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The Sweet Life Bakery


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#1 ohmyganache

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 09:40 AM

Hello all!

So in the style of melmck and Criollo Bakery, my wife and I are going to tell the tale of starting our bakery. We're going to share with you the ups, the downs, and the inbetweens... and we're going to ask for your help along the way! If there is enough interest in this posting, I'll continue it...

But first, a little background. My wife Jill and I met at the Culinary Institute of America the day before the first day of class. We became close friends first, then more, and after we graduated, we moved to San Francisco and got married. We've both been working in kitchens since high school, so have been working for about 10 years each. In San Francisco, Jill became the pastry chef at a restaurant called Hawthorne Lane and I worked pastry at the Ritz-Carlton. After several years, we decided that we were done working for other people and that we wanted to open our own business. We looked around SF, but for a variety of reasons, chose not to open it there. Jill's grandmother, who just turned 90 (and by the way, is an amazing cook... she just taught me how to make stuffed peppers from her garden) had always offered to let us live with her in her house. She had lived alone since her husband passed away 25 years ago, so the family was happy to have us move in with her. Jill and her Grandmother are very close, so we decided to move back to Vineland, NJ to open our place. But first we made the decision to spend quite a bit of our savings to travel through Europe for five months. Sure, it would be easier to open a business with the money we spent in Europe, but we lived very cheaply, ate an amazing amount of food (which we justified as research), and basically had the time of our lives. No regrets about the trip at all...

So while we were gone, Jill's mother and grandmother converted an old attic apartment into a new attic apartment for us to live in. It's worked out really well so far, it allows us to live here without being in grandma's space! It's definitly a win-win situation... we live here rent free (and I get to learn cooking and gardening!) and she get's company and people to do all the housework that a 90 year old woman can't do herself (plus the peace of mind it allows the rest of the family).

We moved in two weeks ago after buying a minivan in SF and driving cross-country. (We had some great BBQ along the way.) We had plenty of time in Europe to think about the business... our ideas, strategies, plans, worries, etc... and this is what we've done so far.

-We developed a menu.
-We had a meeting with the New Jersey Small Business Development Center in Atlantic City. It was a very productive meeting, and it was all free!
-We've networked, given out some business cards. We're making a few cakes so far on the side. Baby shower, birthdays, etc...
-We got a employer ID number from the IRS, and we need to register our name soon with the city.
-Some recipe testing of course. Cookies, cakes, scones... Given some out and asked for thoughts.
-I'm working on the business plan.
-Pretty soon, we're doing some fall festivals, 300 truffle wedding favors for a friends wedding, a wine festival here in south jersey.
-We talked with the exec director of the Vineland Downtown Development Project at the farmers market downtown. She's going to be a good resource I think.
-We've been looking for a space to call our own. This has been hard! We called a few places, but nothing has fit so far and we don't want to force it.
-We've priced out ingredients, equipment, and other random stuff (boxes and carboard circles...).

That's all I can think of at the moment. It's stressful, crazy, exciting and fun. We'd love to make this a learning experience for everyone who reads it. We're certainly going to be reading melmck's postings about Criollo again and again. Yes, I sometimes think we're crazy to leave our good-paying jobs, our free health insurance, our great apartment, our lives... We're confidant that we've made the right decision, and every person we talk to around here says that Vineland needs a bakery like what we want!

So until next time...
Stephen W.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#2 gia

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:43 PM

very interesting! good luck with your venture; please keep us posted.

#3 ludja

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:16 PM

Sorry to lose you from the Bay Area but happy you are spreading good baking to another place, especially with your own venture.

Have you decided on the 'flavor' or style of your bakery? After your European travels do you plan on offering any pastry from Germany, Austria, France or Italy?

Did your trip to Europe expand your views of pastry in some ways or what you might want to do in the US in your own shop?

Good luck on your search for a building; sounds like a challenging and important step! Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

edited to add: Hope your kitty approves of the move as well! :smile:

Edited by ludja, 15 September 2006 - 01:18 PM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#4 ohmyganache

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 03:56 PM

Yeah, the kitty was fine on the drive across country...

Travelling in Europe definitly opened our eyes to many different styles of pastry. We ate so many sweets there, deconstructing, evaluating, and taking pictures... I'm surprised we don't weigh 500 pounds! But we seriously took pictures of everything we ate, and I also kept a food journal. Italian pasty was good, but the pastry in Sicily was amazing. We stayed in Siracusa with some chef friends, and we had the most amazing food there. Some of the best pastry of our trip was there... the gelato, the cannoli, and casata siciliana... We all took a day trip to Modica as well, which is known for its chocolate, and had some incredible pastry there as well...

