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!
Running a successful custom cake business is a lot of work. Running a popular Etsy shop is also a lot of work. And taking care of young kids full-time is definitely a lot of work.
Meet April Spencer, who has managed to do all three AT THE SAME TIME!
April is a cake decorator and sugar artist who lives in Harrod, OH and sells impressive custom cakes and lollipops with her cottage food business, Spencer’s Sugar Shop.
In addition to running a very successful custom cake business from home, April also rented a commercial kitchen to sell her custom lollipops on Etsy and ship them across the nation. She’s currently put the Etsy business on pause due to the mass influx of weddings recently, but at one point she was shipping out over 30 custom lollipop orders per week!
As if running two businesses and a young family weren’t enough, April also manages to put a strong focus on her social media presence, and she now has thousands of social media followers.
How does she do it all? Nobody knows for sure, but listen in and learn how she went from knowing NOTHING about cake decorating to becoming one of the most popular bakers in her area in just a few short years.
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.
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!
We often hear the same entrepreneurial advice: Start simple. Start small. Start a side hustle. Don’t throw all your eggs in one basket.
But when Debbie George started her custom decorated cookie business, she threw caution to the wind and took the opposite approach: go big or go home!
Except that Debbie pulled off the rare feat of going big AND going home! At the beginning of 2020, she started her cottage food business, Cookie Mill, from her home kitchen in Gilbert, AZ.
For starters, she bought seemingly every kitchen gadget or appliance available. A cookie oven, industrial mixer, 3D printer, edible printer, silhouette machine, dehydrator, dough sheeter, projector, stainless steel counters/racks, etc… all told, she invested in about $20k of equipment in the first year.
And most notably, she bought this equipment before she even needed it.
And you know what? It worked! In that first year, she sold over 10,000 cookies!
This episode starts off with a crazy story about how she attended Cookie Con, and by the end, you’ll see a consistent trend of how Debbie’s positive mindset allows things to work in her favor.
It’s not just positive thinking though. Debbie is an expert networker, and she shares some great tips on how to network with other businesses.
Unlike most custom cookie makers, Debbie sells mostly to businesses by focusing on a B2B model (business to business), instead of catering to weddings, birthdays, graduations, etc with a more typical B2C model (business to consumer).
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.
When it comes to creating custom decorated cookies, Tina is very prepared. She owns a plethora of cookie cutters (including over 500 just for Christmas), and amazingly, she is always looking to buy more!
Tina lives in Saginaw, MI and has run her popular cookie business, the Chunky Chicken Cookie Company, for the past three years. Whether she is designing cookies or naming chickens, her creativity shines through.
Tina talks about how she manages to decorate hundreds of cookies each week, as well as pricing, resources, and what she’s learned over the years. She also shares her philosophy about putting life onto cookies to make the world a happier place.