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How To Build A Food Business (And Life) That You Love with Sari Kimbell – Part 2

This is Part 2 of Sari Kimbell’s interview. If you have heard Part 1 yet, you can listen to it here.

Sari is extremely passionate about helping food entrepreneurs become more successful. After all, that’s her job!

Sari lives in Fort Collins, CO and owns a consulting firm called Food Business Success. She also owns the Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market.

Sari’s credentials are immense! Before starting her consulting business in 2016, Sari worked for Whole Foods as both a Marketing Director and a Local Vendor Success Manager. She’s also managed a shared commercial kitchen, created a wholesale program for an organic farm, helped launch a restaurant, and managed a farmers market.

And now, as part of her Food Business Success coaching program, she runs a successful YouTube channel, podcast, and Facebook group.

Given her background, it comes as no surprise that she has a ton of amazing advice to share in this two-part episode!

In this episode, Sari drop TONS of great advice about growing a food business, including pricing, choosing products, branding, selling wholesale, scaling up, find a commissary kitchen, setting goals, and much more!

How To Build A Food Business (And Life) That You Love with Sari Kimbell – Part 1

Sari Kimbell is extremely passionate about helping food entrepreneurs become more successful. After all, that’s her job!

Sari lives in Fort Collins, CO and owns a consulting firm called Food Business Success. She also owns the Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market.

Sari’s credentials are immense! Before starting her consulting business in 2016, Sari worked for Whole Foods as both a Marketing Director and a Local Vendor Success Manager. She’s also managed a shared commercial kitchen, created a wholesale program for an organic farm, helped launch a restaurant, and managed a farmers market.

And now, as part of her Food Business Success coaching program, she runs a successful YouTube channel, podcast, and Facebook group.

Given her background, it comes as no surprise that she has a ton of amazing advice to share in this two-part episode!

In this episode, Sari talks about the importance of having a strong “why”, what type of mindset you need to be successful, and what you should focus on when starting or growing a food business.

And definitely don’t miss Part 2 of this interview, where Sari digs into the nuts and bolts of building and scaling a food business.

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.

When Demand Exceeds Supply with Jen Holmer El-Azzi & Danny El-Azzi

Jen Holmer El-Azzi & Danny El-Azzi live in Austin, TX and sell sourdough crackers with their business, The Sourdough Project.

Most food entrepreneurs have to pound the pavement to get stores interested in selling their products. But not Jen & Danny!

Almost from day one, they had wholesalers knocking at their door. Their situation is quite unique, as is their product.

Although they started selling from home under Texas’ cottage food law, they quickly started renting a commercial kitchen to take on wholesale accounts.

Now they have 50+ wholesale accounts, plus sales at farmers markets, and they quit their jobs to focus on the business.

In this episode, you will hear about their growing pains, branding strategies, business partnerships, and what makes their crackers so unique and special.

Family, Freedom, & Pie with Kourtney Rojas

In 2011, Kourtney had romantic ideas about starting a pie business and selling at the local farmers market. But life (jobs, family, kids, etc) got in the way and it wasn’t until 2019 that her dream became reality.

Kourtney Rojas lives in Anaheim, CA and sells fruit pies, chess pies, and other pastries with her cottage food business, With Love, From Scratch.

After 8 years of selling pies sporadically to family and friends, she finally decided to turn her pie hobby into a real business. She entered a pie contest, started posting high-quality photos on Instagram, and she’s never looked back!

After only two years, she has amassed over 3,000 followers on Instagram, and she now sells over 100 pies per week!

As a stay-at-home mom, she has learned how to say “no” and turn down opportunities that aren’t a good fit for her.

Having a home business has given Kourtney the freedom to adapt her work life to her family, not the other way around. But she’s also not afraid to admit that finding the right balance between the two is often a struggle.

Although her business journey has required flexibility, patience, and constant learning, Kourtney explains why it has unfolded in exactly the right way.

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.

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!

Go Big AND Go Home with Debbie George

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).

Crushing It With Caramel Corn with Kathy Sing

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.

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.

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.

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.