I started cookie-ing two years ago using Julia’s tutorials (thanks Julia!) and now have a home-based business in the Atlanta area. I have an art and food service background but my day job is in academia. I am fortunate to have grown my business to the degree that I have to turn away many customer requests and book solid over a month in advance. I have been slowly raising my prices as my skills have improved and currently charge around $4.50 per cookie with characters and handpainted cookies going for much more.
I am also working on growing my Instagram following and my question relates to that end. I’ve done a lot of reading (and reading between the lines) and am starting to wonder what the “real” business is. Most of the cookiers who are "famous" seem to do cookies that would take hours and hours each. I don’t think they’re pricing them at $30-60 each, so something’s gotta give, as they say. My theory is that once you master the "skills" of the decorating, the money is ACTUALLY being made off of other cookiers - not customers buying custom cookies. For example: selling video tutorials/live classes, selling custom stencils or cutters, getting paid to post on Instagram, doing SponCon, etc. It seems like those "famous" cookiers do not accept many custom orders, yet keep posting these inordinately detailed, eye-catching (read: like-getting) sets.
This all feels a bit . . . off. It’s like a snake eating its tail, in a way - other cookiers starting out, desperate to be like the "famous" ones, pay to get the equipment, supplies, and skills, only to find that our icons don’t even sell cookies because “everyone knows there’s no money in it”. Am I way off here, or is the REAL cookie business not selling cookies, but becoming a brand that other cookiers want to be like?
Thanks for your candid answers. In no way am I trying to take the wind out of anyone’s sails (or sales, lol). Just trying to figure out the ‘business’.