Archive | June 2012

Crooked Brook Fleece Blanket Giveaway 1

Happy Friday everyone!   This is my fifth giveaway for this week.  Wow!  So many chances to win! I know that I would love this one…I am always cold.

Another option for promoting your business is personalized fleece blankets. Fleece blankets make perfect gifts or promotional products because you don’t have to worry about getting the correct size and embroidered with your logo or your customer’s special occasion; they are great way to say thank you for your order.

Many people get cakes for the same reason they get fleece blankets; to celebrate an important occasion or a milestone.

Take a look at the examples on Crooked Brooks fleece blanket page or the categories of fleece blankets in the sidebar;

 

Weddings

Anniversary

Mothers Day

Birth of a baby

Birthday

Graduation

Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Team Year

Tournament Championship

MVP

 

When a customer drops a considerable amount of cash, a unique and personal way to say “as token of my appreciation for your business, I would like to give you a little something to commemorate your special occasion” is to give them a fleece blanket embroidered with your logo in one corner and their special occasion in the other.  Or, for a general give away, a fleece blanket with your logo embroidered in the corner.

We don’t suggest that you do this for every customer, but for those special customers, and for that reason Crooked Brook and I would like to announce Custom Fleece Blanket Giveaway 1.

The prize is a first quality, 50” x 60”, 100% polyester fleece blanket in the winner’s choice of color from Crooked Brook’s wholesale fleece blanket inventory.

The winner has the option of getting the fleece blanket blank or with their business name embroidered in the corner, with or without the cupcake or cake. If the winner would prefer to have their logo embroidered instead, that would have to be discussed with Crooked Brook.

 

To enter, visit Crooked Brook’s fleece blanket page to see what color fleece blankets they offer and leave a comment here with the color fleece blanket would you like to win.

 

The winner will be chosen randomly.

 

You must be 18 years or older to enter. Contest ends midnight (Eastern Standard Time) 07/13/12. Winner will be chosen by SugarZen and contacted by email. Winner will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen. Crooked Brook will ship the prize to the winner within 30 days of contest end. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes, US recipients only residing in one of the 48 contiguous states.

 

Crooked Brook Apron Giveaway 3

Happy Friday everyone! Crooked Brook is making an apron giveaway a weekly event!  That means you have 3-5 chances to win something from Crooked Brook every week!  Isn’t that amazing??!!  This week’s apron is good for the guys or the girls.  Don’t forget…you have to comment on each giveaway post to be entered in that giveaway!

Style #740

Unisex Bib apron

White 100% Cotton Gabardine

Right Hip patch pocket

Irregularities:  NONE

Price:  $50 including shipping

 

Although all Crooked Brook aprons are made to order, they have various styles and sizes that were not made according to the customer’s specifications or have a slight imperfection. These are the men’s and women’s aprons I have partnered with Crooked Brook to offer as giveaways.

Since 1989 Crooked Brook has designed and manufactured aprons for the world’s most recognized chefs. Each one of their aprons is made to order in the USA, and can personalized with your choice of fabric, pockets, buttons, piping and embroidery.

For question regarding size, please refer to their size chart or contact them at 315-733-1992

To enter, visit Crooked Brook and leave a comment here with the description of a chef coat that you would like to see offered as a giveaway in the future.

Terms & Conditions:

You must be 18 years or older to enter. Contest ends midnight (Eastern Standard Time) 06/??/12. Winner will be chosen by SugarZen and contacted by email. Winner will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen. Crooked Brook will ship the prize to the winner within 30 days of contest end. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes, US recipients only residing in one of the 48 contiguous states.

 

 

Crooked Brook Custom Polo Shirt Giveaway 3

Happy Friday everyone!  Crooked Brook is going to make this giveaway a regular thing!  This is the third polo shirt they are giving to one of my readers.  So, just like my dear friend LaMeeka Howard, who had Crooked Brook design a polo shirt with her bakery logo on it, Crooked Brook wants to give one of you one of these, too!!

Polo shirts are another inexpensive yet cost effective marketing tool. More casual than button-front shirts and dressier than t-shirts, embroidered polo shirts are part of the uniform for many businesses.

Polo shirts embroidered with a company logo given as gifts or giveaways are called promotional polo shirts and are great way to get your name out there business and build brand awareness.

With that said, I have teamed up with my friends at Crooked Brook to sponsor another embroidered polo shirt giveaway.

Please Note:  The winner has the option of getting the polo shirt blank or with their business name and a cake embroidered on the left front chest (as pictured). If the winner would prefer to have their logo embroidered instead, that would have to be discussed with Crooked Brook.

