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Official Business News — Hiatus

Kate and Co. is taking an unofficial hiatus for the time being, and I’d like to sincerely apologize to those I’ve had to cancel events with. For more information please contact me directly or leave a comment below and I will reply to your inquiries. I’ve sincerely appreciated and loved your business and support — thank you all for everything.

 

Love —

Katie

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Hello Monday!

First let me say quickly — I have many more photos than I have time to write posts, and much less time to write here than I would like! But when it’s a nice day out, and you have a real-world job to perform, you can’t always do everything you want to do. And what I want to do most is go outside. So — just a quick hello, and you can just keep in mind that I promise I have more to share, I promise!

Things like mini-Tiramisu, Swedish pancakes, cream scones, more cake pops, a mini-birthday cake, and grand 30th Birthday Zebra cake, homemade confetti cake, gumpaste sparkly stars, and a Banana Bourbon Tiramisu-style trifle dish. And yes I don’t like bananas, but this was actually delish.

So since I can’t decide what to post next, and I have three events this week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night events) — and Father’s day next weekend — there will be even more to choose from soon! Yikes. So I better get to it.

In the meantime — an update of the non-baked-goods type: dogs! And look at how big the little girl is now! We’re all hoping to take a walk here in a few minutes, so you’ll have to excuse us for now. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Katie

Cake Business — What’s In A Serving?

This is a topic I’ve put much thought and research into, because it’s something that is varied throughout business to business — cost per serving, and serving sizes. But when you assess your prices based on serving sizes, how do you determine your serving size?

Now let me disclose — I’m a closet math geek. So I wanted to do this as mathematically sound as possible, to get results that would be constant and certain, no matter the variable. So if you are wondering how prices are calculated, this is how I determine cake pricing in regards to serving size — by volume. Easy! Well — you’ll see what I mean by “easy” — at least mathematically speaking.

First — what is the volume of your serving? Industry wide, this depends on if you want wedding cake servings, or party dessert servings. Party dessert servings are larger; it’s not an inflation of cost for ordering a cake for a wedding, but an smaller serving size for a generally more technically difficult cake to make. When you are asking for how much per serving, make sure to ask the serving size so you know what to expect.

Wedding cake servings = 1 inch Length x 2 inch Width x 4 inch Height.

For your cake servings, the length is the cut along the perimeter of the cake, the width is your depth of each slice, and the height is how tall your cake layers are based (so, a shorter cake would affect your serving amounts). For unusually tall tiers, which is a very pleasing look — the serving size will be based off 4 inches, and your servings will increase if your cake height per serving is greater than 4 inches (i.e. — if your desired cake height is 6 inches, you will multiply the servings by 1.5 — if your desired cake height is 8 inches, multiply by 2, etc).

This makes each wedding-serving size to be at 8 cubic inches — 1 in x 2 in x 4 in.

For party dessert sized servings, you base your serving size on a desired larger portion of cake for your guests. So when determining your guest list and event, make sure to take into account how much cake your party will actually want (for example — my family eats large portions, and showing up with a cake that only allowed for wedding-size portions, well — this would cause mass chaos).

Party cake servings = 1.5 inch Length x 2 inch Width x 4 inch Height.

This makes each dessert-serving size to be at 12 cubic inches — 1.5 in x 2 in x 4 in.

What this means to you, is that one 8-inch round cake will have different servings, depending on how much cake you want to provide for your guests at your next event. This also means that a wedding cake meant to serve 50, and a party cake meant to serve 30, could cost the same. More important than servings, the price will depend on the level of skill and detail required for the cake specifically. An 8-inch wedding cake, decorated with buttercream, would require a lower level of skill and time than an equal-sized cake with fondant figurines, flowers, or other details, even if that cake was intended for a baby shower. And in this scenario, it would be very likely the baby shower cake would be the higher costing cake.

This is why it is incredibly difficult to quote a cake.

So back to volume  — knowing the volume of the serving sizes dramatically simplifies the process of determining how many servings are in what size of cake, since now it’s just a matter of finding out the volume of your cake, and dividing by your wedding size cake volume (8 cubic inches) and your party dessert size cake volume (12 cubic inches).

I.E. — for an 8 inch round cake:

Volume

So for our 8-inch cake, r = 4 (half of the diameter, which is 8 since we have an 8-inch round) — and the height is also 4, since we are basing our serving sizes on a cake with a 4 inch height (so h = 4 will be the constant for all cakes).  So if we plug in our numbers for r and h, we get this —

V = 3.14 (4) x (4)

This gives us a volume equaling 200.96 cubic inches for an 8 inch round cake.

