The gendering of cupcakes.Posted: 01/10/2012
So I’m competing in the Enterprize Canada Business Plan Competition on Friday. I received feedback on my business plan lastnight and to be honest, I was a little crushed. I was expecting some honest critique, and well, it was brutally honest. I’m fine with that. Just means that I’ll have to nail the presentation aspect (and bribery aka cupcakes) of the competition.
But there was one comment that really stuck with me. In my original business plan proposal which I had sent in last month to qualify for the competition, I was very general and vague (my mistake; dude, I was a week over the deadline — extension granted); HOWEVER, everything is backed up in my actual presentation with greater detail. Anywho, in my market research component, I stated that “Desserts are stereotypically catered to females”. I acknowledged this. This is a contributing factor as to why a large majority of my clients are of the female population. In response to this, the judge(s) in the qualifying round said: “It may be that Dolce Delights has been marketing itself using feminine designs, which is in fact alienating a large portion of their potential market“. I’m uncomfortable with this. As a lover of pink and ribbons and “cutesy” designs, the brand is reflecting who I am, what I want my business to look like, and how it will be represented. In no way am I trying to discriminate my products from any gender. For god’s sake, I’m a Gender Studies minor. I am well aware of gender issues, equality, and stereotyping. I do not believe by changing my branding to the colour blue and splashing Hot Wheels (haha aging myself here) silhouettes will garner any prospective male clients.
And WTF does “feminine designs” even refer to? I’m just curious to hear a possible answer to this. Or, in general, how to better market Dolce Delights to the male audience. I think introducing more “manly” (and I say that in quotations for a reason) flavours like the maple bacon one I did a couple days ago is a better approach to be more male-inclusive. Again, this is a product of stereotyping again which can be equally detrimental, which I hate doing.
Also, where/what databases can I use to actually conduct and gather concrete statistics on cupcakes to further support my argument that there is a need for my product? Art major here. Seeking business help.