The style of the bakery is going to be very California... American style pastry and cakes, with a focus on quality, locality, simple but tasty flavors. Of course, in California style cuisine, there is a heavy European influence, mostly Italian... which is good for us because there is a huge Italian/American population here. We're going to do cannoli (directly influenced by our time in Sicily). Ricotta and mascarpone will be used. We're going to try to make our own actually, which no one in the area is doing (or that many people for that matter). There will be a French influence due to my training at the Ritz under an extremely talented French pastry chef, as well as our month living in Paris. But I think that it will be a more subtle influence... no St. Honore or Tarte Tropazzienne... although we may throw in a cannele every once in a while. As far as German, we'd love to make pretzels, but I don't think that people in the area would be to receptive to poppy seeds or strudel... but you never know. When we get a retail shop up and running, we might run something like that as a special to see if people are interested, but I think that we'll have to earn our customers trust first.

And we're going to have some latino influence, due to my growing up in Florida as well as the huge Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican population here in Jersey. We have Torte Tres Leches on the menu now, and will have some guava cheesecake perhaps in the future.

But mostly American style stuff... butter cakes, lemon curd, pastry cream, ganache, etc... fresh fruits (south Jersey has an astounding array of produce).

Thanks for the questions! It's good for us to think about and articulate in writing...

-Stephen

PS- We're really going to miss the bay area... but our time had come to move on for the moment.


Sorry to lose you from the Bay Area but happy you are spreading good baking to another place, especially with your own venture.

Have you decided on the 'flavor' or style of your bakery?  After your European travels do you plan on offering any pastry from Germany, Austria, France or Italy?

Did your trip to Europe expand your views of pastry in some ways or what you might want to do in the US in your own shop?

Good luck on your search for a building; sounds like a challenging and important step!  Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

edited to add: Hope your kitty approves of the move as well!  :smile:

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Stephen W.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#5 KatieLoeb

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:22 PM

Stephen:

Delighted you've made it here and are settling in. Glad the kitty made the trip unscathed as well. Save all your receipts since they do indeed count as "research" and should be deducted as such on your 2006 tax returns. Every little bit counts!

Keep us in the loop on how it's going and let us know when the grand opening is! I'm sure the regional eGulleteers will be lined up outside your door on opening day! :smile:

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#6 ejebud

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 05:19 AM

Yes, I sometimes think we're crazy to leave our good-paying jobs, our free health insurance, our great apartment, our lives... We're confidant that we've made the right decision,

Stephen, You may or may not know that I have recently done what you are about to do***DONT PANIC, I DIDN'T OPEN A BAKERY IN VINELAND!!!, LOL*** I too took a gigantic leap of faith and left behind a 20 year career in my family's 80+ year old fuel oil business that had all the cushyness and perks one could want. I can honestly say to you that if it's what you love, DO IT, don't look back, focus on the real product that you are selling, which by the way if you are passionate about what your doing like I am, isn't phenominal baked goods, but happiness. I am in the making people happy business, and I use great hot dogs(voted best fried dog in the state by the Star Ledger's Munchmobile), Hand cut, twice cooked fries, Quality ingredients, and a friendly atmosphere to achieve success. We seem to have alot in common. My business partner Matt and I didn't just get a few boxes of hot dogs and some rolls and open a restaurant, we did our home work. Many months of "delicious research", Menu development, recipe testing(we rented a commercial kitchen) and brainstorming and it really paid off in the end. Also,
I too posted every inch of my journey here on Egullet(check out the Amazing Hot Dog post on the NJ forum) and recieved ALOT of great ideas and feedback from it's members.

I wish you all the best, and if you need anything, don't hesitate to reach out for me.

Eric
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#7 ohmyganache

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 09:15 PM

Hello again!

Today was a big day for us! We sold our first cake today! It was a baby shower cake for Jill's step-sister. She needed a cake for a shower at work, and no one lives near or knows of a good bakery... so Carla ordered a cake from us. It came out very cute, and it tastes wonderful.

We've been doing recipe testing all week. Every morning, four different varieties of iced coffee await us downstairs. It's almost there, I think one of the coffees tommorrow will be a winner. We've tried using milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk... sugar, honey, and vanilla... We're going to sell the iced coffee at the fairs and festivals we're doing in the coming weeks.

Last night, we started prepping the cookies for next weekend. About 10 dozen each of oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies. Whole wheat raisin and white cheddar/green onion scones. We went to BJ's yesterday and got cups, napkins, plastic wrap, aluminum hotel pans, along with cream, sugar, cinnamon, etc... It's crazy because we're spending money, but not making any yet (except for today). But I'm beginning to sense that this is what being a small business owner is all about... embracing the unknown.

