Thoughts on starting and running a small business

Cakes by Prairie Girl 2.0

One of my goals for my blog is to be honest. Who wants to read a small business owner’s blog that is all rah rah rah when in fact being an entrepreneur frankly sucks sometimes.

The problem is that there are issues I can’t write about without breaching customer confidentiality or the confidentiality of team members here at PGB. The other big impediment is the innate tendency in everyone to dress stuff up a little or a lot. Research indicates we each lie ten times a week! This includes so-called “white lies” to make another person feel good – more commonly uttered, by the way, by women than men.

Anyway, today’s post is similar to others in the past about what has worked at PGB and what has not worked: Early Bird muffins, I’m looking at you! And DIY birthday kits, you too were a big idea that wasn’t…

Launching Cakes by Prairie Girl was definitely a great idea and I am so glad we did – it is growing faster than expected. “But” the tweaking we are doing at the one year mark reflects what customers have told us by their purchases. Here are a few of those wallet-based messages:

  • They’ve loved the Cherry Blossom wedding cake, the Baby’s Warm Welcome shower cake and the Bay Street Birthday cake.
  • They’ve dabbled a little in sculpted cupcakes.
  • They have ordered way more custom cakes than we ever imagined.
  • They prefer in-person meetings over online purchase.
  • They frequently browse online for photos of cakes…and the prevalence of amazing cake photos on Pinterest and elsewhere has led to a pervasive belief that such cakes are easy to make and/or inexpensive.

So those are some of the things we have learned – and in response we are:

  • Culling cakes from the online PG Collection that have, uh, never been ordered.
  • Adding cakes to the PG Collection that have been requested frequently as custom orders, such as the “naked cake”, a popular wedding cake selection for couples planning the alse-popular “rustic chic” wedding.
  • Adding a page to the Cakes website that showcases cake decorating techniques so browsing customers can be informed on how to describe what they want in emails to us and also better understand the work involved in achieving the look.

Still perplexed about what a naked cake is?

I’ll close with a photo of one and you can decide for yourself if – in our shoes last year – you would have picked this as the #1 wedding cake of 2016. If so, you go girl – or guy, good read on the market!

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  1. Megan
    Megan12-01-2016

    Wow, that is interesting…you just never know what the market will do! One idea I just had was: why not use Pinterest to see where people are going with new cake fashions? I just had a quick peek right now and what I saw were a lot of cakes with Fewer, but larger tiers, or even just the 1 cake, with a big statement splash of beautiful flowers. It’s funny because being a recent bride myself, everyone wants to be original but at the end of the day, fashions run as strongly through weddings as much as anything…and speaking of fashions, I picked the cherry blossom cake along with everyone else, haha 😀 😀 :D. Thanks for the post Jean!

    • Jean Blacklock
      Jean Blacklock12-02-2016

      Thank you Megan for your comments! This week I spoke to another person in the cake business who told me that “naked cakes” are actually way out of fashion in the United States..so I guess that is another aspect of trends: they peak and ebb at different times in different places. Maybe I need to keep an eye on what NYC cake places are doing…

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