Lent is here AGAIN?
Shower finished! Sort of! And bathroom update plannnsss!

More bakery crowdsourcing! Thank you!

While Katie and I wait for one of our feelers to produce something on the commercial kitchen space front, help me think out wholesaling. 

Actually I think you can only technically call this wholesaling, but what we'd like to do is have a collection of coffee shops and cafes that sell our cookies. I envision it working this way: Katie bakes the treats on Monday, I spend my Tuesday morning delivering the treats, we get paid, and it starts over the next week. Assuming that's a workable possibility, here are my questions. 

1. What do we try to sell? Because we can't afford, nor do we WANT, to bake and deliver every morning, we're looking at treats that will last a few days and don't need to be fresh baked to taste good, like a croissant. The two definites on our list of goods are shortbreads and biscotti. I'm also wondering about your standard Big Cookie, frosted sugar cookies (themed shapes even? Bunnies around Eastertime?), and maybe some Small Cookies directed at the shorties who come in with their moms. (I don't know, maybe it's just Katie and me who are constantly giving our babies cookies. THEIR MOMS OWN A BAKING BIZ. COME ON.) We aren't going to do muffins, croissants, coffee cakes, other pastries, anything where time is of the essence. We just can't manage that right now. 

2. How should it look? My idea for finding clients is to basically just travel around to all the local shops with a bunch of free treats. Katie says people would do this sort of thing all the time at the bakeries and shops she's worked at. I'm thinking I would pack a box or tray with the things we're interested in selling, but I'd also like to show how we could individually wrap things, if needed. Maybe the store owner wants to put biscotti in a glass jar, but sell individually wrapped sugar cookies? I feel like I should have some examples of how we package our items. 

3. Oh God, how do we price these things? I HAVE NO IDEA. I have a really hard time pricing anything. Katie does most of that. Basically what we do is use a rule she was given in pastry school, come up with a number, think: "would WE pay that?", and then either go ahead with that amount or knock it down a few bucks. It's so hard. We want to charge the going rate for where we live and we think our products are worth the money; at the same time you totally understand people thinking, "Uh, $2 for an itty bitty macaron?" Wholesaling is a completely different beast, though, seems like. You're selling in bulk and that person is going to mark it up. So... we're going to have to do some homework. I'm ASSUMING I will need to bring some sort of marketing materials with me when I drop off our cookies. A price sheet at the very least. SOMETHING NEEDS TO GO ON THE PRICE SHEET!

4. I'm going to have to call people on the phone, aren't I. That's not really a question. More a statement infused with dread and desperation. 

Here are my other ideas for hopefully making some money at some point: 

Investigating how to get a booth (and how many $$$ it requires) at a wedding expo. Cakes, of course, but we think it'd be rad to do dessert tables. 

Figuring out how and where to advertise us as people who make sweet, delicious, and perfectly packaged party favors. 

ooooh, we are going to be late to ballet (ballet!) if I keep writing so PLEASE ADD YOUR OWN THOUGHTS AND IDEAS BELOW THANK YOU KISSES FOR EVERYONE.

 

Comments

HereWeGoAJen

Ryan ate about four cookies today. And two of them were before lunch. I do not own a bakery business.

Adell

My former wholesaling days had a hard and fast 250% margin rule. As in, once I buy it wholesale, I want to mark it up 250% AT LEAST. This was pretty standard across retailers. It was not food though. This is all my advice.

Sarah

The food co-op I was on the board of looked for a 20-50% markup. That was groceries, and they definitely have lower markups. Is there someone you could approach for suggestions?

Salome Ellen

The foodservice rule is 3 times costs and overhead or greater. THIS WILL INVOLVE MATH. I can tell you more...

Megan

Whoa. There are some people in here who know some things about food markup! All I know about is are bakery treats, and yes I will pay $2 for a macaron, and maybe need to visit Seattle in order to buy a giant box of treats.

Susie

I recently got addicted to giant cookies from our work cafe. Sugar cookies with frosting on them. They cost $3.50. I bought... a lot of them. They are made by a small bakery near here, packaged individually in sealed plastic with a pretty label, and were kept in the freezer, then refrigerator case so they stay fresh for awhile.

I have no idea if this information is useful, but it's all I have for you.

Lisa

Ooohh...make the really tasty-but-short-shelf-life things too and then the shops can sell them the day you deliver. I envision people knowing that the only day they can get a certain treat is Tuesday and absolutely SWAMPING the shop on that day. Could be a good springboard if people start wanting your treats and then the market starts demanding them to the point that you could afford a commercial kitchen and even a storefront. Maybe attracting sugar-addicted investors who are tired of waiting for Tuesday for a bite of a red velvet cake sandwich. It could happen!

Jess

I work with a wedding photographer, so I see a lot of wedding photos. Non-cake desserts are really popular now. It would be awesome if you had some wedding industry friends who would be interested in doing a styled shoot so you would have some ideas for the wedding expo/potential wedding clients. Ideally, you would plan with a planner type person and a photographer, and put together a styled shoot of what the reception table would look like. I have seen several weddings do pies, some cupcakes. I think cookies would be awesome.

marie

I absolutely pay $2 for a macaron when I am in a coffee shop. When I'm going to buy a dozen of them, though, which I do embarrassingly frequently because they are one of the few gluten free treats, I go to a place that sells smaller ones, where they are $8.50 for a baker's dozen (85 cents each). The small ones are also the best I've found (made with raspberries or cranberries in season, earl grey and honey in winter, etc.). I buy the $2 ones even though they aren't as good to have something sweet with my tea. I don't know if I would buy a dozen of the $2 ones, but that is because they aren't quite as good!

Lifeofadoctorswife

I personally think it is ridiculous to spend $2 on a macaron BUT I have made macarons from scratch and they take forever and there are so many ways to screw them up that I think $25 a macaron is more realistic.

I am so impressed by this venture. You are amazing. And I have no doubt you will rock this aspect of the business too!

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