On January 1st this year, I started Camélia Cake Shop. Prior to that, I was working at another bakery. I did not have a whole lot saved up. I really took a leap of faith when I quit that job to start my own home bakery. In the first month or two, I was averaging two orders a week - no where near enough to make a living. I was panicking. But as business owners, we have to remind ourselves, it’s not always smooth sailing. Most businesses don’t make any profit initially. It takes a while to make a significant amount of money, but when that does happen, there is no ceiling. You can make as much as your efforts. And that is why we become entrepreneurs. So be easy on yourself at the beginning and focus on the foundation you’re building. I started to not think so much about the profit, but instead focused my energy on one goal - to make a name for myself and gain some traction. At first, no one knew who I was. But I kept at it, and now I am happy to say that I think I overachieved in that goal. I really got my name out there, and now I book up all my dates every month. Here’s how I did it (or at least how I think I did it, haha)!
The first thing you might see when on my Instagram page is that "I make cakes for bad bitches". After reading a statement like that, it's hard to forget. I purposely made my branding vulgar because it's memorable and a reflection of who I am. I'm not afraid to take risks and to speak my truth, and I believe that's what makes a bad bitch. I attract what I put out to the world, so therefore I attract other bad bitches, thus I make cakes for bad bitches. I don't shy away from voicing this idea in everything I do - from content creation, to my captions/copyright, and to how I speak with my customers. It's who I am and it's the energy I maintain. It just happens that a lot of people resonated with it, which I'm glad! I knew vibes don't lie. I attract lots of the right customers this way, who then become repeat customers.
In addition, my product speaks for itself. I've worked very hard to perfect my craft with cakes. I spent years creating a good recipe for cake - one that is moist and not too sweet. Also, some cakes designs are exclusive to me - you can't get a mini edible marmont just anywhere in the city. Well, you can, but I specialize in that. My invoices and packaging are also on brand - pink and girly. I want my customers to feel super special when receiving a cake from me. From ordering to receiving my product is an experience, and this experience is consistent every time a customer orders. This is what made me unique and drew in customers, because who doesn't want to be spoiled on their birthday? This then resulted in a lot of word-of-mouth marketing. Happy customers like to flex their product and tell their friends and family! Encourage this with your customers. They are the best people to represent your product because they have tried it first hand. I would say at least half of my client base is from word-of-mouth, especially because my product is a local product and cannot be shipped elsewhere (yet). For businesses that can ship globally, word-of-mouth still matters but your marketing may look a bit different.
I owe a lot of my success to my “win-win” attitude. I am always looking for win-win situations, and one of which is collaborations with other small businesses. During events and holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, I like to collaborate with other small businesses to create a gift package or something. I’ll be honest, we don’t usually end up selling that much. But that‘s not the point. The point is to gain traction by sharing traffic. Try to collaborate with other businesses who have similar target audiences to you. That way, a portion of their client base is super likely to shop from you as well. Also, forming relationships with other businesses can be nice, as you can share insight. We don‘t have to figure everything out by ourselves, we can help each other. That is the point of this blog as well - I made it to help other baker’s and small businesses.
Another way collaborations really helped me was in the form of giveaways with local food bloggers, or “foodies”. I would say this was one of the most effective ways for me to get my name out there. Local food bloggers are trusted by the community, and their followers look forward to their critiques and food posts. I personally enjoyed doing giveaways the most rather than just giving free product for a review because it helped with getting a lot more engagement. Engagement turned into a lot of traffic for me, and some of the customers who found out about me through giveaways are still my customers today.
Consistency in Social Media Presence
I’m going to be honest, I’m not as consistent as I want to be in social media, but whenever I can, I try to make content. Be on all platforms that you can and direct traffic to where you would like. I found a lot of success on TikTok. I make videos there and link my Instagram and website - where people can order. TikTok has led to a lot of traffic for me, and for that I am thankful. I don’t even make extremely advanced videos or anything. Most videos are just me showing a tip or trick, BTS or just sharing my story. It really does not have to be something complicated. You don’t have to be outrageously outlandish to catch attention. You just have to provide something of value and be genuine. I started Tik Tok with no purpose of being well-known. I just wanted to share my story of becoming an entrepreneur. I wanted to share some baking know-how. And I wanted to make people laugh here and there. I did not put pressure on myself to take videos of everything I do and post regularly. I just post when I can and been real about it, and I think that’s what attracts people - authenticity.
So imagine if I was consistent and what the result would be. I sure hope to find out. I will try to be a lot more consistent with this blog and other social content. Until then, good luck to all :)