Thursday, June 16, 2011

Busy Little Bee

Well, I'm glad to report that Queenie Cakes has had the best year thus far in all the 8 years I've been doing this. Every month has been consistently busy, only getting busier as the summer months happen upon us. The orders are getting bigger. The customers are paying more money. My skills are getting better.

It's been a fantastic turnaround from the disaster I had run my business into the previous two years. And I can thank my mom for helping me get what I need when I need it. I can thank Joel for stepping in and coming to my rescue when all else failed. I can even thank for the beautiful marketing artwork he's given me, which has pushed my business from the homegrown amateur variety to a professional, eye-catching beauty that it has become. The changes has not been lost on my customers; old & new. I cannot be happier with all the  progress.

Last week, my website brought me another random customer off the street. They needed a last minute Yo Gabba Gabba Cake and where willing to pay anything for it. I charged $65 for a 10" cake with 5 fondant sculpted figures on top. Here are the results:

I thought it came out really cute, and they tipped me an extra $10 on top of my price! The only problem was that by the time the cake got to the city, the red hot dog with herpes monster had slipped off the cake and took a nice chunk of the edge with him. I didn't bring anything with me to fix it. So, I took the balloons and tried to cover up the mess. =( I didn't hear back from the customer. (He had me drop it off at his Chinese food take out store.) I would imagine they were not happy about it, but they didn't call me to complain, either. Ugh.

That same day, I had a 120 cupcake order for a Sweet 16 in Astoria. I was hoping to make the cupcakes fancier, but time wasn't on my side. I finished and just made it in time to set up, but the cupcakes were not as pretty as I would have liked. My specialty cupcakes: Cookies n Cream, S'mores, and Peanut Buttercup were fantastic and tasted just as great. I just wish I could have made the regular ones look nicer.

That new cupcake stand in from Wilton. It held 120 cupcakes exactly, with  the giant cupcake up top. It's not as fancy as my old stand, and it was not as sturdy, but my last stand is broken and I can't get a new one. Beggars can't be choosers.

I've met many new potential clients in the past few weeks. I've given out countless business cards. The hits to my website has doubled in the past three months, and I have new cake inquiries daily. Am I making enough to quit my full time job? No. Sadly, not nearly enough yet. I do believe if I had a store front and was able to sell by the piece on a daily basis, I could probably sustain a decent income. That is; if I have no debt, no rent, no employees to pay, and no life. A small price to pay for success, right?

I don't know what else I can do at this point to increase my profits. As it is, I'm burning myself out nearly 6 days a week. I know I have to work smarter, not necessarily harder. Do I just take the large cake orders with the bigger profit margin? The smaller ones are more consistent. Do I adjust my prices? Where else can I cut corners without sacrificing quality?

The only other major hurdle I have is my failing health. Not only am I badly out of shape, but it's getting harder to be on my feet all night long baking and decorating. The pains are getting worse and the recovery time is taking longer. Fuck! Getting old is such a goddam bitch.

My new home fund is growing nicely, but I've also used credit cards this past month to buy supplies and for quick indulgences at the mall. (I'm no saint!) In two days, my Old Navy credit card will be at 0. That's another card all zero'd out! I'm proud of me, but it's slow going. I'm tempted to use my savings to pay off the majority of my debt, but it's not enough to get rid of everything and I'll be left with nothing if I do that.

I'm doing my best to make the smartest choices for my business. I don't know if I'm making all the best decisions, but I'm trying. I guess I can only wait and see where it all takes me.

No comments:

Post a Comment