Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What Social Media To Use For Your Wedding Business

I was thinking about this topic recently because I had a couple of conversations where people were trying to tell me how great blogging is for your business. Since I've been writing this blog for 6 years I kind of smile and say "oh how interesting" when someone who has just "discovered" blogging tries to convert me.

Blogs used to be very different 6 years ago. Then, they were more of an extension of your website, and people used them to improve their website's SEO. If you start one now, though, you'd be better off thinking of it as an advertising tool, not as something to improve your website ranking.

So blogs have changed, and social media has REALLY changed a lot. What used to be the greatest (remember myspace?) has died and other sites and apps have moved in. Honestly, I'm lucky I have teenagers, because by the time the media latches onto something as the "next big thing" it's probably already on the decline. I can just ask the people who really use it (the kids) and see what the real story is.

My daughter's yearbook had a section on school polls, and one of them was which social media was their favorite. Instagram and twitter were the favorites, and facebook only got 1.3% of the vote. Think about that. Kids who are growing up today have brains that are physically wired differently from those of the older crowd (anyone over 25.) Because of the number of electronic devices they've grown up with, their brains are literally wired differently. If you want to catch the wave of younger brides who will be getting married in the next 5 years, you'd better take heed of that fact.

With all that said, you have to remember who your customer is.

If you still get a lot of LOCAL traffic from your facebook page (I assume that you're selling cakes locally, not to people in other countries, right?) then you can stick with facebook. If your facebook page isn't doing it for you, and you're trying to capture a younger bridal demographic, you might want to try something that's more visual, like Pinterest or Instagram.

Instagram is great for people who are on their phones all the time, and who work in a visual field. If you have the ability to snap a couple of pretty pictures a day and hashtag the bejeezus out of them, go for it. You only need to do a couple a day, but you should try to be consistent because it moves fast and your photos will be gone from people's feeds in a short time.

Pinterest is good for long-term photo-sharing because the pictures stay there. It's an interesting thing because sometimes you'll put a picture up and it goes nowhere, then six months later it starts getting shared. Pinterest is also starting a "buy it now" feature for certain businesses, where people will be able to buy items directly from the pins. For someone like myself, who sells online too, that's a good feature.

Twitter is more for short, witty posts, but you can also set your other social media to link to it and broadcast your posts from other places. I have my facebook page linked to twitter, so if I post something there it goes on my twitter feed. Then if I have something else I want to put there I can do that too, independently of facebook.

So to really decide which social media platform to use, you should first look and see what the demographics of each one are, and figure out if your time is best spent on one or the other based on where your customers are. Choose one or two and concentrate your effort there, but if you can link a third (like the way I link twitter to facebook) you can do that too with very little effort added.


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and online at www.etsy.com/shop/acaketoremember



Monday, June 29, 2015

Craftsy Class Review: Cakes In Vivid Color

The following contains affiliate links, but the opinions are my own, especially the one about Georgia O'Keefe.

Cakes in Vivid Color was taught by Violet Lin Tran, and covered the basics of color mixing,
choosing a palette, and color "inspiration."

She also showed a few different techniques including quilling, molds, onlays and tiling. Each one of those made up a separate section of the class, and didn't really have anything to do with color theory specifically. I think the idea is to show how to make a few different cakes that you can use color on, but you could easily do the same designs in all white and just have it be about texture. So go nuts, do what you want.

Color aside, this class will show you the basics of using molds and onlays, and shows the basics of quilling for gumpaste and fondant.

The two-toned leaf design that she does is a little Georgia O'Keefey for me, if you get my drift. Maybe it was the color but I'm not a huge fan of that look anyway, it's kind of "heavy" for me, for lack of a better term. I prefer the quilling that gives you a more airy look. I've done fondant in two tones like that and I always roll them out to be thinner, but that's my preference. Seeing how she makes them might inspire you to make your own types of two-toned patterns, though, so have at it.

