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Selling Christmas baking


CanadianBakin'
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I have been asked many times in past years if people could buy their Christmas baking from me. I finally have access to an inspected kitchen so this year I can do it but as I begin to plan I'm not sure which is the best way to go about it.

Has anyone done this before?

Should I be selling items by the pan? Or should I offer mixed platters/boxes?

I'm thinking of having only a few options, taking orders till a certain date and then deliver them or have them picked up on one or two days in late November.

Any thoughts?

**One more question....how many options is reasonable?

Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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The model you describe is how I run my chocolate business. I send out what my current offering is and in what form factors you can buy it, collect up the orders, do all my production in one or two rounds, then get it to my customers. This model works really well for me, given that I have another full time job - it makes the work very "containable" and sounds like a great way to test out the concept.

As for the form factor to offer, it seems like offering both of what you describe would be a good idea. Selling whole pans minimizes your labor, so be sure to upcharge accordingly for materials and time if you are preparing mixed trays.

Good luck!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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If I was doing Christmas baking for sale, I would do a large and small size tin and large and small tray each with an assortment. I would have two 2-day pick up times, one set before Thanksgiving and the other before Christmas.

I would offer to ship (if possible with whatever legalities involved--or if we might wink at them just this once) but you gotta have your stuff together to get it packed good and kaching kaching for that overnight shipping too.

So that would be three bakings--once for Thanksgiving, once for shipping purposes maybe, once for Christmas day.

So you do people's thinking for them:

Having a party? Order a tray.

Need some employee gifts, teacher gifts, mailman, neighborhood, doctor's office gifts? Order a tin.

Can't make it to the party? Send a tray.

Need to make nice with your vendors and business associates in other businesses? Send a lovely tray of goodies.

I would allow substitutions in the assortment if they buy at least five--otherwise they get what you make. But I'd try to come up with some delicious names for each of the four different offerings. Like classic Christmas tin/tray for the small, decadent Christmas tray/tin for the large--something like that.

Y'know what? I would also offer a large pretty fruit bread type muffin with a flavored cream cheese option in a pretty wrapper for a gift to be given to single people too. If it's a couple then they can purchase two. I have those rose muffin pans that I love and those are beautiful made up into fruit breads. Or put a nice thick struesel topping mmmm

That way you have a lot of gift possibilities covered. And market it that way.

Just some Christmas baking thoughts pour vous.

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I did xmas baking last year. I offered S, M and L tins of cookies or squares or mixed tins. I also offered English Toffee in S, M and L tins. I visited an eG member and she helped( more like she did all the work) with the toffee. I used E. Guittard chocolate and it was VERY popular.

I also offered a couple different cakes and cheesecakes as well as dog treats. Lastly, I did banana, pumpkin and cranberry breads.

I took orders for a good month and set a pickup date of Dec 16th. I froze some extra tins too, just in case.

After buying ingredients, I made about $500.00.

There is a pic of one of my tins in the Christmas Cookie thread.

eta: Pic

gallery_25969_665_567251.jpg

PM me with your email address and I'll give you a copy of my flyer.

Last year, I had so many requests for Christmas Cake( fruitcake). I plan on putting an ad in the paper this year for that.

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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Thanks for the great ideas, ladies!

More questions....

What about mixing crisp cookies with moist bars? Should they be separate items? Like you can buy cookies or bars or both but not in the same tin? Or do you just keep everything separate in the freezer, box them up the day of, and let the customer worry about it?

Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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What about mixing crisp cookies with moist bars?

When I used to have time to do holiday baking I would usually put it all in one tin. I did my baking, packed them in well washed and sterilized 5 gallon pails (previously containing margarine) and stored them in my front porch (where the temp is always well below freezing by that time of year). When it was time for them to go, I brought the pails in and kept them where it was cool but not freezing overnight then packed them in the tins. Fun stuff, cookies and tins everywhere trying to pack them all in one go. Nobody ever reported problems with crispy items (like lemon crackers, princess gems, drommar... all ammonium carbonate cookies and quite crispy) having been tinned with not-so-crispy or even moist items. I tried to arrange things so crispy items weren't sitting on moist items and called it good enough. I'm sure there would be some loss of crispness eventually so I guess it depends how early you need to pack them. Moist items can be as much a problem as crispy ones if you have to do it too early, they have their own nasty (fuzzy) little problems after too much time at room temp. I usually only baked about 10 - 12 dozen each of 12 - 15 different types but it was all to give away... never wanted to take on the additional hassle of selling them. Still, I'm a picky b$%#*rd and would not have packed them that way if it was causing major problems.

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Thanks for the great ideas, ladies!

More questions....

What about mixing crisp cookies with moist bars? Should they be separate items? Like you can buy cookies or bars or both but not in the same tin? Or do you just keep everything separate in the freezer, box them up the day of, and let the customer worry about it?

I would mix crisp and moist items on a tray (thinking immediate consumption likely), but NOT in a tin!

When I need to present both in a tin or box, the minority items - moisturewise - are sealed in a ziploc bag. Formerly crisp cookies are a sad, sad sight...... :sad:

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I agree with Baroness--good thinking--you have to chose your tinned items carefully--for example avoid using a mint item in there that will dominate and envelope other items. But it would be great on a tray.

Gingerbread and other heavily spiced cookies have a tendency to make everything in a tin taste the same, so you'll need to be careful about that too.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Reading this made a light bulb go off. I packed some pizzelles with some other homemade cookies last Christmas to give as gifts and they went soggy. I couldn't figure out why, when the pizzelles I kept for myself wrapped in plastic wrap were fine. Obviously it was the moisture from the other cookies inthe sealed tin.

