This week I worked on taking and editing photos. I will use these product photos for promotional stuff.
As promised last time, I did spend some time improving my labels. I bought some neutral colored card stock to use. The cost was about 8 cents per page, and if I can get 10 labels out of each page, it is still cost effective (though not as much as plain white paper labels). I looked at some of the larger adhesive labels available, and the cost would come out to about 8 cents per label, which is too high right now for the profit I am making. I did buy some double-stick tape though, to experiment with making my own adhesive labels, mostly for the jam and peanut butter. I used my card stock and a decorative corner punch to make new price signs for some of my products. I think they turned out dandy.
I believe I've shared before my frustration with the cashew crunch not selling as well as I had hoped. It tastes fantastic, but looks like peanut brittle. Ain't nobody got time for peanut brittle. One thing my brother noticed while working with me is the tendency of customers to pick up a bag of cashew crunch and look at the bottom. Almost every single person! I talked to Hubs about this, and he thought maybe they did it because they were looking for peanuts or something. I've even had people TELL me it was peanut brittle, after I told them it was toffee. Last week I made a cute little sign/note explaining the difference between cashew crunch and peanut brittle. Not only did I sell both bags without any arguments, but nobody looked at the bottom. I wonder if this will help me sell more candy next week.
One of the challenges of having a farmers market booth is trying to bake a variety of items but not have too much go to waste. This means you either have to do some of the work ahead of time or make smaller batches. This week I figured out how to do small batches of both cookies and quick breads. This means that I'll be able to offer four different cookies every week instead of four of the same kind, with exactly the same amount of work. Bingo!
The Bottom Line
Amish Peanut Butter: $14.00
No-Bake Cookies: $5.75
Peanut Butter Cookies: $3.50
Molasses Cookies: $3.50
Applesauce Bread: $2.00
Cinnamon Rolls: $9.00
Mulberry Mini-loaves: $4.00
Garlic Bread: $5.00
Green Beans: $4.00
Total Income: $72.75
Costs of goods sold: $17.89
Total Expenses: $32.89
Total Net Profit: $39.86
This week's cost of goods not sold was $5.76: banana bread ($1.27), applesauce bread ($0.55), cinnamon rolls, ($3.09), mini-loafs ($0.33) and garlic bread ($0.52). Over half of the cost was in the cinnamon rolls, which sold fantastic individually, but only one pan sold at the market. I was also a little bit disappointed about the banana bread, but that can be frozen and used for snack/road/potluck food.
What Do Customers Want?
Now that we've been at it for 10 weeks, we know who the repeat customers are and what they buy. Interestingly, none of our repeat customers buy breads or cinnamon rolls... they all buy cookies. This is good news for several reasons:
2. Because the market is not saturated with cookies. Everyone has breads- there are at least five bakery-type booths at our market, and most of them sell yeast breads. There are many farm-type stands that sell cinnamon rolls as well, but I've not seen a booth full of cookies.
3. Because I love my cookies and would buy them myself. The breads and other baked goods that we make are good, but they're not spectacular. Plus when we make bread, we are trying to compete with real bakeries that make bread for a living, not for a hobby or to save money at home. To be honest, I'm not very passionate about breads, either. But Hubs will tell you that I could eat cookies all day.
4. Because I'd rather be a first-rate farm stand than a second-rate bakery. Last week I was talking to another vendor (she has a berry farm) and mentioned that I liked the pictures she put up of their animals because it brought more of a "farm" element to the booth. "I know," she replied,"A lot of people think we're a bakery, but we're not! We're a farm." I looked at some of her baked goods, and yes their farm could compete with any bakery. Everything was very professionally packaged and beautiful. Then I thought about my packaging that is not sloppy but definitely not first rate with real pie boxes or releasable granola bags. After I got home, I thought about how maybe we are sabotaging our own sales by trying to compete with bakeries instead of where we should be competing, which is with other farm stands. At the beginning of the season I was not planning on selling any produce, but now I know that is where I can make the most profit with the least amount of work. And I'd like to move away from the baked goods and more toward farm stuff.
All this being said, in the following weeks I'd like to slowly introduce some different products (fruit, vegetables, herbs) and also some craft and gift items. SIL's body care products get a lot of attention, but she doesn't make soap and I have had some requests for it. I made my first batch of goat's milk soap last week and it will be curing for the next month or so. Soap is another thing that I haven't seen much at the market. It has a pretty high profit margin compared to baked goods, so I'm looking forward to having it at my booth.
Til next time,