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post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by just4fun26 View Post

Third, I'm having issues with pricing. There aren't any bakeries that do this in the St.Louis area, so I can't use their prices as a guide so I'm not undercutting. Suggestions?

Don't look for sweet table pricing, look at bakeries and cake decorators for their prices per piece for mini pastries, cookies, cookie bars etc.... Look at what they offer, do they have fancy mini pastries (someone must, grocery stores sell them)... and compare those prices with what you'll need to price at to be competitive yet profitable. Do they offer custom work? If so, what's it cost to have all your items shades of red, etc...

 

Sometimes there's no one doing something because there isn't demand for that kind of work in that market. If you make some phone calls you can find out why there aren't people already doing this. Maybe there is or maybe there isn't....than determine why.

post #32 of 48
Thread Starter 
A lot of places do have pricing for mini cakes, cookies, cake pops, etc. Nearly all of the better known bakeries offer custom items, at an increased price. I will definitely. Be checking around to see why dessert tables are not specificly offered. My fiance's mom is a chef, she also worked at one of the ritziest wedding venues in St. Louis. I talked to her today. She said that not many people thought about a dessert table. She was shocked at how much I know, which clearly is not a lot. She is a very honest woman, she said I have a great idea and it's a good longer term goal. I would need an assistant or two to do the events to be more profitable than minimum wage. She also suggested I stick with it and do the dessert tables for friends and family, she's had my cakes and even said she would love to have me design a table for the party she is hosting at her home in late October. I won't make any money, but I'll meet a lot of people who are chefs and party planners, she knows everyone and she hosts this party every year.
post #33 of 48
Don't forget candies. People also want to have the color-coordinating or themed candies on their dessert tables. Lollipops, barber poles (candy sticks), M&Ms or Sixlets, gum balls, jelly beans, taffy, Lindt truffles, marshmallows, etc. Some people don't care about coordinating colors (I do). I recently went to a wedding that had a dessert table with 2 big trays of Italian cookies, 2 big trays of mini pastries (mini canolis, cream puffs, etc.), then just tons of candy that they bought at BJs. Giant pixy stix, mini wrapped chocolates (the kind given out at Halloween), nothing special or pretty. I thought it was very nice of them to give it out, but it looked boring to me, it didn't look special. They also just tossed a box of ziplock bags on the table for people to put their stuff in. I usually give nicer packaging.

I recently did a Polish/Russian/Ukranian themed party for my mom's birthday. We did a Sweet Shop and put out all kinds of candy that was made in those countries (purchased at a European market), plus I added some gum balls, barber poles, etc in the party colors to fill it in. The international treats were a huge hit. I felt bad when the mother-of-the-bride (from the above wedding) told me this display was so much nicer than the one for the wedding. Our little 3-ft table made a bigger impact because of the color/theme matching than her 10-ft table had. They didn't have anything on the table to tie it all together or make it pop. I honestly didn't think my table looked that great either but everyone loved it.

I think the dessert table is still not a widely known item. When I got married I wanted to have a dessert table. It was 15 years ago, so I did not know about the candy ones, just pastries. I would have incorporated candy had I known. We ordered tons of cookies, dipped strawberries, cream puff swans, and a few other items from our wedding cake baker. I had requested that the venue put everything out, making a bountiful display. They had no clue what to do. Instead of doing what's requested, they only put a few items out at a time, on individual plates. It was so sad looking and by the time I found out,it was too late. We spent all that money and took over half of it home. It still annoys me a bit.

When I make dessert tables for family parties now, everyone is so amazed and say what a great idea or how creative I am, or they have never seen something like that before. Kind of makes me laugh because to me, this is common. I realized the difference between me and the guests is that I spend an enormous amount of time looking at blogs, books, tv shows, and websites that have dessert tables. It seems like desert tables are becoming more popular now as more people look on Pinterest for party planning, there are more people doing the dessert tables, and there are people that sell printables for parties. Party City recently started displaying candies, labels, and small packaging in different colors for dessert tables. Maybe you can do some set-ups (can do it in your house), take photos and make some flyers to give to wedding planners or venues. Or have a set-up at a wedding show.

