Not only am I a seasoned sugar flower artist (*ahem* as seasoned as one can be when you started dabbling in high school, I suppose) but I also have over a decade of experience as a professional cake decorator, working everywhere from a small town cafe to a large regional grocery store chain (and don’t forget my dining room). Over the years I’ve collected some resources that make my life just a little bit easier. I’m sharing my list of favorite tools for bakers, in the form of software!
First on the list is Dubsado. This is a client relationship manager and makes life so much easier after you’ve set everything up. You can send invoices, proposals, contracts, design drafts, and manage all your client emails in one place. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s having to go through all of my communication outlets to find that one message a client sent me with their event colors (was it a text? a twitter DM? maybe they cc’d me when they emailed the planner?) so I prefer all client communications for custom orders go through here for my Sugar Flower orders. And honestly, it’s a great tool for bakers and cake decorators too.
Another CRM that’s great is Honeybook. I’ve worked with both and they each are awesome with slightly different quirks. I think Honeybook is easier to set up. Unlike Dubsado, there aren’t as many design customizations but that really makes things simple if you’re not a tech nerd like me. And with their scheduler and automatic invoicing features, a CRM like this is definitely a must-have tool for bakers.
Real talk: I used to hate Asana. I had a boss (who was like, an evil Bond villain, I’m pretty sure) and he used Asana so I automatically detested it for years, just because it made me think of this egotistical micromanaging jerk who overpromised and underdelivered.
Anyway. I started noticing other small businesses (with amazing bosses— like photographers and designers and event planners) using Asana to keep track of their ever-spiraling to-do lists and I decided to give it a try.
I definitely recommend watching some YouTube videos of how other people use Asana. Basically, for me it’s just one big to-do list broken down into all the different areas I need to work in: production, website upkeep, custom orders, shipping, accounting, etc. I have an automatically recurring task that pops up after an order has been delivered to remind me to follow up and see if the client has any questions or concerns. My mom brain definitely couldn’t remember that on her own!
I also took Louis Henry’s Uplevel with Asana* course to really figure out the nuts and bolts of the tool!
I’ve used Dropbox. I have iCloud. However, Google Drive is the easiest. I use Google Sheets for everything from figuring out what my daily expenses are, to which color flowers are the most popular. Even if they’re not the prettiest spreadsheets, they still win Best Spreadsheet Award. In particular, because I can access them from anywhere. Anywhere. A hotel computer? ✅ My iPad? ✅ My husband’s Samsung Galaxy? It’s so convenient when I forget things until I’m out and about. (shout out to mom brain!)
Oooooh I could go on all day long about Canva. Need to prettily organize some inspiration photos to share with a client? Make a pdf on Canva. Need to make tags for a dessert table? Design on Canva. Need to create a monogram for edible image cookies? Canva. And I totally vote for paying for the upgraded version. Although, it’s really easy to get lost in all the pretty designs…on second thought, this blog was supposed to be about helpful tools for bakers, I’m not sure that this procrastination enabler should be on the list…
This website helps generate color palettes, which are both fun and useful. Occasionally, a client will share me a couple of colors for their event but it’s just missing something. So I play around with the palettes until I find some complimentary colors to add in among the main colors.
For a long time, I thought Convertkit was just for service-based online businesses. Surprisingly, I was wrong. Everyone needs a mailing list, including a physical product-based business like a bakery. Even if it’s just where you keep track of your clients’ anniversaries so you can send them a quick congrats (and offer to sell them an anniversary cake at a special past client price *wink*), keeping in touch with your past clients makes everyone’s lives better.
Keep. Track. Of. Your. Time.
Okay, I’m pretty bad at listening to my own advice. But I’m also bad at estimating how long something takes me. Like if I’m learning something new (how to make a giant peony). But if I can time myself and get a better estimate, then I do a better job of not overbooking my schedule, and that is always worth it.
And if you’re looking for more tools for actually making cakes and sugar decorations, check out this checklist I made for you—
*Links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links but I only recommend products I use & love! And there is no additional cost to you. read the full disclaimer here.