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Rolling In Cookie Dough with Amy Wong & Lawrance Combs

Amy Wong & Lawrance Combs live in Cupertino, CA and sell massive 6 ounce cookies, which they call “pudges”, with their bakery, Batch 22.

Amy and Lawrance started their Instagram-only bakery at the beginning of the pandemic, and they put a lot of strategy into their marketing and launch efforts. And those efforts have paid off in a big way!

They now have an avid following of people who can’t seem to get enough of their incredible cookies, and their business is growing extremely fast.

They recently hosted their own Investor Day to raise money for moving to their own storefront, and they raised over $150k!

In this episode, you’ll learn about their unique and fascinating business journey!

How To Build A Food Business (And Life) That You Love with Sari Kimbell – Part 2

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!

Rising From The Ashes with Scot & Christine Steenson

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.

When Demand Exceeds Supply with Jen Holmer El-Azzi & Danny El-Azzi

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.

Creating A Smash Hit with Jill Baethge – Part 2

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.

Creating A Smash Hit with Jill Baethge – Part 1

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.

Top Business Tips For Cottage Food Entrepreneurs

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.

How To Sell French Macarons Online with Anthony Rosemond

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.

Mom By Day, Baker By Night with Daniela Zographos

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!

The Resilient Baker with Justina Rucinski

In 2019, Justina Rucinski was sexually assaulted in her home in Burlington, IA when a supposed client came to pay for a cookie order. That traumatic event not only forever changed her life, but has also changed cottage food laws around the country.

Justina now lives in San Antonio, TX and continues to sell custom decorated cookies and cakes with her cottage food business, SweetEms.

After her horrific experience, she came very close to shutting down her business. But with massive support from bakers around the world, she has both resurrected it and become one of the most popular cottage food bakers in the United States!

In addition to her business success, Justina has become an advocate for the safety of all home bakers. Because of her story, many states no longer require cottage food producers to put their home address on their product labels.

In this emotional episode, Justina shares how the cottage food community helped lift her out of utter darkness, so that she could once again continue running the business that she loves so much!

Chocolates That Almost Sell Themselves with Anne Reist

Anne’s chocolates certainly make an impression! It’s easy to see why her truffles instantly captivate potential customers.

Anne Reist lives in Holladay, UT and sells hand-painted chocolates with her confection business, The Chocolate Palette.

Anne built her business from her home kitchen using Utah’s cottage food law (not their food freedom law), and recently expanded by building a commercial kitchen into her home.

Through mostly word-of-mouth marketing and a very strong brand, she has grown a following of loyal customers fairly quickly!

Turning Up The Heat with Nathan & Nicole Parchman

The Parchmans weren’t trying to start a cottage food business. Back in 2012, little did they know that their small garden of tomatoes and peppers had the seeds for so much potential!

Nathan & Nicole Parchman live in O’Fallon, IL and sell salsa, pickles, and sauces with their business, Nitro Family Foods.

After strong demand from family, friends, and (sometimes) complete strangers, they started selling “Nitro Salsa” at their local farmers market in 2019. And they haven’t looked back since!

Despite working fulltime jobs plus significant side jobs, as well as raising a family, the Parchmans somehow manage to find time to produce and sell over 200 jars of salsa and pickles each week!

In addition to the farmers market, they now also wholesale to stores and are in the process of building their own brick-and-mortar commercial kitchen and storefront.

In this episode, you will learn what makes this dynamic duo so successful!

How To Build An Instagram-worthy Food Business with Safeera Inayath

When Safeera Inayath immigrated to the United States from India back in 2010, she had never baked a cake in her life. Now cakes ARE her life, and she has over 10,000 Instagram followers!

Safeera lives in Prior Lake MN, and sells custom cakes, macarons, and other baked goods with her cottage food business, Sugardust & Sprinkles.

Aside from creating amazingly elegant and high-end baked goods, Safeera’s food photos really stand out. Her photography looks truly professional, even though she takes all of her photos with a smartphone.

By investing in photography skills and focusing on Instagram, her business has taken off. Brands and organizations have contacted her with a variety of money-making opportunities, including teaching, promoting a brand’s products, and even designing new products.

Crushing It With Caramel Corn with Kathy Sing

Kathy Sing started her caramel corn business 7 years ago, thinking it would just be a fun hobby for about a year or so.

Well, here we are 7 years later, and Kathy’s Kernels in Visalia, CA is definitely not a hobby. Kathy is busier than ever, and she did almost $50k of sales last year!

Kathy’s treats would sell very well at farmers markets and local events, but unlike most cottage food entrepreneurs, she skipped over those and went straight into selling through retail stores.

After just one year, she was already selling in 15 stores!

How did she do it? What does it feel like to make $50k worth of treats from home? Kathy breaks it all down for us in this episode.

Bold Branding & Even Bolder Spice Blends with Jennifer Knox

As a creative writer and published poet, Jennifer Knox was never in it for the money. But when she made $6,000 in one weekend from selling her salt blends, she knew she was on to something!

Jennifer sells unique, preservative-free spice blends with her business, Saltlickers, which she runs from a commercial kitchen in her home in Nevada, IA.

Jennifer’s branding is fearless and unforgettable. Each of her salt or sugar blends have a creative product name like Das Bigfoot, Queen of Tarts, or Herky Perky.

Although her marketing skills spark people’s interest, it’s the products themselves that keep customers coming back again and again.

After using her home kitchen for many years, Jennifer and her husband converted their basement into a commercial kitchen so that they could sell in retail stores and ship their products nationwide.

And in 2020, although Jennifer’s farmers market closed down due to the pandemic, she used email marketing to stay in touch with her fanbase and keep on selling.

How To Start An Eco-Friendly & Socially Responsible Cookie Business with Barry Sherman

For Barry Sherman and his life partner, Scott, their cookie business is about a lot more than the cookies!

Since 2018, Barry and Scott have run their eco-friendly and socially-conscious cookie business, Urban Bakers, in Tampa Bay, FL.

Initially they started from home due to Scott being diagnosed with early onset of Parkinson’s Disease, but they quickly expanded to a commercial kitchen.

Their dense quarter-pound cookies are very unique. They come individually-wrapped in compostable bags with compostable labels, and the quality of the ingredients is top-notch. They also come in a variety of flavors, including root beer float, piña colada, and spicy dark chocolate chili.

In addition to operating their business as sustainably as possible, they also give back by donating a portion of each sale to a different charity each month.

Barry talks about the triumphs, challenges, and surprises of running a high-end drop cookie business, and what he’s learned along the way.