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!
Sarah Thongnopneua lives in San Anselmo, CA and sells very unique and amazing cupcakes with her cottage food business, Baked Blooms.
These are some of the most incredible cupcakes you have ever seen! She calls them “bouCAKES”, meaning cupcakes that look just like a bouquet of flowers.
As you can see from her Instagram account, they really do look like a real bouquets of flowers!
Sarah’s incredible talent has landed her on television twice, including appearing on a Food Network competition that she won.
She has over 23,000 Instagram followers, but what’s especially interesting about Sarah’s story is that when she decided to start her business back in 2016, she knew absolutely nothing about decorating cupcakes like these.
To start her cottage food bakery, she took a decorating class, practiced for a couple of months, and then started selling her cupcakes.
And now she has expanded out of her home into her own commercial kitchen.
In this episode, she shares her amazing journey of creating a business that is far more successful than she could have ever imagined!
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.
WOW… what a year it has been for our growing cottage food industry!
As I wrote about last year, the pandemic really highlighted the need for people to be able to sell their homemade food.
And in 2021, states responded in a BIG way! This year, more states improved their laws for selling homemade food than in any other year in history.
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!
Last week, on September 16th, 2021, California’s governor signed AB 1144, a cottage food bill that will improve California’s cottage food law.
It is the last of 17 cottage food initiatives that have passed in 2021 (the most of any year, by far).
This amendment was long overdue, as California had not amended their law since 2013!
But did I ever think I would be the one spearheading CA’s next cottage food law improvement? Definitely not!
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.
2020 was not just a year full of changes for the nation and world.
It was also a year which changed the cottage food industry… sometimes for the worse, but mostly for the better.
There were a number of important storylines this year, and surprisingly, many of them were not pandemic-related.
In this year-end recap, I’ll give my take on the major events of 2020 that related to the cottage food industry.
It all started with the wrong baking pan. Back in 2014, Nicole Pomije couldn’t find a cookie sheet in her home kitchen, so she made her chocolate chip cookies in a mini muffin tin instead.
And with that, the idea for The Cookie Cups was born: cookies that look like mini cupcakes. Nicole started her business out of her home kitchen in 2015, and she has now expanded into two brick-and-mortar storefronts near Minneapolis, MN.
Although it might seem like Nicole’s unique idea set her up for success, it’s more likely that her many years of marketing, PR, and management experience played a much larger role.
While the cookie-in-cupcake-form is still at the core of her business, Nicole has now expanded well beyond selling cookies. She’s managed to put all kinds of food items into mini cupcake form, such as tacos, mac & cheese, pizza, etc. She now caters events, hosts birthday parties, teaches cooking classes, and has most recently created at-home baking kits in response to the pandemic.
Nicole talks about the importance of sharing your story, managing time, starting simple, building a local following, and constantly being willing to try new things.
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.
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?