Here’s an article discussing the influence of Ace of Cakes and the Food Network on the wedding cake industry. What I find most interesting is that while new trends are emerging, the bulk of work for these cake businesses is still a good tasting buttercream cake.
Wedding cakes used to be a simple, though beautiful, part of a reception — three tiers of cake stacked together, some butter cream frosting, a few decorative flowers, a miniature bride and groom, and dessert was set. Yet with the advent of the Food Network and a new era of culinary creativity, bakers are now seeing requests ranging beyond the traditional to the unusual when it comes to the cake.Television shows like “Ace of Cakes” and “Food Network Challenge” have introduced concepts that years ago might have been impossible, designs that seem to defy the laws of physics to present cakes that emphasize art. Also, says James Nargi of Michael’s Bakery in East Hartford, brides-to-be get inspired and have ideas of their own from seeing cakes at other weddings. “People come in and seem a lot more educated about wedding cakes than before,” Nargi says. Nargi says the result is a move away from traditional cakes. Three tiers have been replaced by five or seven, often times not even stacked.
If you’re community does not permit you to have legal cake businesses at home, then renting a commercial kitchen is the best way to get started. Here’s a story from the Augusta Chronicle about a group of related businesses shares a space.
Debbie Spangler had a novel idea to cut her business costs.
Five businesses under one roof — it was thrifty enough to work.The owner of Edible Artistry rents space to four tenants at her wedding cake business. In return, she gets assistance with her building fees and benefits from a tight-knit community.The 2,400-square-foot facility … was bigger than she needed. Tenants pay a flat-rate rental fee, including all utilities and Internet service.
Sweet Creations, Cordially Invited, David Russell Photography and Salads on Wheels pay a flat-rate fee to share space with Edible Artistry in a 2,400-square-foot building. Not a bad idea. If you’ve been struggling to find a place to start a cake business, what about partnering with others?
The amazing and inspirational cake blog Cakespy has a great interview with Claudia Saraniecki of Babushka Bakery. If you haven’t already seen this, check it out. What I loved were the words of wisdom Saraniecki eloquently stated about why her work is important to her. Read the whole interview and if you have a moment to consider… what is your why?
CS: Do you have any advice for someone considering starting up their own baking business?
BB: I have friends who create beautiful objects for people. They ask me why I get so stressed about baking–after all, it’s just cake. But the beautiful object that I make for people is put into their mouths and swallowed. It becomes a part of my customer! If this thought doesn’t scare a novice baker from the business, then my advice is to get the best training you can afford, bake daily, take good notes, and find people who will evaluate your work kindly, but honestly. And always wear supportive shoes.
The amazing Anne Heap of Pink Cake Box was featured on CNN’s Small Business Segment and gave some simple, practical advice to starting her business. This successful small bakery business been featured in People, Modern Bride, and several other publications.
Worth noting here is how they’ve harnessed the power of the web and social websites such as Youtube.com and their own blog, to market their business worldwide. The design is consistent from their cakes, to their photography to their website graphics. If you are thinking of starting a custom cake business, look no further than Pink Cake Box. Anne even gives some advice to her fans!
There are many ways to start a cake business of course, but take a moment to read about Warren Brown, the host of Sugar Rush on The Food Network and the owner of CakeLove and Love Café. His story should inspire you. Maybe you’re not ready to quit everything to start your own business, but let Warren’s passion infect you and help you begin to take the steps to realizing your dreams. If the desire is there and you you need some simple business and legal guidelines for starting a cake business, check out our book
With your new business venture will come the costs of getting the venture off the ground. Besides equipment and ingredient/inventory costs, you will incur costs associated with getting the required license or permit and possible filing fees with the Secretary of State. These fees depend on the business type you choose to set up. Of course these fees will vary from state to state.
A consultation with a business attorney in your local area can vary widely so I would suggest that you call around and ask for referrals from other business owners. You may also wish to call your local bar association because many of them have a referral service. Some attorneys may charge a consultation fee of $50 to $500 but in most cases the fee will be applied to any services that you have them perform. The most common service that an attorney will provide is setting up the business form that you choose and taking care of all the paperwork associated with keeping you legal.
Your attorney can also provide counsel on the liabilities involved in operating your home food prep business and attempt to insulate you from personal liability. In addition, you may want them to prepare some form service contracts tailored to your cake business so that you have recourse in the event that you don’t get paid or a dispute arises over your services. The main thing that an attorney will provide is planning ahead for all of the potential issues that may occur and this is invaluable to a successful business venture.
Deciding on business name is often one of the first things people think about when starting their business. It is not a simple decision to make, because your business name will establish potential clients’ first impressions of you. A Competitive Analysis is an often-neglected first step. That is, investigating the names of other successful bakeries. Looking around online for established cake bakeries is a perfect way to start. What is special about your cakes?
In today’s age of Internet searches, it is also important to select a business name that can be translated to a dot com. Increasingly the first stop for most brides looking for a wedding cake is the internet. Even if you’re not planning an extensive foray into Internet advertising, reserving the name you wish to use is a prudent step. Getting a website used to be a lot more difficult than it is today. There are so many options for establishing your presence online and I will be offering further details in upcoming posts.
Every day it seems I read about another success story about someone who dared to take on their dream. Here’s one from Winston-Salem NC.:
Cake Creator: Mother turns a found skill into creative outlet, business
We can learn from Melissa’s persistence in going forward despite being unsure of her ability to make wedding cakes. I have talked to many bakers who prefer to start out with birthday cakes, or baby showers and then graduate onto wedding cakes. This is a great way to begin becuase it gets your name and ability out there in the public. Then, eventually when you’re approached to do a wedding cake, you’ll be ready and say “YES”