Tommorrow, we're meeting a local real estate agent who is showing us a spot near here. It's not kitchen set up, but it is in a decent location and looks to be about the right size for what we want. I finished reading the Tipping Point tonight as well, which was a very interesting book that inspired me to attach our business cards to a bag with two of our cookies in it. We got small paper bags to use at the fairs next week, so first thing tommorrow, I'm baking some cookies, putting two in a bag, and stapling a business card to it... I figure it will be more memorable that way.

We got tickets to the International Hotel/Motel and Retaurant Show in NYC in the middle of November. It'll be a good opportunity to network, see some new products, check out the pastry competition, and see some old friends up in New York.

That's it for now, thanks!

-Stephen

Posted Image

A cake we made for Jill's step-mother a few days ago. Vanilla spice cake with caramelized apple filling (the filling needs some tweaking) and brown butter buttercream (which is so so tasty).

Posted Image

The cake we made for Jill's grandmothers birthday recently.

Posted Image

Our first cake sale!!!
Stephen W.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#8 sanrensho

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 11:28 PM

Posted Image


Wow, your writing skills are impressive! I would kill to be able to write like that.

Good luck with your bakery. I hope you'll take the time to post in the main Baking forum when your store opens.
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#9 ohmyganache

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 04:53 AM

Wow, your writing skills are impressive! I would kill to be able to write like that.

Good luck with your bakery. I hope you'll take the time to post in the main Baking forum when your store opens.

View Post



That's all Jill. She's got amazing writing skills...
Stephen W.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#10 chefjillm

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 05:28 AM

Hi, I am the other half of The Sweet Life Bakery team and I wanted to thank everyone for their support and comments. I will be attempting to post more often myself, but Stephen is the writer in the family.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#11 ohmyganache

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 10:06 AM

I baked off a dozen cookies this morning... half chocolate chip and half oatmeal. We put them in bags, wrapped in a little deli paper (without, the bag gets a little greasy looking). Folded them twice, and stapled a business card to it. I gave one to the real estate agent we met with this morning, two to the ladies at the library, and one to the guy where we get a bunch of our paper products. Well the ladies at the library liked them so much, one of them ordered a dozen for a dinner party tonight... she gave me the money, and we're dropping them off later! Sweet!

Posted Image
Stephen W.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#12 ludja

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 10:18 AM

Will a website be part of your early marketing plans as well?
When do you thlnk is the right time to set that up?
Will you need to hire someone to do that?

Congrats on the creative marketing and sales! And the script on the decorated cake is indeed lovely.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#13 ohmyganache

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 11:45 AM

A website is in the works as we speak. Jill's brother is doing it.. although when people do things for you for free, there is no sense of urgency. We have the domain name www.thesweetlifebakery.com, so hopefully something will be up soon...

For the wedding favors next weekend, we have ordered a stamp with the website address on it. They're going inside the boxes for truffles...
Stephen W.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#14 chefjillm

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 09:38 PM

Does anyone have any suggestions for a way to treat an allergy to airborne flour? I have known for a while that I am allergic to flour ( I hear it happens fairly often in this business), but I have not found anything to successfully treat it. I have tried allergy medication, but it did not last for long. I am going to try and get accupuncture once we can afford it, since a few years ago I got accupuncture for migraines, and it was really successful. Until then I am sneezing like crazy when I scale recipes for cookies & cakes, but don't worry, I wash my hands a lot!
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#15 adegiulio

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 05:09 AM

I'm sorry if this is seems overly obvious, but how about wearing one of those white paper-ish masks when doing things that make you sneeze (weighing, mixing, sifting flour).

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#16 Raynickben

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:39 PM

Stephen and Jill,

I just about fell out of my chair reading your posts because I grew up in Vineland and I just never see or read about anyone from there! I live in Dallas now but I was in Vineland last year for my high school reunion. Fun times!

Congratulations on your new venture. I'm kind of going through the same thing. I am a personal chef and I decided to open a commercial kitchen so that I could expand my customer base, do corporate catering, etc. It took me over 8 months but I found the perfect kitchen in the perfect location. It was extremely frustrating but I learned if you are patient the right opportunity will come along.

My best friend is married to the President of City Council in Vineland so when your website is up and running let me know and I'll get the word out. We write to each other almost daily.

Good luck with your search for a space and post more pictures. They're gorgeous!

#17 ohmyganache

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 01:00 PM

So we've been super busy lately. This is a crazy week, but we seem to be handling it pretty well. There is a lot to do, and there is even more to think about. We're trying to stay organzied, which is key! I think we're doing fairly good job of it...

