Starting Out and Often Buying Cutters

Hi everyone! I am new to the cookie business world. I have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cookiecreationsbyemily/ and since I created it a few months ago, I've had 5 orders!

My pricing guide is the same as Sweet Sugarbelle (I just created my own document with my own logo but used all her prices) but I'm struggling with constantly having to buy cutters, sine I'm just starting out. I recently purchased the 101 cutter set from Wilton, which has helped a lot, but each project seems to require different specific cutters. For example, I'm doing an order in June with neckties and moustaches, and another in June for Mickey mouse. I also don't have large number cutters, and have been just buying those separately from Ann Clark.

My question is... when you were starting out, did you just absorb the extra cost of cutters, assuming there would be a return eventually and that it was just part of building your business, or did you somehow include the cost of cutters into your price? So far I am typically pricing by the dozen (doing cookie "platters" with a mixture of simple and elaborate designs) for $45 per dozen. I am in Canada though, so perhaps my cost should be higher to account for that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! I couldn't find an answer to this question when I searched for awhile so I hope this isn't repetitive!

Original Post

I’m not the person to ask because I collect cookie cutters.  The ones made by tinsmiths are pieces of art.  Personally I think you should absorb the cost because they are the tools of your business.   You can always do free hand cuts, or make a plastic template and cut along the template.  I prefer to use cutters.   Congratulations on getting orders so quickly.  Remember to get paid up front.  I know many people have made the cookies and never paid, including people canceling at the last minute. Best of luck!

Yes, I definitely absorb the cost of the cutters. I try to buy ones only that will save me a great deal of time or that I feel I will use again. (both is preferable!) If I don't have a cutter I tend to hand cut one or two and also use plaque cutters. You could for instance pipe Mickey Mouse onto a nicely shaped plaque. Some basic shapes and plaques are my most used cutters (hearts, stars, hexagon). 

It might also be worth you checking out the "frankencookie" type blog posts by people like Lilaloa about how to repurpose the cutters you have to make other shapes without having to buy new. I believe Sweet Sugarbelle also has some posts on that too.

Best of luck with your new business and congratulations on your orders.

Marie

As Marie suggested, you could try using more geometric shapes. I rarely use cutters beyond simple squares, rectangles, circles, ovals, and some plaques. Not only do you avoid buying (and storing) cutters, but you’re also not confined to any particular shape  (meaning you can design your own unicorn, rather than being limited to the shape of the cutter.) It really opens up your options from an artistic standpoint.

Emily,  I looked at your facebook and your cookies are wonderful.  Your composition and technique are excellent. 

Good advice all around about cutters. Check out the resouces page. There're some good Canadian sources for cookie cutters.  After getting over the eye candy aspect of the cutters it's easier go through and pick out a few that will multi purpose well. 

Congrats on your first orders. May there be many more to come!

I actually pretty firmly disagree with what some of the others have said here. Pricing should be set so that, over the long haul, you make enough profit to over overhead and to have money left over to fund tool purchases and other investments in your business. No business can be sustainable if prices aren't set to cover all costs and to allow for reinvestment in the business. You may find you need to make an initial cash outlay (or more) to acquire tools for startup, but your pricing should be set so that you are paid back for these investments over a reasonable period of time.

I'd also caution you about using someone else's pricing chart, no matter the author of the chart. Pricing is very much a function of how long it takes YOU to decorate YOUR designs, the complexity of YOUR designs, and YOUR overhead structure, all combined with what prices YOUR local market is likely to bear. 

We have many great articles on the fundamentals of pricing for profitability here on the site, most under "The Business of Cookies" section of the blog. I'd encourage you to check them out.

Best of luck with the new venture!

pip posted:
Econlady posted:

FYI I thought I would show you one of ny special cutters, so you can understand what I mean about being like art.6486BC92-BBC3-41A5-8C83-DC12DAD6220B

Not Fair!  face palm emoji

If I did something wrong I’m sorry!  I’m still learning emoji and kind of guess when I pick one!

Econlady posted:
pip posted:
Econlady posted:

FYI I thought I would show you one of ny special cutters, so you can understand what I mean about being like art.6486BC92-BBC3-41A5-8C83-DC12DAD6220B

Not Fair!  face palm emoji

If I did something wrong I’m sorry!  I’m still learning emoji and kind of guess when I pick one!

Oh no, nothing wrong Kate!  I appologise for the confusion. I saw your gorgeous cutter and became envious.  I've been searching for a wonderfull bunny.  I sould know better, envy is not good.   Again, I appologise.    Pip

pip posted:
Econlady posted:
pip posted:
Econlady posted:

FYI I thought I would show you one of ny special cutters, so you can understand what I mean about being like art.6486BC92-BBC3-41A5-8C83-DC12DAD6220B

Not Fair!  face palm emoji

If I did something wrong I’m sorry!  I’m still learning emoji and kind of guess when I pick one!

Oh no, nothing wrong Kate!  I appologise for the confusion. I saw your gorgeous cutter and became envious.  I've been searching for a wonderfull bunny.  I sould know better, envy is not good.   Again, I appologise.    Pip

Thank you because I wasn’t trying to offend you.  This guy is 16 inches tall and cost me $95 plus shipping.  He’s by a tinsmith called Michael Bonne.  I like to collect cutters from tinsmiths and sometimes spend over $100 buying something special.

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