Updated: Mar 10
Hey all! It's me, Cortney from Winn Cakes, and I'm talking about opening your own cake business from home. . . and why it's one of the best things for your little baking heart! Secret: You don't need a store-front, just an oven and some creativity. . . and the other things I mention in this post:
Why is it that we have this idea that in order to own a cake business we must have an actual bakery? Did you know that adding a brick and mortar store to a cake business is the number one reason cake businesses fail? Sure, we know of those few bakeries that make it through, but if you look closer at them you will see one of two things: they have crazy prices that only the higher class will fork out, OR they have a TV endorsement. Think Cake Boss, Cup Cake Wars etc. And we all know of that one bakery that is trying to sell you the cookies they made three days ago! That's because if they throw them out--like they should--they are losing the money they desperately need to pay their rent.
If you are like most people, you don't have a TV camera following you around, you don't have people lined up at your door to pay you five hundred dollars for a two-tier cake, and if you did go to culinary school, you are either working in someone else's restaurant, working another job entirely, or trying to figure out how to pay back your student loans one cupcake at a time. Sounds depressing doesn't it?
That's where I come in and tell you it doesn't have to be that way! You can start making and selling your edible creations from home, setting your own hours, menu, and prices without the monthly rent hanging over your head. Here is how to start!
Disclosure: Food Cottage laws are different for every state, so check your own state's laws before opening shop! I live in Utah, where owning a home cake business is legal.
This is my actual kitchen. It's small, but I love it.
Okay, I'm going to get the first blow out of the way. NO INDOOR PETS. None. I can hear the cries from your big-hearted animal loving selves. This is not because I'm callous to animals. I love all living beings, but hear me out. Imagine ordering cupcakes from that wonderful lady down the street and when you pick them up you happen to see her cat running through the house.
Even if you are the type of person that doesn't see a problem with that, your customers will most definitely see a problem with that. Even if they don't see your pet on the counter per se, they are imagining it on the counter.
Your workspace and your home must be kept clean and presentable so when someone picks up their cupcakes at your door, they won't throw them away the first chance they get and never order from you again.
Selling anything--especially food out of your home--is 100% dependent on the confidence you build with your clients. Post a picture of your workspace so your future customers can build that trust with you. Are you thinking you might want to start your own cake business? Check out my Freebies page, where you will find my free guides and resources that will help you in this awesome cake journey!
The state of your workspace alone won't be enough to sell your products, or keep customers circling back to you. Taste is king--or Queen--if that suits you. Yes, the visual aspect--the grandeur of your cake and cookie creations--might get them to order once, but if they think it was freaking delicious, they will keep coming back over and over again. And that, is good business. Maybe you have one or two good recipes up your sleeve, but do you have a whole menu? Creating a stellar menu requires a lot of research, trial and error. It's a grueling process but it will come with practice. Here's something to help you start: My free chocolate chip cookie recipe. Download it. You won't be sorry. Also, watch for my live events page for upcoming cookie classes.
Yes, this a human heart cake. . .
This might go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyways. You have to know how to bake and decorate.
Wow, that sounds obvious doesn't it? But, there is more to it. It's knowing how to trouble-shoot sinking cakes, which tools to use for the style you want, how to flavor-profile, transport, color-match and much much more. It's doing your research, knowing your materials, and constantly making the effort to learn and master your craft.
The number one key to separating your cake business from others is research. This means reading baking blogs, watching YouTube tutorials, taking classes and listening to podcasts. In this day and age there is absolutely NO excuse for ignorance, because you have every opportunity to learn at your finger tips. If you think you already know everything, I can't help you--no one can help you. The secret to success in ANY career is realizing there is always more to learn and room to improve.
There is a reason why millions of people are in the "selling" industry. Countless books, podcasts, trainings, conferences and courses are dedicated to the craft of selling and that is because no business, heck, not even a romantic relationship can thrive without the ability to sell.
If you're thinking "Really Cortney? Are you saying I have to be able to sell in order to get a date?" YES! That is exactly what I'm saying. If you can't convince someone that you are worth their time, if you can't sell them on the idea of you, you won't be getting a text or call back and definitely not a cupcake order.
You MUST be able to sell yourself to sell your business and at the end of the day, you must be able to sell your product to put money in the bank--because that's why you are here, isn't it; To learn how to put money in the bank through baking? If this all sounds daunting, fear not. It is all 100% doable and I will show you step by step exactly how to do it!
Keep learning, practicing and reading up. It will pay off!
Love your crazy cake gal,