How to find your baking niche
So, you want to start a cake business? Fantastic – but unfortunately so does almost every other person who loves to bake. How are you going to stand out? How will you succeed even when there are other local, already established bakers to compete with? How will you get your own customer base and following?
Find your baking niche.
Just as with every other business whether product or service based, you need your unique selling point. In other words – to borrow from blogging – you need to find your niche. The thing that makes you uniquely you and your cakes uniquely yours.
For some people, finding a niche is simple. They already have one key strength, one driving passion and they go with it, whether that’s for edible art, fondant cakes or custom cookies. But what if it’s not that easy for you? You’ve done a few cake decorating classes, made a mixture of buttercream and fondant, cake and cupcakes – how should you know what you should focus on? And even then, how should you know whether people will want to buy it anyway?
These worries are completely normal, so today I’ve put together a few things to consider when finding your baking niche to help you follow your heart and have the baking business of your dreams.
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Where do your strengths lie?
It’s usually a good idea to play to your strengths. If you make amazing piped buttercream cupcakes, then why not start off selling cupcakes at your local market? If you’re a whiz with fondant, why not offer more traditional celebration cakes to start with? If you start out strong, you’ll set yourself up well and can branch out into other baking styles as and when you or your customers wish.
What are your competitors doing?
This question works in two ways. Firstly, knowing what your competitors are selling a lot of tells you a bit about the demand in your local area. Are people buying tons of Christmas and seasonal cakes? Going made for naked cakes? Buying corporate cookie and cupcake orders? This is all good market research for when you get started yourself. Secondly, although you know where some demand now lies, you need to find a way to set yourself apart. Don’t necessarily offer what your competitors do just because you know it’s selling. There might not be enough demand to sustain several similar cake businesses and you need to set yourself apart from the other crowd of bakers, so use the information to work out your own specific style and cake baking niche.
What is the demographic of your local or delivery area?
Knowing who your ideal customer or target market are is essential when designing your cake products and pricing them. If you’re catering to a community of young business men and women, the types of cakes they’ll want might differ to a village community of families. Likewise, the occupation, disposable income, age and interests of your ideal customer can all influence what type of cakes they will want to buy. Make sure the cakes you want to sell meet the needs of your ideal customer.
What do you love to do?
As well as playing to your strengths, I believe it’s important to do what you love. If your heart is in your cakes, people will know and appreciate the effort, attention to detail and love that you put into each order. It makes a difference. So if you’re good at sugarcraft but find it tedious and prefer naked or more rustic cakes, consider including them in your cake portfolio. If you love and are good at patisserie, why not establish a more niche business? You need passion, skills and demand to be successful, so make sure you love what you do.
Is there anything people comment on that you do differently?
When you’re baking regularly, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of thinking what you do is normal or typical or average. It’s easy to be overly modest and undervalue your skills, experience and expertise. Friends and family who see and taste your cakes can be really helpful at this point because they can help you see the things that make your cakes uniquely yours. Do they notice a certain flair for decorating? Some extra amazing and unusual flavours? No design is too intricate? Other people can help you realise what it is that makes your cakes special, an important selling point for your cake business that can guide your choice of niche.
Take ten minutes to work through these five points with examples from your own experience, then comment below with what your baking niche will be! Still not sure? That’s okay too, comment below and let other bakers help you out!