Sorry writing so much. It has been an extremely stressful day and I get chatty when I am stressed!
post #34 of 48
Thread Starter 
I was/do plan on having candy as well. I love that it can be chosen by color to fit the theme. I have so many ideas based on different types of events and themes. I've got printables saved for different occasions.

I also thought that maybe they aren't that widely known or thought of, I mean 3 years ago I would have made a weird face at someone suggesting a dessert table. Now, after decorating for so many showers and being less than excited about some because I thought it could look better, more pulled together with the money we had to work with. Just a 5' table with a colorful backdrop can up the visual appeal of a party and keep people talking about how well put together it all was.

My plan was/is to have decorative take home bags and/or boxes. So the guests also get to take home a little taste of the party (and I could put a little sticker advertising my business on it). And the host would not be left with too many extras.

As Kayla had brought up, different "themes" to the goodies may be fun. But allowing choices may go over better.

I am definitely going to put together some small display tables at my house to showcase my abilities.

Even if I didn't have the clientele now, I'd still like to be licensed so if the opportunity arose, I could provide an immaculate display. Either way, I'm still putting together a list of treats I would provide and an idea of different packages and prices.
post #35 of 48

Dessert tables are actually pretty common - that is how private clubs have been serving desserts for events and buffets forever.  I had one at my wedding in 1992. :)  What I see as a concern for you is that you want to "veer" off into party planning and decorating, and that is great, but you need to charge for all of it.  That would not be included in the price of each dessert piece.  Backdrops, take home boxes, etc. all add up, and if you don't charge for it up front, you will be left with no profit.

 

You need to find a target market willing to pay $15 to $20 a head, with a large minimum to allow yourself to make a profit when all is said and done.  The trick will be finding those people. :)

 

Liz

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post #36 of 48
Thread Starter 
I don't really want to do party planning. I just want the dessert table to "wow" people. I know that presentation is very important so I feel that a backdrop of some kind helps make it look finished.
post #37 of 48
Try to make your life easy with that. The backdrops can get out of control with what people will ask of you. Maybe if you just offer solid color backgrounds, then you can have some add-ons that can be attached, such as ribbons, balloons, or polka dots.

I have seen backdrops using a board that is just leaned up against the wall and also PVC frames that they hang fabric on. There are some tutorials online to make a frame for a 'sweet shop' with an awning. They are rally cute. That could be something you rent out. My husband and I made a small one that I use with a 3foot table.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by just4fun26 View Post


I know thats a touchy thing, even if I put the original decorator's name with the photo. I'll just send them to pintrest or go over pics with them. I'm also thinking about doing mini set ups with different decor to showcase my work.
I found one place that has a minimum of $250. I think I would charge per person and each get x amount of servings. I'll have to do more research there, see what others do.

Ive got a lot of work ahead of me, I appreciate everyone's help.

I too have been looking into doing this in my area. I've already started developing mock sweet tables to have something to show. I buy the candy and I'm actually recycling it because no one is going to be eating it right now. I need a portfolio so I can showcase some of my own work and not have to refer to Pinterest or Google when a customer contacts me. I can at least show something I've already done. I bought a white table linen, which can be used again and again and bought a few runners, etc so I can switch things up. I do my own crafts so the backdrops are easy for me right now. It is a lot of work. Just the 1 table I finished took me some time to get everything together. The cost of the candy is the only thing that concerns me right now because I'm doing it out of pocket. I've not gone through pricing yet, but I've visited a few local companies to see what they charge to get an idea. Good luck with it. I know, like me, you're going to learn as you go.


