You’re seriously contemplating leaving your company to put up your own business. You’re confident that you might be able to use your skills in marketing to start your own business. You’ve set some money on the side, and a few friends also offered to help. You’ve looked at some food franchise opportunities, but you weren’t convinced.
You remember the craze back in the early 2000s about gourmet cupcakes, a trend that could’ve been ignited by a “Sex & the City” episode. Well within that decade, Sprinkles, Crumbs, and Georgetown Cupcakes followed in Magnolia’s Bakery’s footstep, of launching their gourmet cupcakes.
You bake for a hobby. And despite the downtrend recently of the cupcake business, marked by the closure of Crumbs after it went public, you feel that this is what you would like to get into. So how does one start a cupcake business?
What to Know Following the Downturn
The experience of Crumbs Bakeshop should be a clear warning sign of what not to do. Hurricane Sandy and rising competition from smaller players led to the initial sales decline for Crumbs, eventually leading to its permanent closure in 2016.
In the meantime, Georgetown Cupcakes remains open and has ventured into network television. So there are experiences to emulate and those to stay away from.
From Hobbyist to a Pro
You’re going to need a lot of creativity, and you will need to develop your baking and cupcake decorating techniques. For this, you would need to at least take some courses to transition yourself from doing baking as a hobby to elevating it to a professional level. That’s one of the first things you need to realize. Here’s a shortlist of focus areas when starting a cupcake business:
- Creating your recipes. You will start with existing recipes, maybe sourced from books or the internet. It’s part-science but also part trial and error. You need to make adjustments to these recipes to produce your flavors and designs. Remember, it might still be a saturated market, so your product must stand out. The only way to do that is by offering your customers something unique and a variety of flavors.
- Equipment. A professional mixer, baking pans, paper liner, spatula, mixing bowls, etc. are just some of the equipment and materials that you need to invest in. Naturally, you will need a conventional oven for baking. You need to find a supplier that will create your packaging for you. But make sure that you prioritize your expenses.
- Do a launch. Enter the scene with a Bang! Whether your opening a brick and mortar operation, a delivery service, or an online store. This is a great way to let customers know the quality of your product before they start buying them. Offer lots of free samples. Make sure that you get feedback from your guests at the launch party so that you can make adjustments to your recipes. Harvest your guests’ contact details so that they can be part of your next marketing campaign.
- Position yourself in the market. The demographic for a cupcake business is just about everyone, kids, adults, parents, executives, and even occasionally health aficionados who need their sugar fix. But you can still be creative by identifying a constant set of customers. You can, for example, partner with big companies as their supplier of desserts and snacks for employees.
You need to create an internet presence. You need to market your brand correctly. There are plenty of items to pay attention to, but this shortlist will get you started.