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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.

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.

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!

Blending Coffee & Business with Jim & Crystal Whitmarsh

A few months before Jim & Crystal Whitmarsh were expecting their first child, they started roasting coffee beans at home with a $20 popcorn popper. At that time, little did they know what their new hobby would grow into!

Jim & Crystal live in Kasson, MN and sell small-batch roasted specialty coffee with their business, Trail Creek Coffee Roasters.

They initially leveraged Minnesota’s cottage food law to start and grow their business from home, and after a couple of years, they moved into a brick-and-mortar storefront to expand their business.

Although their loyal customers rave about their coffee, it’s likely their continued marketing efforts that have had a greater impact on their business. They are constantly finding new and creative ways to collaborate with other businesses and organizations, and then they showcase those collaborations through social media.

A far cry from their initial popcorn popper roaster, they now own a commercial-grade roaster that costs tens-of-thousands of dollars! Their path to success hasn’t necessarily been the quickest or easiest, but through a double shot of passion and persistence, their small business continues to grow!

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.