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Can A Product Be Too Good? with Janna Paterno

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.

Small Is Beautiful with Eric Sorensen

Eric Sorensen’s home bakery business may be small, but that doesn’t mean it’s insignificant!

Eric lives in Pullman, WA and sells homemade bread, bagels, and pretzels with his cottage food business, Clumsy Crow Baking.

Unlike most bakers, Eric doesn’t sell throughout the year, or even throughout the summer. Instead, he takes frequent sailing trips for a month at a time, and only boots up the baking business when he’s back home. And when he returns, his customers are ready!

He started selling his bread back in 2017, and grew his customer base by selling at winter markets. But when the pandemic hit in 2020, he switched to selling solely from his driveway, and he hasn’t looked back. He simply puts the bread on his driveway for customers to pickup, and then heads back inside to take a nap!

In addition to being an avid baker, Eric is also an avid learner. In this episode he shares many resources for learning about home baking, and also shares many cost-saving hacks for running a home bakery without going into debt.

He is also an advocate for local grain economies, and shares what he is doing to help get great, sustainable bread into more people’s hands.

Launching A Keto Bakery From Home with Sari Stevenson

Most food businesses go to a lot of effort marketing their products to customers, but not Sari!

Ever since Sari Stevenson opened The Keto Bakery Box in 2018, the demand for her products has been relentless. In that first year, she often had lines of customers waiting at her home to pick up their orders!

She started her business under California’s cottage food law, but she hit the $50,000 sales limit in less than a year, at which point she transitioned from her home kitchen to a commercial kitchen.

She now bakes her products in Costa Mesa, CA and sells most of them through a number of stores in Southern California.

Her secret? She spent many months (and countless test batches) creating keto-friendly baked foods that actually taste great! At the same time, the keto diet was becoming increasingly popular in her area, and nobody else was focused on selling baked goods like hers.

Sari is not only an expert in everything keto, but she is a certified ketogenic living health coach. In this episode, she not only shares her business journey, but also describes some of the common misconceptions of the increasingly popular keto diet trend.

Putting Yourself Out There with Beverly Clutter

It all started with a Facebook page. Back in 2018, Beverly Clutter decided to start showcasing her decorated cookies on social media, but she had no idea that it would soon turn into a business!

Beverly lives in Fairmont, WV and sells custom decorated sugar cookies, cakes, and other baked goods with her cottage food business, WV Cookie Jar.

At the recent national cottage food conference, Beverly earned the top spot on the leaderboard as the most active attendee (out of 900+ attendees), and her submissions into the photo contest were equally impressive.

Whether it is posting on social media, being hyper engaged at a conference, or teaching decorating classes to her local community, Beverly consistently puts herself (and her business) out there and focuses on serving others.

The result? A successful side business that has grown organically, brings her plenty of joy and freedom, and provides her family with some extra income.

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!

Wyoming Sets A New Standard For Food Freedom

It’s July 1st, 2020, and for the first time in over 7 years, I’ve added a new rank to Forrager’s map. I named it “freedom”, and Wyoming has the honor of being the first state to reach this status!

As of today, Wyoming’s new amendment (HB 84) to their food freedom law takes effect, and it’s a big one. Because although their 2015 law has always been the best food freedom law in the country, truthfully, it still lagged behind some of the best cottage food laws in some ways.

Selling Spicy Peanuts in Breweries with Kevin Martino

Kevin Martino started his cottage food business, Chef Kev’s Specialty Foods, when California created its cottage food law in 2013. He wholesales flavored peanuts to a number of breweries and hardware stores in Concord, CA, and also sells online.

Kevin was actually one of the first cottage food business owners that I ever met, and it’s cool to see how far he has come with his business over the years.

Kevin talks about what he’s learned through producing and wholesaling spicy peanuts, how he’s grown his business so far, and what he’s planning for in the future. I also share my insight on why an LLC might not be the right fit for him at this point.