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The Burnt Out Baker with Jenni Reher

Many prospective bakers dream about having a brick-and-mortar bakery someday, but few recognize the not-so-glamourous truth about what it takes to actually get there.

Jenni Reher lives in Mead, CO and started a vegan & gluten-free donut business named Rustic Donut back in 2015.

Initially she used her home kitchen under Colorado’s cottage food law, but eventually moved into a shared commercial kitchen in Loveland, CO so she could wholesale her donuts to coffee shops.

Over the course of 4 years, Jenni grew her bakery into a substantial business, with about 20 wholesale accounts that re-ordered every single week.

But then in 2019, when her business was doing better than ever, she decided to sell it to a vegan restaurant.

Why did she sell? Why did she want to quit? Why didn’t she pursue her initial dream of owning a brick-and-mortar?

In this episode, you’ll not only learn about great strategies about growing a vegan, donut, and/or wholesale bakery, but you’ll also get an honest look at what NOT to do so that you don’t end up burnt out at the height of your business.

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!

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.

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.

A Little Bit of Joy with Tracy Mancuso

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.

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!

Starting A Cottage Food Business – Limitations

If you want to start a home food business, there are a number of potential limitations that you should be aware of. Learn about the different limitations that states may include in their cottage food laws.

Selling at Market: Tips to Return Home “Sold Out”

Many states’ cottage food laws may limit sales to public events like farmers’ markets, fairs or other community gatherings. Rather than seeing your sales venue potential as half empty, view it as half full. This blog will offer ideas on how you can boost your sales at farmers’ markets.

Everyone Starts Somewhere

Have you thought of starting your own food business? Learn about what it takes to get started… you might need less than you think!

Do You Have An Email List?

If you are selling at a local market and are merely collecting money, then you are missing out! If you want to give your business a huge boost, try this.

The Price Is Wrong

Let’s say you’re thinking of selling your homemade goodies at a local market this summer. How will you set the price?

The Most Important Ingredient In Your Business

Are you using the most important ingredient in your business? If you are using it, then you know how powerful it can be; and if you are not using it, then simply put, you are not leveraging your business’ most important asset!

Build For Sale, Not For Scale

I’m a dreamer. I can see my fudge business taking off… I can see it on store shelves, I can see huge batches being made, and I can see that I often get a little ahead of myself! With a new year comes renewed energy for our homemade food businesses. Maybe you’re looking forward to… [read more]

Is A Cookie Business A Good Idea?

Store-bought cookies are pathetic and everyone raves about yours. Your friends keeps saying that you need to sell them, but are they right? Why do some food businesses succeed, and others fail?

Stop Worrying About Your Sales Limit

People often wonder if the cottage food laws are too limiting. Should they use it to start their homemade food business? Is it worth their time?

Status of the Cottage Food Industry

I recently received a few questions from Sid, a student at the University of Tampa who’s doing some research on the cottage food industry. The questions are high-level enough that I realized they’d make a good blog post, so I’m sharing my answers here.