Forum: Cake Decorating Business

Cake Decorating as a Business

I was curious for all of you who does this business, what advice would you give a person just starting out? I know in the beginning it would not be a wise decision to take this on fulltime, but one day would like to do that. Is the cake business a business that could stand alone or do you suggest keeping some kind of side job? I also know that decorating cakes take a lot of time, what are some suggestions for decorating cakes as a side job and having a fulltime job.

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8 Replies

Donna Tokazowski- Cake Hatteras, Hatteras N.C. ...

My free advice: Be passionate about what you do. At the end of a really bad day, it’s the passion about your craft, that will bring you back to do it all over again the very next day.

I work a full time job, and do cakes as a part time job. I have worked 50 and 60 hour weeks for 21 days at a stretch with no break. I am up at 5am, go to work all day and bake all night. Then I get up and do it all over again the next day, and all weekend long. I am thankful my children are grown and my husband has been totally supportive. I am passionate about what I am doing. I am nurturing my business along like it’s a new born baby. Many of the people I have spoken to, who are in a small business have said the same thing. It’s a learn as you go process.

If this is your dream, go for it. Dream big.
Good Luck to you,
tokazodo

Sophisticated ...

I would have to agree with Tokazodo: love what you, and do it right. I am fairly new at cake decorating too and am aspiring to take it to the next level. But as of now, I mostly have friends and family ordering from me every now and then. It can be hard. But I believe the beginnings are supposed to be hard so that later on in life we can look back and be grateful.

Cherish what you do, and do it with love. That’s the advice I can give you.

Latrell ...

Thank you, guys so much (Tokazoda and Sophisticated), for your great advice. It is a passion and I so passionate of learning new things. As said before I am in the beginning phase, in hopes of one day bringing it to another level. Until then I will take baby steps to ensure that my passion indeed stays a passion, and watch it grow. You guys really put it into perspective that if you love, you will do it any way. Thanks again for the advice.

Jenniffer White ...

I certainly agree with the passion part, but there’s also a business aspect to consider. When I wanted to start my own cake business, I quit my “big girl job” and got a job at a local pastry kitchen. I learned so much, not only about pastries, baking, and decorating, but about the business aspects as well. They worked me like a dog, but they did allow me to use their kitchen to sell my own cakes on the side. I finally decided that a retail shop was not for me and went through the process of building a legal kitchen on to my house. The laws in each state are all very different if you decide to go the home-based route. Some make it really easy, some make it impossible.

Which ever way to decide to go, I wish you the best!

Karen MacFadyen ...

Agreed – when you do something that you totally love – is this really called work? Isn’t work something that you have to do and look forward to the weekend off? I would always recommend doing something that gives you pleasure, when you loose time because you are so absorbed. Even if it means that for the moment you have to do something else too, but keep working at improving skills and building a customer list and you never know what could be around the corner.

Rock Candy Cakes ...

Whether you decided PT or FT, some of the best advice I got from a fellow baker/business owner was to have confience in myself, my prices and my product. I certainly have the passion and farily good business sense/experience. However, I still doubt and question my abilies with nearly every cake I make. I nit-pick it to death. I’m getting better and now look at a design and think YES I can do that and make it look great.

I often say out loud, “CONFIDENCE” when I start to doubt myself. Things are running more smoothly with every job that comes along. Good luck!

Amy Filipoff ...

Knowing what atrea of cake decorating you love (cupcakes, weddings, fondant, cake pops etc) and focusing your efforts in that area before you start will help you keep from running in circles and allow you to ficus any advertising efforts to the right audience. Be patient it takes time to build a business and a reputation. I did cakes “on the side” for years before stepping away from the corporate world and the only way to keep you sanity is to make sure the orders you take are worth it. To do this:
1. price your cakes so you are paying yourself
2. block out times where you will not take orders so you get some free time
3. set a minimum dollar amount you will take (otherwise you will be killing youtrself for $20 amd $30 orders)
4. set a maximum number of cakes you will take on in a week.
5. worlk out a baking & decoratinf schedule and try to stick with it (have at least 2 days a week “off”- mine are Sun & Mon)
It took me a few years to figure this out but once I did things went smoother and I was able to avoid burn out. I still stick with theese priciples (except the min $) now that this is my “regular” job.

mydearbakes ...

So glad that there’s such a thread. We are actually also intending to start a little business in cake decorating and it’s really encouraging to see so much positive feedback pertaining to this business :)