Introducing: My Custom Bakes

Nov 20, 2021 | Cookie Decorating Resources, Small Business | 4 comments

Hi there! Lisa here, owner of Borderlands Bakery. In my ten years of cookie decorating, I spent 5 of them taking on custom orders for decorated sugar cookies and french macarons. Having lived that custom-order life and after talking with thousands of other bakers, we know first hand what a PAIN it is just to get the information from a client let alone get them to order! Then, having to manage multiple orders in the chaos of busy seasons turns a fun, creative outlet into a chore…  and we knew there had to be a better way.

Of course, there are existing tools on the market that get us part of the way there: Google forms, custom websites, Square Space, Wix, Etsy, Honeybook, etc.: these are all amazing tools, and have a time and place. Many of you have adapted and made it work but it’s more of a ducktape solution than a working model.

And when it comes to highly customized goods such as decorated cookies, we have found that these tools just don’t cut it.

It’s clear that one of the greatest hurdles for taking on custom orders is maintaining clear and open communication with the client, in a way that doesn’t suck up all your time and energy. Trying to extract all the details of a custom design can often take hours on end through email, texts, phone calls, and DMs across multiple social media platforms; and often, at the end of all of that, you get ghosted. It’s not a good feeling, and for those of you whose livelihoods depend on this, it can be a serious issue.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear “I want to take on more custom orders, but the process of understanding what the clients want takes too long.”

Current tools tend to provide a one-size-fits-all solution to managing product specifications, availability and quotes. But that doesn’t work when you also have highly custom options that you’re providing. Not to mention everyone has different skill levels, different ways to manage availability, and, in general, no two people run their business the same way.

To help alleviate some of the pain points around client communications, availability, and managing your workload, my husband and I sought out to create a tool tailored to the needs of the custom dessert maker: My Custom Bakes.

My Custom Bakes is a web application designed to help you sell your custom baked goods and manage your custom orders. After 2 years of self funded work, we are pleased to announce that My Custom Bakes is getting ready for its soft launch on Nov. 22, 2021. Some of you will be able to use SOLELY MCB for your business, and some of you will want to use a combo of MCB with another tool. What started off as a “easier to use google forms designed for cookiers” kind of got out of control as we worked on it more and more 😉

Also important: MCB allows you AND your client to function without having to download any apps to your device. We can operate from any web browser, and we do not sell your data, in any manner, shape or form for profit.

As of this moment,  signups for My Custom Bakes are open! At this time, we are only serving bakers in the United States. If things go well and we are able to secure some funding, we hope to extend the service to additional geographies. IF you’re able to Make a Donation, we’d appreciate that. Or, please purchase a digital course or Shop with us to help fund this effort.

Here’s how to sign up:

How the Workflow is set up, in a nutshell:

  1. You set up your account and products/availability/events
  2. You have your clients visit your shop (custom URL)
  3. Your client sends you a quote request
  4. You review it to decide if you can take the order or not, and if yes, set up payment schedule, send quote back to client for approval
  5. Once the client approves the Quote, it becomes an Order, and they pay according to the schedule that you set

Creating an Account

To sign up for a My Custom Bakes account, navigate to the sign up page: https://www.mycustombakes.com/account/sign-up

You’ll be taken to a page to enter your sign up info. Your USERNAME will appear in your custom URL like: mycustombakes.com/USERNAME, so pick one accordingly. When you log in for the first time, we’ll take you through a quick set-up wizard to gather basic info about your business. Don’t worry: your answers can be updated at any time in your account settings. Once you’re done with this step, you’ll be taken to you Dashboard.

If you’d like to integrate MCB into your existing website, it’s simple to link to your custom MCB URL from your website. You can make a new menu item for it OR just embed the link on your ordering page for your clients to navigate to. We currently DO NOT support custom domains INSIDE of MCB, but if you have a domain, and would like to use MCB as your main site, you can use a domain redirect process from your domain provider to point it to your MCB URL.

Dashboard
Your dashboard is your back-end home page. This is the default page you’ll see when you log in.

