from you, provided there was tasty product behind the name and special effects icon_smile.gif

I'm not 100% clear on what and how you hope to sell in your business. Based on my business experience, with your business name etc I suspect you will be getting tons of requests for known gaming, sci-fi and other nerdy -themed cakes. Some will be simple, but if you want the big bucks, you are going to be called upon to make extravagant cakes. There are pros and cons to this situation...

Pros:
1. You are familiar with what makes nerds happy, and with the brands and images people will be asking for.
2. You have some familiarity clearly in electrical and mechanical design (based in how you want to set up your shop), which may be useful in animating or lighting up theme cakes.
3. You have commercial bakery experience.

Cons:
1. Copyright - already discussed above, but I see this as what will be your biggest hurdle in developing your business to where you want it to be. Clients will be attracted to your business by the name and the inferred idea of getting 3D and character cakes made in their favourite nerd icon. You will be limited in design (legally) without permission from the IP owner in what you can design. You may be saying you don't want to make a life sized "engineer" from the movie Prometheus, but this is the sort of thing that people will ask you for (I make wedding cakes predominantly, but I get asked to make copyrighted character/3D cakes ALL the time! And while I'd love to do them, I have to say no because I don't want to cross that line). There are only so many primary coloured tiered cakes you will want to be sticking cheap plastic Mario figurines into. Otherwise, what makes you different to every other pink frilly bakery out there?
2. (Related) Ability in making 3D/carved big cakes...without this skill set, you are going to be limited in what you can do. Maybe before you bail out on your current job, see if they can help you pay for some classes in making sculpted and 3D cakes? There are also some good beginners online classes that can give you enough know how to start experimenting at home on your own dollar.
3. Set up cost - at the risk of sounding like a boring drone, you need an evolving business plan, that will help you plan how to make your cottage bakery start into the 'lights and whistles' extravaganza you are envisaging right now. Right now, as you think about maybe starting down the CFL path first, what will be the factor(s) that keep your customers returning? What are you going to sell? How are you going to stand out in a saturated market? The name and angle are a great start, but will this be enough to get a loyal customer base? Remember, you're not going to be needing the pyrotechnics in a home bakery (depending on your local county you may even have strict signage and noise restrictions).

I'd like to know more about what you want to sell...as in are you baking from scratch, will you be using any unique ingredients, and so forth. How will "Nerdybaker" be evident in every item you sell?

As I said, I love the nerdy cake idea, and I see LOTS of interest being generated by the name. With a lot of passion and the right plan, you will go a long way icon_smile.gif

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 #37 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoir View Post

Hi Nerdybaker, and welcome to Cake Central!

I love the 'nerd' angle for your business and can see how you would have no difficulty luring in the gamers and nerds, and building up a reputation as a desirable brand. I'd definitely buy from you, provided there was tasty product behind the name and special effects icon_smile.gif

I'm not 100% clear on what and how you hope to sell in your business. Based on my business experience, with your business name etc I suspect you will be getting tons of requests for known gaming, sci-fi and other nerdy -themed cakes. Some will be simple, but if you want the big bucks, you are going to be called upon to make extravagant cakes. There are pros and cons to this situation...

Pros:
1. You are familiar with what makes nerds happy, and with the brands and images people will be asking for.
2. You have some familiarity clearly in electrical and mechanical design (based in how you want to set up your shop), which may be useful in animating or lighting up theme cakes.
3. You have commercial bakery experience.

Cons:
1. Copyright - already discussed above, but I see this as what will be your biggest hurdle in developing your business to where you want it to be. Clients will be attracted to your business by the name and the inferred idea of getting 3D and character cakes made in their favourite nerd icon. You will be limited in design (legally) without permission from the IP owner in what you can design. You may be saying you don't want to make a life sized "engineer" from the movie Prometheus, but this is the sort of thing that people will ask you for (I make wedding cakes predominantly, but I get asked to make copyrighted character/3D cakes ALL the time! And while I'd love to do them, I have to say no because I don't want to cross that line). There are only so many primary coloured tiered cakes you will want to be sticking cheap plastic Mario figurines into. Otherwise, what makes you different to every other pink frilly bakery out there?
2. (Related) Ability in making 3D/carved big cakes...without this skill set, you are going to be limited in what you can do. Maybe before you bail out on your current job, see if they can help you pay for some classes in making sculpted and 3D cakes? There are also some good beginners online classes that can give you enough know how to start experimenting at home on your own dollar.
3. Set up cost - at the risk of sounding like a boring drone, you need an evolving business plan, that will help you plan how to make your cottage bakery start into the 'lights and whistles' extravaganza you are envisaging right now. Right now, as you think about maybe starting down the CFL path first, what will be the factor(s) that keep your customers returning? What are you going to sell? How are you going to stand out in a saturated market? The name and angle are a great start, but will this be enough to get a loyal customer base? Remember, you're not going to be needing the pyrotechnics in a home bakery (depending on your local county you may even have strict signage and noise restrictions).

I'd like to know more about what you want to sell...as in are you baking from scratch, will you be using any unique ingredients, and so forth. How will "Nerdybaker" be evident in every item you sell?

