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Diana Blaylock lives in Twins Falls, ID and sells home baked goods with her cottage food business, Mama's Best Bakery. Diana never intended to start a home bakery, but when she sold a few pies back in 2017, things quickly took off. Over the next few years, Diana's bakery grew to the point where she was ready to take the next step and move into a commercial kitchen. She tried to raise $20k on a popular crowdfunding site, but she ended up raising less then $1k. However, the following year, she tried crowdfunding again, except this time she sought the help of crowdfunding experts and used a different crowdfunding technique. The result? She raised over $50k! In this episode, you will not only hear how Diana raised that much money, but also what she's learned as an accidental entrepreneur, how she's managed to build the business while raising very young kids, and the many challenges she's faced along the way.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/62
Janna Paterno lives in Charleston, WV and used to sell custom decorated cookies with her cottage food business, Sweet Janna Lea. She shut down her business in 2021 after only running it for two years. It's no secret that most new businesses in any realm struggle to get off the ground. Usually cottage food entrepreneurs have challenges finding customers, or they produce a product that doesn't meet the needs of their target market. But it's the exact opposite with Janna. She always had more customers than she could handle, and that's because her cookies are literally some of the best you will ever see. A lot of new entrepreneurs believe that if they have a great product, then they'll have a successful business. But of course, there's a lot more to it than that! There are a lot of lessons in this episode. You'll learn why a cottage food business wasn't the right fit for Janna, the importance of finding balance in your business, and what someone should know when trying to make and sell custom decorated cookies.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/61
This is Part 2 of Sari Kimbell's interview. If you have heard Part 1 yet, you can listen to it here. Sari is extremely passionate about helping food entrepreneurs become more successful. After all, that's her job! Sari lives in Fort Collins, CO and owns a consulting firm called Food Business Success. She also owns the Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market. Sari's credentials are immense! Before starting her consulting business in 2016, Sari worked for Whole Foods as both a Marketing Director and a Local Vendor Success Manager. She's also managed a shared commercial kitchen, created a wholesale program for an organic farm, helped launch a restaurant, and managed a farmers market. And now, as part of her Food Business Success coaching program, she runs a successful YouTube channel, podcast, and Facebook group. Given her background, it comes as no surprise that she has a ton of amazing advice to share in this two-part episode! In this episode, Sari drop TONS of great advice about growing a food business, including pricing, choosing products, branding, selling wholesale, scaling up, find a commissary kitchen, setting goals, and much more!Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/60
Sari Kimbell is extremely passionate about helping food entrepreneurs become more successful. After all, that's her job! Sari lives in Fort Collins, CO and owns a consulting firm called Food Business Success. She also owns the Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market. Sari's credentials are immense! Before starting her consulting business in 2016, Sari worked for Whole Foods as both a Marketing Director and a Local Vendor Success Manager. She's also managed a shared commercial kitchen, created a wholesale program for an organic farm, helped launch a restaurant, and managed a farmers market. And now, as part of her Food Business Success coaching program, she runs a successful YouTube channel, podcast, and Facebook group. Given her background, it comes as no surprise that she has a ton of amazing advice to share in this two-part episode! In this episode, Sari talks about the importance of having a strong "why", what type of mindset you need to be successful, and what you should focus on when starting or growing a food business. And definitely don't miss Part 2 of this interview, where Sari digs into the nuts and bolts of building and scaling a food business.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/59
It all started with a vision of living off the land. Back in 2016, Beatrice Lattimore moved her family into the countryside to rediscover their roots and start a farm. What began as five mostly-empty acres in Deland, FL is now a fully-functioning farm with animals, produce, and a cottage food business called Beatz Sweets. Beatrice uses Florida's cottage food law to sell value-added products at farmers markets, events, and -- most importantly -- from the farm itself. In this episode, she shares what it has taken to make their vision a reality.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/58
