How to Open Your Own Bakery. . .
Do you ever feel like quitting your current job and doing something else?
Like. . .
Becoming a ballerina?
Travelling the world?
Opening a bakeshop?
Life is short so spend your time wisely being happy and following your dreams. Sure, making a leap is scary and sometimes we think it's downright impossible. But everything is possible. EVERYTHING. The way to go about changing your life is to decide what you want and then make a plan and start to execute on the plan. Sometimes it takes awhile but. . .great things take time. And that's ok.
If you want to follow your passion to bake and open a bakery, (this example also applies to other jobs) here's what you need to know:
1. Start by baking. A lot.
Go to school, apprentice or teach yourself. But bake a lot because baking commercially is a lot different than baking at home for pleasure. It's great to have a hobby that you love and think you want to quit your day job to pursue full time. Just make sure you really do want to turn your hobby into a job.
When the Sugar Sisters go to the shop we don't refer to it as "going to work". Because once you say you're going to work, something changes. We changed jobs from "work" to "passion" and now we "go to the shop" or "go to TSP" or go to "the baby". Because The Sugar Path is our baby. It's something we love and nurture. You need to love and nurture your job to make it successful.
Also, you need to educate yourself and the only way to do that is to bake. A lot. To get to the point of opening our own shop we trained ourselves by baking A LOT and developing our own recipes. It took years of self study.
"The swirl of frosting on top of our cupcakes takes at least six months to perfect. Don't believe us? Try it at home. Then do it consistently on thousands of cupcakes so they all look the same. Every.single.time."
You need to have more than a passion to bake. You need to understand the science of baking so that you can create your own recipes and know when something goes wrong, why it does. Why didn't your cake rise in the oven? Why did it cook on the outside and not the inside? Why is your frosting glossy? How do you make pie crust that maintains its shape while baking? Did the recipe have too much baking soda or too much baking powder and exactly what is the difference? To be successful you need to be a good baker. To be a good baker you need to train. So start baking!
2. Create a Business Plan
Your business plan may be as simple as your goals written on a napkin. Before you jump ship on your old job, have a plan for the new one. We planned for years before we changed jobs. In the interim we baked. A lot. We wrote about our dreams and our goals. We developed strategies. We figured out ways to finance a business. We researched things we didn't know anything about like marketing, advertising, social media, building a website and yes, making a business plan. When you own a business, you wear many hats. Jump in wisely.
This is the time to create a name for your business, a logo, set up a tax id, register your business, etc. You can teach yourself how to do these things but if you don't know how, you may need to obtain help from a professional. Also, if you plan to have a retail or commercial location, you will need to find a space and secure a lease. Just remember to enjoy this planning phase. It is so exciting to start a new business and all these steps get you closer to your dream!
3. Market, Market, Market
You should be marketing even before you open. You can't expect to open your doors and people to walk in. You need to tell people who you are, where you are and what you have. Figure out your marketing plan well in advance and stick with it. When you open many people are going to tell you how to run your business. If you have confidence in who you are and where you are going before you even open you will do better in deciding what offers to accept.
4. Open the Doors.
You won't know until you try. Will you? Believe in yourself and don't set yourself up for failure by thinking "what if I fail?" If you fail, it's a lesson for next time. If you don't fail, it's a new career. And in the end, if it doesn't work out, it was information to lead you to a new path.
Read The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz to get you started. Then read, research and train some more. Become motivated and confident and you will not fail.
5. Bake. A lot.
Baking is hard work. We go in early, we stay late, we stand for 12 hours in front of a mixer, we stand in front of hot ovens and get burns on our arms. We stand, we stand, we stand. There's no sitting, no lunch dates, and sometimes we even get frosting in our hair. We live in a world where people have a lot of choices and baked goods can be obtained anywhere, even a vending machine, and often those baked goods are inexpensive because the ingredients they use are also, inexpensive. So, why have a boutique bakery that uses the best ingredients and spend so much time perfecting your craft? Why bake?
Because when you create something with your own hands and you realize "I MADE THIS!". . .
When a little girl with Down's Syndrome walks into your bakery and the only thing she wants in the whole world is a cupcake just like her friends have. . .but she's Gluten-Free. . .and then you make her a Gluten-Free Take Five cupcake for her birthday. . .
When a couple travels an hour just to come to get a slice of their favorite Coconut Cake and it's at your bakery. . .
When someone calls you out of the blue and starts by saying "I got a Turtle cake from you on Saturday" and you start thinking oh no what was wrong with it and then they say "IT WAS THE MOST FREAKING AMAZING THING I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY LIFE!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!"
When you cater a wedding for 300 people and your bridal couple calls you to say "thank you" because everyone could not stop talking about the cake all night long. . .
When you deliver cupcakes to your customer's mother's retirement home, just as you do every year, and you know she's waiting for these and looking forward to this---that this simple little cupcake is going to bring the purest of joy to someone's day in both taste and sentiment. . .
Memories. . .