It’s just flour and sugar!

small business expenses perth cupcakes

When you order a cake from my business, it’s just flour and sugar, right?

Not exactly.

Well I do use flour and sugar in my cakes. But that’s only part of what you are paying for.

Small business life

Running a cake business is a glorious mix of being an entrepreneurial boss lady loving setting my own schedule, crossed with an exhausted, overworked artist.

Because cakes are art. And just like every artist out there I didn’t start making cakes because I wanted to be a millionaire – I just bloody love cake.

I love making cake, I love eating cake and I love smelling cake. I could talk your ear off all day about cake and there’s nothing better than someone who appreciates dessert as much as I do. Most of all, I love making cakes for people and every step of the process.

Design, bake, decorate

Here’s some of the things you might not expect you are paying for when you order a cake.

Because as much as this is a passion job, I’m also trying to run a business which is sustainable and earns me more than $2 an hour.

Designing

– I can spend hours chatting to you about your plans to make you the perfect cake to fit your occasion.

– I chat to florists and cake topper creators to get quotes. I’m all about supporting other small businesses.

– Searching for speciality items such as decorations and cookie cutters can be time consuming.

– A phone, a computer, a printer, internet, stationary (for sketching) and an invoicing program are all needed for these tasks.

(And all of this can be for nothing if my quote isn’t accepted!)

Baking

Here’s the flour and the sugar bit. And the raising agents, eggs or oil, butter or margarine, icing sugar and other pantry items such as cocoa, coconut etc.

It’s also:

– tins and trays

– a mixer (or two)

– a dishwasher

– spatulas

– cookie cutters

– baking paper, alfoil and wraps.

Decorating

Now this is the fun bit! I have a whole cupboard for decorating. And then a whole cupboard for cake boxes.

What’s in them?

– cake boards

– piping bags

– piping nozzles

– shapes and cutters

– cake boxes

– colours

– flavours

– sprinkles

– edible paint

– paint brushes

– rolling pins

– non stick mats.

The business bits

There’s a few things I need/use besides equipment to run my business:

– Council fees. I get inspected yearly to comply with Council regulations. This is a paid service

– insurance. I’m dealing with food. I must have this and I wouldn’t want to be without it!

– marketing. I need a logo, business cards, banners, flyers, labels, cake books, car graphics, paid advertising, website, domain name, business name, SEO

– markets. We probably shouldn’t chat about market fees. Or the gazebo, tables, cloths, display case, boxes, trolley and chairs. Nope, don’t get me started!

– car. I need one of these to buy ingredients and do deliveries. Which needs tyres, fuel, insurance, breakdown cover, cleaning. If you’ve ever seen my social accounts you’ll know I take pride in my car and the effective cake carrier and marketing tool it is!

– training. A lot of cake makers are self-taught and that’s pretty much me too. I did a few semesters at Tafe to help define my cake passion and I loved it. I also attend regular workshops and business networking to learn new skills and chat to others in the small business life

– a living wage for all the hours spent on your cake. No one wants to work for far less than minimum wage. Then pay tax and super. And spend time away from loved ones to do it. Nope, no one wants to do that.

A job not a hobby

I’m proud to tell people I have a business. I’ve learnt so much about myself over the past few years, including my physical and stress limits. I’m continuously amazed at my creative abilities (for someone who battles to draw stick figures).

And I’m proud every time I quote with all the above factors in mind, deliver on the design and taste, and then get excellent feedback. Because it’s taken me a while to value my worth and skills. Custom cakes are expensive because they are made just for you, with love, passion and skill.

So don’t be offended when you expect a cake (that would take 4+ hours to create) for 25 people for $50, and I say no.

Hopefully the above shows exactly why that’s not a price I can, or would want, to match.

And if you got to the end of this, you deserve a medal for your efforts! And cake!

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