Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How To Figure Out How Many Cakes To Do Next Year.

How busy do you want to be next year? This is the time to plan for it (unless you're in Australia, where the wedding seasons are opposite the ones here, but that's a different story.)

I wrote about the business patterns in cake decorating recently, and I think that it's important for everyone who has a cake business to try to plan out how much business they want to book each year. This accomplishes two things.

First, it gives you an idea about what your schedule is going to look like, and it sets some income goals to shoot for. Second, it gives you limits on how much you can do each week without getting burned out.

One way to do it is to figure out how many SERVINGS (not cakes) you can do each week. Once you hit that number, you're booked for the week and you don't take any more business. Simple as that.

Another way to do it is to decide how many wedding cakes per week or per month you want to do. If your limit is 4 a week, then don't book more than that.

I preferred to look at it by the month, because that gave me the flexibility to schedule more or fewer cakes per week based on the work involved.

Once you decide the method, you can chart out a schedule for yourself that you can use to track the business that you've booked and determine when you're booked up for each week or month.

Keep in mind that you can't just set your target and sit back to wait for customers to come your way. You need to get out and promote your business by various means, because the number of people who start off by searching for "wedding cakes" and finding your website is going to be a lot larger than the number who finally hire you.

Also remember that if everyone who contacts you also hires you, it might not mean that you're doing everything right. You might not be charging enough if you have a 100% booking rate, but that's what I'll be discussing in my next post.



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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Can You Put Wafer Paper In The Fridge or Not?

A follow-up to last week's mermaid dots on a buttercream cake post...I took it out of the fridge and let it sit for a while until condensation formed on the icing and sunk into the wafer paper a little. I wanted to see what would happen, and it wasn't too bad since the pieces were small and separated. I think it would have been different if it was a full sheet, but the little pieces weren't so bad:



And to get the mermaid dots, click here: Wafer paper mermaid dots for cakes

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How To Follow Up After A Wedding Show

Last week I wrote about wedding show prep...This week it's about following up after the show.

The one thing that you need to keep in mind is timing. Most shows will send you a show list that includes all of the brides who signed up at the show. It's important that you contact them soon, but you don't want to pounce on them like you're desperate. I'd wait until a few days after the list goes out so that you can go through and prune it.

Before the show list gets to you, though, you should have sent out an email to everyone who signed up for your business email list at the show. (If you don't have an email list, read this: Email Lists)  Those are the people who were interested enough to tell you individually that they want you to contact them, so get to them quickly.

I'd send them an email the day after the show, saying that you were glad to meet them, and that if they would like more information they can go to your website. Offer a tasting appointment if you have some dates set up (you should set some dates up for a bunch of post-show appointments) and let them know when those are available. Sending them a follow-up quickly will beat the rush that they're going to get when every vendor from the show gets the full list.

When you get around to dealing with the show list, go through it and delete the people who are getting married on dates that you're not available. Delete the people who are already on your business list (you contacted them already). Delete people whose names and emails are obviously fake. Delete people who have the words "princess" or "diva" in their email addresses (that last one is optional, but I've always found it to be a good idea.)

Once you've pruned the list, send out a general email with a friendly greeting and a link to your website. Say a little bit about your business and what makes you unique. Invite them to sign up for your email list and give them a link to do so. Then hit send and don't worry about it again. Pestering people won't win you any prizes, and the people who are interested will sign up for your list.

Make sure to put something about why you're contacting them after the signature of your email. A simple "You're receiving this email because you signed up at the XYZ bridal show" is enough. 

Do NOT sign people up for your email list without their permission. If they didn't tell you to it's considered spamming, and that's not good.

Finally, follow up with any vendors you met who seemed like good connections. Send them a quick email saying hi and linking to your website. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them at the show, and that you'll be referring brides to them when you get a chance. Don't beg for referrals, just offer to send people to them.

If you have any other suggestions about wedding show follow-up, please post in the comments below!


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

Friday, November 10, 2017

How To Do A Mermaid Cake With Wafer Paper Dots

How to put wafer paper dots on a cake to make a mermaid scale pattern.



