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The Porch Pop-Up

What is it, and how do I have one?

By Deanna Martinez-Bey

A porch pop-up is one of my favorite selling options as a cottage baker. Many of you may not be familiar with these types of events. A porch pop-up is when a cottage baker prepares baked goods and sells them on their porch, in their driveway, front lawn, or garage. It’s a pop-up shop at home. In this article, I will share all the ins and outs of creating a porch pop-up.

Preliminary things to consider

As always, check your state’s guidelines to ensure these are acceptable. Cottage laws vary from state to state. In addition to checking the laws of your state, be sure it is accepted where you live. For example, some subdivisions have ordinances preventing homeowners from hosting yard sales. If a yard sale is acceptable where you live, you should be good to go when hosting a porch pop-up event.

How to prepare for a porch pop-up

First, it is crucial to get the word out about your event. Here are some tips to get started:

  1. Choose the date for your porch pop-up. Weekends work best. Saturday mornings from 9 am until 12 pm have proven to be optimum times. Selling around holidays is also a great idea.
  2. Decide what types of payment options you will accept. Consider accepting PayPal, Cashapp, exact cash, and Square for credit cards. Be sure to have a cell phone or tablet available and hooked to wifi, if needed.
  3. Develop your menu. Baking items that can easily last for five days is the best way to go. This way, you can start baking three days before your event.
  4. Decide on the packaging. Order business logo stickers at least one month before your event and add one to each item. Be sure to keep everything uniform and looking neat. Have business cards available at your event, so customers know how to contact you in the future. You can use Vistaprint to order stickers and business cards.
  5. Create memes on Canva that contain all pertinent information about your pop-up. You will want to include your event’s date, time, payment options and location. You can also include some of the items you will have for sale. You will use these to share across all social media. To have a successful event, people have to know about it.

Share your event on your Facebook pages and groups, community groups, Instagram, local neighborhood sites such as Nextdoor and Google business, and anywhere else you can think of. Look at that – you are already halfway done with your porch pop-up planning! Your date, time, location, menu, and advertising are taken care of. Now, it’s time to plan your set-up.

Setting up for your porch pop-up

Get together all your tables, chairs, serving platters, shelves, and tablecloths. If you do not own tables, check with family, friends, and neighbors to see if you can borrow them. I recommend two to three folding tables. You will need only one chair for yourself (unless you have help).

You can offer a kid’s cookie decorating station at your pop-up and enlist a young family member to run it for you. Try baking seasonal sugar cookies and putting together small bags of colored icings for little hands. Be sure to include seasonal sprinkles for the kids. Each child is allowed to decorate one sugar cookie with purchase. You will also need a small table if you decide to include a kid’s cookie decorating station. Remember napkins and sanitizer for hands and to clean the table after each use.

Payments and printables

One week to one day before your event, print fliers with your logo listing what baked goods you have for sale and their prices. You will want to place these on your tables on the day of the sale. You can also print a flier with your scan codes for PayPal and Cashapp. This way, your customers can easily scan your code to make a payment. The key is to make shopping as easy as possible for your customers.

The day of your event

The big day is here! Set your alarm early. You will want to have everything set up before your start time. Give yourself an hour and a half to get set up. You’ll need to arrange your tables, coverings, and baked goods to look pretty to your customers. You want to be sure they have enough room to look and shop. Set up your cookie decorating station for the kids, and try out your electronics to ensure all the electronic payment options you accept are working correctly.

As your sale is in full swing, take videos and pictures. Post updates on social media every 30 minutes or so, so potential customers are kept in the loop as to what items you have left to sell. The videos and pictures you take can also be used when you have future events.

Smile and be friendly to every person that attends your event. You can also collect email addresses from each customer. These are great ways to build a customer base for your cottage bakery.

(This article appeared in the Spring 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

Pastry Arts Magazine is the new resource for pastry & baking professionals designed to inspire, educate and connect the pastry community as an informational conduit spotlighting the trade.