Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cake Booking Rates and How Your Customers Find You.

When people talk about the booking rates for their cake businesses, everyone seems to think that a 100% booking rate is the goal. I don't think that's such a good thing, personally. If every single person who comes to a tasting appointment hires you, one of two things is going on. Either you're not charging enough, or you're doing such a tremendous job of screening people you're probably scaring people away at the same time.

You do want to do a good job of screening people. However, the goal of having everyone who comes to an appointment hire you isn't realistic unless you're the only baker in town, you have a "landmark" business where everyone local likes to go, or you're just famous and people will hire you so they can say they hired you.

Here are two videos on the subject, and I had charts to go with them!




The basic things to remember on this topic are these:

-- It's not realistic to expect everyone who comes to talk to you to hire you. If that's happening, you're probably not charging enough, or your screening is super thorough. That's not a bad thing, but it could also mean that you're scaring people away.

-- You WANT to screen people when they contact you to make sure they're a good fit for your business and your schedule. If you don't you'll be wasting a lot of time on your end and their end.

-- There are far more people "investigating" you than the ones who eventually end up contacting you for an appointment. To increase those numbers, you need to ask people how they found you so that you can see what's bringing in your business. If something isn't working, don't feel that you have to spend time on that anymore. If facebook brings you no business, maybe you shouldn't be wasting your time there.

-- The number that matters in a business is your profit, not the amount of business you book. If you sell 40 cakes all year, and you make $12,000 in profit, you're better off than the person who books 100 cakes and has $10,000 in profit.


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

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