So is it worth going to all the extra time and expense to offer seasonal ranges of products?
Through a few years of triumphs and failures on the subject, I have come to the conclusion it definitely is. Here are some of the pros and cons on the subject:
- Creating some seasonal products can be a great way to boost your sales. When it comes to events such as Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day the majority of your customers will be looking for gifts or special treats for the occasion. It’s a no brainer to offer a lovely handmade solution to this need.
- Creating seasonal products is also a great way to keep your product range fresh and interesting for your regular customers and yourself. It can provide you with some good inspiration for products, special offers, window displays and advertisements.
- New products give you a great reason to communicate with your customers and continue your relationship. Try sending out a group email telling customers about what treats you have on offer and, of course, news on Facebook and tweets.
- It’s fun! On a hard day it can seem like a bit of a chore coming up with extra products on top of your usual workload, but isn’t being creative why we do what we do? If you let yourself enjoy it, you can have a lot of fun and create some products you will be really proud of, which is what I enjoy most about my job. I recently got so over-excited about how cute my range of Christmas cupcakes were, I could be heard jumping up and down and whooping in my kitchen - in a really humble modest way, of course.
- Planning, researching, testing, and advertising special products can be very time-consuming and costly - especially when holiday periods can be very hard to predict and therefore a bit of a gamble. For example, at my bakery we put a lot of planning into creating special products to celebrate the Royal Wedding last year. When the day came, it was an absolute ghost town and we had a lot of wastage and a big loss on the day. So after that, I always look back at my records of similar periods and respond to any trends and set myself time and money budgets. It is also a good idea to advertise early and make people book in advance or put down a small deposit for special items, so you can be sure of the sale.
- You have to be very organised and plan ahead. This is an area where we have really struggled. As a small business owner, it is hard enough keeping on top of your current week, let alone a month in advance. Despite my best intentions, planning for seasonal events has often been forgotten. However, the more you do it, the more you will build up a fantastic bank of recipes and ideas for events that you can draw on.
Happy baking and business making!
About Emily Johnson
CakeBlogger Emily Johnson runs Upsy Daisy Bakery in Hammersmith and was winner of the National Cupcake Championships 2012.