Cupcakes seem to be everywhere right now, and when you’re a mother who aces every cake sale with her fabulous bakes, you’ll find yourself wondering if you could be making some cash from this little side hustle. So do you have what it takes to start a cupcakes business?
When you discover that you have a talent for baking, a little lightbulb can go off, and you start thinking maybe you could go beyond your cake sale capabilities and start working for yourself. You will need to do some serious research though – running a food business takes a lot more than just being able to bake. Here are a few pointers as to what else you might need.
Registration and Training
First and foremost you need to be aware of food standards regulations where you live. If you are setting up in the UK you need to register your premises as a food business with your local authority at least 28 days before you open for business. The regulations say that you don’t necessarily need to have a food hygiene certificate, but given that the local authoriy are likely to send somebody round to inspect your premises it would be a good idea to get to know the basics of food hygiene standards for business, which go a long way beyond just merely keeping the kitchen clean each day. You can find some basic hygiene and health and safety guidelines on the Food Standards Agency website
While you can just use your own name when you set out in business, you might want to find something a bit more catchy for a baking business. Using your own name when you are selling yourself and your services usually sounds professional (Jane Brown Photography, Jane Brown Design services), but maybe Jane Brown Cakes doesn’t sound quite so appealing….
So you need to think carefully about what you want your business to be called, and then possibly design (or have somene else design) a cute logo for you. When you are thinking about this you might also want to check if the domain name for your choice is available. It’s a good idea to buy the domain name right at the start of your business even if you don’t start with a website – better that than discover after you have traded as your chosen name for six months or more that your ideal domain name has gone.
Packaging of Cupcakes
When you make cakes for a school cake sale, you probably just rock up with them in a Tupperware container or biscuit tin, and arrange them on the serving table yourself. If you are in business, you will need to think about boxes and packaging to transport cupcakes, whether you are going to deliver them, or if you are going to ask people to pick them up from you. You will also need to figure out pricing, factoring in the cost of packaging and delivery and adding in a reasonable margin for your time in baking and decorating them.
Your business – whether from home or on the high street – needs to be online. If you are starting with a reputation from school cake sales then you you will probably start out with word of mouth recommendations, and hopefully those will spread, but sooner or later you will have to start advertising beyond the sphere of your personal friends.
You need a social media presence that pops so that people know where to come for the perfect baking treats. You can grow this slowly, and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, there are plenty of people that you could outsource this to. It may be possible to run a small business just on Facebook, but it is probably advisable to get a website of your own as well.
One quick tip – when you first start your business make sure you photograph everything that you make – that way when you come to build a website or a social media presence you will have lots of appetising photos to get it off to a good start
You’re good at cupcakes as proven by how fast they fly off of the fold-out table at school. Is this where you want to stay? Are cupcakes what you want to be known for? There are cakes, biscuits, pastries, bread – a plethora of sweet treats that you could be maximising on. You need to develop the recipes that you want to work with and make them unique to you. Here are some examples….
Being good at something is awesome and knowing that you have a talent that you didn’t know that you could capitalise on is even better. Baking is a great thing to do while the children are at school or nursery and if you have a talent and a passion for it, then you never know where it might lead…