If you’re wondering about how to start an online cake sprinkles business, you probably have questions about where to get the supplies, how to market your products, and whether it’s something that could be profitable in the long run.
Custom sprinkle mixes are a popular option for these types of businesses, and another example of this is the pressed sugar lay-ons that people buy to place on cupcakes.
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Where to start with a sprinkles business.
To start a sprinkle business, you will need to do market research to see if you can provide a product that will be desirable and within acceptable market price points.
By sourcing sprinkles directly from wholesalers you can create unique mixtures of different shapes and colors, then sell those as custom combinations.
It’s also important to verify that you can run a food-business based from your home on your local laws and any regulations pertaining to selling edible cake decorations.
This would seem to be a simple way to make a quick profit, but it’s a volume game.
If you’re willing to keep a lot of inventory on hand it could be a good option, but it may take a lot of sales to make a good profit.
The upside, though, is that it’s not as difficult to combine sprinkle mixes as it is to hand-model a gumpaste cake topper!
Determining Pricing and Packaging.
This is something that you would have to figure out based on the wholesale cost of each component, plus the shipping that you paid for the ingredients of the mix.
Before you take a leap into this, check with your wholesaler to see what they have in stock.
If you have to look around and find different sources, do that, because you need to have a very clear idea of what your costs are.
You can check prices on Amazon for bulk sprinkles. You can also get wholesale sprinkles from companies like Bakell.com or Webstaurant Store.
Make sure that you’re buying WHOLESALE, not only bulk.
Some sprinkles companies sell bulk, but the pricing isn’t as low as wholesale. That could make it difficult to make much of a profit.
The packaging for these can either be jars or food-safe bags.
Jars will add a fairly high cost to the product price because of the cost of the jar, plus the need to send them in larger boxes with more padding.
Keep everything in mind when you price these out!
If you decide to use bottles, you’ll then need to decide whether you want to use plastic or glass.
In my experience, plastic will be best if you’re shipping things because the weight is lower and that will drop your shipping costs.
A good source of plastic bottles is Uline, but there are a lot of other businesses that sell packaging, so shop around.
You also might be able to find a local wholesaler so that you can pick them up and avoid shipping costs.
Uline also has food-grade plastic bags that I used to use when I sold sprinkles in my Etsy shop. These are the lightest option, so I chose them to keep shipping costs lower.
On my Artisan Shopper blog, I wrote an article with packaging sources that are used by members of my EShop Success program. Click here for that article: Shipping Supplies for Etsy
Before you decide whether starting a sprinkle business is a good option, figure out what the approximate cost for one unit would be.
That means that you’ll need to check on weights and how much you’ll be selling in each order.
I did a search for “cake sprinkles” on Etsy to see what style and mixes other people are selling.
Mixes of different components are popular, and metallics are also popular.
What you should try to do is find some sprinkles that can be combined in different ways to create a mix that’s not available already.
You should also check to see what the average price is based on the weight of the sprinkles that people have listed, plus what they’re charging for shipping.
If your costs are a lot higher than what the majority of people are selling things for, you should check to see if you can adjust.
Either find a cheaper supply source, drop the cost of your packaging, or just charge a higher price. If your mix is different enough people will still pay for it.
For the sugar lay-ons, people tend to ask for specific combinations of things.
I had one mix of ladybugs and bees with flowers, and I got a lot of requests for just the ladybugs or just the bees.
Since I had them packed and ready to go I couldn’t substitute items, but if you don’t pack them ahead of time you can offer them in different combinations.
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Things to Keep In Mind For Sprinkles and Lay-on Businesses.
- Packaging has to be food-safe!
- Some items can’t ship to the state of California, generally the metallic silver balls. Check the law to see if there are states or countries that prohibit certain ingredients from being imported.
- Because these are considered to be food, you’ll have to make sure you follow your local laws about selling food online.
- These don’t really go stale, so you can hold onto your inventory without worrying about spoilage. You should store them in a dry area at room temperature, though, because humidity can affect the quality of sugar and soften it.
- The fees for selling this type of smaller item on ecommerce platforms could end up dropping your profits, so make sure to take that into account. Plan 10-15% of the sale cost to be what you would pay in fees as an estimate.
What’s The Best Way To Pack Sprinkles and Lay-ons?
For these I used food-grade plastic ziplock bags and my branded header tags.
The cost of jar containers would have raised the cost so much it didn’t make sense to pack them that way.
These are light and can be shipped without worrying about a lot of damage, so it isn’t really necessary to pack them the same way you would for something more fragile.
For the lay-ons you may want to package them flat in order to avoid damage if they knock into each other in transit.
Putting them in a vacuum-sealed bag will work well, but it’s probably okay to just put them in a plastic baggie.
When mailing sprinkles, wrap them so that they won’t slide around in the box to avoid damage.
Using tissue paper to prevent any movement in the package works well to avoid unnecessary shifting as the package moves through the mail.