Scot & Christine Steenson have one of the craziest startup stories that you'll ever hear! They used to live in Paradise, CA, and as you may know, their entire town was destroyed back in 2018's Camp Fire, which was California's deadliest and most destructive wildfire in history. Scot & Christine now live in Forest Ranch, CA and sell roasted coffee with their cottage food business, Road Roaster Coffee Company. After losing their home and nearly all of their physical possessions, they had to start over. And that's exactly what they did! Christine had long dreamed of opening a coffee shop. So they decided to try it. After all, why not? They literally had nothing else to lose. And as you'll see, they actually had a whole lot to gain! Their coffee business quickly took off and they have been going pedal to the metal ever since. With almost $50,000 of sales last year, they are one of the most successful cottage food businesses in California. In this episode, you'll hear how they created a very unique brand that flies in the face of traditional coffee marketing, and how their mission driven approach has allowed them to become very involved in their local community. You'll also learn what it really means to be living in paradise.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/57
Jen Holmer El-Azzi & Danny El-Azzi live in Austin, TX and sell sourdough crackers with their business, The Sourdough Project. Most food entrepreneurs have to pound the pavement to get stores interested in selling their products. But not Jen & Danny! Almost from day one, they had wholesalers knocking at their door. Their situation is quite unique, as is their product. Although they started selling from home under Texas' cottage food law, they quickly started renting a commercial kitchen to take on wholesale accounts. Now they have 50+ wholesale accounts, plus sales at farmers markets, and they quit their jobs to focus on the business. In this episode, you will hear about their growing pains, branding strategies, business partnerships, and what makes their crackers so unique and special.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/56
Jennie Gibson lives in Jacksonville, FL and sells custom-decorated cake pops with her cottage food business, The Cake Pop Shop. Jennie already shared some advice on Episode 50, but in this episode, she shares her own incredible cottage food journey. Simply put, Jennie has one of the most successful home-based cake pop businesses in the entire country! But her journey started with humble (and unlikely) beginnings, including a bad car accident that left her permanently disabled, and a special needs son that gave her the dose of inspiration that she needed. However, through hard work and persistence, Jennie has overcome many challenges and built up her cake pop empire over time. In just over a decade, she has: Landed many large orders of over 1,000 cake pops eachCreated cake pops for many major organizations, including the NFL & Jacksonville JaguarsSold elaborate cake pops for $180 per dozenAccrued over 40,000 followers on Instagram It hasn't always been easy, but it's definitely been rewarding. In this episode, you'll hear about what keeps Jennie going, and what's she's learned along the way!Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/55
Jill's cottage food business journey is nothing short of remarkable! Jill Baethge lives in Plano, TX and sells unique chocolate piñata cakes with her cottage food business, Kaboom Chocolaka. Ever since starting it in 2018, her business has exploded, and she has now created an entire product line for Michaels stores across the nation! Yes, you read that right. Now anyone can buy her molds from the store and make her chocolate piñatas themselves! Jill's success is what so many entrepreneurs dream of. In fact, she can hardly believe it herself. "I just feel like I'm still dreaming," says Jill. How did she go from small cottage food business to nationally-recognized brand in just a few short years? That's what you'll learn in this two-part interview. If you haven't heard it yet, go back to the last episode (Part 1), where Jill shares how she built her chocolate piñata business from the ground up, including the many challenges along the way. In this episode (Part 2), Jill shares how she created a product line of chocolate piñata molds for Michaels stores across the nation.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/54
Jill's cottage food business journey is nothing short of remarkable! Jill Baethge lives in Plano, TX and sells unique chocolate piñata cakes with her cottage food business, Kaboom Chocolaka. Ever since starting it in 2018, her business has exploded, and she has now created an entire product line for Michaels stores across the nation! Yes, you read that right. Now anyone can buy her molds from the store and make her chocolate piñatas themselves! Jill's success is what so many entrepreneurs dream of. In fact, she can hardly believe it herself. "I just feel like I'm still dreaming," says Jill. How did she go from small cottage food business to nationally-recognized brand in just a few short years? That's what you'll learn in this two-part interview. In this episode (Part 1), Jill shares how she built her chocolate piñata business from the ground up, including the many challenges along the way. And in the next episode (Part 2), Jill shares how she created a product line of chocolate piñata molds for Michaels stores across the nation.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/53
