Towel cakes are all the rage, particularly for wedding and baby shower gifts. The nonedible cakes are elaborate constructions made from bath towels, hand towels, ribbons and other themed accessories such as wineglasses, handmade soaps or bubble bath. These clever gifts can be made from the comfort of your home and sold online or at craft shows and local events. If you're particularly crafty and enjoy meeting new people, consider starting a towel cake business.
Things You'll Need
- Liability insurance
- Sales tax permit
- Ribbons, bows, beads
Visit sites like Thinkwedding.com and Beau-coup.com to get an idea of the types of towel cakes you can make. Though the construction behind a towel cake is pretty standard, the type of towels and the accessories that you use can create some elaborate and unusual designs. In addition to traditional two- and three-tier cakes, you can also make individual cakes shaped as a piece of pie or small cake, using hand towels. Heart-shaped towel cakes are another popular choice.
Purchase supplies for your towel cake business: ribbons, feathers, cellophane, cake wrappers, plastic cake containers to place your towel cakes in, faux flowers, beads, coffee, hot chocolate, decorative soaps, wineglasses, faux fruit, cake stands, doilies, towels and hand towels. The majority of the accessories can be found at local craft stores or closeout stores like Big Lots. Peruse clearance racks at Wal-Mart, Michaels and Hobby Lobby for cheap ribbons, faux flowers and beads. You may find inexpensive accessories that you would never have thought to incorporate into your cakes. Find plastic pie and cake containers at Plastic Container City (see Resources). Find wholesale towels at The Towel Depot (see Resources). Until your business takes off, purchase conservatively. It may be better to get your first few towels at local stores where you can better control how much inventory you buy.
Set yourself apart by creating one-of-a-kind cake designs. The more creative you can get with your cakes, the better chance you have of competing. For example, make baby shower cakes shaped as baby booties, bottles or teddy bears. Shape your towels into cupcakes, lollipops or bonbons. Design racy towel cakes for a bachelorette party. Appeal to the eco-friendly crowd by using bamboo or organic towels. Design cakes for graduations, promotions, holidays, baby showers, bachelorette parties and bridal showers.
Purchase a website. Then detail your expenses in a spreadsheet. Use this to determine how much to charge for each cake. Then upload images of your cakes along with descriptions of the materials used and the price. If you deliver locally, include this on your site and submit your website to local online directories.
Attend craft and trade shows to show off your work and get visibility. Be sure to detail your website at your booth and hand out business cards.
Make one-of-a-kind towel cakes for school fund-raisers and charity events for additional visibility. For example, donate a Halloween-themed towel cake for your church's Halloween cake walk.
Tips & Warnings
- Create a workstation in a spare room or garage. Procure a worktable and shelving to store your cakes. Create an area with good lighting where you can take high-quality images of your towel cakes.
- Team up with other women who host Tupperware or towel parties. Ask them to display your cake at their next party in exchange for a cut of each cake sale. Contact bakeries and cake stores about displaying your towel cakes there in exchange for promoting their shop on your blog or website.
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