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No Order$$ = No Business... I'd appreciate any help - Page 2

post #16 of 33

Advertising doesn't have to be expensive.  If you enjoy doing kids birthday cakes, contact local town parent associations and ask them to get the word out to their members.  Visit children's birthday party locations and leave them cards to give to customers when they book birthday parties.  Are you on Facebook?  If not, create a page and get your name out there in your community.  Connect with other businesses who will share your page/pictures.  Networking is a big part of the process.  Put yourself on yelp, make sure some of those customers do their raving there.  Leave business cards/fliers at places parents frequently have to sit and wait for their kids (dance schools, sport facilities).

post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 

So I am trying to take everyones advice.  

  • @FrostedMoon I should have a brochure proof around Monday and  yesterday I picked up my photo book to two dress venues.  One had the 'nerve' to have a baby! LOL Jk jk so I will contact her via e-mail.  

 

Then I went to another location and the owner was very excited and helpful.  But my photo book is $20 so I will contact a printer to see if I can bring down the cost and leave them at other locations.  So brochure is key.  I would just prefer word of mouth cheaper and avoids copy cats in my area :sssh:

 

:detective: What do you think of photo albums?  

 

  • I have been contacting Mom's organizations but decided to stop until I become a part of their group.  The reason: Sales reputation.  Let's face it, the second you get an e-mail or phone call from some who wants to introduce their product or service... you get a hang-up or delete. :-? 


I am a mom and am interested in meeting others so I'm not doing it just for business.  I like to help to so am offering to do some decorating parties.


Just wanted to share some word's of wisdom I got yesterday while networking::top hat:

While chatting with a shop owner, I said something painfully stupid (wish I had a sales person to do this for me), I felt awful.  In sharing my 'foot in mouth' syndrome with someone they told me, "Experience is the name we give our mistakes"  Here! Here! LOL  Hope your experiences aren't as 20/20 as mine :oops: 

post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moniquea View Post

Just wanted to share some word's of wisdom I got yesterday while networking::top hat:

While chatting with a shop owner, I said something painfully stupid (wish I had a sales person to do this for me), I felt awful.  In sharing my 'foot in mouth' syndrome with someone they told me, "Experience is the name we give our mistakes"  Here! Here! LOL  Hope your experiences aren't as 20/20 as mine :oops: 

 

 "An expert is a person who has made every possible mistake in a small field of study"

 

you're one step closer :)

 

this is an annonymous quote i got from my brilliant sister

bad artists copy, good artists steal
pablo picasso

 

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bad artists copy, good artists steal
pablo picasso

 

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post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moniquea View Post
 

You are right my are is full of bakeries.  Most do not offer fondant - at all.  And the baker down the street said he would partner with me if someone wanted one but I think he decided against sending customers my way after all, no hard feelings.  But he gives me advice all the time and one was to stay just outside of the city.  It's what I'm trying to do, I just need to do more.

 

Whereas the bakeries around my area offer both fondant and buttercream, but I'm pretty sure the buttercream is the more popular. :nodding:   I love the "fun" feeling of your website, btw and the cakes you have on your home page :)  But yeah, as somebody else said, you're going to have to revise it if you're planning to go the wedding route. 

post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moniquea View Post
 

@embersmom  Almost forgot, I noted in my photobook that I do cake, cupcakes, cakepops, cookies, custom cakestands and desert tables - Is that what you meant?  Thx.

 

My former coworker doesn't do cake stands nor decorates the table.  She just supplies the sweets :)

 

Oh, I probably should have put this in my other reply...she doesn't do wedding cakes because people will travel to Retail Bakeries Which Have Been Around Since Time Immemorial for their cakes, so she figured early on there was no way she could compete with them.  The cake/cake pop/other sweets, I believe, has been slow but steady.  I don't think she makes her entire living from it, but it's become a viable PT business, and she's happy with that.

post #21 of 33
Thread Starter 

@-K8memphis :grin:  Thanks!

@embersmom  I don't want to compete with the other bakeries for wedding cakes either.  And not having a store front makes it harder.  Not to mention I could never match their cost structure.  However If I can help a bride or a brides family by bringing a different taste palette or style than a bakery is willing to give then I will would be happy to.

 

Thanks for commenting on the fun nature of my website - I really wanted it to reflect me and my work :madhatter:  I will add a bride's page.  Not sure if that is the 'right' way to do it though.  Guess I'll have to make that mistake to find out - yumm I'm mean get 'experienced' at it - lol

 

post #22 of 33
"Not to mention I could never match their cost structure."

I don't understand this statement. Do you mean you can't purchase supplies, ingredients, etc. at wholesale prices like a bakery can? Sorry, trying to understand what you're saying.
"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
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"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
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Birthday Cakes
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post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 

@AZCouture Yes, I can't purchase in volume, I don't have the physical equipment to produce as much as they do. On-top of that, they have speed.  They have systems in place that can put out lots of product, whereas I do one cake at a time sometimes two. Also I don't have enough customers to break-even or profitable.  I work at a bakery and we got all of the pies they didn't sell... which was most of them.  They could barely afford it and I certainly can not.