These giveaways are first quality, polo shirts from Crooked Brook’s inventory and the brand and color will be determined by what they have in stock at the time the winner is announced. Crooked Brook will try their best to send winner’s a polo shirt as close to their request as possible. The winner will be chosen randomly, from those who post a comment with an answer to the question below:

What color, gender and size polo shirt would you like to win?

 

You must be 18 years or older to enter. Contest ends midnight (Eastern Standard Time) 07/13/12. Winner will be chosen by SugarZen and contacted by email. Winner will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen. Crooked Brook will ship the prize to the winner within 30 days of contest end. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes, US recipients only residing in one of the 48 contiguous states

 

Crooked Brook T Shirt Giveaway 3

Happy Friday everyone!  Today I am addingFIVE giveaways! This is the 3rd  T Shirt that Crooked Brook is giving away.  I get to give one of these every week.  You will have 2 weeks to enter each contest.  Crooked Brook does custom printed tshirts in addition to all the great chef  Crooked Brook wants to give one of you one of these, too!!  The picture below is the blog logo, but this will have YOUR logo on it!  Isn’t that exciting?

Custom t-shirts are one of the most inexpensive yet cost effective marketing tools available. One of the advantages they have over other promotional products is that wherever people wearing t-shirts with your logo on it go; your brand goes. It is a great way to convey your business image and build brand awareness.

 

In response to this, I have teamed up with my friends at Crooked Brook to sponsor another custom t-shirt giveaway.

 

The prize is a White, Gildan, G200 6.1 oz. Ultra Cotton® T-Shirt made in 100% preshrunk cotton, taped shoulder-to-shoulder with a seamless collar and double-needle stitching throughout with the image of the winners logo printed on the front or back.

 

Although the most popular method of printing t-shirts is screen printing; Crooked Brook t-shirts are printed using Direct to Garment Printing (DTG printing or digital garment printing) which is the process of using inkjet printers to print an image directly onto a t-shirt without the use of screens like with silk screening or screen printing. The only thing DTG printing requires is for the image to be high resolution resulting in photograph quality printing with no setup fee or minimums. DTG technology uses eco-friendly, water soluble ink, unlike some screen printing methods that layer Plastisol (a suspension of PVC particles in a plasticizer) on top of the t-shirt.

 

The winner will be chosen randomly…

 

Terms & Conditions:

You must be 18 years or older to enter.

Contest ends midnight (Eastern Standard Time) 07/13/12.

Winner will be chosen by SugarZen and contacted by email.

Winner will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.

Winner’s artwork must meet requirements for Crooked Brooks DTG printing.

Crooked Brook will ship the prize to the winner within 30 days of contest end.

Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes, US recipients only residing in one of the 48 contiguous states.

 

Crooked Brook Chef Coat Giveaway 8

Hi everyone!  Sometimes I think the prettiest part of my chef coats is the buttons I choose.  This time, Crooked Brook has a really nice, classic white chef coat, but adds the flair of tiger shell buttons.  This will be a stunning coat!

Although all Crooked Brook chef coats are made to order, they have various styles and sizes that were not made according to the customer’s specifications or have a slight imperfection. These are the men’s and women’s chef jackets I have partnered with Crooked Brook to offer as giveaways.

Since 1989 Crooked Brook has designed and manufactured chef jackets for the world’s most recognized chefs. Each one of their chef coats is made to order in the USA, and can personalized with your choice of fabric, pockets, buttons, piping and embroidery.

For question regarding size, please refer to their size chart or contact them at 315-733-1992

Size 14 BSW100
● White, Egyptian cotton Gabardine

● 2-hip tailored welt pocket.

● Tiger Shell buttons

● Irregularities; None

(Regular Price: $163.00 including shipping)

To enter, visit Crooked Brook and leave a comment here with the description of a chef coat that you would like to see offered as a giveaway in the future.

Terms & Conditions:

You must be 18 years or older to enter. Contest ends midnight (Eastern Standard Time) 07/13/12. Winner will be chosen by SugarZen and contacted by email. Winner will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen. Crooked Brook will ship the prize to the winner within 30 days of contest end. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes, US recipients only residing in one of the 48 contiguous states.

 

 

Crooked Brook Chef Coat Giveaway 7, Polo Shirt 2 and T Shirt 2 Winners Announced

Happy Friday!  I got to draw for three more giveaways today!  I love pulling the names out of the bowl to see who will get a great surprise!  I went through all the comments on each of the three giveaways and put your name in a bowl.  I labeled my bowls so I didn’t get confused as to who was entering which contest!  I drew the names and am happy to announce that the winners are…..

