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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!

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!

From Part-time Hobby to Full-time Bakery with Jennifer Jacobs

As a successful TV producer, Jennifer Jacobs never thought she’d run her own business someday. But as coworkers discovered her delicious desserts, her baking hobby started turning into a little business back in 2013.

And now that little home business is booming, with customers sometimes lining up down the street to get her baked goods. Jennifer sells custom cakes, cookie sandwiches, and other baked desserts through her brick-and-mortar bakery, the Wandering Whisk Bakeshop, in Pinellas Park, FL.

Jennifer didn’t start out with a business or culinary school degree, but she did understand how to market her products. As a producer for the Home Shopping Network, she spent countless hours watching the TV hosts sell anything and everything.

But she has marketed her baking business completely organically, without ever paying for ads. She has a large Instagram following and has been showcased locally and nationally in newspapers, magazines, TV shows, and more.

In this episode, Jennifer shares how to grow your cottage food business from part-time hobby to full-time brick-and-mortar without spending a dime on advertising.

Turning A Kitchen Mistake Into A Thriving Business with Nicole Pomije

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.

From Failed Kickstarter to Successful Storefront with Melvin Roberson

These days, Dough Boy Donuts is a popular gourmet donut shop that is bustling with customers and employees, but it all started from very humble beginnings.

In 2014, Melvin Roberson used Texas’ cottage food law to start his donut business from his home kitchen. A year later, he expanded to a food truck, and eventually, to a brick-and-mortar location in Fort Worth, TX (now relocated to Burleson, TX).

Melvin has faced plenty of obstacles along the way, including negative customers, family feuds, and a failed Kickstarter campaign.

But through perseverance, sacrifice, and plenty of hard work, he has built a loyal customer base that keep coming back for one of his unique signature donuts, like the Sriracha Maple Bacon or The Last Call.

Melvin’s has a tremendous amount of experience in the food industry… before building a successful food business through three different stages (from home, food truck, storefront), he held just about every food service position available, ultimately managing hundreds of employees as the kitchen manager at a popular steakhouse.

Engineering A Successful Home Cakery & Food Truck with Patricia Bedford

Patricia Bedford lives in Pflugerville, TX and mainly sells cupcakes and cakes with her cottage food business, Suga’s Cakery.

Patricia actually has an engineering degree and worked as an engineer for 10 years before she completely changed course and started her home bakery.

She has gained quite the following over the past 5 years, and she is now in the process of building a food truck to expand her business to meet customer demand.

Patricia shares her online marketing strategies for becoming a top ranked bakery in her area, how she created a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $17,000, and how she is transitioning her business to a food truck.

Wholesale Strategies That Work with Sonia Chang

Sonia Chang never planned to start a food business, but now she has two of them!

Sonia lives in Pasadena, CA and runs a granola cottage food business called Cali Granola (formerly named Chef Sonia’s Granola By The Handful). After successfully selling her granola for a couple years, she purchased and operated My Sweet Cupcake, a popular cupcakery.

She has sold her granola in over two dozen stores and has used a variety of marketing strategies to build her businesses, such as her “leap frog” and “flavor profile” techniques.

Her journey is filled with many unexpected surprises, but every step of the way, her service-based approach and collaborative spirit have carried her forward.

From Home Kitchen to Pie Shop in Under 2 Years with Diana Shockley

Have you ever dreamed of opening a brick and mortar bakery someday?

So did Diana, the owner of I Love Pie in Carmichael, CA. But she never thought her dream would come true so soon!

After selling at the farmers market for a year and a half, her pie business grew so much that she expanded into her own commercial kitchen and storefront. And now, just 6 months later, she is planning to open a second location!

On paper, it looked like a recipe for failure: selling a common food item (regular fruit pies) in a highly competitive and health-conscious market, all while juggling a full-time job.

So how did she do it? Why was she so successful? Ultimately, you will see that it wasn’t the product, or the market, but rather, Diana herself, that made all the difference.