My parents (and brother and sister) got here yesterday. They are moving to the area in a few months, because my mother got a job in Concordville in PA, and they wanted to be closer to us. They timed thier trip up here so that they could help out this week. Jill and I got the truffle boxes, ribbon, and stickers in for the wedding favors for Saturdays wedding. We made the truffle base two nights ago and scooped the truffles themselves last night. Tonight, the we and fam are coating the truffles in chocolate and cocoa, and are putting them in little cups inside the boxes. We're doing 250 boxes, 500 truffles... and it's all for free. Jill's best friends is the one getting marries, so we wanted to do something special for her. It's costing us a lot of money (more than a regular present), but this wedding is crazy expensive, and there will be 250 wealthy individuals there. All potential customers... the bride is letting us put some contact info inside each box, so we ordered an ink stamp with the name, phone number, and web address.

We almost had a problem with the stamp, because I went to pick it up yesterday at Staples, and the counter girl told me it wouldn't be done for 7-14 days! I needed it by Wednesday! And when we ordered it, we were told it would only take 3-5 days. Ok, so I went home, found the receipt, and called them to cancel. The girl who answered, told me she'd have to call me back because she was dealing with a customer with a problem... hmmmm seems systematic there. Anyway, so as we walked into Sir Speedy a little later (they do stamps overnight, but it costs twice as much), Staples called back and said it would be in tommorrow. So we picked it up today, and it looks great...

Problem is that Jill's half-brother, who was so gung-ho about helping us set up a website and registered a domain for us, went on vacation this week and totally flaked out. I'm a little irritated. I told him just to give me the login info, and I could put something up, but he didn't even do that. I communicated to him how important and urgent is was that something... ANYTHING be on the website, but no. Now we're kinda stuck. We have all the truffle boxes with the website on it, all these bags that are going to have our stamp on it for the festivals this weekend... and nothing on the website. Not even an under construction sign. Grrrrrr. He gets back on Friday, and I hope to God he does something for me on Monday when he gets back into work. Jill says that he is on the fathers side, so we should have known better... haha.

Everything else is going well. We're prepping cookies and putting them in the freezer. We're figuring out the set-up of the table for this weekend. For the Woodstown Fall Festival, we're making the following...

Cookies
-The Godfather of Chocolate Chip Cookies
-Oatmeal Raisin
-Peanut Butter Fudge

Cupcakes
-Chocolate with Vanilla Buttercream
-Lemon with Lemon Buttercream

Scones
-Whole Wheat Raisin
-White cheddar/green onion

Brandy balls (all the left over cake scraps from the last few weeks)

Beverages
-Iced Coffee
-Iced Tea

That's it... we might have some leftover truffles. Might sell those, we'll see. We were going to fill the cupcakes, but we're worried about the workload, and the fact that we'd have to charge more money for those. We don't want to scare potential customers away with seemingly too high prices. We haven't decided on prices yet. We're thinking $1.25 for the cookies, $2 for the cupcakes, $1.50 for the scones, $.25 for the brandy balls, and $1.50 for the beverages... In total, we're making about 1000 total pieces, not including beverages. They're expecting 4000 people, and there are no other bakeries present. They're setting us up near the wine tasting area, so there should be a good amount of traffic. It's really stressful, because this is our first event (as the Sweet Life), so we're not entirely sure what to expect.

We ordered pictures on DotPhoto.com (30 prints free when you sign up!) of our wedding cake portfolio, and grandma had an extra photo album to put them in. We're putting that on the table, so we can get our name out there for wedding cakes. We put together a menu, so we need to print those up, we're thinking 500, and put those on the table. We're really hoping (although we're quite scared) that business will pick up after this weekend. We have another event the next day, a grape stomping festival, so...

Well that's all I can think of at the moment. This is good actually, typing about everything is relaxing... haha

I'll post some more pix when we get a minute.

Here is the truffle wedding favors. The sticker is the logo that the bride and groom are using... they hired someone to make them for the invites, etc...

Posted Image
Stephen W.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#18 ejebud

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 01:36 PM

Stephen and Jill,

I was recently gifted a little book called
The "E" Myth Revisited; Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. I'm on page 60 or so and have recommended it to several of my friends who have started small businesses or are in the process of starting one including my buddy Jack From J's Beef. It is a very powerful book written in idiot language so I can understand it. It has already helped me to get clear on alot of things that could potentially be disasterous to AHD. This book can only make our businesses (yours, mine, Jack's and anyone else who reads this post that owns a small business), better and stronger. Take this recommendation as my gift of admiration to you guys for going after your dreams.

Eric

Edited by ejebud, 26 September 2006 - 01:45 PM.

