Google Sugar Dot Cookies: Cookie Decorating as a Business - 101

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cookie Decorating as a Business - 101

So you want to turn cookie decorating into a business?  How to start?  Where to begin?

There's a lot to be done before starting your cookie decorating business.  (All of this applies to any food based business actually - cakes, cupcakes, cake pops....)

Let me ask you some questions.  I'll provide my own answers in more detail in future post

Take the time to practice.  Are you actually READY to take orders?  Bake and decorate for friends and family for a while.  Experiment with dough and icing recipes.  Experiment with icing consistencies and different techniques.  Scour the web for decorating tutorials.  Please don't be one of those people that say, "Help. I've just taken a cookie order.  Can you share your recipe with me?"

Do your homework.  What are the health department laws in your area?  Do you need to work out of a commercial kitchen?  Are there Cottage Food laws?  Can you sell online?  Can you ship?  Do you need liability insurance? Do you need ingredient labels?  What do you need to open a bank account?  Do you need to collect sales tax?  Do you need a business license?  Find out the answers to these questions first....Before taking any orders.

Develop your policies.  How will you take payment?  Will you take deposits?  Can they pay when they pick up?  (No!)  Can someone order just 6 cookies?  Can someone order 24 cookies - with 18 different designs and 16 colors?  Will you ship? Will you be selling by the dozen or will you be selling by individual design?  Your policies will change, as your business grows and different situations arise.  For now, you need a starting point.

Figure out pricing.  Come up with general prices for minis, smalls, medium simply decorated, medium highly decorated, etc.   Don't forget to figure in ALL of your  costs....ingredients, rent, insurance, licensing, utilities, supplies, etc.  AND an hourly wage for you!  All of it needs to be figured in if the goal is to make a profit. Later, you can fine tune this.  You can raise prices later, but don't start too low!

Build an online presence.  How will you showcase your work?  Where can potential customers read your policies?  How can they contact you?  First things, first.  Once you have your main site, later you can add facebook, twitter, instagram, a blog, etc.  Those sites will help drive traffic to you.

Bookkeeping.  How will you keep track of your income and expenses?  The more organized you are from the beginning, the easier it will be at tax time!

Get the word out.  How will you do that?  Social media?  Farmer's markets?  Local coffee shops?  Continue to make cookies for family and friends?  Advertise?

These are just SOME of the questions you need to ask yourself.  It's a start!

I'm now offering Online Live Video Classes!  I have one on this very subject.  Check it out and join me!

Are you thinking of starting a food based business?  Do you already have one?  Please let me know about it in the comments.

Read more.......
Posts on "Cookiepreneur Interviews"
Posts on "Cookies as Business".
Posts on " Poking Around the Kitchen".
Posts on "Commercial Kitchen"

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  1. Hi Dotty! We spoke a while ago about building a cookie business. I think it was right before you moved into a bigger area of your bakery. I'm finally having my home kitchen inspection next week, so I should be ready to go next week (hopefully). It's been a long time coming, but hopefully I can make it work now. Looking forward to seeing you at CookieCon!

    1. Good for you Lesley!! So exciting! Keep me posted!

  2. Hi Dotty,
    I've been on Pinterest most of the morning reading different articles about food and cookies. I have a chef/cookie company. I'm having a huge problem getting the word out about my product to my target audience. I have been at this a number of years and while I have managed to survive, I know I can be better at this. How do you suggest I go about attracting buyers who can afford my product. I've had these cookies in the mouths of many celebrities and professional athletes and while I've gotten a few social media shout outs, it's simply not driving any traffic to my site for customers to place orders.

    I recently went to a new website platform that's more professional that my past website and created an email list to capture email addresses, but I'm stuck and feel out of options on how to grow. My cookies are not the decorated sugar cookies type, they are jumbo, gourmet cookies in a range of unique flavors. I have red velvet, key lime, chocolate caramel pecan, triple chocolate chip, blondie, etc.

    I appreciate any feedback you are able to provide. If you love cookies, I'm happy to send you a sample box too so you can see my packaging and taste these amazing cookies!

    Warmest Regards, Courtney chefcourtneybrown dot com


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