Cheryl Flud for the Chef Coat 7….Stacey Fruchey for the Polo Shirt 2……Jean Price for the T Shirt 2 giveaways.  Hopefully, we just made three people’s day!!  Thank you again to Crooked Brook for these incredibly generous giveaways.   I will be sending an email to each winner shortly with instructions on how to have the items mailed to them.  Thank you to all who commented on these posts.  Don’t forget to check in each week to see what the next prize is!

By the way, thank you for reading my blog and for all the compliments you have given me.  I truly want this to be helpful to each of you.

Ruth

Undercover Caker

I think it is time to tackle the people who operate illegal bakeries. Yes, selling cakes from your home without a license is, in most places, illegal. It certainly means that your home business is not sanctioned by the governing agency.

Please note at the outset that I am not discussing in this blog people who have a license under Cottage Food Laws. I am also not discussing people who operate bakeries from their homes where it is allowed by their city/county and they have been licensed. This is just a message to and about those who sell cakes, but do not go through the process to have a legal shop.

Since I am from the great state of Oklahoma, many of my notes will relate primarily to what is permissible in my home state. You should always check with the proper authorities in your area.

Let’s start at the beginning. You make a cake, usually for someone in your family first. Soon, you are doing the cakes for everyone in your extended family and circle of friends. At first, you do it for free because you just want to make cakes! A few people start slipping you money to cover your expenses, because, after all, they would have had to pay for a cake if not for you. One day, you get the call you have hoped for and a little bit dreaded: a friend of someone you know needs a cake and wants to know how much you will charge. The first time you take money from a stranger, you become the operator of an illegal bakery.

In Oklahoma, this opens you up to involvement from the Health Department, the city/state taxing agencies, zoning issues in your neighborhood and liability issues. I will be honest, many people do this every day and never get caught. There was a time many years ago when I did it. Some very big names in our industry have done it.

On paper, this seems like a victimless crime. No one gets hurt. You are just baking a cake, after all – what is the big deal?

When I first started making cakes, the Internet was not as prevalent. If you wanted to advertise a business, you had to buy an ad in a newspaper or magazine. The unwritten rule in OK at the time was that the legit businesses would look the other way, so long as you did not advertise. This meant that unlicensed bakeries did not show up at bridal fairs, have web pages or have listings in the phone book. A few years ago, this all started to change.

I began to see women who did cakes from home at the exclusive bridal shows. Every home baker had a Facebook page for her cakes, some had listings on Craig’s list and lots started setting up web pages. All of a sudden, the unlicensed shops started aggressively pursuing cake business.

This aggression made them easier targets for governing agencies and legal bakeries that were just trying to get by. I know that legit shops have turned in these illegal operations. I even did it once. The playing field simply isn’t level when someone doesn’t follow the rules. It is so hard to make is as a bakery, the last thing you need is a cake maker undercutting your price because she works from home and doesn’t have the overhead. Every time she does that, it is money out of your pocket that could pay your employees, your overhead or your non existent salary.

I asked our health department what happens when someone is turned in for running an illegal operation. My agent said that she usually calls up to try to place an order – to see if the claim is true. The person then receives a warning that all of their kitchen equipment is subject to seizure. In extraordinary cases, they can come in and take it all. The agent told me that the threat of action from them normally takes care of things.

The agent told me that the real enforcer in a situation like this is the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The city licenses businesses to sell products and businesses are to collect sales tax on those sales. Home bakeries that operate without a license usually are not collecting sales tax. The tax commission will come after your little bakery business with a vengeance if they want. You could be subject to fines and interest, as well as the back taxes.

Then there are liability issues. If people get sick at the party or wedding and blame you, do you have business insurance to cover the hospital bills? If you are delivering a cake and get into a wreck, do you have commercial insurance on your car? We always think about the upside of our business, but forget about the potential risks.

What if a neighbor gets tired of seeing cars pull up to your house to get cakes…maybe you just have a cranky neighbor. They can turn you in for running a business in a residential zone. That opens up all kinds of other issues with the government.

I think the one thing I keep coming back to is that running an underground bakery means that you keep it on the down low. If you are advertising all over the place and aggressively marketing your business, chances are you are going to eventually draw unwanted attention. My advice would be to think before you take each step and to ask yourself if it is worth it. I think about James Bond. What kind of secret agent would he have been if he had a Facebook page called 007, if he had a listing in Craig’s list proclaiming that he was a secret agent for hire and if he set up a booth at security conferences bragging that he was the best spy ever? If you step out of the shadows, you need to be cognizant of both the good and the bad that could come from your decision.

Eyes wide open, people. You’re either an undercover Caker or you are publicly running an illegal shop. Be smart and cautious about the decisions you make.