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#19 Trishiad

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:02 PM

Your prices for cupcakes and drinks seem low to me. Is $1.50 really the most you can get for fabulous iced coffee??

#20 Rebecca263

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:16 PM

Rum balls for a quarter? Um, pack them all and send them to me.
Oh, brandy. Well, still!

Edited by Rebecca263, 26 September 2006 - 02:16 PM.

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#21 chefjillm

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:18 PM

I'm sorry if this is seems overly obvious, but how about wearing one of those white paper-ish masks when doing things that make you sneeze (weighing, mixing, sifting flour).

Cheap, no drugs, reusable.

View Post



The disposable cheap ones really dont work well and they are annoying. I was hoping someone would have some miracle cure I had not heard of yet. Thanks anyway for the suggestion!
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#22 chefjillm

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 06:32 AM

Too low, huh? Yeah, perhaps we should offer a higher price. On one hand, I'm nervous about over-pricing, but on the other... we don't want to sell ourselves short. It seems that there is no one else in the area offering the type of quality and service that we are offering, so it's hard to be an innovator and ask for a price that is higher than anyone has seen here.

Do you think that $3.00 for cupcakes and $2.00 for iced coffee are reasonable? I'm confidant in the quality of the product, definitly. But we're just worreied people will balk at the price...

Advice?
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#23 Curlz

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 06:36 AM

$2 for iced coffee doesn't sound too high (walk in to DD or Starbucks and look at the prices!), but $3 per cupcake does. I'm NOT a frequent bakery customer, though...is that the going rate these days? I realize these aren't your run-of-the-mill cupcakes from a box, but thought I'd ask. Maybe that's the reg price in NYC cupcake places, but will it sell in Vineland? Have you done any comparison pricing in the area?
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#24 vogelap

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:15 AM

$3 for a cupcake seems a bit dear to me too, though $2 for iced coffee seems reasonable. A bakery cupcake in this area (Cincinnati) is about $1.50-1.75, and those are larger than home-baked cupcakes.

Edited by vogelap, 27 September 2006 - 07:15 AM.

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#25 Trishiad

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:32 AM

I paid $3.95 for a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting and a sugared violet here last week. It was lovely, a nice large size, and absolutley yummers.

I do live in frou-frouville california though.

#26 Curlz

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:42 AM

I know that cupcakes are a big deal in NYC now, and $4+ for one wouldn't faze me there--but in Vineland, NJ, no matter how great it looked, I would think "$36 for a dozen?!?"
But that's me--I hope some serious aficianados of baked goods will weigh in!
"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

#27 Nina C.

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:49 AM

The big oversized cupcakes in NYC run $3-$4, especially if they have lots of icing decoration. But the smaller ones (like you'd bake at home) are $1.75 or so.

Which kind will you offer?
The Kitchn

Nina Callaway

#28 ohmyganache

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:56 AM

Yeah, I wouldn't think twice about paying $3.00 for a good, homemade, quality cupcake... but Vineland is not the most culinarily advanced place... $2.00 sounds more reasonable. It's going to be the smaller home-sized cupcakes...

We'll try $2.00 for the iced coffee and see if it flies. It is quite tasty, I must say. We use evaporated milk, honey, and sugar, which gives it a really nice taste.

I guess the good thing about starting out with these festivals is that we can adjust the price as needed. If the cupcakes sell out in an hour, we know we can probably raise the price next week. If the coffee isn't selling at all, we just lower the price on the sign to see if it picks up. I just read 'The Tipping Point' and so I'm seeing a practical application to what was in that book...

And there really is nothing in the area besides Shop Rite and Acme for baked goods. We're after a totally different market than those places, so it's really hard to price accordingly. They charge something like $.25 or something for a cupcake, but you know, it's total crap.
Stephen W.
Pastry Chef/Owner
The Sweet Life Bakery
Vineland, NJ

#29 McFoodie

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 10:51 AM

I would suggest stopping in to the most popular bakeries in Vineland and surrounding areas (Atlantic City, Philly?) to compare prices and suggest considering your own cost before setting your prices. For example, will you really see any profit from a $.25 brandy ball? That said, I'm all for giving product or services away for free to get your name out there and to develop your reputation locally.

I also recently made a drastic career change, leaving a 10 year music law practice at a top NYC entertainment firm to start my own food-centric website so I will be running to the book store to pick up the book Eric recommended.

Best of luck to you both. P.S. Love the name.

#30 McFoodie

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 10:55 AM

By the way, Magnolia Bakery, possibly the most popular cupcake bakery in NYC, sells each delicious little cake for $2.75 but they sell an enormous volume of the little devils.