Can you apply wafer paper directly to a buttercream cake? Of course you can. You just have to take some precautions, and try not to refrigerate it if possible. If you have to the success of the refrigeration will depend on the humidity in the fridge, the humidity outside the fridge, and how large the wafer paper pieces are. It never hurts to do a test run if you're not sure that the wafer paper will make it through without being affected!


And click here for the dots: Wafer paper dots for a mermaid cake

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How To Prepare For A Wedding Show

This post contains affiliate links

It's that time of year...When the wedding shows start soliciting for you to pay for the privilege of exhibiting at their show.

If you've never done a wedding show before, there are a few things that you should know, and investigate before forking over the booth fee.

-- How many brides come to this show? Not how many people attended, how many BRIDES are estimated to attend. A lot of times show organizers will inflate their numbers to try to persuade people to sign up. If 3000 people come to the show, but only 500 of those are brides, you need to decide whether it's worth the cost, because some of those booths are EXPENSIVE...

-- Are you expected to provide anything? Some shows require that you hand out samples, some require that you give out a doorprize or two. You need to add the cost and time to make and package the samples up into the "is it worth it or not" figuring that you'll do.

--Do you need a food handlers license or inspection licenses if you're going to hand out food? Some places require that you have a valid business license, insurance, and a current inspection if you're giving out food.

-- How many other cake vendors (or vendors in your category) will be there? If there will be ten other cake decorators, that needs to go into your calculations. You'll need to have better samples, better display cakes, a better booth design...Pretty much better everything, to cut through the noise and get to the brides.

-- How many different categories of vendors will be there? You want to have a good variety of people there so that brides spend more time looking around. If there are 20 photographers, 10 DJs, 5 Cake decorators and 5 florists, people will be in and out pretty fast because there's less variety. If you have those categories AND travel agents, caterers, gowns, realtors, jewelry, beauty products, etc etc, people tend to stay longer. Which means that they'll be more likely to find you.

-- Finally, call a few people who were at the show the previous year and ask them how it went. Was it organized well? Did the number of brides who came through match up to the organizer's claims? Was the facility clean and well-lit? These things matter.

Once you decide to do the show, get these things ready:

-- Booth decorations, including a banner with your business name, display cakes, tablecloths, a carpet with a carpet pad or a mat to stand on, brochures, business cards, cards for each display cake with prices and serving count for that cake, display stands, business card holders, email list signup sheets, albums with cake photos or a computer to play a slideshow (if your booth has electricity), tall garbage can and extra garbage bags (they never have enough garbage cans), duct tape, scissors, extra pens and paper.

-- If you're bringing samples, put them in little 2 ounce plastic cups with lids, and give them out with plastic forks. You'll also need napkins, trays to put the samples on, boxes for the extras, and an extra person to help hand them out. You should NOT try to do a wedding show with samples by yourself.

-- Get some type of rolling cart to help you move everything to and from the booth for setup. Most facilities will have carts available, but everyone there will be competing for them. Bring your own and you won't have to worry about that.

At the show, do this:

-- TALK TO THE OTHER VENDORS. The point of most wedding shows is the networking. Everyone's in a good mood because they've been surrounded by excited brides all day. Make sure that you introduce yourself to any vendors you haven't met, and say hi to the ones you do. Most shows have a fashion show or something that draws brides away from the vendors for a while, so when that happens, make the rounds. Get business cards and make notes about the people you talked to so that you remember their names and job position.

-- Don't sit, stand up, and put that cell phone away. Enough said.

-- If you're a person who hates to talk to people, get over it and pretend that you're an extrovert who loves chatting with strangers for the four hours it takes. You can go home and curl up in the fetal position after the show is over.

--Talk to brides and be upbeat, ask when their wedding date is, ask them if they'd like to sign up for your email list to get a free tasting appointment or free delivery with their wedding cake, or whatever you have to do to get them to opt in to your list. Those are the brides who are interested, and they're the first ones to follow up with later.

-- Don't eat or drink at your booth unless you're sneaking in bites under the table.

-- Don't necessarily try to sign people up for tasting appointments at the show. This is the time to get brides to see who you are and to sign up for your list, not for appointments. You'll want to do some more screening before scheduling people.

-- Smile!

Next: How to Follow Up After The Show


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