Back in 2010 I started hosting Bake Sales from home. I came to hosting the sales from home after being expelled from a local weekend indoor marketplace. I was never given an exact reason that I was involuntary excused from participating. They only said “We can’t have you here any longer”. And that was that.
The place had just opened when I secured my spot right in the front of the building. At the door basically. The best spot. People would see me coming and going. I didn’t ask for that spot but, I’m so glad I got it.
To prepare I would bake for 2 nights; Thursday and Friday after work every week to prepare for the weekend cake selling. Three layer German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Lemon Pound and Caramel Pound Cake were the standing items each weekend. Making sure to have two German Chocolates on hand whenever I am selling cake…. Every Saturday, My daughter (my only employee) and I would set up and sell out. Coming home sometimes and baking all over again to have more product on Sunday. This lasted for six to eight weeks before I was canceled like a new TV show. Well, I could not just give up the then growing customer base or the extra income because they said no. I had to come up with another way.
I don’t think I had the idea right away to have a bake sale at home but, I think I thought what am I going to do now? How and where could I keep this going? Holiday Bazaar season had passed and it would be months before it came back around. I needed to do something…. All I knew was I had a list of names and addresses of people who loved cake, my cakes from all those events I partook in over the past couple of years and my original customers that were purchasing whole cakes from me since 2001.
My creative cousin Candice had been the “graphic designer” for the cake menus I had back then. She produced a very nice and clean layout of the menu selections with a pop of color. Her work is still my favorite. And, when she created “Bake Sale” post cards for me I was super excited. I don’t know if I asked her to or if it was just done. Either way I so appreciated it. I had no skills in that department and I still don’t. Thank God for some of these apps that are out now that are helpful to us that are technically disabled.
Once I had the post cards I had to plan out specifically when to have the Bake Sale date and time and when to send out the postcards. When I first started doing this I worked at a credit union and I learned that there are a lot of people on a fixed income. Nothing stops a person from eating and living good during the first few days of the month if thats what they really want to do… And, that is when I planned to have my sale. I would send out the post cards on Thursday or Friday of the week before so they would be sure to receive the notice by Monday or Tuesday the week of the sale. Saturday was determined to be the sale day.
And, Wow! People were so very excited, especially the customers who normally purchased whole cakes. They now had the chance to buy slices of almost every cake on the menu. I scheduled the sale from 2-6pm. My first customer was right on time. Although, I wasn’t completely set up and ready the sale was on! That day I got 15-20 people wanting to buy slices of cake. That was not same number of post cards I sent out but, at 6pm I had very little left. By the time it was all over, I knew that day that people liked if not loved this idea and I was going to keep this going.
The first Saturday of every month became Bake Sale day. I sent out 50-60 post cards in the beginning. After time went on and texting became more common and FREE I moved on to that for most of my customers if I already had their phone numbers on the list. I still sent post cards to older customers and to people I had no phone number for. My bake sale season ran from April to October for the next 3 years. I think bake sale week was/is my most favorite week because I got so excited host this sale and see everyone. It was always a good day to catch up with old friends and new friends I had made because of my baking business. It seems like it was always a beautiful sunny day on bake sale day.
Recently, time has allowed for me to begin again with hosting bake sales the way I use to and its just like I never stopped. That made me so happy. When I contemplated beginning again I was afraid. I did not want to feel possible rejection. When I started all those years ago I was the only one that I knew of that was really doing something like this. Now with social media this is happening everywhere. I was fearful that people/customers would not want what I had to offer anymore. Thankfully that was not the case. The response was immediate and swift from consumers old and new. I just had a sale on this past Sunday which maybe the new normal from now on…. My mom, watching from the sidelines and noticed how busy I was as the cake lovers pulled in to pick up their orders; when I was close enough within ear shot to hear her; she said they are lining up for you like that Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich. That made me smile.