I love to bake and I'm thinking of selling baked goods at my local flea market on weekends. I am looking for advice on what to make and how many items to sell? Thanks for the help. Megin from North Haven, CT
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There's probably not much I can add to the great suggestions already given here, other than to recommend your prices are set to recoup your costs.
In addition to the obvious ingredient cost, be sure to consider the more subtle costs such as:
- energy (oven, mixer, etc), labor (your time in making the item),
- consumables (plastic wrap, parchment paper, aluminum foil, etc),
- packaging (plastic bags, cardboard containers, etc),
- display accessories (paper plates, plastic forks, tablecloth, etc),
- transportation (what it cost to obtain everything and get it to where it needs to be) and last but not least,
- the cost of the selling space itself.
This might seem unnecessary, but remember; math works its wonders whether or not we like numbers.
Math will gladly multiply profit, or compound loss, with every piece you sell , so it's worthwhile to make sure its on your side before you get started.
A tool that helps keep math on your side (i.e., keeps you profitable) is a recipe cost calculator.
Recipe cost calculators easily handle the complex math and measurement conversions you run into when trying to assess the cost of a recipe.
An example of an online recipe cost-to-bake calculator can be found at http://www.pricingbakedgoods.com
By Linda (Guest Post)01/31/2009
Depending in where you live, you may need a permit to sell stuff from your kitchen. Health dept may require commecailly approved kitchen.
At a flea market, people want to buy what they can carry away in their hands which are already full of other things. So a cake would be hard to sell, pies slightly better, cookies best. Pies and cakes are too much work for the labor. My girlfried has a gadget like an ice cream scoop that measures and drops cookies onto the cookie sheet fast, about one per second. You could use a cookie gun but it does cookies that are too small.
I vote for classic chocolate chip or chocolate chunk cookies. They're a perennial favorite, and sure to sell well. Just about anything chocolate usually sells like gangbusters. Eating chocolate just raises people's spirits.
You might want to make sure your local flea market allows home-baked goods, of course, and what procedures they require. Hair nets and probably plastic gloves, perhaps, or having everything pre-wrapped in plastic or Zip-loc baggies.
Best to you!
My friend used to make homemade doughnuts, and she sold out all the time. Fruit pies made from scratch -- ie blueberries or saskatoons in this area, not from canned fruit -- are also favorites.
I used to bring jelly rolls to bake sales, and they also sold well. They were easy to make, yet looked difficult, and could be relatively small, so that they were less expensive.
I personally don't think large decorated cakes are good, as they are labor intensive, and what do you do with a big cake if it doesn't sell. It may depend on your clientele. I would only do something like that for a holiday, such as Valentines day, and then only one.
I think homemade bread and buns are always very popular as well. Be sure to list the ingredients on the tag these days, as so many people are interested in that -- want to know that it doesn't contain nuts, or whatever.
Muffins are a good choice too, as are tarts. You can package them in packs of 1/2 dozen, and then if people want larger amounts, they can buy 2 packs.
I too was interested in selling baked goods. I live in Vernon, CT and made a visit to the local health dept. in Vernon. I was told that I need a separate kitchen in my house to be licensed to sell baked goods. The only way I would be able to sell baked goods is if it was for a charity. It's really not legal but the health dept. looks the other way. Another avenue would be to use a church kitchen or VFW. Good luck!!
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How do you sell home baked goods?
Amanda from San Diego, CA
Otherwise, if you work outside the home you could take some treats to work for people to sample and tell co-workers they can be made to order. If you do not work outside the home perhaps a relative or friend could take in samples and get some interest for you by word of mouth. If you intend to put out flyers to the general public (people you or friends do not know) you should be certain to have everything "legal". (01/18/2008)
My extended family raves over my baked goods and tells me I should sell them at craft fairs. Any advice on selling baked goods? What kinds of baked goods would tempt you to buy them instead of making your own? Chris from Williamstown, NJ
Here in the farmer's markets in the summer & fall you don't need a license, but you do pay a spot fee of $5 per week. Doing this for profit you would need a county or city permit which then involves the department of health.
Idea: Do word of mouth of specialty baking around holidays, weddings, showers, etc. Hang info with your number at grocery stores, let churches know (someone is always planning a party and needs baked goods). Post a note at your local school (many look for help in baking around graduation time). Put an add in the classified to HELP WITH BAKING NEEDS. Figure out a way to stay out of the regulations by not being a business that needs to pay taxes, self employment paper work, etc. We have many here that do specialty--Christmas or Easter baking only. Some do cookies, some breads. Also, leave your name with local food co-ops. Once you network, you may find more than you can handle.(01/11/2009)
By T&T Grandma
Here in south Georgia, we have a festival to honor/celebrate everything from the sweet potato to the fire ant! One of our annual visits is to the Hahira Honey Bee Festival in Hahira, Ga where there is always a booth with home baked cakes which I always spend money on! The 2 sisters bake those good old fashioned 15 layer homemade cakes in a variety of flavors. From carrot to chocolate, red velvet to caramel, they are all delicious!
You have a choice of buying them in 3 ways, by the slice for $2 (imagine how many slices you can get out of one cake!), by the half cake for $15 or a whole cake for $25. They even allow you to buy 2 of the halves in any combination of flavors and charge you for a whole cake so you can please everyone's favorite flavor. Another good seller are small loaves of anything, such as fresh apple cake or banana bread. Not too expensive and easy to carry, they usually sell for around $3.00 a loaf. Good luck on your venture and happy baking!(01/14/2009)
By Carol in PA
By Karen L.
We used to go to a local smallish flea market on the weekends and I'd spend a couple days of the week making everything from cookies to loaves of fresh yeast bread. I'd be sold out before 10am, no matter what I took that weekend. I made loads of Jello Cakes in every flavor, Sour Cream Cookies were always a favorite and so were my Parker House and Cloverleaf Rolls. I made Banana Walnut Breads in regular sized loaves which I sold for $7 each. The price would be more today since the cost of all the ingredients have gone up so drastically.
If you enjoy baking (as I do), indulge yourself, and give it a try. There are just too many ladies out there who don't know how to do anything in the kitchen that doesn't involve a microwave and opening a little box.
Commercial products are loaded with all sorts of preservatives and that's what they taste like. Home-Baked goods are wholesome and delicious, and consequently, they are worth a lot more. Take the cost of every ingredient in your product and triple it.
You need to get paid for your time, your knowledge, and what it costs you for the ingredients. These days when we go to a flea market, I search for the Home-Baked Goods Booths and that's where I spend my money. I also enjoy talking to the ladies and a few men who are doing the baking. You'll always find your favorite bakers, and so often, they will bake things you ask for, so that they have sales already made when they go the following week.
If you make something really special, require at least a deposit equal to the cost of ingredients and your time. If the person who asks for it is serious, they are happy to do this in order to guarantee they'll get what they want.
Around the holidays, make up small cookies, put them in pretty teacups (with saucers) wrap it all up in saran wrap with a pretty bow, and you'll sell every one you take. Just a pretty plate of assorted cookies wrapped in saran wrap with a bow makes a lovely gift, so take advantage of the need for these items. Wishing you the best of luck. Julia in Coconut Creek, FL(01/15/2009)
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