Hey Besties! We’ve made it to part 3 in your ultimate home bakery business planning guide for the holiday season! Most of the revenue for home bakeries comes in during Oct-Dec, so it’s critical that you have your game plan in place. I’ve been in this industry long enough to know that you can’t just wing this and then wonder why you aren’t getting the orders you had hoped for. Which is why I created this 3-part series breaking down every step for you to maximize your season! Today we’re going to delve into design planning for your bakery offerings, packaging and more! If you’ve ever wanted a personal home bakery business coach but didn’t want to pay for it, welcome! That’s why I’m your baking bestie! Let’s do this!
Home Bakery Business Strategy & Planning
Let’s quickly recap what we covered in parts 1 & 2, which set the stage for you to take on part 3. If you have not read and taken the actions in parts 1 & 2 already, you can find them HERE and HERE, respectively. These three parts build on each other to create a step-by-step guide for success. In part one, we covered your options for home bakery business strategies. You may be using one or a mixture of strategies this upcoming season. Implementing the right strategy or mix of strategies makes a world of difference. And depends highly on your specific market and how you operate your bakery. It also drives the next step, which was covered in part 2, where we dove deeper into the planning for the different holidays, based on the strategy you chose.
In order to maximize your home bakery business’s potential, the goal is to execute seamlessly while also managing your stress level and mental health. It’s not all sprinkles when you’re running a bakery during the holiday season! And while the goal is to have a wildly successful season and close the calendar year strong, it’s also critical that you can manage it all, without losing it. Part 2 introduced reverse calendaring to you. Which is your key to planning out what needs to happen each day to stay on track for your goals. No more running around like crazy, focusing on the wrong things or wasting precious time. If you do the planning now, you and your business will thank you later.
Bestie, owning a home bakery business is just as serious as running any other small business. And while I know you probably started your business because you love baking, the strategy, planning and marketing is all part of it. Please make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by reading through and taking action on parts one and two. And when you’re ready, or if you’re already there, let’s continue on to part 3!
One of the biggest things that home bakers struggle with is deciding what to offer during the holidays. If you’re only doing custom orders, then this won’t apply as much to you. But if you are doing pre-sales, markets and even corporate orders, keep reading. All the bakers want to know what the top sellers are, what to offer, how many things to offer, and more. You’ll likely to see these questions over and over again in baking groups. But the good news is that you are ahead of the game by deciding these things now.
What The Customer Wants
Now it’s not my place to tell you exactly what you should be offering! Especially when everyone specializes in different things. But I can share some really good advice that rings true across the board. First, while it’s really tempting to create what YOU think is fun and cute, YOU are not the customer. As a business owner, it’s up to YOU to determine what your clientele will respond to. Take some time to reflect on what has been successful in years past (if you’ve been in business for more than one year). And keep in mind that you shouldn’t just repeat the same designs you have done in the past. Even if they were successful, you need to at least put a twist on them. Otherwise it will feel stale to your customer base, seeing the same things again.
This is also a fabulous opportunity to engage with your clientele and get their feedback! Create a poll or seek their feedback in another creative way. This gives you the information you need in order to tailor your offerings to them. AND it helps your customers feel more engaged in your business. It’s a win-win.
Number of Offerings
Next, and I can’t underestimate this enough…limit your offerings. I get it, with SO many cute designs and endless options, it’s SO tempting to offer 15 different things and multiple configurations. After all, you’re trying your hardest to give your customers exactly what they want, right? This is the best way to ice out your sales and will backfire. You need to make purchasing from you the simplest, easiest process possible. If there are more than a few options, customers glaze over, get overwhelmed and won’t buy anything. Please, bestie, don’t kill your business by offering 20 different options. Do your market research, like we already talked about, and then decide on the best few options you will offer this season. Your customers will thank you for it.
Limiting your offerings will help you tremendously in other areas too! It reduces the amount of packaging and configurations you need to manage and purchase. Which in turn, keeps more money in your pocket. And only offering a small number of items makes you much more efficient with your time. During the holiday season, your time is precious, and you need to be as efficient as possible in order to maximize profit margins.