Divide by 8 cubic inches for wedding servings = 25.12 servings.
Divide by 12 cubic inches for party dessert servings = 16.75 servings.

Here is what you get, when you run this same formula for different sized cakes:

Cake Size    Wedding    Party

3 inch          3.5                 2
4 inch          6                    4
5 inch          10                  6.5
6 inch          12-14             8-9
7 inch          20                  13
8 inch          24-25             16-17
9 inch          32                  21
10 inch        38-40             26
11 inch        47                  31-32
12 inch        56                  38

Now that you have the information — here’s how I want you to use it:

Decide how much cake you want your guests to have.
Then you can decide how much cake you need.

Don’t worry about what the portion sizes above mean, or which to choose — you are not going to be charged different amounts based on upon the size portion you need. You are going to be charged based on the total amount of cake you need, and the level of detail, skill, and time required to make that cake.

An 8 inch cake, whether it’s for a wedding or for a birthday party, is the same amount of cake. It’s just a matter of how far that cake will get you — that’s the purpose for having serving sizes available in different measurements. The price is then determined by if that cake will take your decorator 4 hours to make, or 100 hours. When you decide on a cake with intricate details, with multiple tiers, with fondant icing and hand-sculpted adornments — this will increase the time required, which is why the price increases. Telling your cake designer how many servings just gives them the base at which to start, your bottom line — how much cake you require.

Kate & Co. desserts + party prices our cakes starting at $4.00 per serving; this price is based upon wedding-sized servings. This would mean a basic six-inch, 1 tiered buttercream cake with basic flavors and fillings, would be a starting price of $50.00, with the cost increasing as you add custom design and detail. If that cake takes 4 hours start to finish to prepare and deliver to you, that’s $12.00/hour. If you take into account the tools required to make your cake — and then, the actual supplies and ingredients required to prepare the cake; well, you can see how difficult the pricing can be, to make sure not to fall below cost, to take into account the cost of your time. This would also mean that an basic six-inch cake you order for your birthday party would also start at $50.00, but could possibly only serve 8 people, with standard dessert sized servings (while if a wedding cake, could serve up to 14).

I hope this information has been helpful — if you have any questions on other items such as how other desserts are priced, requesting or giving discounts, how to price for family and friends — please list them below and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability. Also if you have any feedback or suggestions, please share!

(image source via etsy)

New Site Feature — Archives! .. and Some Other Stuff!

Hello readers!

We’ve done a little redesign here on the website, and now have Archives available (at the top right-hand corner of the screen) — yes I know, very exciting news! Since you can only see the past 5 posts on the home page, now you can go back and see all of the posts at once, through all of 2012!

Oooh: 

There’s also now a link to the Facebook page (juuust in case you’re lookin’ for it):

And finally, another way of sorting through archives: by month!

Look at my handsome hubby. Yeah, I cropped the image to make sure his face was right there. That was intentional.

So, any way you choose to check out the archives now, it’ll show you the posts in full; so if you’re hoping just to browse (past the 5 most recent posts on the home page) you can pretty much keep scrolling til the end of time. Same if you select any of the categories (cookies, cakes, etc) — then it’ll just show you the full posts under that specific category.

Neat!

Ok, that’s all for today’s upkeep update I suppose..

Oh, wait, you want to hear more?

Well, ok then! That’s very sweet of you. I’ll try to keep this quick (but I do have a lot of things to talk about so please excuse me if I start to ramble!).

First — I don’t know if you saw all of the posts I’ve put out since last week, but I just want to say that

  1. yes, those were all one weekend’s worth of baking,
  2. no, I’m not even done posting (1 more event to go),
  3. no, I didn’t see my friends or family the entire time,
  4. yes, my dogs felt very excluded from all of the fun and tasty activities, and
  5. yes, I might have gained a few lbs in just a matter of 48 hrs.

I mean, I feel personally responsible for trying out the product I’m putting out there.. selfless, I know. So — no baking since Sunday.. going through a bit of withdrawal. I think I put in about 30 hrs, the Thursday-Saturday nights I prepped and baked. More, if you count Wednesday night (another late one), and Sunday (although by then, most of the hard work was done — phew!). So — yes, it’s feeling a little bit more like a real 2nd job — and yes.. I was sore for days. Those 30 hours were on my feet — I’ve worked a desk job for 5 years! Yeouch.

Anyway, #2 — one of my very favorite, most skilled and impressive cookie bloggers, Jill FCScommented on my post — because I had found her Ninjago cookies and been obsessed with making them myself — and she said I did a great job! And, she liked my page on Facebook! Oh my gosh. Made my day. And, that’s only the first part of my “celebrity obsession” of the week, because…

I met The Pioneer Woman.