Amie Anderson & Jamie Krake live in Ypsilanti, MI and sell donuts (and other fun creations) with their cottage food business, It's A Good Day Donuts. Amie & Jamie planned to run a campground cafe in the summer of 2020, but the pandemic threw a huge wrench into their plans. "It was a disaster", says Amie. But during that effort they started making donuts, and people loved them! They sold them from home using Michigan's cottage food law, and they haven't looked back since. Although they've sold thousands of donuts with their business so far, making money isn't their primary goal. Rather, their mission is to spread joy, not just to their local community, but within their family as well. Their business has been a source of fun during some very challenging times. "Donuts saved my life", says Jamie.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/52
In this episode, I take you behind-the-scenes of my podcast and share some of what I've learned over the course of producing the first 50 episodes. The cottage food entrepreneurs on the show have really impressed me, and I share the top 8 traits that they have in common. I also describe what it takes to actually produce the show, including my process for finding guests. And towards the end, I reveal my #1 favorite episode from the first 50, and more importantly, why it was my favorite. There's a good lesson in there! Finally, I share a new-ish direction that I will be taking the podcast as we head into the next 50 episodes!Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/what-i-learned-from-50-podcast-episodes/
In this special 50th episode of The Forrager Podcast, we hear from the experts! All of the guests on this episode run Facebook groups that support cottage food entrepreneurs. In total, the owners of these Facebook groups represent over 125,000 members! On this episode, each guest shares a quick tip that they have for someone starting or growing a cottage food business. Facebook groups are the glue that holds the cottage food industry together. They are fantastic resources for entrepreneurs to find support and connect with each other. Those who run these Facebook groups spend a lot of time supporting and maintaining their groups, oftentimes behind the scenes and without compensation. This episode not only contains tons of valuable advice for cottage food business owners, but also recognizes many of the individuals that help support the growing cottage food industry.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/50
Tracy Mancuso lives in Central Point, OR and sells customized wedding & birthday cakes with her cottage food business, Sugar Rush. Initially, Tracy's passion for cake making started as a hobby in 2010, but quickly grew into a business as more and more people requested her creations. In 2013, Tracy joined forces with another home baker, and that's when their business really took off. Initially they used Oregon's law for domestic kitchens to sell their home baked goods legally. With two young children, one of whom is autistic, working from her home was especially important. When her business partner left the business in 2019, Tracy switched to using Oregon's newer (and simpler) cottage food law to run her business from her home. Despite many challenges and changes along the way, Tracy's business has continued to grow, and she says that she can barely keep up! She has thousands of social media followers and shares the strategies she's used to market her cake business, build a good reputation in her local community, and bring a little bit of joy into her customers' lives.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/49
Anthony Rosemond, along with his wife Yami, live in Phelan, CA and sell French macarons online with their bakery, Pastreez. Back in 2017, Anthony and Yami wanted to move from France to California, and they applied for an investor visa to do it. However, they only had three months to prove that they had a successful business on their hands! As graduates of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris, and they started by selling French pastries at farmers markets in Southern California, and quickly learned that they should focus on macarons. From there they transitioned to selling macarons online and delivering them nationwide, and eventually built their own commercial kitchen. Now they sell hundreds of macarons each day, and they have amassed 113,000 Instagram followers! While Yami has focused on the baking and production side of the bakery, Anthony has focused on the business and marketing side of things. He has become an expert in ecommerce, SEO, email marketing, social media, etc. In this episode, you will learn their formula for success, which involves listening to customers, creating a great customer experience, constantly trying new things, and focusing on what's working well.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/48
