How to Start a Home Baking Business, Part 2 Wednesday, Feb 22 2012 

On Monday, I shared my story of how I got into a home baking business. Today, I want to share a few pointers to keep in mind.

1. Do not borrow money to start up. You can bake with the basic things you have on hand now. As you make money, invest it into equipment that will make your job easier. Research your equipment to make sure it will last. If you buy a cheap Kitchen Aid, you are more than likely to regret it! (Ok, I confess, I am not a Kitchen Aid fan. I’ve had too many friends have problems and issues with theirs!!)

2. Check your local laws to see if you need a permit: small business, kitchen inspection, etc. Each area is different. Some farmers market and shows will also have rules in how foods need to be packaged.

3. Find out what really sells through trial and error. Some things don’t sell, so don’t waste your time on those. Use your time wisely on what you know will sell. As a side note here, as people get to know you, and love your baking, you will be able to expand into selling other items! If I had tried to sell muffins when I first started, I’m not sure it would have really sold. Now though, I can sell it well!

4. Plan out your baking schedule. Make ahead what can be frozen (and thawed the night before/morning of the sale). Be realistic about what you can handle, and make sure to keep a time buffer! Mistakes can happen!

5. Prepare everything ahead of your sale: have a money box of change ready. Know how you will carry your baking (I use laundry baskets!). Make sure you have enough of all the ingredients you will need when baking the morning of the sale. Have bags ready to package your food. I have used both brown paper bags (for warm bread), and plastic bags for muffins, cool bread, etc.

These signs (for our front and back yard), as well as the business cards, magnet, stamp, pens, and writing paper are all from Vista Print! You can sign up to receive emails with special offers. I was able to get all these for very cheap! The most useful of all these was definitely the business cards.

6. Find your niche. What are you passionate about? For me, it’s baking breads. It’s the basis of my business. I know the goodness found in homemade bread, and the extra goodness in the breads made from fresh-ground grains. That makes me passionate about what I sell! My passion transfers over and people buy and love my bread. 🙂

7. Be pro-active. A business doesn’t start on its own. Try different things and keep refining what you do until it clicks and works.

8. Take time to price out your baking. You don’t want to overprice your items, as you really don’t want to go home with it! Yet you need to figure out how much it costs you to make it, so you know how much to sell. Compare with items from the store (although homemade is worth more), other bakers, and be fair in your price. I try and price my baking competitively as I want it to sell, and want people to like the prices.

 

9. A big one is this: buy your ingredients in bulk, and find the cheapest to buy it so you maximize your profit. I buy huge bags of grains right from the farm (300-700lb orders!), large bags of yeast, sugar in 10kg bags, etc. I find bags to package my baking in a wholesale store where I can purchase a box of 100 bags instead of spending a fortune on boxes of 10 bags in my local grocery store. This is a huge area that really helps you maximize your profit.

10. Try out new recipes from time to time. Keep your joy of baking! I got a bit tired at one point as I was always making the exact same things all the time. I took a bit of a break from selling baking and tried new recipes for my family for fun. Keeps things fun in my life! And inspired the start of this blog. 🙂

I hope this has helped answer some of your questions, and inspired some of you to try it for yourself!

Again, if you have any questions, leave a comment and I will address those in a 3rd post on this topic!

How to Start a Home Baking Business, Part 1 Monday, Feb 20 2012 

Some of you have asked me how to go about starting a home baking business, so here is a 3-part series on how my little home business started, how to start yours, and tips.

My little home baking business has been a lot of fun, and has helped us out financially. It’s something I’ve been able to do from home quite well, although it requires help from my husband in terms of helping out with the boys from time to time! 🙂

I started baking at home to sell just over 2 years ago. I had saved up and bought myself a Nutrimill, to grind my own grain into flour. (I already owned a Bosch mixer, which is an awesome mixer!) A friend asked if I would bake bread for her to use in a food bar at a Christmas show. She offered to sell some for me, as well. It was my first time selling like this, and I had a lot of fun! It was a lot of work, and my timing was off, but I was learning. 🙂  I sold most of the breads I managed to make in time, probably about 16 loaves or so.

That was the beginning for me. People started wondering about this yummy bread someone in town had made. 🙂  I started selling a few loaves every Saturday in a little shop in town. How often I sell it has varied a lot over the past two years, ranging from a few loaves every few days, to a few loaves once a month! It is based on how much time I am willing and able to put into it. Since my own family is priority for me, I don’t sell it as often as I could.

As word of my bread started spreading, and people became interested in buying it, I started renting a table in shows and craft fairs. My first show was at an Earth Day show. Since I was selling bread made from local organic fresh-ground flour, it fit quite well! 🙂  Then I started booking tables at 1-2 Christmas shows a year as well. I sell at a local farmer’s market 2-3 times per summer.

Over time, the content of what I sell has expended. I started with only selling 100% wheat bread, to selling 4 types of breads: 100% wheat, 100% spelt, Rye, and Multigrain (made with 100% wheat flour, and a mixture of up to 16 different grains!). I also add, as time allows, bagels, muffins, cookies, whoopee pies, Christmas baking trays, and cinnamon rolls.

Obviously, I’ve learned a few tricks to get quicker at baking! My kitchen is organized in a way that I can easily access what I need. I know where everything is. I am blessed to have a large kitchen now, but it is still possible in smaller kitchens! My friend has a tiny kitchen and does amazing bake sales! 🙂

I have slowly gotten better equipment (with money I’ve made from my baking). I have many, many measuring cups and spoons. I currently have 15 bread pans! I even got a new oven that would accommodate two full batches of bread overlapping (or cooking at once)! Those are all things that came gradually. The bottom line is that if you have an oven, you can bake and make money and slowly buy more equipment!

With time, I’ve learned what works best, and to go with that. One example is that people are not used to homemade bread. It doesn’t last as long as store-bought since it is not full of preservatives. I used to sell large loaves of bread made in a 9×5 pan. Some people stopped buying because they couldn’t finish the loaf and it got wasted. With that knowledge in mind, I found a good deal on bread pans and bought 12 more pans in a small size, 9×4”! I reduced the price per loaf (small loaf), and people love that size a lot more. Find out what people like, and go with that!

My son helping make doughnuts! He shaped the dough as a loaf of bread. He helped me, and watched me, make hundreds of loaves and learned to make very decent loaves of bread at age 2! 🙂

On Wednesday, I will post 10 tips to keep in mind as you start a home baking business!

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