5 Things All Professional Cake Decorators Need to Run a Smooth Operation

You probably already have go-to supplies for decorating — your turntable, spatulas, piping tips. But when you turn your cake decorating hobby into a business, there are a few more essential supplies and tools you need to invest in.

5 supplies, tools and equipment every cake business needs

1. Lots of storage

Keeping your work life clean, organized and stylish will make your day-to-day so much smoother.

It might be tempting to choose the cheapest storage options out there, like industrial shelving or ugly filing cabinets. But we find it's easier to keep things tidy and feel inspired if if your work and storage space looks nice.

For our workspace, we chose a combination of sleek white dressers and rainbow drawers to house tools, cake boards and boxes. Cabinets house all our consultation pieces, such as glassware, silverware, serving plates and teapots. Our photography props (such as champagne bottles, cups, plates) and cake stands are in the pale wood and glass cabinets you see above.

Make sure the storage options you choose are easy to wipe clean — a huge help when you have drips of batter or ingredients go astray! To tell if the item is easy to clean, look at the finish the manufacturer has used. Check the item descriptions or ask the retailer for more info.

You'll have to figure out your own storage solution based on how you work and what tools you use most often. But remember: You'll use and look at your storage often, so make sure you like it.

2. Cake stands

The professional cakes you'll be making for clients will look so much nicer displayed on a stylish cake stand than a cardboard cake board. Plus, your clients might want a decorative cake stand to display their cake — you can offer this as an additional service.

Buy some good, sturdy stands and platters. The most popular cake stands out there are milk glass stands by Mosser Glass  (we love them!). They're stylish, durable and they help make any cake look extra stunning. 

Cake stands can be too large to store away fully. Instead, make a feature out of them! Line them up along a cabinet or bookcase. If you have a consultation room where you hold taste testings with customers, keep your stands on show. Then they can see their options.

3. Platters and props

If you plan to photograph your cakes — which is essential for showcasing your work to clients and online — you need beautiful props and tableware.

When picking out pieces, stay away from overly fussy patterns that may become dated. Instead, choose classics like whites ceramic with slight texture or a metallic edging.

4. Technology

You don't need to be a computer whiz to appreciate the difference that good technology can make. Investing in a quality laptop, tablet and smartphone will make a big difference in the long run:

  • We use our laptops for many aspects of our business, from scheduling orders to editing photos.
  • Our iPads come in handy for sketches, quick ideas and social media.
  • Our smartphones are perfect for communicating with clients and industry contacts and taking quick photos and videos.
  • We organize calendars, pick-ups, invoices and more across each device via AirDrop and Dropbox.

5. Boxes and boards in bulk

If you've only made cakes at home, it might seem strange to order essentials in bulk. But placing large orders saves you time and money in the long run.

Depending on your set-up, you may not need to do this straight away. If you're operating as a home business or don't have a ton of orders, you can wait until you're more established. Still, you can find great deals on packs of 5-10 boards or boxes. Don't go crazy and order hundreds, but stay stocked up.

Consider what you'll actually use: If your brand colors are silver and mint, then don't buy a huge order of black cake boxes.

The same goes for sizes: We never make mini cupcakes, so we never buy mini cupcake boxes. Also, establish your amounts: Don't buy every cupcake box size imaginable. Make life easier for yourself and figure out what quantities you want to sell in (for example, batches of 6, 12 or 24).

One final tip on cake boards and boxes: Don't waste your money on branded packaging from the start. Once you've finalized your logo and marketing material, you'll want to put it on everything — but this can really eat into your budget. Save your money at the start.

6. Office space

Remember, when you start a professional cake decorating business, you won't be spending all your time in the kitchen! A lot of your time will be spent at our computer.

Put a bit of effort into creating a motivational office space. Let's face: No one will feel inspired to create and work in a storage cupboard with an old desk in it. Just because this isn't going to be your cake workspace doesn't mean it should be forgotten!

Think about your business and style; then collect some office ideas that reflect this. With office storage and furniture, consider what you need your office to do. We've seen cake designers with "hybrid" offices: One side purely for administrative work and the other side room for working on small sugar projects. You have to decide what works for you.

As you build your business, you'll find there's a lot to consider — but don't get overwhelmed! You don't have to do everything at once. These six things will give you a good head start. As you work you'll discover more essentials you can't live without.

What other essentials do you need to run your cake business?

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March 25, 2018
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5 Things All Professional Cake Decorators Need to Run a Smooth Operation