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post #39 of 48
When you are doing your mock-ups, you don't have to fill a container will the candy. If you put something in the center of the container, such as tissue paper or an overturned cup, you can use less candy but it will look like it is full. I don't think I am explaining it well, but hopefully you get the idea. There is a place online that I get fabric tablecloths and runner. The tablecloths were about $10 for banquet sized (they have other sizes) and the runners were about $2 each. They also had table skirts for a decent price. I don't remember the name off the top of my head, I can look it up if you are interested.
post #40 of 48
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the help. I'm still recovering from a bad ankle injury so setting it all up right now is too much, but I'm a crafty gal so I've done some drawings for when I can make my mock ups. Secret agent, I completely understand what you are saying. My plan was to fill the containers with large cups and just surround the cups with candy. I will also be making my own runners and table cloths, unless I can find them cheaper.
post #41 of 48
I'm sorry about your ankle.
Here is the website I purchased the tablecloths and runners.
http://www.efavormart.com/linen-tablecloths-linen-napkins.aspx
post #42 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretAgentCakeBaker View Post

I'm sorry about your ankle.
Here is the website I purchased the tablecloths and runners.
http://www.efavormart.com/linen-tablecloths-linen-napkins.aspx


I use the same one. Very affordable.


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post #43 of 48

http://www.rubyju.com.au/index2.php#/rgallery1/2/

http://www.styledbybelle.com.au/weddings--engagement-parties.html

http://candy-couture.com.au

 

Just a few examples. Dessert tables for events are wildly popular here in Australia at the moment. From what I can gather, they are effectively event planners who have contacts who are cake decorators, printers (for labelling and signs etc) and so on. Some handle all details themselves, while others work with other professionals simultaneously. Most have the jars etc that hold the candies and desserts and hire them out on an event by event basis. Most are booked up until the end of the year!! I know they also do a lot of corporate stuff, for Christmas parties and things. Then they do kids birthday parties (for parents who want to splash out), engagements, weddings, showers, anniversaries etc. 

 

I think if you market yourself effectively then you can build a good business just from dessert tables alone. But you would have to have good recommendations on hand for the clients who look to you and ask your opinion on cake bakers, etc. You are targeting a high end market, so don't even think about looking at tiny kids party tables and things. You will have clients after a luxury service and your business needs to reflect such. 

 

I think it's a great idea, I would love to do it myself but cake is my first love :) 

post #44 of 48
Thread Starter 

Secret Agent- Thank you. I have been just putting together ideas for set ups, what I would offer, etc. I am not licensed yet, so I have a while to go, but a good business plan is so important.

 

Nadiaa - Thank you for the links, I actually worked with a wedding planner for a while and she has said she will work give out my name and recommend clients to me for showers, weddings, everything. She has tasted my baked goods and has actually had me make her some for home parties she had (I was not compensated). Also, my fiancé's mother is a well known chef and worked for a very pricey hotel venue in my area and has also said when I am able to start the business, she will give out my name. So I have a couple starters when I am ready.

 

I think what I am going to do is offer it to friends and family on a smaller scale as a gift for their showers and parties, so I can really show off my work and have fun with it for a while. The dessert table idea is slowly kicking up and I have a feeling I would need help. The person I have in mind is not licensed either but would not be baking, just helping me set up and work with me at the venue.

post #45 of 48

thanks for sharing the links.  They displays on these sites are amazing.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nadiaa View Post
 

http://www.rubyju.com.au/index2.php#/rgallery1/2/

http://www.styledbybelle.com.au/weddings--engagement-parties.html

http://candy-couture.com.au

 

Just a few examples. Dessert tables for events are wildly popular here in Australia at the moment. From what I can gather, they are effectively event planners who have contacts who are cake decorators, printers (for labelling and signs etc) and so on. Some handle all details themselves, while others work with other professionals simultaneously. Most have the jars etc that hold the candies and desserts and hire them out on an event by event basis. Most are booked up until the end of the year!! I know they also do a lot of corporate stuff, for Christmas parties and things. Then they do kids birthday parties (for parents who want to splash out), engagements, weddings, showers, anniversaries etc. 

 

I think if you market yourself effectively then you can build a good business just from dessert tables alone. But you would have to have good recommendations on hand for the clients who look to you and ask your opinion on cake bakers, etc. You are targeting a high end market, so don't even think about looking at tiny kids party tables and things. You will have clients after a luxury service and your business needs to reflect such. 

 

I think it's a great idea, I would love to do it myself but cake is my first love :) 

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