Previously I’d spoken about a failed record label that I was initially part of, and today I’m talking about another brand I tried to start with a friend.
I hope people find these articles useful, especially if they’re interested in the industry which it’s about.
A couple of years ago my friend was in a difficult situation. She was a talented baker but was working at a failing café and wasn’t putting her talents to use.
She already had an Instagram for her baking, and it was gaining a decent following.
We came up with the idea of doing online cake sales. The designs would be bespoke, so you could say “I want a cake that looks like a giant Greg’s sausage roll” and we would make it.
It was never meant to be a full-time work solutions for either of us, but I felt like it could potentially get to that point for my friend.
I immediately created the branding and I began my market research. I also came up with an initial website, but hadn’t began any of the online advertising.
In addition to online sales, I also looked into cake sales at events. The costs of advertising online are greater than attending these local events, so we decided to attempt running a cake stand at a local farming event.
It was a great success, and we sold all of the cakes within a few hours (making between £110 – £150). The only thing we should have changed was the quantities we were selling, as the cakes sold out around 4 hours before the event finished.
Not only did we sell out, we also managed to pass on our details to several people interested in receiving bespoke cake designs.
The following week I started to look at new events to attend, along with looking at beginning the advertising. However, following our initial success, my friend cancelled the brand due to her suffering from bad anxiety.
What would I have done differently?
I would have focused on the local events primarily, ignoring advertising online initially (but still having a website to show which events you were attending and cake designs).
Local events are a great opportunity to make direct sales, in addition to gaining contacts for remarketing the bespoke cake sales.
Most areas of the UK will have events happen regularly from Spring until the end of Summer. You’d be surprised how many events you overlook unless you’re in specific communities (such as farming events, vintage vehicle events, etc), all of which usually allow food sales.
Eventually online marketing would be added (using a portion of the profits made from the event sales); but only for bespoke sales, such as custom cupcakes or full purpose-made cakes.
This would result in a gradual increase in income, starting with the security of the event sales and then eventually bringing in the online sales.
Online sales would work more effectively for regular income in the future, but it’s worth keeping the event sales whilst the online advertising is being perfected.
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