Cupcakes are all the rage today, and have been gaining in popularity since bakery shops devoted to cupcakes hit pop culture news around 2005. Originally, a concept that performed well in big cities, cupcake shops have been popping up in smaller towns and even online. Creative bakers looking to do what they love for a living want to know how to start a cupcake shop and whether it is a good idea in a down economy.
The truth is, while opening a cupcake shop is certainly a risk, it is less of a risk than hundreds of other types of businesses. Even in a slow economy, people will splurge for conveniences. Small conveniences like a cup of coffee or an enjoyable dessert in a cute café are usually last cut from budgets, because they bring a great deal of enjoyment without much expense. For someone with a good sense of business and a fabulous idea, starting a cupcake shop can be a successful enterprise no matter the state of the economy.
Home bakers who want to know how to open a cupcake shop and turn their hobby into an occupation need only do what they are already good at! They need to create and follow a recipe for a great cupcake bakery.
Ingredients for Starting a Cupcake Shop
• A good foundation of cupcake recipes and knowledge of baking
Bakers not yet ready to produce original, quality cupcakes every time the oven comes on should practice each chance they get. They can make cupcakes for schools, community events, neighbors, friends, and family. They should attempt small and large orders, and experiment with different recipes and flavors. Bakers should always ask for feedback, and take notes on what works and what does not.
• Commercial grade tools and supplies
Level and number of supplies required will depend on the initial size of the shop and the variety of cupcakes offered.
• A location
While a small business might be able to sell cupcakes out of their home for pre-order customers, cupcake shops are walk up businesses where patrons can enjoy a yummy cupcake and drink on the premises. A great location, chairs, tables, counters, and displays will all be required, along with any other items one might find in a café or bakery.
These ingredients are going to cost money, even before the shop sells its first cupcake. Having the capital already saved up, taking out a small business loan, or finding a backer willing to finance the business for a cut of profits are all ways to meet this ingredient requirement.
• A healthy dash of business sense
Individuals opening cupcake shops are rarely business majors, and while one does not need a CPA to run a small bakery, a bit of business sense will work much like yeast in the dough: Everything will rise so much faster. Those without previous business knowledge can seek advice from local small business organizations, and should consult an accountant or attorney.
Steps for Opening the a Cupcake Shop
1. Consult an attorney or accountant to find out what legal actions, such as filing for licenses or incorporating, need to be completed.
2. Write a business plan, which includes the location, the targeted customer, the recipes of all cupcakes, which will initially be offered with cost and pricing, as well as ideas for expanding the line later. The funding source for startup capital, estimated earnings for at least one year, as well as estimated expenses should also be included.
3. Lease or purchase a location. Leasing is a good option, because it ties up less capital than purchasing a retail property.
4. Register the domain name for the shop and create a website. Have someone good with a camera take pictures showing off the cupcakes and feature them online, along with background information about the shop and the location and hours of operation.
6. Get ready for a grand opening! Advertise locally, put up flyers, set up a Facebook page, and provide samples to friends and family. Do anything to get the name of the shop circulating, especially when the advertising is free or low cost.
7. Make the best tasting, most gorgeous cupcakes possible. First impressions matter, even with cupcakes. A customer who is delighted with the look and taste of his or her first cupcake will tell people about the shop, and will come back for more!
Learning how to start a cupcake shop is just like reading a recipe. As with baking, starting a shop requires the proper ingredients, ability to follow through on directions, proper timing, and a whole lot of love in the mix.