Most people would have given up by now. But Whitney Singletary will do whatever it takes to turn her vision into a reality, no matter what stands in her way! Whitney lives in Berkeley, CA and sells nut-flavored cookies with her cottage food business, Nuttin' Butter Cookies. While other bakeries avoid nuts due to allergen concerns, Whitney has done the opposite by focusing on customers who love nuts! Her cookies are very unique and feature 14 different types of nuts. Whitney started by selling at events in her area, but she really grew her business once she started selling from her driveway five days a week. She became so successful that she moved into a storefront in 2019, only to have the pandemic force her back into her driveway a few months later! Despite facing many obstacles along the way, Whitney has persisted to prove to her two kids that a single mom can follow her dreams and run a successful bakery!Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/47
Daniela Zographos lives in Anderson, SC and sells custom-decorated and custom-sculpted cake pops with her cottage food business, Yumsies Cake Pops. But Daniela hasn't always made cake pops. In fact, when she started her business in 2013, she had never made a cake pop in her life! Daniela used to run a typical home bakery, selling custom cakes, custom cookies, etc etc. But now, Daniela ONLY sells cake pops. That's it. She simplified her business model to make it easier to be a stay-at-home mom, but niching down to just cake pops had a surprise side-benefit: it made her business more successful! She now has a thriving business with 3k Instagram followers. And because she has full-time mom duties during the day, she does most of her baking at night after her kids go to bed. Daniela shares a ton of info in this episode. She shares the surprising way she found customers when she moved to a new area, the surprising way she makes her cake pops, the surprising way she offers pickup outside of her home, and the surprising way she gets almost all of her ingredients for free! And if all that weren't surprising enough, she also managed to start development of her city's first shared commercial kitchen space. How she finds the time to do it all, we will never know!Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/46
It all started with a dream of opening a brick-and-mortar bakery... someday. But that dream turned into something much bigger than a single bakery! Shelley Erickson lives in Big Lake, MN, and although she does have a small cottage food business of her own, most of her time is spent supporting the cottage food movement in her state. Shelley spent 5 long years campaigning to get Minnesota's first cottage food law passed back in 2015, and then she started an association for cottage food producers in her state, which for many years was the only cottage food association in the country. Most recently, she helped start and pass an amendment to improve Minnesota's cottage food law, which was no easy task. Of all the states, Minnesota has some of the greatest opposition to cottage food laws, but fortunately they have people like Shelley to help counterbalance it. In this episode, you will learn what it takes to change the cottage food law in your state, and you will be amazed at all that Shelley has had to go through to help Minnesota create a thriving cottage food community!Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/45
You know those kettle corn vendors you see at fairs that pump out mass quantities of popcorn, and make it live on-site? That's what Payshee Felt and Steve Bivans now do (except in a not-so-generic way) in St. Paul, MN with their popcorn business, Payshee's Popcorn. But they didn't start that way. They actually used their cottage food law to prepackage dozens of bags of homemade popcorn for their local farmers market each week. And they did that from home for two years before they were ready to make the leap to some pretty-pricey equipment for popping tons of popcorn live at events. They have gone from making just a few hundred dollars each weekend, to now selling over $5k of popcorn in a weekend! Initially, Payshee romanticized her vision for the business, imagining herself custom-flavoring each bag for a customer in real-time, and serving it from a Cretors wagon. That idealistic vision not only delayed their business, but also cost them a pretty-penny before they realized that they should just keep it simple and start from home.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/44
In 2011, Kourtney had romantic ideas about starting a pie business and selling at the local farmers market. But life (jobs, family, kids, etc) got in the way and it wasn't until 2019 that her dream became reality. Kourtney Rojas lives in Anaheim, CA and sells fruit pies, chess pies, and other pastries with her cottage food business, With Love, From Scratch. After 8 years of selling pies sporadically to family and friends, she finally decided to turn her pie hobby into a real business. She entered a pie contest, started posting high-quality photos on Instagram, and she's never looked back! After only two years, she has amassed over 3,000 followers on Instagram, and she now sells over 100 pies per week! As a stay-at-home mom, she has learned how to say "no" and turn down opportunities that aren't a good fit for her. Having a home business has given Kourtney the freedom to adapt her work life to her family, not the other way around. But she's also not afraid to admit that finding the right balance between the two is often a struggle. Although her business journey has required flexibility, patience, and constant learning, Kourtney explains why it has unfolded in exactly the right way.Get full show notes and transcript here: https://forrager.com/podcast/43
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