As I said, I love the nerdy cake idea, and I see LOTS of interest being generated by the name. With a lot of passion and the right plan, you will go a long way icon_smile.gif

 

Firstly, thank you SO much for this extremely constructive post =D

 

I currently work at a bakery that bakes absolutely NOTHING from scratch, and it is slowly killing me inside.  I was raised on the ideals of fresh food, and I most definitely plan to carry that over to my bakery.  Everything I offer will be scratch made for sure.  There is no budging in that regard...

 

As far as what exactly I will offer, that is still very much up in the air.  I have spent many a nights laying in bed asking myself "what exactly makes you The Nerdy Baker?  What do you bring to the table?," and to be perfectly honest, aside from witty item names, or some zany flavor combinations, I am not to sure.  For example, I was toying with the idea of the name 'King of Red Velvets' for my RC Cupcake.  This is basically a reference, inside a reference, inside a reference.  In the Legend of Zelda series, there is a boat named the King of Red Lions, and there are items called Heart Containers (basically a large white heart, with a smaller red heart inside it).  It was my plan to decorate my RV with a Heart Container decoration, giving myself a rounded Zelda themed RV, as well as poke fun at more traditional bakeries where I see a heart decoration on EVERY single RV...

 

I also have a pretty great idea for a frequent guest program, but in fear of this post being a monster, I'll hold off on the details.

 

I think look is going to play a key factor in my products as well.  I have already decided that I am going to try and use as few round products as I can to try and keep with a faux pixelated feel.

 

But at the end of the day, you are right.  I need to do a little more searching for what exactly defines my product, and what spin on the traditional I can take.

 

As far as the copyright issues, as I stated before, this is one of my biggest fears as well.  Looking through webpage after webpage of professional bakeries though, I am baffled by just how many people seem to disregard it.  Nerdache Cakes for instance (it was linked to me a few posts back) is pretty much right in line with what I am trying to create, however there are blatant items she has done, which she shouldn't have, and it just makes me wonder how I can be expected to play by the rules, when someone like that, charging 15/serving for wedding cakes doesn't seem to.  It's infuriating =/

 

I am currently looking in to CFL, and hope to have something up and running in the next few months.  I am an extremely proactive person, and you can bet you will see me at events, farmers markets, ads in papers etc.  I will get my name out there, but you are right, I need proper product that reflects the theme.

post #38 of 48

I stumbled across this today.  Thought you might like it too.

 

http://www.nerdachecakes.com/

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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post #39 of 48

I do mostly wedding cakes, and I think that there would be a market for SOME people for nerdy cakes with the different themes, but not that much. Weddings are weddings, and even though there are more people who are willing to deviate from what a wedding cake "should" be there are more who want to do the groom's cakes in the themes that you're describing and keep the wedding cakes on the traditional side.

 

What you should probably do is (once you get the copyright issues taken care of, which is going to be the biggest hurdle) market toward tiered themed cakes for birthdays and groom's cakes, and have some traditional wedding cakes in your portfolio too. There's no reason you can't have different pages on your website with the different things that you offer. If your focus is nerd cakes then your biggest client is going to be guys who want nerdy groom's cakes as far as weddigns go, but there's a big market for more elaborate birthday cakes these days, too.

 

The only thing I can see would be a major issue is the copyrights, which has been brought up over and over in this thread for a good reason. Disney is hardcore, and now they own Marvel and Star Wars, so the "turn the blind eye" for those characters will probably come to a screeching halt. Nintendo is hard to reach, as are a bunch of the other Japanese companies who do the Anime movies etc.

 

The other type of "man cakes" would be sports teams, and they want their cut too. I have licensing agreements with several major league teams but they only let you do a certain number of cakes a year before you have to pay a fee, and they do NOT want you to put anything with their logos on your website or any other advertising. Football teams tend to be the easiest to deal with, and baseball sucks. Colleges are hot and cold...usually if it's for an alum they say it's okay, but if you start cranking out tons of their logo on things they might not like you so much.

 

And booze...there's a lot of beer cake requests and booze cakes. I just call the company directly for those and see what their policies are.

post #40 of 48
Another option could be providing cakes for entertainment companies who hold events related to the launch of TV shows, movies, and video games. You're 30 minutes from Hollywood so there should be plenty of options, but you will need a top-notch portfolio to pull it off.

If you still have contacts within Disneyland that's another way to go, I'm just not sure how much they do in-house on the cake front. Working directly with the IP owners is one way to skirt the copyright issue.
post #41 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker View Post


Yea, I am trying to take this as constructive, but I am a little baffled that you would think look would be the last thing I would work on.

 

 

 

Because there are many people who come here after watching a few seasons of ace of cakes and think they are ready to go. She was just encouraging you to focus on the most important part, in case you hadn't.

 

Jen

post #42 of 48
Nerdybaker - you've received some great info so far! I just wanted to wish you all the best with the pursuit of your caking dream. I hope you can keep us all filled in on your progress and become a regular member here on Cake Central icon_smile.gif

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 #43 of 48

How about steam punk?

post #44 of 48

if you're wanting the bridal business to be a welcome bonus and not your main focus, then you're good with the direction you're going.
 

post #45 of 48

Hi Nerdy Baker, just wondering how things were going, cant wait to see what you have been working on.

 "So find what YOU like best and make it your own! After all, It’s YOUR sandbox, I Just PLAY in it."

 

 Gretchen Price

Reply

 "So find what YOU like best and make it your own! After all, It’s YOUR sandbox, I Just PLAY in it."

 

 Gretchen Price

Reply
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