Podcast: Play in new window | Download | Embed
Jennifer Jacobs is the owner and founder of Wandering Whisk Bakeshop in St. Petersburg, Florida. Jennifer owns a boutique bakery studio with an emphasis on custom-work for weddings, corporate events, and catering.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Jennifer had extremely humble beginnings. In fact, she operated the business out of a home kitchen the first half-decade. During this time, Jennifer would begin baking after logging 8-hours on the overnight shift at the Home Shopping Network (HSN). Jennifer started her business in a small apartment with an even smaller kitchen without air conditioning.
In spite of the challenges, Jennifer stuck with it. The persistence ultimately paid off with Jennifer quitting her full-time job and relocating to a beautiful commercial space.
How was she able to do it? That’s the focus of today’s podcast interview.
In our audio lesson Jennifer outlines her proven marketing plan for growing a home-based bakery from scratch. Jennifer shares not only her digital market strategy, but the importance of building relationships with local business owners and why word of mouth is still king to promoting baked goods.
Jennifer doesn’t hold anything back in this interview. If you day dream about taking your passion for cake-baking and turning it into a business then this is the podcast for you.
Should You Start a Bakery from Home?
When Jennifer was starting to get serious about the baking business, she did a lot of really brilliant things. One being she went out and asked other successful bakery owners in her area for advice. Do you know what these experienced bakers recommended?
Each of the experts Jennifer spoke with suggested building the bakery as a really strong home-based business first. No one with actual experience building a bakery recommended jumping into brick-and-mortar right away. Do not spend all the money needed on equipment, a lease, and permits right away was the collective advice.
One reason to start slow… It’s requires time to build stable business. By starting a part-time business on the side with a minimal investment, you don’t need to get stressed out about making money right away.
Instead, you can focus on improving your product and gradually build a reputation for yourself locally. Overtime, you’ll gain more consistent business and know when it’s time to take the next step.
Before you quit a job that pays the bills ask yourself these questions:
- Are you making enough money from the business to pay your bills?
- Do you have a recognized name in the community?
Thanks to cottage food laws, you can sell cupcakes, cookies, and just about any other baked good out of your house. You can use these laws to your advantage and start building a business with very little financial risk.
Baked up Fears
Everyone that starts a new business has things they worry about. Rightfully so! But there’s probably a handful of these fears that aren’t justified too.
One common concern of home-based bakers is that they won’t be considered “legitimate” if they don’t have retail space.
Hopefully the conversation with Jennifer Jacobs will put your mind at ease with this concern. According to Jennifer, while not having a commercial bakery may have been something that worried her in the early days, it was never an actual issue with customers.
Before starting any type of business, it’s natural for doubts to creep up. Will anyone take me seriously? Will strangers hate my cake? Do I need a baking degree to get started?
Customers don’t care where the cake is baked. They only cared about the end result. In other words, how did they care about how the cake turned out. That’s it! Don’t let these sorts of made-up fears hold you back.
Home Bakery Marketing Plan
While having a retail store isn’t going to make or break your baking business there are some key to-dos Jennifer recommends to ensure the business looks professional and is poised for growth.
These are six things customers actually will care about and used in planning the overall promotional strategy. As a marketing team of one, you only have so much time to invest to word out about your baked goods (especially if you have a full-time job or kids right now). Make sure you’re using that time effectively based on Jennifer’s experiences.
Taking good photos is critical for both social media and your website. If potential customers are able to see real examples of your work, they’ll feel confident in choosing you.
But don’t worry if you’re not a professional photographer. Neither is Jennifer. By applying some basic photography principles she has been able to take some pretty fantastic and Insta-worthy photos.
- Buy a real refurbished camera. It sounds simple, but getting a solid used camera can make all the difference in the world. If you don’t have enough money for a camera right now, no worries. Start out by using one of the more recent iPhones.
- Natural Light is really important. You shouldn’t be taking photos of cake at night with nothing more than the bedroom light turned on. This will never look good. Always utilized light from a nearby window during the day. Natural light is the big “secret” to standout food photography.
- Consider the Setting. Got dirty laundry in the background? Don’t snap that Instagram post! Take the time to only take photos when you have an attractive and clean setting.