Not The Time To Try Something New
Besties, we’ve got all year to grow and develop our baking and decorating skills. Heading into the holiday season is not the time to decide you’re going to start offering something you haven’t already mastered. Put it on the list for next year. It may be tempting but I’ve seen it over and over again when bakers think they’ll just whip out this new thing they saw. Then they get into it and realize they don’t have everything they need or it’s a lot more difficult than they thought. Again, your time and mental health is precious. Offer your best items during the holidays, that you’ve made successfully many times. And when you’re in the January lull, then you can practice that new thing you’ve been wanting to try!
Home Bakery Holiday Packaging
Ribbons, bows and boxes, oh my! We all know presentation is everything and makes a world of difference in our industry! Everybody loves a pretty package, especially during the holidays! It’s incredibly important for your packaging to look professional and appealing. It’s a direct reflection of you and your business.
That said, fancy packaging can get WAY out of hand. If you’re looking to maximize your profit margins this season, you need to aim for a middle ground. Your products should be beautiful, but especially in this economy, your prices need to be competitive. And if you’re not smart about your packaging, one of two things will happen. You will greatly reduce your own profit margins, or you won’t get the sales you want because your prices are too high. Someone has to pay for that packaging – you or the customer. It should be the customer, but if you have to inflate your prices too much to cover it, you’ll lose the sales.
So now that we’ve established how important packaging is to your holiday sales and profit, let’s talk about what to look for! Going back to limiting your holiday offerings, this is also where you can optimize costs. Select packaging that is versatile enough to use for several of your offerings. Try your best to avoid buying different packaging for every different offering. It’s rare to go through the exact amount of packaging you buy, so anything leftover is money sitting on your shelf.
Here are a few of the tried-and-true packaging products we use on repeat for our bakery!
And I can’t speak highly enough about THESE boxes, which we use for our larger cookie orders and platters! Again, depending on the size of the cookies, you can easily fit up to 3 dozen in these boxes. They are sturdy and super good quality! And we regularly use them for our 12″ shrink wrapped cookie platters. If you want to see how we wrap our platters for beauty and freshness, I show exactly how to do that HERE.
These are the 6-pack and 12-pack cupcake boxes we use and love. We use these for both our cupcakes and hot cocoa bombs. We love that they make it very easy to get the cupcakes out without messing them up (which can’t be said for all cupcake boxes).
And if you’re looking for the best cello bags to heat seal individual cookies, THIS post shows exactly what we use. We love these because they don’t stick to the icing like many others do. We always keep both 4×6 and 5×7 sizes in stock for all of our cookies.
I know there are tons of holiday-specific packaging that comes out, but we like to stay with packaging that works year-round. Again, it helps your profit margins! We dress up our packaging with a simple ribbon or stretchy elastic loop and a cute tag and it looks beautiful!
Obviously, this doesn’t cover everything we use for packaging, but this covers the tried-and-true staples that we rely on and that are really cost-effective for your business. Taking the time now to decide on your designs and packaging will save you stress later on. You can also start stocking up on supplies before things are out of stock! It definitely happens a lot during the holidays and there is nothing worse than having to urgently find alternate packaging! And it’s always at a much higher cost! Don’t let it happen, avoid the stress and wasted money!
In part one of this series, we talked about corporate orders which can be a very lucrative home bakery business strategy. If that is a strategy you are planning for the holiday season, I highly suggest investing in an edible image printing setup before the holiday season. It’s VERY common for corporate orders to include a printed logo and you can save yourself boatloads by printing them yourself at home.
Bestie, you can get everything you need (printer, ink and icing sheets) to be printing these yourself for less than $200. Compared to the third-party sellers who offer their edible icing sheets for as much as $10-12 a sheet, your setup pays for itself very quickly.
I’m all about helping YOU keep more of your own dough, so if you will be using edible images, your profit margins will be WAY bigger if you print these yourself. If you need advice on exactly what to buy and how to print your own edible images, THIS post breaks it all down for you.
Home Bakery Holiday Season Success
Baker besties, I’m so excited for you to have an amazing and successful holiday season! Several of our Featured Bakers have had game changer seasons over the holidays in the past and maybe you’re next! What I can tell you is that success favors the prepared.
I really hope this 3-part series has been helpful to you in planning and strategizing your biggest baking season! And maybe you can share your success story with us as a Featured Baker in the New Year! I’m wishing you the success and am always here if you have any questions!
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