 

Hope that helps :)

post #24 of 33

Hi Monique, I've been reading this thread and I don't have any advice that is different from any other posters, but I just wanted to encourage you. The pictures of your cakes are awesome, and as you said your work is very polished and clean! I do hope you see the increase in business soon. Best wishes to you!

post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moniquea View Post
 

@AZCouture Yes, I can't purchase in volume, I don't have the physical equipment to produce as much as they do. On-top of that, they have speed.  They have systems in place that can put out lots of product, whereas I do one cake at a time sometimes two. Also I don't have enough customers to break-even or profitable.  I work at a bakery and we got all of the pies they didn't sell... which was most of them.  They could barely afford it and I certainly can not.

 

Hope that helps :)


That one of the most brilliant things I've read on here in a while. Many people starting out think they should charge less than brick and mortar bakeries because think they have lower costs. Best of luck to you.

post #26 of 33
Thread Starter 

@therealmrsriley & @howsweet  Thank you - Thank you - Thank you!  I really appreciate you noticing the hard work & your encouragement!  Working alone means there isn't anyone else to blame :-? or pat me on the back :-D  So I love it!  Thank you - everyone

post #27 of 33

Hi Monique,

I visited your website, and as a graphic designer, my first impression was: this is too informal, where are the wedding cakes?

Weddings are expensive parties, you need to show your potential clients, you can create that elegant cake for them.

You will have to create fondant dummies, and take pictures, this is a product you have to show, and the funny thing is fondant is expensive, and only one out of 3 would pay me for fondant, but all the brides would go crazy for the fondant display designs at the bridal show, show your creativity, my husband will make fun of my too artistic cakes at the show, but guess what?, that weird cake with orange tulips, made the brides stop at the booth, so yes you need to show your talent, so people believe in you.

 

I believe you have talent, but don't have the funds to start a business, like they said here in the thread, there will always be a start up cost, and I feel advertising is part of it, if you want brides, you have to go to them, they are at the bridal shows,(at least for me they were) they are expensive, but if you want brides/orders, you have to pay for it, in Virginia a bridal show can cost you $1400, but you get brides calling you, yes you don't book every bride that comes to the tasting, but you can get a lot of orders from it, now...making profit, it something I didn't see for the first 3 years, but that is a different story, then... the day I decided not to attend the bridal show anymore, because I was closing the business because of relocation, guess what?, the phone stopped ringing, so I do believe bridal shows do bring business,its not just networking.

 

Good luck with the redesign of your website! 

post #28 of 33
I'm not sure if anyone has suggested this yet, but you could offer free desserts to a local chamber of commerce (or similar) event in exchange for free advertising on their website, business card placement, etc. I have a friend who used to do website design (not the same field, I know) and that's how she got her free advertising. She would offer to consult and design websites in exchange for free advertising. Her business was word of mouth and this approach worked very well for her.

Another way to get the word out there is to hold taste testings. a local bakery near me has hours similar to yours (appointment only) and they do a monthly taste testing for a small fee ( about $5 per person) and they require people to sign up. The owner told me he is almost always booked and it helps bring in customers who prefer to taste the cake before buying. My personal preference is to taste before buying, but having to make an appointment makes me feel like I'm locked in (stressful).

Just my two cents.
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post #29 of 33
Thread Starter 

@IsaSW  You are correct.  It is the start-up capital that prevents a perfected design.  On the other hand, if I could continue to do more fun cakes instead of wedding that would be a dream ;-)  Unfortunately, it won't pay my bills. :) I looked at yours and it is very nice.:-)



I've just renewed my lease and don't have a single order (except for 'donations') in sight.  Also, I don't have any wedding cake pics.  The few I did were disasters :???:(my own personal opinion, the brides were fine with them), so I shook off that mojo by doing a large baby shower cake.  And I work on them at the bakery all the time so I'm very confident I can do them well. ;-D I just need to make some dummies.

 

You are right with the show's.  I will be searching for affordable show's and if I get the capitol to do a big one then I will make sure I do the one with the most promise.

 

My question is based on my current web-design - how do I add fancier cakes?:detective:  Aside from putting them in a separate gallery - how do I keep the personality? - the fun nature on the website.  Or is it more important to deliver the 'fancy' refined image when trying to market to brides? :top hat:

 


@craftybanana Thank you!  After I read this I went to a CoC and saw I could not afford the membership but will approach them at their next open event.  There are many of them.  I found the people there are looking for business contacts for themselves but are always trying to help each other :)  As far as 'tastings' on a monthly basis I will have to find some event locations that will allow me to do so for a small fee or in exchange for 'treats'.  I may have met one over the holidays I can start at but finding brides/customers to attend is a different marketing strategy I will have to work out.

post #30 of 33

When I first got started, I put my name on every free website I could find.  (you just need to put a return link on your site for most of them)   I put flyers all over the neighbhorhood, drop cards off at restaurants and beleive it or not, adult clubs.  Our local Belk and Macy's did 'free bridal shows" in their registry area and we gave out cake there.  I had wedding planners come in for tastings.  There are LOTS of things you can do for free!   Good luck!!

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