Yes.

Really.

And it was fantastic. And she was adorable. She was nervous, and sweating, and just cute. She gave a great presentation/speech (she even sang!) for the first hour or so, and then signed books, well.. probably signed books all night, since probably 1000 people (or more) showed up for the book signing. Holy moly.

Anyway. Yes. That was my biggest celebrity encounter, and certainly by proximity. I did once see Jude Law on the streets in NYC, back in 2009 (he was playing in Hamlet) — but we were walking, and he ducked out of the car, signed an autograph or two in front of the theatre, and then dashed in through the side door. But this.. she walked in front of me, face to face, and smiled and said hello. Sweee-eeeet! Yeah, I was a happy girl.

So — that’s all my news for now. I have two events this weekend, and then.. a vacation! Well, a short one. And in-between those, I’m going to put some serious work into my menu development — finding and testing recipes, deciding what desserts I want to offer (mini-serving type desserts) — and, I’m going to be making a call to Sears.. because my oven temps are not even. And it’s a new oven.. we got it late last summer. And it makes me very sad. And makes my back cupcakes crispy. And then I eat those.

You can see my problem.

 

Kate & Co. Desserts + Party On Facebook!

Come check us out! Yes — it’s brand new.. and yes, it may be just a brand new way to become just that much more plugged in — but we’ve got some photos up there that never made it to the blog (i.e. mostly out of season, but still super cute) — so yes, it’s nearly 5pm and I’ve been working on this way too much today and having trouble ending this suuuuper long run-on sentence — but yes, it’s true, kate & co. is on Facebook, so come check us out!

Edit — disclaimer: I promise never to be rude and obnoxious, and never to be like this! We won’t be doing giveaways, I promise to still love you even if you don’t promote my website, and I will never make you do anything you feel uncomfortable doing (unless you are uncomfortable eating.. and then I can’t help you, I’m a baker). I debated creating a Facebook page, but ended up doing it for two reasons:

1. For the ease of availability. A Facebook page is easy to use & give out as a type of business contact page; seems like one of those business-type things that’s a good thing to do. So, in the idea of trying to make a successful business here, that’s the main motivation.

2. The idea that I can keep my business life and my personal life separate. At minimum, I can keep my hundreds (not quite, but close) of cake & cookie pages separate from my friend’s updates, since I’m starting to lose my ability to focus past cookie blogs and giveaway.. oh, yeesh. Sugar overload.

And that wraps up your disclaimer for the day, which was longer than the actual post. Sheesh! Hehe.

Your Random Update From Kate&Co. !

Let’s talk business!

I haven’t baked anything new to show you.. ok, that’s the real reason for this post. But I thought I’d come in and say hi again, talk a little bit about what’s going on new at kate&co., and what’s going on in my business — exciting stuff!

First off, the company logo project was a huge hit. When the CEO came to me and asked if I could do logo goods, I said, sure.. then immediately started figuring out what I would need. Lee designed the logos I would use (which were my favorite versions). I ordered the highest quality tools available for custom logo-images in frosting sheets (a business investment, whoo) and waited patiently for everthing to arrive before going any further. I know how important it is to make the right first impression, so I was willing to wait for the right tools to come in. And so, a week or so later, to her surprise (she had no idea what I was capable of doing) — I made a great impression! Making someone happy, exceeding expectations especially when it’s something you’ve created, is very rewarding.

Speaking of new tools, I’ve made some very exciting purchases, and one of these days I will write a post of the tools I use (and the news ones, also). There are certain techniques and looks that you cannot achieve without the right tools, and now I have the right tools on the way! I also have a free weekend, this weekend — but the next two weeks are going to be busy, which means more content here for you guys! 4 events in two weekends (while working a full time job) — and with a possible late addition for mid-week next week; yes, I am thrilled. I just hope some of my more fun tools get here sooner rather than later, just so that I can have more fun with everything.

Next.. and here’s where we get more into real business talk —  prices have been listed on my contact page! At this time, all prices include local delivery (within the Greater Puget Sound area, including King, Snohomish and Skagit counties) and special packaging, as requested (such as ribbon ties, labels, etc). I am happy to give corporate discounts based on volume of order, and still offer friends and family referral discounts (contact me directly for information). I am not shipping any goods at this time — honestly, the idea terrifies me! I will need to practice in my packaging and shipping techniques first (friends, feel free to volunteer here) — I don’t want to ship anything that will be destroyed upon arrival! What an awful thought.

