Is it even possible? I love Red Velvet cake and for a few years now, it has been all the rage in small bakeries, cupcake bakeries, restaraunts, cafes. Unfortunately, certain members of our family are allergic to artificial color–particularly red, and so we never make Red Velvet cake. I’ver read other blogs about alternatives such as beet juice or all-natural dyes, but have never seen someone report back their success when attempted. In particular, it would be great to see a picture of a red velvet cake without the 2 or more ounces of red dye. Anyone have experience with this or any other all-natural coloring?
There was an article in the New York Times in February 2007 (registration required) about the origins and trendiness of Red Velvet. link
One of the best ways to promote your cake business is to leave business cards with everyone you know. Attach your cards to every delivery you make, hand them out to anyone who asks about your baking, and always have plenty of cards on hand.
While there are plenty of high-tech networking solutions you may inevitably use to market your business, a low tech but equally important step in marketing your cakes in a personal and cost effective way is business cards.
Never be shy about passing out your card. As so many bakery owners will tell you, everyone you meet is a potential customer.
I used to suggest simple black and white cards, but as this business has become more competitive, you really need to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Invest in professional color cards. If you’re just starting out, there are plenty of free business card offers.
Be prepared to talk about your passion for cakes as you hand over your card. This is often called the elevator speech – what you would tell someone about yourself and your business if you only had about 25 seconds (the time it takes you to ride an elevator with a stranger). In your elevator speech you have the opportunity to introduce yourself in memorable fashion.
Be yourself and your sincerity will come through. At some point, this person will be in the market for a cake or perhaps pass along your card to a friend who is getting married and looking for wedding cake vendors. Your card is the key to future business referals.
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”
Here’s a great success story from Madison Wisconsin about a family that started a home bakery and have grown so much that they’ve opened a retail bakery and coffee shop in a former bank. Their baking operation was located in the basement of their home and used ovens found in most kitchens. You can download the article: Home Bakery Success Story or visit their website. When they were looking to expand, they found many of the high-end baking items on eBay, saving them $75,000. WOW!
Once you have decided to open a cake or cookie bakery business in your home, you will need to contact your local health department or agency that regulates food and agriculture for your state. The health department or food and agriculture agency will either be responsible for inspection and licensing or will be able to point you in the right direction. With the food laws changing and the implementation of new cottage food laws in more states, the opportunities for home-based baking operations have never been better. However, keep in mind that in some states or areas, a home based food preparation business is not permitted.
Remember you, the responsible business owner, should take your state’s regulations; community’s zoning regulations and the liability aspects of owning a business very seriously. If not, you can face serious consequences. You can face fines, the possibility of being shut down and law suits over injuries or damages which you may be responsible. An attorney can assist you and give you a thorough explanation of what steps you need to take to start your business. A one hour consultation fee may save you thousands of dollars in the future.
I would love to hear your experiences in dealing with the legal side of opening a home cake business, cookie business, candy business, etc. and happy to address your questions. Be sure to use the contact form.
For more ideas and information a good place to start is my series of books:
Hey there! Here is a wonderful video from Realmeals.tv offering an insiders view of how to make a wedding cake. Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, it’s always fun to see how others practice the art of sugarcraft!
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