Feb 21, 2010

Business of Baking

As small business owner of less than one year I am questioing how different aspects of business apply to my own. The first issue is that of Networking. The biggest concern I face is how the dollars from referrals will match up to the dollars spent. My husband is a concrete contractor so for his business one referral will cover most if not all of his fees. I can see how that might be true for many types of business. In the baking business where one is not selling from a store front, offering items which have high price tags or selling wholesale then it begs the question to where and when it is worth becoming  part of a group that may not be able to provide enough leads to help turn a profit. Time constraints  prevent meetings here and there but the financial issue is constantly looming. Sure we have to spend money to make money but the optimal word here is "profit" and if one is not being made then it hardly seems worth the time and energy spent in the meetings.
Next is the issue of Donations. How many are a good number and how much should be given? Of course there are donations made for the sole reason of helping an organization that I support on a personal level but what about all the other requests? People constantly imply that it is a good way to advertise the business hence a good reason to donate. I do not want to think that donations should always be given with a future dollar amount in mind. However, the only way I can measure the new discoveries to Rich Delights is through my bank account. If my donations are more than my profits then it surely is not working on any business level.
Finally there is the issue of being a Vendor. In any given arena there  is usually a price tag associated with setting up a booth. This seems fair because everything is about money and business. But how many events do we attend when it actually costs us money to be there? I have been a vendor in places where there was no fee and still lost money. Rich Delights is perishable so if you see our treats on a table somewhere you know they are fresh. We always try to bring a variety so there is a nice selection. People do not want to come and see photos without something they can actually eat. If we do not sell everything we bring we are at a loss. Unlike the person selling clothing,accessories or other items they can pack up and sell later, we are left with merchandise that must be thrown away or given away. I have no problem giving away the leftovers but there again one hopes that the person receiving the goodies might be kind enough to return the favor and either send a referral or place an order for themselves. Are the items given away just so there will be future business? Of course not! However, it seems like reciprocating the favor is a nice idea that most do not follow. It is wonderful to receive compliment after compliment from these people but at the end of the day without sales it means nothing fort he business.
I am determined to make this work so I will figure out the next step while taking advice from other bakers who have been in the same position. While the questions are being answered and new ideas are being created just be sure that Rich Delights will continue......baking4you!

Feb 15, 2010

Sweetness in Words

Valentine's Day came and went. This was the first since beginning business last April so there was no telling what to expect. Did not have the volume of business I had hoped for. Tried something new by adding a candy item to the menu just for the holiday. Made candy hearts in four colors and three flavors. Bought some cute canisters and packaging to replace the normal cellophane but I am thinking people went with candy and flowers and many did not stop to see what Rich Delights was offering. The people who ordered loved what they bought which was a good thing.
As I sit and decide what might be done for other upcoming holidays I am also working on a new venture with my writing. Baking has always been a passion but so has writing. The writing has always been for my own pleasure but just as I turned baking into something others enjoy it seems the writing may be on the same path. Writings include poetry and one liners that I envision on bookmarks, magnets and Iphone applications. At some point it would be great to make Rich Delights include some of the quotes as part of the draw to purchasing something sweet with a message. Maybe that line could be "Inspirational Delights!
The older I get the more I realize that I have placed far too many limitations on myself. As my very wise Grandmother used to tell me "It is never too late to learn". She was 98 when she passed and had great wisdom to share right up until the end. I'd like to think she lives on through me. Just as my Dad will live on through my baking I have a feeling my Grandmother will do the same through my newest undertaking. They will live on through my heart as they always gave me theirs.

I am learning that there are endless possibilities for me regardless of what opportunities I wasted in the past.

I look forward to walking down this new path but in the mean time....... I will continue baking4you!

Feb 6, 2010

Think Before You Bite

I am a big supporter of what downtown Riverside is doing with Artwalk. However, as I was sitting in front of Relish Deli smelling the wonderful aroma of the food they prepared for the evening visitors I could not help but notice that the street was filled with young artists and what seemed like hundreds of their friends. Most wanted to know if we had free samples but clearly had no interest in purchasing anything then or in the future. To my dismay, people young and old were actually buying cheap unwrapped cupcakes and other baked goods from the teens and others walking around with filled trays. None of these supposed vendors had health permits, labels with their ingredients or any other information but it did not seem to bother anyone. Even adults were buying these treats for their children. Hmmmm... adults who would run down to get a flu vaccine have no concerns about what they are eating or feeding their children ?! I was prepared for competition from the many great establishments downtown but was not prepared for the blatant disrespect for the distinct rules of safety in food handling and preparation. I am contemplating whether or not I want to go back into that environment. It hardly seems worth putting the work into making a display of  packaged treats if the public will buy from just anyone who offers them a cheaper deal regardless of the circumstances. However, I did meet some great people who stopped and chatted and got information about what I do. Some bought treats and some just left with information. It was yet another lesson in the world of small business...Until next time we will keep baking4you.

Feb 4, 2010

Delights for the Art Lover

Spent this week trying to decide what treats to offer at ARTWALK this evening. Rich Delights is really all about baked goods but candy hearts will be available just to keep in the spirit of what people expect on Valentine's Day. Our orders normally come in cellophane packaging but for tonight there will be decorative canisters and bags. Without added preservatives our baked goods will not be good if one wants to save them for Valentine's Day but the canisters can be re-filled by us or with something a customer wants to put in them. Debating on making a basket for show incase someone wants to custom order one. When preparing to do any type of vendor event it is always tough to decide what to bring. Bring too much and there is waste but don't bring enough and we can't please the people attending. Will offer as many menu items as possible except the unsliced mini loaves in cute Valentine's packaging or the larger loaves. However, those can easily be ordered. If you are downtown Riverside tonight please stop and say hello and see if there is something to satisfy your sweet tooth. Until next time ....we will keep baking4you.

Feb 1, 2010


Until the day we are doing more celebrity type catering or party favors that might make a baking blog seem more interesting we'll  keep the blogs to
once or twice a week. There clearly could be a lot more writing if recipes were being shared but the truth is they are not going to be. If you all had the recipes then why would you ever need to hire Rich Delights?!The November and December holidays were busy  but things slowed down after the New Year so there has been time to incorporate some menu changes. This was done partially to try and make it easier for people to go online and order the items which sell the most. I, being the baker, have so many more ideas and I have baked more than a few things that I do not offer for order with the ease of a paypal button but it is all about keeping things simple unless someone wants to place a custom order. There are usually discounts to Facebook first time buyers,referral clients and to people in a few of the groups either I or Rich Delights is associated with. Those are custom orders and need to be done either by email or phone with an invoice to follow. The same holds true if you have a gift certificate to redeem. However, if you look at the menu and see what you want staring back at you then the ordering is fast and simple and will usually be filled within a couple of days with a delivery or shipping availability to meet your needs.
Even though I have many years of baking experience Rich Delights is still a "baby in the business world" and it would be great if you would share this information with your friends or co-workers. "Word of Mouth" is always the best advertising and in this business word of mouth is truly everything because if someone is not happy with the taste then no amount of photos or print ads will change their opinion. That being said, these thoughts are wrapping up with a photo of one of the new menu items which is a chocolate chip cookie with macadamia nuts. We also offer a white chocolate chip cookie with macadamia nuts which can be ordered with or without coconut.
Until next time .......we will keep baking4you.