So you want to turn cookie decorating into a business? How to start? Where to begin?
There's a lot to be done before starting your cookie decorating business. (All of this applies to any food based business actually - cakes, cupcakes, cake pops....)
Let me ask you some questions. I'll provide my own answers in more detail in future post
Take the time to practice. Are you actually READY to take orders? Bake and decorate for friends and family for a while. Experiment with dough and icing recipes. Experiment with icing consistencies and different techniques. Scour the web for decorating tutorials. Please don't be one of those people that say, "Help. I've just taken a cookie order. Can you share your recipe with me?"
Do your homework. What are the health department laws in your area? Do you need to work out of a commercial kitchen? Are there Cottage Food laws? Can you sell online? Can you ship? Do you need liability insurance? Do you need ingredient labels? What do you need to open a bank account? Do you need to collect sales tax? Do you need a business license? Find out the answers to these questions first....Before taking any orders.
Develop your policies. How will you take payment? Will you take deposits? Can they pay when they pick up? (No!) Can someone order just 6 cookies? Can someone order 24 cookies - with 18 different designs and 16 colors? Will you ship? Will you be selling by the dozen or will you be selling by individual design? Your policies will change, as your business grows and different situations arise. For now, you need a starting point.
Figure out pricing. Come up with general prices for minis, smalls, medium simply decorated, medium highly decorated, etc. Don't forget to figure in ALL of your costs....ingredients, rent, insurance, licensing, utilities, supplies, etc. AND an hourly wage for you! All of it needs to be figured in if the goal is to make a profit. Later, you can fine tune this. You can raise prices later, but don't start too low!
Build an online presence. How will you showcase your work? Where can potential customers read your policies? How can they contact you? First things, first. Once you have your main site, later you can add facebook, twitter, instagram, a blog, etc. Those sites will help drive traffic to you.
Bookkeeping. How will you keep track of your income and expenses? The more organized you are from the beginning, the easier it will be at tax time!
Get the word out. How will you do that? Social media? Farmer's markets? Local coffee shops? Continue to make cookies for family and friends? Advertise?
These are just SOME of the questions you need to ask yourself. It's a start!
Are you thinking of starting a food based business? Do you already have one? Please let me know about it in the comments.
Oh, and be sure to answer the poll on the left sidebar. What's your cookie status?
Posts on "Cookiepreneur Interviews"
Posts on "Cookies as Business".
Posts on " Poking Around the Kitchen".
Posts on "Commercial Kitchen"