From Hive to Home:
Expanding your Cake Business
A little bit about me: I am a lover of the 1980’s, I love cartoons, photography, drawing, painting, old school Nintendo, horror films and will never turn the channel when a Patrick Swayze flick is on. What started out as a hobby to make my kids cool, cakes, has now become my life’s work. With 13 years of experience in pastry and cake design, each piece just keeps getting better! I started from home and am now in the process of opening my first storefront!!! This has been one hell of a roller coaster ride and I am here to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way to help you all on your own journey.
A few things to check off your list before you decide to move from home to storefront:
- Understand your product and perfect it. Experiment with recipes until they are perfect and be sure to sculpt, carve, bake and touch cake daily to hone your skills.
- Make sure your brand (logos, identity, social media) is established. Create social media accounts and post your work often. The more you are seen on social media the better! Be sure that your logo is a representation of the direction you want your business to go in. The inspiration for my bakery's name came from my undying love of bees. Without bees, the berries that line my tarts wouldn't exist - there would be no honey to sweeten our icing - and no apples to create our fresh pies.
- You have an incredibly passionate following of customers: I did a lot of giveaways to generate buzz on Facebook and participated in styled photo shoots when at all possible. Eventually after a few months, I gained momentum and my town was buzzing about my cakes.
- Your equipment has completely taken over your home: My home was transformed into a commercial kitchen with wall to wall shelving, rolling bins, a commercial fridge and freezer, a 20qt mixer, work tables, etc. I had so many orders to accommodate; I was running out of room in my home kitchen.
Now you're ready to put the plans in motion:
- Find the space: Get the wheels in motion to secure a loan. Keep in mind if you are not ready to spend money on rent and bakery buildups - then you are not ready to open a bakery. Check out all available locations in your area and be sure to find one with enough space to be able to work comfortably.
- Get a trustworthy team behind you: You will need a contractor, lawyer and accountant - these three are very important! Contracts can be really long and tricky - so please run all paperwork by your lawyer before you sign it. I am currently in this stage as we are hashing out lease terms and hoping to sign and begin our very own build out soon.
- Be patient: Once you are up and running - don’t get discouraged - success takes time… I started with making 1-2 cakes a week and have now have graduated to making 15-20 in a weekend! During the startup, you will need to get used to the notion that you won't be taking home a dime for an average of two years. That may be a hard pill to swallow - but if this is your dream and you are destined to see it through - just buckle up and get ready to work your butt off!
Words of Wisdom: As all you cakers & bakers out there begin this journey please remember that it takes early mornings, late nights, and sometimes no sleep at all to get here!