And finally, before I forget — boxes! This is the source behind the image of this post, but also where I’m at right now — contacting a local company for information and a quote on ordering boxes. I’ve found them online, but would love the idea to stay local if possible. And the company was highly recommended to me, personally, from Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes — so, I am very excited. Not that I will start out with a product like hers! — but one day, when I spend more time on my branding and product imaging, logo work etc. I love my doggies (and I’m pretty happy with the name also, kate&co. desserts + party — which is the name as shown on my WA State Business License) — but I really did not put a lot of energy or effort into the logo design, and will I’m sure change my mind.. like I very often do about these things.

So that’s about all for now! And as always, thanks for stopping by, I love that you do!

(image source via weheartit)

 

A Site Within A Site.. New Website!

Well — new design, same website but it’s like it’s brand new! Again!

So, if you aren’t a regular website viewer (I read all of my blogs via Google RSS Reader, and almost never see the actual websites) — click through to see all of the changes, and let me know what you think! For now, I am officially calling it a night.. back tomorrow, lots to come in the next few days — cake pops, business logo cupcakes & cookies, and one giant carrot cake.. have to catch up on my sleep while I still can!

Goodnight, lovely fans!

Hello, WA State…

 

The original idea behind this website, was to document the steps it would take to open up a bakery. Starting from nothing.  

Well — here’s official step #1.

I just applied for a business license within the state of Washington.

It cost me 25.00.

 

 

I’m preeeetty thrilled about it.

The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts

One of my most favorite books.

(It’s probably my most expensive book, too).

Most of my books are cookbooks. I don’t do much casual reading. Err — unless you count browsing génoise cake recipes as light reading. Nah — I didn’t think so.

I mean — look at it. It’s beautiful. Yes, it weighs nearly 20 lbs. And yes, it’s a little intimidating. But I love it. Just showing off.

Hello New Logo

Ok. I might have a soft spot for dogs. Yes, these are my dogs. They are my “co.” in “kate & co.” Awwwww. And oh — they go outside when I’m baking, don’t worry. (They’re really more like a clean-up team.)

Hello Change

Hello, readers!

This is what I’m calling my “Official Friday Wrap-Up Post” — not that this will definitely be a thing you see normally, or even on Fridays, or that I’ll have enough to even say often enough to dedicate an entire post to writing. But — it’s officially been one week with the new site, and that calls for celebration! And a few words (eh-hmm).

So let me so graciously say — it’s been great to show off! Hehe. And now, without harrassing only my friends, family and co-workers! Although, desserts hardly constitute “harrassment” — at least, I hope. 

First, I’d like to casually apologize for any of the random, unannounced changes you might have noticed around here. And will likely continue to notice. I’m still trying to figure out what I like, and what I’m even doing. So far I’ve changed the look of the website only once, but have changed around the pages, the contact info, and the actual name of the website (luckily, WordPress is very nice about all of that).

Now I do have to admit — one week in, and I feel like quite the imposter. I’m not sure how all of a sudden, I can really bake — that I have tricked you all into thinking I can bake — but, I can. It’s like, a very cool super-power.

So thank you for everything this last week — this has been a tremendous amount of fun for me!

Until next week, & with lots of love —

Katie.

Hello.. Followers?

I’m not sure how this happened, but I am definitely intrigued.

And by intrigued, I mean ecstatic. Unless you guys are robots. And in that case, boo robots.

Hello World!

Hello. My name is Katie, I am 26 years old, and I want to start a bakery.

Wow. Yeah, I said it!

This is where I’m going to write about how to make it happen.

So, since you’re new here (me too) — hello, welcome to my page! This is the very beginning of my new venture, trying to get into the world of baking. I am so excited, and excited that you’ll be here with me jumping into this new adventure! Here, I’ll write most about new experiences in starting a career in baking. Which at this point, is all still so very new and scary and thrilling.

Besides the first (and most important) step — actually knowing how to bake (I have that part down!) — I literally have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just going to throw that out there now.

So in addition to this new WordPress blog, I also just started a Tumblr blog, mostly to show photos in a visually pleasing way exclusively, vs. doing much writing about the experiences. So if you have a preference over the two, you’ve got your options now. Yup, I’m just looking out for you. And that’s because I love you. Yup, I love pretty easily.

(*Yikes, edit — I deleted the tumblr blog, but I do have just-photos over at Flickr!)

Just to let you know what you’re getting into (and this may change at any point, I like to change my mind often) —

  1. I’m probably not going to teach you how to bake.
  2. I probably also won’t be doing any tutorials on decorating, baking, recipes, etc.
  3. And, I’m not trying to sell you anything here (err — not yet!)

I’m just trying to figure out how to do what I love.

And so.. with that introduction — I am thrilled you’re here!

So stick around.