Hi everyone! I started decorating cookies as a hobby. I was posting my attempts on my personal FB page and that led to a mom of a friend asking to buy some. My friends and family encouraged me to sell them, so having no idea what I was doing and not knowing anyone to ask I set up a FB page. It's been 2 months and I've sold a few dozen here and there but it's not consistent and I have yet to have a "stranger" order from me. I really don't know what to do or where to promote and what to charge. I live in Florida and I don't know if it's because of the area I'm in but it seems like everyone would rather go to our local grocery store for cookies and as far as I know I'm the only cookie person in my area. I'm wondering if I should just give it up or not. Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated.
I only do cookies as a hobby, but I would say stick to your guns with pricing. Decorating cookies takes a ton of time. I think this is a misconception that so many people have that place orders.
As far as the business end of it? Do what you can to get your name out there. Maybe contact a realtor and see if you could do cookies for them for house sales. Maybe dr.'s office for new patients? I think word of mouth is the best if your just starting out.
Sugarbelle has an awesome pricing chart.......don't let it scare you. Your worth it. You can see it here...http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2012/11/cookie-pricing-chart/
Good luck and hang in there
Thanks so much Tami! I love Sugarbelle! That chart is awesome.
I am in FL too. Look up Florida Cottage Food Law on Google and you will get some ideas on what you can do. I created a blog page on blogger to just show my cookies, but not "advertise" because if you are making cookies in your home, there are strict laws on who you can sell to and guidelines. I have not created a FB page...I don't know if that would be overkill with the blog. I do send out blog updates on my personal FB page, so friends and family can see what I have been up to. Since I did that, I got a lot more requests for cookies from people I know. Here is my blog so you can get an idea. www.publicdisplayofconfection.blogspot.com
Good Luck and I would be curious to hear more from others.
Thank you Liz! Your cookies are beautiful!!!!
Believe it or not FB is a great way to network your cookies. Not only will your friends see your work but if you join some baking groups and start getting yourself out there it all helps. Make you FB page fun and entertaining, eventful. share recipe and add your work with prices. Again remember there are cottage laws that you should be aware of. Maybe do a charity event or two but YOU need to work on networking. The orders will not fall in your lap. Give it a shot. Good luck. BTW I am really in a different business that has used FB and do cookies on the side only for friends right now. Again legal restrictions.
Hey! I also started as a Hobby, but it turned out to be a good way to have some money. I´m from Mexico, so things are not the same. One thing that you have to have in mind is that decorated cookies aren´t for everybody and must of the people don´t apreciate the work, so it will be hard to sell them, specially if you do some with a lot of work. I suggest (and I say this because I did it this way) that you star with simple cookies so you can sell them in a low price and they can teaste them. After that you will see that many people will ask you about them and you can star adding more details and improving your decorations.
We started out just making them for friends as well, that expanded and I made a separate facebook page -- mainly because not all of my friends were interested in seeing all of my cookies all of the time. I ordered business cards that doubled as an ingredients list and made sure that there were good pictures on them. During holidays I would leave cookies for my neighbors with a card from us and a copy of the business card behind. I hung up our business card on local bulletin boards (gas stations/libraries etc). I made it a point to donate cookies at least once a month to different local charities, even if they couldn't provide a tax receipt. I did a couple of farmers markets and donated the leftover cookies with branding still attached to the local hospice house...
We took a hit the first few months in profit -- but it's all a business marketing expense -- it's normal for a new business to have negative income for a little while as you establish your footprint -- don't be afraid to show others what you can do -- seeing and then tasting is believing with decorated cookies! Good luck!
Thank you so much Amber. I love the idea of the business cards doubling as the ingredient list!
Don't give up! I too, started making cookies for just my kids parties and had a good friend tell me many times I should sell them. The first thing you need to do is check you local cottage laws (as a previous poster mentioned). You don't want to get into selling the cookies if it isn't allowed in your state. Another thing to consider is getting liability insurance (this is something my town license requires) it is very affordable and makes sense to have!
I started my business and facebook page in December 2012 and I am now fully booked until the beginning of September (I average 15-20 doz per week). I can honestly say the only advertising expense I have had is $65.00 for business cards. 95% of my customers are from word-of-mouth advertising. I ship all over the US and have quite a few loyal customers who order at least once a month. It has been a LOT of hard work (and sleepless nights) on my part but I love it! So give it a little longer before you hang up your hat!
Best of luck to you!
Thank you all so much for your help and suggestions. I ordered business cards from Staples last week and I thought I was going to hyperventilate. LOL! I CAN do this. I'm trying to get up the nerve to put up a booth at the local Farmers' Market.
Friends and family are the first steps toward a gigantic snowball like you would not believe! They will spread word like wildfire and in turn, those who they share you with, will share with others! Keep constantly posting on facebook (pictures, questions, thoughts, anything!), find local facebook groups meant for buying, selling, and advertising, and once you get your business cards give them to EVERYone! (Even if they don't want it! haha.)
DEFINITELY go to the Farmer's market! I haven't gone to my local farmer's market in over a year and to this day I still get phone calls asking "Where are you!!" It is pure local exposure that will take you very, very far.
The whole Cottage Food Law thing scares me. Any advice or help out there? Thank u from California.
WOW! This has been one of the most informative threads I've ever encountered! Thank you all for your insights and suggestions.
I too have started as a hobby baker and now I have a very small custom only cottage food biz. It works for me because my overhead is low and I have the freedom to say "no". I would suggest checking out your states cottage food laws with the Florida Department of Agriculture or your county health department. Even as a home based biz you will be required to collect sales tax. I know it sounds kinda overwhelming but it's really not hard and a lot of it can be done from your home computer.
Best of luck!!!!!!!
first I must say ..I love every decorated cookie I see on this site. I have been making cookies for years all kinds, I'm just branching out into other areas- My first attempt this year was a success (Christmas) everyone really appreciated my decorations I was shocked . My organization has 2 major events a year and I make cookies for both events . This year for Easter I'm trying my hand at stamping and edible papers. I purchased a few cookie cutters from our local big box store . The cookies are purchased by our members only and not sold on the outside . What suggestions do you have for someone just starting out regarding tools ? I just ordered my impulse sealer and bags, I never knew about this tool until this site . I would wrap them all by hand and place in plastic bags for shipping .. I really love the creativity aspect of cookies and it gets me going ! I feel lucky to be part of the experts on this site and look forward to learning and developing my skill level
Great information! Our state passed cottage food law which only allows farmers market; in addition Our county passed the cupcake law also allowing baking and selling $1000/month from home however Our county says we cannot do both-one or the other-even though state says we can do both.
For those of you who have done it awhile, which would you do?
Any tips on how many cookies to bring to market would be great!