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My Mom, who was truly a master cookie baker, kept every variety in its own container.

That prevented flavor transfers, as mentioned above, as well as the tendency for mixed cookies to average-out their moisture---making the crisp cookies soggy and moist cookies drier than desirable.

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  • 1 month later...

First calculate the cost of your ingredients plus overhead.

Then take into consideration what the market will bear.

Then price accordingly. What's reasonable in your area may be different from what's reasonable in other areas. In Winnipeg, for example, people are very well known for being cheap. You could charge a lot more for a tray of cookies in Toronto or Vancouver than you could in Winnipeg. Or so I've been told...

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First calculate the cost of your ingredients plus overhead.

Then take into consideration what the market will bear.

Then price accordingly.  What's reasonable in your area may be different from what's reasonable in other areas.  In Winnipeg, for example, people are very well known for being cheap.  You could charge a lot more for a tray of cookies in Toronto or Vancouver than you could in Winnipeg.  Or so I've been told...

Remember I live in the sticks too!!

Its hard for me to price my ingredients, because I buy all during the year. Butter/Eggs/Flour I can do, but I have tons of choc. chips, dried fruits, sugar, etc that I've bought at all different times.

No one blinked twice regarding my prices last year, but those were for tins. I fit a lot less in the tin than I wanted to. This year I want to add cookie trays( 3 doz and 5 doz) and fruitcake.

What does a good fruitcake normally cost?

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I might price them based on what the going cost of ingredients were you to buy them today. Any extra profit you make due to your careful shopping all year is a bonus.

Fruitcake is bartered in my house - a batch of Phil's White fruit cake - made without raisins and with pecans - is exchanged for all the help I need wrapping chocolate baskets for donations to various places before Christmas.

But I'm thinking a bread pan sized fruitcake should probably sell for between $20 and $25.

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Fruitcake would depend on weight and what's in it--quality and type of fruits and nuts. A fruitcake with pecans as the nut, for example, should be more expensive than one with walnuts.

http://www.fruitcakedelights.com/product is a Canadian website with a good range of products (different fruits, nuts, sizes, etc.) that will give you a good idea of what you can charge for your product.

You may already be doing this, but if I were to buy fruitcake, I would really appreciate an assortment of small loaves that one can buy as a set. Something like this http://www.collinstreet.com/pages/miniature_pecan_cakes.

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  • 1 month later...

I've been heading into work each day with chocolate - this morning I made a batch of bacon and smoked salt bark to take in tomorrow as I sold out the last package under the nose of one of the docs who wanted it for her husband. I've sold all but about 6 of the figures I made, a fair number of boxes of chocolates, some bark and a bunch of chocolate lollies of gingerbread men, snow flakes, snow men and christmas lights. Several hundred dollars made so far.

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Rough estimate on the biscotti orders this season (Oct-Dec) was about 45-50 kg, mostly in 100 gm bags, so, about 450 packages. This was the first year I could work in a commercial kitchen, which presented a whole new set of logistical challenges.

Pricing will be revised for 2009 holiday season sales.

Karen Dar Woon

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Rough estimate on the biscotti orders this season (Oct-Dec) was about 45-50 kg, mostly in 100 gm bags, so, about 450 packages. This was the first year I could work in a commercial kitchen, which presented a whole new set of logistical challenges.

Pricing will be revised for 2009 holiday season sales.

Holy smokes, Karen! That's amazing! I'd be interested in hearing about your rental situation and the challenges you had since I'm in that position at the moment too and live in a similar area. I understand we teach at the same place too. :)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Rough estimate on the biscotti orders this season (Oct-Dec) was about 45-50 kg, mostly in 100 gm bags, so, about 450 packages. This was the first year I could work in a commercial kitchen, which presented a whole new set of logistical challenges.

Pricing will be revised for 2009 holiday season sales.

Wow!!

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Rough estimate on the biscotti orders this season (Oct-Dec) was about 45-50 kg, mostly in 100 gm bags, so, about 450 packages. This was the first year I could work in a commercial kitchen, which presented a whole new set of logistical challenges.

Pricing will be revised for 2009 holiday season sales.

Wow!!

How did your baking go this year, Randi? And did you end up doing Christmas cakes?

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Rough estimate on the biscotti orders this season (Oct-Dec) was about 45-50 kg, mostly in 100 gm bags, so, about 450 packages. This was the first year I could work in a commercial kitchen, which presented a whole new set of logistical challenges.

Pricing will be revised for 2009 holiday season sales.

Wow!!

How did your baking go this year, Randi? And did you end up doing Christmas cakes?

Yes, Randi - how did you make out this year? My chocolate sales were down more than 50% from last year.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Wow - sorry to hear that about your holiday sales, Anna!

I'm not Randi, but if we're reporting on sales here... I had a good year, up 30% over last year, mostly thanks to a few people who basically did all their holiday shopping with me.

Another thing I did that impacted sales was to diversify my offerings. Last Christmas I made my usual filled chocolates and peppermint marshmallows. This year I did both of those, plus two kinds of bark and hot fudge sauce. So a lot of people who would have usually ordered just a box instead ordered a box and something. And a I sold a bunch of "Taste of Tammy's Tastings" combos, with one of everything. The new items were lower cost and lower markup than my chocolates, but also a lot less labor, so while my food costs are up, I was able to generate more net income for my time.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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