Cake Shows- What's the big deal?
A panoramic view of That Takes The Cake 2019, a cake show that happens every year in Round Rock Texas.
If you are someone who works in the baking and pastry field, you have undoubtedly heard of some of the cake trade shows that happen every year. But have you ever attended one? What does one even do at a cake show, and why should you attend? In this post I will go over some of the basics I have learned over the past few years!
First things first- you want to know what a "cake show" is all about. The answer to this varies depending on the cake show you plan to attend, but they generally all have some common elements. Every show I have attended always has at least 3 things: Vendors, Competitions, and Classes. For me personally, those are all very important. In this blog post, I will go over these elements in more detail.
Let's start with Vendors.
Why is it so important that cake shows have vendors? There are a few reasons.
Reason #1 is that vendors have to purchase their booth space, so in essence, they fund part of the show itself. Often times, they will even sponsor part of the show, a raffle prize, or competition, which will usually include some form of advertising for them by the show. Basically, it gets their company more visibility to the consumers they are trying to market their product to by having a physical space at the show and also through any advertising and signage the show puts out.
Show advertising can be HUGE, especially when the show is well known. Bigger shows not only advertise locally, they also advertise in magazines and other publications! For example, if you have ever picked up an American Cake Decorating Magazine while waiting in the checkout line at your local craft store, you may have noticed an ad for SoFlo, That Takes The Cake, Show Me Sweets Show, Cake International, and more. These are all relatively large shows that want to advertise to as many interested parties as possible. More people at the show means more revenue for the show as well as more potential customers for vendors.
Reason #2 is that if you are a vendor, it gives consumers a chance to get to know your business, your brand, and your products. Personally, I feel that one of the biggest advantages of having a vendor on site at a cake show is that vendors have the opportunity to "demo" a product.
For example, Icing Images, an edible image company, attends many shows throughout the year and always has ambassadors (like myself) on hand to demo products to show attendees. This is a really great way for the consumer to see their products up close and personal, as well as ask any questions they may have about the product itself or working with it. I have found that most often, the people working the booth are the owners of the company and have TONS of knowledge for you to absorb. They WANT you to come and ask them questions about their products! These products are their livelihood and they LOVE talking about them! While this is not always the case for bigger brands- Satin Ice and Renshaw fondant- for example usually send sales representatives and brand ambassadors to work their booths. They usually do not sell their products at the shows (at least the ones I have attended) and are really just there to promote their brand as a whole.
As an attendee of many cake shows, one of my favorite things to do is stop at booths and watch demos. There have been many times where I was either unfamiliar with a product or technique being demoed and I end up staying to watch. If I don't have the product(s) in question and the demo or technique interests me enough, I will most likely buy products from that vendor to do some of my own experimenting. This holds true for many consumers.
Another vendor aspect I should point out is that if you have big demand for your product, people may come to the show *just* to come and get some of your product. For example, if I find out that a certain vendor will be at a show, I may attend just to see the products that vendor has brought with them. They may also have come to the show with "show prices" for their products, which is really great because you as the consumer can save some cash on the product itself, and you can also avoid shipping charges if the vendor is not local! (in many cases, especially for small businesses, the vendor does not have a store front and is strictly an online seller).
This past weekend at That Takes The Cake in Round Rock, Texas, I spent some time at the Icing Images booth doing a few demos with some of their products. While I was there, I heard many people say "Oh, that's how you use ____!" or "I have ____ but I never really knew how to utilize it until now!". Demoing products has huge advantages, and getting information about your products to your consumers is definitely a big one.
You can view my live demo for Icing Images from the show HERE!
A photo of Cynthia (Very Cherry Cakes), Irenea
(Florida Bakers Club) and I at the Icing Images
booth In Round Rock, Texas.
So this is where I will wrap up my Cake Show blog post.