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Any good ideas on how to start a bake sale?

After the Thanksgiving holiday my husband loved my pies so much that he recommended I sell them to make extra money. I think it’s a great idea but don’t know where to get started. Does anyone have any advice. I need to know where to get bulk ingredients cheap as well as a special packaging. What else? HELP!

This can be a great home business that anyone with talent can start – it offers great growth potential and we have a lot of great ideas for you!!

Bulk stores (like Bulk Barn), wholesale places (like Costco, Sams Club, Price Club, etc…), Restaurant supply stores (look up local ones online), local outlet places, farmers markets (for fruits, nuts, sugar, flour, etc…), dairies, local farms.

Special packaging and baking supplies:
Restaurant supply, dollar, and bulk stores or box companies.

Some ways to grow your bake sale into a home based bakery:

One of the most common ways to grow your business is to expand the products you offer & the customer base you service.
– expand your product lines by offering products that:
1. address special: health, dietary and/or religious needs;
2. cater to special occasions (for example: birthday, proposal, engagement, wedding shower, wedding, baby shower and retirement);
3. use specialized ingredients such as local, in season fruits; and
4. address seasonality (for example Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Valentine)
– expand the area that you cover by using delivery or courier services.

This may seem at odds with the earlier suggestions to diversify your business but sometimes people find greater success by finding an under-serviced market and focusing on it. For example if there is nowhere to get nut-free desserts in your area you may find that you are in very high demand. Also you may be able to build a reputation for great wedding cakes or desserts that spell out or contain proposals and never need to produce anything else.

One of the major reasons that businesses such as this fail is that people either do not know that the business exists or do not know what the business offers them. So it is essential to get your business noticed.
1. put advertisements in local papers, magazines and websites;
2. be seen (and get your products tasted) at trade shows, baking sales, bazaars, fairs, other community events;
3. let your product advertise itself – providing free products can be a great way to introduce people to what you offer. You can distribute samples to potential customers directly or contribute products to aid in fund-raising efforts.

A good baker is often in high demand – you just need to find out who is looking for your services.
A. contact local businesses such as restaurants, rental halls, bakeries, caterers, party planners, hotels, coffee houses, stores, etc… to see if they are looking for fresh, custom baked goods; and
B. partner with local organizations such as churches, schools and clubs to provide baked goods for members or for special events.

However, before growing your business you need to ensure that your core business is stable and sustainable. It is key that you address the following issues before growing your food business:

Are there any local laws about running a bakery in your home?
– many regions require water and other health department testing and kitchen specifications like double sinks and adequate cold storage;
– some governmental agencies have the authority to control the ingredients that you are able to use in your business; and
– some areas require you to get a small business license to run any business out of your home.

What is your responsibilities to the health and safety of the persons buying your food?
– every provider of food must decide what their approach will be to persons with allergies. You may decide to ignore food allergies and open yourself up to the risk of someone getting sick from your food. But a better idea is to do one of the following:
1. use whatever ingredients that you want but make sure that you prominently label all food with a listing of ingredients; or
2. do not use ingredients which are common allergy causing items such as nuts and seafood. If you do this and ensure that your work area is completely clear of these items then you can service a frequently over looked segment of the population and this can be a great marketing strategy.Most food-based business choose to use some combination of the above having “safe” food for certain events or even just a few “safe” dishes at each event;
– food preparers need to recognize the multicultural world we live in. Just as caterers try to provide vegetarian meals, bakers are starting to recognize that it is increasingly important to consider the needs of vegans, vegetarians and persons with religious restrictions. By developing a few alternative dishes for persons in these categories you demonstrate concern and versatility to your customers; and
– due to the rise of bacterias such as E. Coli and Listeria it is increasingly important for you to be very careful when buying, handling, preparing and storing food. Proper refrigeration, anti-bacterial cleansing of all utensils and cleaning surfaces.

This may seem like a lot to deal with but once you have addressed these issues once it is easy to maintain a great home bakery. Good luck with your business!!

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