Are you feeling burned out running your cottage bakery? Do you feel like you go, go, go and never stop? Then, it is time to stop the madness! This article will discuss planning ahead of the rush, pre-orders, and proper marketing timelines.
- Planning ahead: Menu preparation
- Pre-orders: Why we need to take them
- Marketing timelines: How far in advance to start sharing
We, as cottage bakers, can take advantage of many holidays and special events. Of course, we have the basic list of main holidays, but did you know there are other special event days such as Teacher Appreciation Day, Grandparents’ Day, National Employee Appreciation Day, National Pound Cake Day, and so many more? If you would like to see a list of every special day throughout the calendar year, click here: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/
With that in mind, let’s look at how to prepare for these special days.
A cottage baker must plan their menu at least one month before an event. Two months is optimal, but life can get busy. For example, let’s say you are gearing up for Mother’s Day in May. You will want to prepare what you will be baking by April 1. You may be thinking, why would I prepare my menu so far in advance? Allow me to explain. You will need to:
- Purchase ingredients
- Bake everything in advance so that you have pictures to share in order to get pre-orders (marketing)
- Start taking pre-orders
Tip 1: Remember, organization is the key to success (and prevents you from losing your mind).
A pre-order is when a customer tells you what they want to purchase before a specific date. Pre-orders are our friends. You can determine how many you would like to take for an event so that you aren’t baking for five days straight without sleeping, eating, or showering. Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but you get my point. As a cottage baker, you control how many orders you can take.
Tip 2: You can determine how many pre-orders you will accept by setting a goal of how much money you need to make or by choosing how many hours you want to spend baking.
Sharing your menu and pre-order guidelines is essential to having a successful event. At least one month before your event, you want to start sharing your menu and photos of the baked goods you have to offer. You will also need to determine a cut-off date for pre-orders and share that information with your customers.
You will need to share how they can place their order, what payment options you accept, and when they need to pay.
Your customer can contact you directly through online messaging, texting, or by phone. You can also create an order form through Google Forms that allows them to order. If using a Google Form, you can set it up so that you receive an email each time an order has been placed. You create the form, so be sure to add all pertinent information.
There are many types of payment options you can choose from. A few of the most popular are PayPal, Venmo, Cashapp, Zelle, and Square. Most cottage bakers request a full or partial payment when an order is placed.
Tip 3: Be sure to include your menu, how to order, order cut-off date, payment options accepted, pick-up days and times, and bright and crisp product photos in every marketing post on social media.
Tip 4: Remember to send your event/ordering information to your email list!
Proper planning and organization are key to avoiding cottage baker burnout. I hope that this article has helped you feel less overwhelmed, more in control, and like the boss that you already are!
(This article appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
Deanna Martinez-Bey is a cottage baker, baking class instructor, content creator, and multi-genre author. With fifteen published books under her belt and a certified cottage bakery, everything she does revolves around food and writing in one way, shape or form. www.deannasrecipebox.com