Do you remember walking into a bakery when you were a child? The smells. The sights. The delicious treats. This is something you want to share with other people, and you have a perfect opportunity to do so, even in this economic climate. Starting your own bakery doesn’t have to be tortuous. Here’s how to make a plan with frosting on top.
Learn The Art Of Baking
If you’re not a great baker, this is something you want to practice before opening a cupcake shop. No matter how pretty your store is, no matter how amazing your customer service is, if you have cupcakes that taste awful, customers will not come back.
Work in a bakery, if you have to. Learn from bakers who have been in the business for 20+ years. Experiment on your own and try to improve your own baking skills – your job is to give the marketplace something that they’ve never tasted before. Don’t think that can be done?
It can. Consider the small bakery Sugar Buzz, in North Carolina. Sugar Buzz has defined itself as a specialty bakery that makes both gluten-free and traditional baked goods. Yet, all of their baked products have a unique taste to them that isn’t replicated at any other bakery. They’ve created their own “secret sauce” that makes them stand out in a very crowded market. You can do the same, but it will take practice and experimentation.
Gather Recipes and Experiment
A cupcake business is nothing without homemade and custom recipes. Boring, “out of the box” cupcakes will not get you noticed, and they will not win you business. You also cannot use recipes that you’ve gathered from cookbooks. You might start with cookbook recipes, but you have to change them and make them uniquely your own.
An example of this might be starting with a traditional vanilla cupcake recipe and then experimenting with this base until you’re able to get seasonal cakes, like pumpkin cupcakes, candy cane flavours, or watermelon for summer.
A few things that can dramatically affect the flavour and texture of your cakes include the quality of the water you use in the recipe. Alkaline water imparts a particular flavour and texture that’s different from normal municipal water.
You can also change up the ingredients to include organic varieties of sugar and flour. Another thing to try is experimenting with different flavour oils, fruits, and sweets, like artisan chocolates.
Don’t forget to experiment with ratios either as these can make a huge difference in the final outcome.
Get Custom Accessories and Equipment
Customised accessories, like food grade packaging, custom liners, and even cupcake boxes will help make your product stand out in the marketplace. Of course, you’ll also need some standard equipment, like mixers, ovens, trays, mixing bowls, and moulds. For some things, commercial suppliers will be sufficient.
For other items, however, you may need to shop boutique stores or outlets to have something custom-made for you. The more unique you can make your business, the better.
Theme Your Business
Your business should cater primarily to a target market. For example, you could specialise in seasonal cupcakes. Or, you could make high-end artisan cupcakes. You could serve primarily businesses as versus the general public.
Choosing a target market, and also adding a theme to your business will help you stand out and establish you as a thought leader in the industry. Yes, even the cupcake industry needs thought leaders. When customers come to your shop, you want to be able to sell them on the value you offer, not just the price. There are already commodity bakers out there.
They’re the large commercial bakers that sell thousands, millions, of cupcakes every year. It’s not very high quality. And, while there’s nothing wrong with competing in this industry, it’s unlikely that this is where you should start out. You’re a small business, and so your strength will be in premium products.