Here's a look at a home-based cake business and some advice for people thinking about going into the field of custom cakes. My guest blogger today is Amy Filipoff from Amy's Cakes N Candies in Greensboro NC.
I have a BFA in Theatre Design. I worked at a bakery all through college and learned the basics of baking and cake decorating then. I went to work in the corporate sector for 10 years, making cakes still as a hobby for friends and family. My start in this as a real business came after My company was making cuts and I was offered a severance package around the same time my husband was offered a new position in a different state. I was in a state that, at the time, didn’t allow home baking business and we moved to a state that did. So it just made sense.
What kind of cakes do you make the most? Weddings, birthday, dessert cakes etc. What’s the “cake economy” like where you are? Have prices gone up or down in the last few years?
I focus on wedding cakes but I do all types of celebration cakes. I have found that the wedding cake economy is on a slight uptick in the past few years but fewer people are willing to pay custom cake prices for birthdays and smaller celebrations. Prices have gone up slightly.
To earn a full-time income with a home-based cake business, how many hours per week do you think people have to work?
I only work part time. That is by choice. If I needed to get a full time income out of making cakes from my home I would need to put in around 50-55 hours a week.
If you are looking to make a lot of money, run the other way. You have to love doing it or you will burn out quick. Also, you have to treat it like a business. I think this is the hardest part for hobbyists starting a business. I was fortunate to have those 10 years of business experience to learn how to sell myself and my products. If you don’t price to consider ALL your expenses PLUS an income for you then you are putting in a lot of effort for nothing.
What do you think will surprise people who want to start a custom cake business most about owning a home-based business? In other words, what do you think people find out the hard way about it?
For me the hardest part is that there is no separation from your home and work life. Since I work in my home kitchen I can't just shut the door and come back to something later. I must be completely cleaned up with everything tucked away by the time my kids get home from school. Also, incomplete work is constantly nagging at me when I try to relax or step away. Also, it’s difficult for customers to understand that just because I work from home doesn’t mean I am “ on the clock” 24/7. And I get a lot of calls from people looking for a cash and carry cake, I feel like I need a recording to play that explains how my business works and why I don’t just have a cake you can pick up at any time.
What do you like most and least about working in the custom cake industry?
I love the reactions I get from my cakes, mostly you are part of very happy times in peoples lives and it’s cool to be part of that. I love the opportunity to be creative and make a little money doing it.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a home-based cake business?
Thanks, Amy, for the insight into your business! You can find Amy on Facebook at Amy's Cakes N Candies
If you have a home-based cake business and would like to submit a guest blogger post, just answer the questions here and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you'd like to write about a different topic, including business tips or a decorating tutorial, email me and let me know what you'd like to write about!
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, online cake supplies at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com