Ready to spice up your food business with some bite-sized advice to take your business to the next level? Then welcome back to Castiron Bites, our new weekly series which highlights standouts in the food entrepreneurs world as they share their most prized tips and tricks! On our second episode, we had the opportunity to chat with Stacia Walling, owner of Those Cookies, Dough.
Like most of us, Stacia never envisioned herself becoming a full-time cookie artist, in fact even when she became one, she still didn’t believe it! With an artist background, Stacia felt confident to try her hand at cookie decorating, which she quickly learned was no easy feat. “It took me a whole 8hr day to make 18 cookies and they were a disaster,” Stacia explained. But due to her entrepreneurial ambition, Stacia refused to give up and was determined to master the perfect sugar cookie! The now-successful cookie artist did exactly that! Luckily we were able to sit down with Stacia and get the inside scoop on all her success.
Learn to Value Yourself
Stacia is now a year into being a full-time food entrepreneur and has had to hit the ground running. Of course, we had to ask her the classic question: if she could go back in time and give herself a piece of advice, what would it be? “Don’t undervalue yourself,” Stacia explained; early on she compared herself to other cookie decorators and never thought people would pay that much money for her skills. She doubted herself which in turn reflected in her pricing. She got stuck in the “why me” mindset. Her advice: “Don’t compare yourself to others because they’re not you. You are unique and bring your special skills and talents to the table and that should be reflected in your pricing.” Being from a small town, Stacia didn’t see the opportunity to grow her business until she found social media.
Utilizing Social Media for Sales
As business owners, we want to put ourselves and our businesses out there for people to discover and connect with, but that idea can be extremely intimidating and hard to accomplish. Stacia wasn’t sure how to get customers rolling in until her sister posted her cookies on social media and for the first time, customers were coming to Stacia asking for custom orders. From there, she realized the power of social media and how to best utilize the apps to bring customers to you instead of finding them.
Here are some pro tips from Stacia on how to use social media and your other tools to start selling more:
- Photos - make sure your photos are nicely shot and aesthetically pleasing
- Promote on social media - no one going to know unless you tell them, have to keep posting it
- Email list - email campaigns and email lists are huge tools that are underutilized; you can make a lot more profit on emails than on social media
Pricing can be a difficult topic for any entrepreneur, but food entrepreneurs in particular have a hard time coming up with a fair price that reflects their skills, time, and supplies needed to make their products. Stacia struggled with her pricing early on in her business so she shared some insights she found out so you don’t have to:
- Pricing depends on your location (can charge more in bigger cities like NYC)
- If you’re always booked and always overwhelmed, your prices are too low (this is a luxury item)
- Pick a base price that accounts for ingredients, time, skills, and other expenses and then go up from there (for example, charge more for metallic designs)
- Make sure you’re selling at a profit (just do the math! If you’re splitting even, raise your prices)
Our biggest takeaways from Stacia were: don't be afraid to be confident, charge what you deserve, and always market yourself! Of course, those were just some of the highlights Stacia touched on in her episode, but we recommend listening to her entire interview to learn from this pro and integrate her lessons into your business!
You can watch Stacia Walling’s Castiron Bites episode below and don’t forget to join us every Wednesday at 12 PM ET for Castiron Bites!