When Sister Is Your Cake Business Partner

Would you go into business with a family member?  Here’s an informative article about two sisters who started a cake business near Wrigley Field in Chicago.

There are several keys to note in this article about starting your own bakery.

First, they started off cautiously.

…holding down day jobs while they figured out their fledgling business concept. In 1998, Brenda moved to Chicago by herself and worked as an administrative assistant for a staffing company with the goal of gaining business skills and locating a viable market. “I don’t like to be one-dimensional. It allowed me to get my feet wet in Chicago and learn a variety of skills,” she says. By the time Mary came to Chicago (with a full set of professional baking and kitchen equipment) two years later—she had been working at an upscale Detroit-area bakery&—a sense of the business and the roles they would play had emerged. Brenda took the lead role in business and Mary focused on the creative side of cake baking and decorating.

Lesson 2: Word of mouth marketing was critical to their success:

“The Cakegirls got the word out themselves, telling friends and co-workers about their “night job” in the kitchen.”

Lesson 3: they used technology to market themselves:

“They gave prospective customers the impression they had a much bigger operation by using voice mail and posting their catalog online.”

Lesson 4: They were patient.

“They opened a business bank account with $500 and deposited any money they earned from baking into it. Within three years, the Mahers had saved $15,000 from sales, having continued to survived on the income from their day jobs.”

Lesson 5: They used the media for free advertising.

“When Chicago magazine ran a feature on them in 2003, orders flooded in, prompting Brenda to buy a minivan for deliveries.

Read the full article at Business Week.

via When Sister Is Your Business Partner – BusinessWeek.