Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Make Bamboo Sticks

Here's a look at using a bamboo mold and how to color it to bring out the details.



Click here for the bamboo mold: Bamboo mold


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How To Sell Online Part 2

Once you decide on the “what” of selling, you’ll need to decide on the “how.” Existing sites like Etsy, Amazon, Shopify, Artfire, Bonanza, Storenvy, and inSelly allow you to set up a store pretty easily, and might drive traffic to it for you. If you set up your own website you’ll be the one who needs to create your own traffic through good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and advertising. It might seem better to have a stand-alone website for your shop because you won’t have listing and processing fees. However, the cost of a shop on a site like Etsy might be worth it for the traffic they bring you, which can translate into more sales with less effort on your part.

For selling physical items, you’ll need a secure site that allows you to set up shipping costs and clear customer service policies, including how you handle returns. You can set up a Wordpress site with a shopping cart if you plan on selling a lot of things, but for one or two I'd add paypal buttons to your existing website if that's an option.

If you decide to sell tutorials exclusively through automatic downloads, you’ll need to find a sales platform that supports that. If your site doesn’t allow customers to download their files right away you’ll need to email the file they purchased to them. This results in a delay between the purchase time and when the customer receives the file, which isn’t optimal. Most people like an automatic download a lot more than having to wait for their file to arrive. At the time I write this, the easiest place to "park" your downloadable listings is in the Craftsy pattern shop. There's no charge other than paypal fees when something sells.

You’ll also need to look into the fees that go with automatic downloads. Many services that support automatic downloads charge a variety of fees, so shop around before you decide where to list your products. There are some platforms that don’t charge, but they may have some limitations on what you can list, so check around.

Once your shop is set up, you’ll need to market it. This is the part of selling online that most people don’t count on. You’ll need to use your social media to promote your listings and get the word out that you’re open for business. If you hate social media, selling online might not be for you… As I’ve said before, this isn’t a “set it up and walk away” scenario.

If you do want to open an Etsy shop, you can use my code to get 40 free listings here (I'll also get free ones): 40 Free Listings. You have to use this code when you sign up, so I'm not sure that it will work if you already have an Etsy account. Also be aware that Etsy is very strict about the email and shop names that you use, and you may not have much of a chance to change them later.

Next: Details, details...




Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Friday, June 9, 2017

How to Make Tiaras for Cupcakes

Here's a quick way to make gumpaste or fondant tiaras for cupcake toppers or princess cakes, depending on how large you make them!



Click here for a tiara mold: Tiara mold, and here for the mold I used in the video: Corner mold


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How To Sell Online Part 1

I started selling online in 2011 as a way to reach the DIY brides who had popped up all over the place after the economy tanked. As my online business evolved, I ended up selling more to other cake decorators and hobby decorators and less to the brides (who have now gone back to buying their wedding cakes after realizing it's not easy to make one themselves.)

Anyway, after 6 years of it, I've learned a lot, and I now know that it isn't as easy as it looks. People will open up an Etsy shop, list a few things, then sit back and wait. After a week they post on the Etsy forums that they're giving up and closing their shop.

There's no reason to give up that quickly, but not everyone is meant to sell online, either. First of all, you have to be selling something that people want to buy. That might sound overly simplistic, but people don't seem to understand it. They'll post a question asking for shop critiques, and the first thing I want to say when I look at their shop is "I don't think people are going to buy the shrunken fish-head jewelry that you're selling."

So first of all, you need to decide what you want to sell. If you intend to list anything that’s considered food and ship it outside the area you’re licensed to sell food, you’ll need to check with your country’s national health and food authority to see if you can legally do that. In the U.S. the FDA would be involved, and you’ll need to follow their guidelines for what type of licensed kitchen you’ll need to use to be able to sell various types of edibles legally across state lines.  

And the argument “but everyone does it” won’t fly. If you want to run a business, run it legally. You also can’t sell anything that’s copyrighted or trademarked without a license to do that. So no cartoon characters, team logos or retail logos unless you pay for permission to sell them.

Selling gumpaste cake toppers and fondant cupcake toppers is something that a lot of people want to do, but again, you have to follow the rules about what types of materials you need to use and what type of language you need to use in advertising them. If you indicate in the item description that something is edible, it will then fall under the “selling edibles online” guidelines, so you’re back to dealing with FDA rules.


When deciding what to sell, you’ll need to take ease of shipping into account. If you can’t deliver something in good condition you shouldn’t sell it. For example, fragile royal icing snowflakes probably aren’t the best choice to sell in an online store. If you’re not sure how well your products will travel, send some test packages to people you know who live a good distance away to see how they arrive. You’re responsible for making sure your products get where they’re going in good condition, so don’t take chances.

If you’re not interested in getting into the business of shipping physical items, you can choose to sell tutorials and other digital downloads. However, there are a LOT of tutorials online now, so you’ll need to spend time marketing yours. You can easily see this in action if you look on the Facebook pages and groups run by decorators who rely on classes and tutorials for their incomes. I see constant mentions of tutorials on social media, and the decorators who are selling them are active in promoting them. It’s definitely not a “list it and walk away and they’ll sell themselves” situation. 

If you're just starting out and want to open an Etsy shop, use my link to get 40 free listings here:
http://etsy.me/2iyorqA 

Next time: Where to sell online.


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

If You're Making a Car Cake, You Need This Website

Making car cakes can be tricky because people who love their cars REALLY love their cars. And they generally notice when the cake that's supposed to look like their favorite sports car looks more like the family minivan.

If you need to do a car cake, make sure to have them send you a lot of pictures. You should also go to this website to check on the general shape of the car in question. It has tons of car diagrams and drawings.

It also shows trains, airplanes, motorcycles, and a lot of other vehicles and random items. Most of the basics are free to use, so check it out here: Blueprints website


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com