As the app evolves, we’ll provide some ability to customize what you see here. For now, you can see some basic stats about your shop along with upcoming orders and quote requests. You may view your shop anytime and direct all potential clients to your custom URL (mycustombakes.com/YOURSHOPNAME). You can for example, include a link from your website to your MCB shop. 

Configure > Business
This area contains your basic business settings: name, location, payment & delivery methods, order settings + your terms/conditions (aka: contract). Always make sure to update templated verbiage so that it applies to you. 

Configure > Appearance
Use this area to customize the look of your shop: logo, banner, gallery and homepage carousel if desired.

Configure > Products
Create or edit your products on this page. This is a powerful form builder tool: you can create a product from scratch, start with a template or copy one of your existing products, using a myriad of parameters. Take your time and get to know all the parameters of creating a product. Don’t forget to list your product under “status” when it’s ready so that it’s visible to clients.

We have built in “question mark” icons that you can click on to get further info about a field in case you have a question:

Configure > Schedule
Use this area to manage your availability and events. The first time you land on this page, a pop up help window will appear, providing some basic directions on how to set and manage availability. As you receive Orders and your schedule fills up, visit this page often to reassess and update your availability.

Configure >  Images
This area houses all the images used in your shop. 

Manage > Quotes
When you receive a quote, they will appear here, along with the status. Respond to quotesbased on the response time you configured in your Business settings.  Stay on top of it to deliver the best service for your clients.

Manage > Orders
When a quote is accepted by both the baker and client, it will become an Order, and show up on your Schedule as a little delivery truck icon. If you click on the delivery truck icon on your Schedule calendar, you’ll see how many orders you have due on that day. This can help you decide if you should block your availability for that day so you don’t overbook. You may also add orders manually. 

Manage > Chats
You can manage chats with your clients here.

Manage > Account
This area manages your basic log-in information and email alert settings, in case you want to turn any notification on or off. You may also make your shop private in case you need a break.

Visit these following shops for how your shop can look: 

https://www.mycustombakes.com/demo (demo only shop)

https://www.mycustombakes.com/borderlandsbakery (currently demo shop, will be my LIVE shop)

https://www.mycustombakes.com/toadilybakeddesserts (live shop)

https://www.mycustombakes.com/thebentokitchen (live shop)

 ——————————————————–

If you’re a visual learner, we put together a casual walk through some more details about each part of the app. As we mature, we’ll continue to build out help tools.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below OR email us: support@mycustombakes.com – Please include applicable screenshots/screen recordings, and please give us about 2 business days to respond back.

Thanks for being here. If you can, please Donate or purchase a Class or merch/supplies from our shop to keep us moving forward.


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4 Comments

  1. Leanne White

    I have a website now with Weebly. Is this designed to replace my website and what about my domain name? How does this work?

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      Hi Leanne, I’m going to copy/paste the info from the blog post here that’s applicable to your questions (that way my answer stays consistent with what’s already there):

      – Some of you will be able to use SOLELY MCB for your business, and some of you will want to use a combo of MCB with another tool. What started off as a “easier to use google forms designed for cookiers” kind of got out of control as we worked on it more and more 😉
      – If you’d like to integrate MCB into your existing website, it’s simple to link to your custom MCB URL from your website. You can make a new menu item for it OR just embed the link on your ordering page for your clients to navigate to. We currently DO NOT support custom domains INSIDE of MCB, but if you have a domain, and would like to use MCB as your main site, you can use a domain redirect process from your domain provider to point it to your MCB URL.

      My recommendation is for you to get familiar with MCB first before deciding if it’s the right tool for you, it’s not for everyone and this depends on what you sell and how much you sell. It will also change over time (we hope, if we secure funding), and might be something you come back to later if it doesn’t fit your needs in its current state. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. Christin

    So far I am in LOVE! One question though, I see in the email settings that I can receive an email reminder of upcoming order pickups, but does the client receive a reminder as well? Im just trying to figure out if I need to be doing that manually or not. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing platform!

    Reply
    • Lisa He

      The client does not see this reminder, it’s for you only. You’ll want to manually coordinate pickup with your client, as that varies so much from baker to baker. In the future, we hope to introduce some scheduling functionality that will hopefully make this easier 🙂 (and thanks for giving us a shot!)

      Reply

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