Updated: Jul 15
If you're looking for a profitable way to get closer with existing and potential customers and provide a fun activity for your local community with your cookie decorating business, then classes are the perfect thing! Hosting Cookie Decorating Classes was one of the biggest catalysts for growth in my own home cookie business. It allowed me to connect with my existing customers and meet new people who were interested in taking classes as well as ordering cookies from my business. Organizing, marketing, and teaching a class can feel really overwhelming especially when you're balancing all that with existing orders, family responsibilities, and trying to find time to eat something that isn't coffee (I see you, sis. Eat some real food while you're reading this). Like any new activity in your business, I think it's helpful to start slow and build from there. You only need a few things to host a great cookie class, and you know I have tips, resources, and links for you to make it all a little less stressful! All you need to host a class is a place, cookies and icing, and students!
You Need a Place to Host Your Class
Don't stress too much about this part. I hosted my first class in my dining room! All you need in a place to have your class is a table and chairs. Really, that's it! A few places you might consider are: local recreation buildings, small event venues, private rooms at local restaurants, church fellowship halls, local craft shops, coffee shops, and showrooms for local businesses that might be able to accommodate seating. Anytime you can host with a business who can benefit from more customers being in their space to see what they do, you may be able to work out a special rate that benefits both of you. I was so blessed to get to work with a local small event venue and home decor shop. Watson House, where I hosted my classes, was the perfect location for a cookie class and my students were able to browse the beautiful gifts and home decor in the shop while we were waiting to start and finishing up the class. Working with local establishments like this helps you make connections and in my experience, learn so much about running a business!
You Need Cookies and Icing
There's no set number of cookies you need to make in a class for it to be successful. Remember to set a time limit for your class and be realistic about how many cookies your students (who will likely be beginners) can create in that time frame. I think anywhere from 3-6 cookies is perfect for a 1.5-2 hour class. Starting with a color palette before designing any cookies can be really helpful as well. If you're like me, those creative juices start flowing and before you know it you're mixing 7 colors for each person to decorate with in class. Start by choosing 3-4 colors. One or two of those colors will likely be a neutral like black or white and the others can be based on the theme and season. Then, challenge yourself to design your cookie set with as few icing consistencies as possible using only those colors. If you want to add a little more dazzle to your design, consider making royal icing transfers in advance that will be dry and ready for your students to place on their cookies. It makes a big impact with minimal effort. If you'd like a little help with royal icing transfers you can watch my video about them here and download the free royal icing transfers for all seasons printable here. Make sure to take lots of cute photos of this set for when you're marketing your cookie class. When bagging icing, I like to use 5-6 cups and place my bags over the cups to fill all at once. I'll stack 5-6 bags at a time on one cup so I can keep on rolling. I also mix my icing to the right consistency in the mixer then divide it in large bowls of specific color before scooping it into individual bags using an ice cream scoop to help me portion the icing. When you're sealing a ton of bags at once for a class or DIY kits, you NEED this automatic bag sealer. It makes life so much easier. You just pop the bag in and out and it's securely tied and ready to go!
You Need Students
You won't have very much fun if you're teaching a cookie class to an empty room, so students are a must. How do you get people to your class though? This involves marketing and getting the word out and having a ticket sales system. Again, I know this sounds overwhelming, but we are going to keep it simple. Your ticket system can be as simple as a jotform that you share on your Facebook page (you can also link this to a facebook event) you can host ticket sales on platforms like eventbrite as well. All you need is some way for customers to sign up and pay for the class. Then, you'll need to tell people about the class! I've ran give-aways for class tickets in the past that required entrants to share to their own pages which worked really well. Pull out all the usual social media stops and get the word out about your class however you like best!
I hope this post helps you hit the ground running and take steps toward hosting your next class. if you'd like some extra help with the planning, I've created the new Cookie Class Planning Guide PDF that includes step by step checklists and organizational tools for each phase of the class planning process, so you don't miss a thing! The guide helps you keep track of the planning process from finding a location, planning the details of the class, marketing your class, what to do while hosting, and how to follow up with students. I've also included the printable piping practice page and tip-less piping bag tip cutting graphic which you can print and provide to your students to make their experience even better!
Also, if you'd like to host a class this Christmas, but would like to take a few of those to do's off your list, I've also created a bundle including the planning guide as well as already made for you decorating guides and cookie templates so you can bake, print, and teach. You don't have to take time to design an all new set. Pick and choose from the cookies that are already designed especially for teaching a cookie class!