Overall this class would be good for beginners to color, or for someone looking for some specific designs that can be adapted using different colors. It's a little basic for anyone who has experience mixing colors in fondant already, so if you don't need help with that this might not be what you're looking for in terms of color theory specifically.

If you want a basic color theory class, you could sign up for this one for FREE: 2014 Block of the Month: Craftsy Color Theory. It's a free mini class that's designed for quilters, but color is color, so the tips on combining colors will apply to cake designs.

Go here for the cake class: Cakes in Vivid Color


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and online at www.etsy.com/shop/acaketoremember


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Duck Pond Wedding Cake

This bride had two rubber duckies that she had bought to use as a topper, so we deisgned the cake around them. It looked like they were sitting in a pond on the top tier (blue corn syrup) and the "water" was running down the side of the tiers. Daisies and sunflowers were her favorites, so we put those around the base of the tiers and around the edge of the top tier.



Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and online supplies at www.etsy.com/shop/acaketoremember



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

More About Minimum Order Amounts

I'd written about minimum orders recently but I was just talking to another baker about it, so I wanted to address this again.

Consider this scenario: You work in an office. Your boss tells you that he wants you to do a project for a client. You'll need to research it, consult with the client, write up the report and prepare a presentation to go with it, present the paper, and you'll be paid $500.

The following week, he asks you to do the same thing. All the same amount of research, consults, preparation, presentation etc, but this time the report should be 8 pages long, not 10 like the last one. And because of that, he'll only be paying you $250. When you ask why, he says that there won't be as much work involved, so why should he pay you as much?

You may think this is kind of an extreme example, but think about it in terms of doing a wedding cake. I raised my minimum order amount to $500 recently, because I can't continue to spend as much time on teeny cakes as I do on regular-sized ones and still make a profit. Eggs are getting expensive...

A lot of customers (and bakers) don't seem to think of a wedding cake as a single object, but instead they think of it as a number of servings. The truth is that as far as time invested in making it goes, the cake is a thing that, on average, takes about as much time to make whether it's a tiny 4-6-8 or a larger 6-8-10-12. The only variable is really the decorating time, and sometimes that isn't even as different, depending on the design of the cakes.

For your comparing pleasure:

So the place where I save time on smaller cakes is on the decorating. And sometimes that isn't even accurate. I can probably decorate a five-tiered rustic iced cake in a shorter time than I can a hand-painted teeny three tiered cake. So who knows.

But assuming that the chart is correct, I'm basically selling the same amount of time and skill for $250 less for the smaller cake. Given that my profit margin is about 54%, and I spend about 10+ hours on each cake once you add everything up, that's about $12 an hour that I'm keeping when I make a small cake.

I could go work at the local grocery store stocking shelves and earn $9 an hour to start, plus I wouldn't have the aggravation of running the entire business myself. That would be worth the extra $3.

To run a profitable business, you need to eliminate the time suckers, and for me that happens to be any cake that isn't making a certain profit after expenses. The threshold might be different for you, and you might have different time suckers, but I guarantee that if you sat down and looked at your numbers you'll find what your limit is.

Not everyone will want to pay my minimum, but that's okay. If people don't have that in their budget that's understandable, they can find someone who either does a higher volume of cakes to make up for less profit, or they can find someone who's willing to work for less. It won't be me, but that's because I'll be doing something that makes the profit I need to justify my workload instead of working for close to minimum wage.

Look at your numbers and be honest with yourself...If you don't know what amount of profit each cake brings your business, you need to figure it out and decide if it's worth it to you. Leave your comments below...


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and online at www.etsy.com/shop/acaketoremember


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Free Guitar Cake Visual Tutorial!

I've been meaning to put together a little guitar cake tutorial and just hadn't gotten around to it. I decided to do it without a lot of text since the photos seem to be (to me at least) pretty self-explanatory. Plus, I'd get it done a lot faster if I did it that way!

To get the tutorial, go to my Craftsy affiliate link. It's free, you just have to download it as a PDF file. Click here: Free Guitar Cake Tutorial



Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond, VA, and online at www.acaketoremember.etsy.com