Friday 27th March 2020
For many cake decorating businesses, this is an uncertain time, and we’re all having to make changes in light of the effects of COVID-19. Fortunately, the cake decorating community really does mean it when we say we’re ‘in this together’, and there is plenty of support and advice available to help you.
The Cake Professionals are compiling weekly content that will be of interest and benefit to cake professionals, and American Cake Decorating are hosting Facebook Lives with cake artists to check in on them and share some tips for other businesses, as well as plenty of other tutorials, Q&As and general positivity and support online.
Below you’ll find some tips and advice as a start for making changes, moving forward and being creative during this challenging time.
Firstly, remember that your safety, and that of your team and family is a priority. If working with a team, find ways of working together that involve minimal contact with each other and your customers. Whether in a team or working solo from home, follow advice and best practice from the Government, World Health Organisation and Public Health England to keep you and your customers safe.
Reassure your customers of any extra measures you are taking, in addition to the high standards of hygiene you practice anyway.
If you’re able to provide a delivery service then make your customers aware (and keep reminding them) that you’re available for business. Amidst the uncertainty and worry, there are still birthdays and anniversaries happening, and no matter how simple the cake or bake, it could bring some joy to families at home together, or even gifted from afar.
If your cake decorating business is primarily large celebration cakes, then look at ways to scale these back, or to offer individual portions e.g. cake slices, cupcakes and cookies.
Take this time to think of some simple celebration cake designs that customers can pre-order, and you can create toppers in advance. Continue to do what you do best (just on a smaller scale). Are there any regular themes or styles you are asked for? Use this as a starting point for your pre-order cakes. Check out our tips on storing your toppers and decorations here.
Many of you have expressed concerns about product availability like flour. Until you’re able to source all the ingredients you would usually use, look at other options like flourless recipes, tray bakes, rocky roads, hot chocolate bombs and more, that you have or can find the ingredients for now. Do your research, list your options and it should alleviate some of the worry.
Many customers are buying or considering buying vouchers for products and services to use in the future. Think about your business plan and whether this is something you would be able to provide, as a source of income for the time being.
What else can you offer your customers? As many people remain at home, there is plenty of time to learn or try something new, and there’s a need for activities that keep people entertained, challenged and distracted. Consider moving elements of your business online if you haven’t already, and think of what your customers might be looking for. Cake decorating kits and bundles are a great way of sourcing some additional income, and can be tailored to different audiences e.g. sprinkles, frostings and cupcake cases for younger children, or ‘decorate your own’ cookie kits.
[Paint your own rainbow cookies by @brookiescookiesco – get creative with kits you can offer people!]
Start to contact your customers now who have orders placed for the next few weeks, and if you can, offer credit for use later. [Benny Rivera, City Cakes]
Consider any work that you’ve already done, including research and sourcing materials, before offering refunds. This is all part of your business costs and time.
For information on financial help for cake decorators, head over to The Cake Professionals blog, where they’re compiling all of the latest help and advice with regular updates.
Thanks for joining us live! Quarantine Cakes for the Save. Doubt? Or, Deliver!
Posted by American Cake Decorating on Monday, 23 March 2020
[Check out American Cake Decorating’s videos for some great advice from those in the cake community]
As well as Facebook groups, forums, and your network of cake friends to ask and share advice with, you can support the cake community in different ways. If someone else specialises in an area you don’t e.g. sugar flowers, see if you can order items from them and vice versa, to help maintain your businesses and be able to find solutions for customers. [Cydni Mitchell, Sweet Fest / Sugar Coin Academy]
Take time to develop or learn new skills. Watch tutorials by other cake artists online, browse through magazines, take out a subscription if you can, and importantly let them know if they’ve inspired you to make or learn something new. This is the ideal time to learn something you’ve always wanted to try, or to perfect the skills you already have.
If you want to share content online with your followers and the rest of the cake community, be mindful of where your designs originated. If you’ve learned a particular skill from a tutor, give them a shout out and let them know, but feature it in a design of your own rather than sharing steps from a recent class you’ve taken. [Reva Alexander-Hawk, Merci Beaucoup Cakes]
Do you have any other tips for cake decorating businesses? Let us know on social and we’ll share this with the cake community, just search for ‘Renshaw Baking’.
Best wishes from everyone at Renshaw.