Thursday, August 19, 2004

Last Day of Trade Show 

Yesterday was the last day of the Trade Show.

Manager said a great many booths had already packed up and left. The remaining booth-keepers were therefore very friendly and talkative.

She attended several roundtables, and garnered much wisdom from other bakers.

OK - a surprising lot of it she already knew and had already prepared for.

A lot of what she learned was that she definitely doesn't want the Cracked Cauldron to do specialty decorated cakes, like anniversary, wedding, or birthday. The most she plans to do in cake decorating are the specialty cupcakes, the little fairy and doll and critter cupcakes. Most everything else will be "village baker" style - the breads and savories and sweets one would buy regularly from the corner bakery.

She said many of the bakers with whom she spoke were very encouraging about what she plans, and there were a few who were contemplating opening their own bakeries rather than continue to work for someone else. These were inspired by her own story of opening the Cracked Cauldron.

Another interesting thing she learned is that 85% of the bakeries are owned and operated by older men. Even among the woman-owned bakeries, she was squarely in the minority.

We knew baking was a male-dominated field, we just weren't aware how male-dominated it was. That domination may account for some of the treatment she received at the Trade Show - the booth folk were targeting odler men for their sales spiels and demonstrations. Good thing she's learned to be bold and to approach them for information. Once they realized she owned a bakery, they talked to her. But she had to make the opening moves.

There wasn't anything outstanding to grab her interest that she hadn't already seen or gotten more information for, so this last day was spent mostly visiting with people.

This was a good thing, actually, because Manager needed to talk to other bakers about the trivial things, and to make friends in her career field. And she learned a few of them would be attending the mini Trade Show being hosted here in Oklahoma City this September.

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