“If I raise my cake prices, I’ll lose all my customers…”
Have you heard yourself saying this very thing lately??? More times than you care to count (or admit)??? Don’t think you’re alone! This has to be the number one thing I hear from customers in the store and I’m also constantly seeing comments about pricing cakes online.
Here’s my thoughts on this matter:
WHAT YOU EARN IS UP TO YOU! You just need to know what it is you truly enjoy and want to do in order to best market yourself.
- Do you enjoy the high pressure and challenge of beating the clock doing LOTS of cakes each week (the more the better!), or would you rather do one or two custom cakes with tons of “little something” details that you create?
- Do you like to do quick and simple sheet cakes… maybe 3 or 4 variations, or would you rather sculpt a two foot tall T-rex replica?
- If you like wedding cakes… would you rather offer 5 or 6 standard designs that don’t take tooooo much time, or would you rather the bride bring you in detailed pictures of her dress, invitation, hall decorations, etc. and you design a custom cake just for her with lots of intricate details?
There is a market out there for every price range… you just have to get yourself in front of the market you want to target – and if you’ve considered some of these questions, you might have a little better idea just what that market is you are trying to target. If your goal is to pump out massive amounts of cakes each week and not be bogged down with extra detail work on them… then price yourself in line with grocery stores in your area. Customers will appreciate that they can get a little more personalized attention (and likely a few more options as well) than they would from a grocery store. If your passion is creating custom works of art with intricate little hand painted details all over the place… then price yourself accordingly so you are being paid for that talent and time required.
The one thing I am a firm believer in is that you have to be willing to commit the time and effort for what you want! Just because you can do specialty cakes, don’t think that posting one picture on Facebook or Instagram is all you should need to do to make every person in a ten mile radius come begging you to make their cake. It takes time to build a solid business reputation, just be sure it’s a GOOD one you are building!
Some things to consider that will help you appear as more of a professional business:
- Have a “business” email address (such as firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com- rather than JDoe123@yahoo.com) and a dedicated phone line (if you only have a cell phone, check with your carrier… it may not cost as much as you think to actually get a second phone just for your business!)
- Have set business hours (clearly posted or stated in a message) and only answer the phone and emails during business hours.
- If you have social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc…) – keep you personal accounts set to private if you tend to feel the urge to rant about politics or religion. There’s a 50/50 chance that a potential customer won’t agree with your views, and these two topics are probably the easiest and quickest way to lose the best customer you almost had!
- If you don’t have social media accounts – you really should consider setting them up for the business anyways! This is how many people do their shopping now.
- Spend the money to be a vendor in a few bridal shows at the local country clubs.
- Invest the time and money on several upscale display cakes (maybe even take a photo from a bridal magazine or a movie stars wedding cake and replicate it as a display cake. Then frame the picture next to your display cake to show them they too can have a “cake fit for the stars!”)
- Invest in good quality business cards and color brochures (don’t just print them on your computer… it’s just not the same!)
- Have a clean, professional website and Facebook page in place with plenty of photos (and please, PLEASE – for the love of cakes, DON’T POST PICTURES OF CAKES IN A BOX, OR WITH YOUR DIRTY KITCHEN BEHIND THEM!!!). Be sure to show close-ups of your cakes so they can see the detail work you are capable of.
- If you aren’t handy with a camera, consider contacting some of the local photographers who may have photographed your cakes at events and ask to purchase a copy – they may provide it for free in exchange for photo credits on your website.
I wish you well in your business venture… and hope you find some of these suggestions helpful.