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Anyone sell on-line??

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have been making cookies and would like to sell online. I dont know where to start though. Where and how does one go about marketing online? Esty seems to be one site that I have noticed, are there others.
Anyone??? Thanks
post #2 of 23
You need FDA approval in addition to state and county requirements to sell across state lines (except if you live on a state line) and worldwide.

Your state dept of ag can give you an application. You must have a separate kitchen with all the restaurant-type requirements met. You must register with the bioterrorism act, have a recall protocol in place, and keep strict records for the required length of time for recalls.

There are stiff penalties for non-compliance. All products must bear the official FDA nutritional information label, acquired through them. The FDA will then send a rep to inspect and approve your kitchen. My local heath dept requirements are so involved that my kitchen automatically qualified.
post #3 of 23
When I read your posting about these requirements on another thread, I was amazed. Then, I realized I had read about this in our local paper not too long ago. Apparently, the new rules are having a hugely detrimental affect on small businesses specializing in artisan cheeses. It's basically putting them out of business, and they were trying to get some of the requirements changed. I don't know if they were successful, but I'm guessing they're S.O.L.

If you can jump thru their hoops and still run a profitable business, more power to you!
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
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The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
Reply
post #4 of 23
GeminiRJ, I just happen to be in an area where a separate home kitchen has the same requirements as restaurants. The actual things to do for the FDA are minimal after that. I think the label is only $5.00 per recipe. And the recall setup is just one extra form where you do a one line entry. And then the registration with bioterrorism is pretty straightforward. Since some of these requirements started after 9/11, I doubt they would get any easier, and possibly harder.

I really don't think the average baker thinks of this registration requirement. I am near a state line, so I had to find out how to legally operate in both. I also want to be able to ship packages of cookies to servicemen overseas at a below cost price, so that is how I found out about the FDA requirements.

Your cookies are so fantastic. I sure hope you can find a church kitchen or some alternative, because you have so much talent.
post #5 of 23
scp1127, thank you so much for all the information! It gives me a good idea of what would be involved in getting legal and selling (on-line or otherwise). Definitely something to think about. Right now my "real" job is very stressful and time-consuming, making it harder to follow my "cookie dream". But who knows what will happen.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
Reply
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
Reply
post #6 of 23
Most of the people I know, including myself, would never buy homemade food from strangers on the internet.
post #7 of 23
You can't make it look like homemade food. Professonal websites and professional packaging, the works. Google gourmet food on the internet. Those places are thriving without the expense of a storefront. Upper income people think nothing of putting out $75 to $90 for a box of cookies or a cheesecake to arrive overnight.

Many of these places are small operation bakeries just like us that took it to another level. I have an entire expansion plan ready to go for internet sales when my daughter joins me full time. My site, packaging, and entire business setup are geared to having people locally enjoy my baked goods, and then be able to send the exact same thing to relatives who live in other areas. My business was built for my three daughters (25, 23, & 16), and the internet will play a bigger part in commerce every year.
post #8 of 23
scp1127, all the best to you in your business! You sound like you're one smart cookie! (Pun intended) I want to be like you when I grow up (though I'm guessing we're very close to the same age).
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
Reply
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
Reply
post #9 of 23
GeminiRJ, when I grow up I want to be as talented as you. By the way, 49. If you can find a kitchen, pm me and I will share what I do. Once the kitchen is obtained, the rest is easy and not very expensive. You have what it takes!
post #10 of 23
I agree with scp1127...There is a huge market for online sales of Gourmet cookies,cakes etc....If you get all the other stuff required then Go for it!!!

Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

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Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

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post #11 of 23
Looks like I've got some thinking to do. I would certainly need to get all my ducks in a row, because I know my husband won't be very supportive. My sons, however, would be highly supportive! They're both getting their masters in accounting degree (very identical twins), and they'll be happy to have me employ them as my accountants!
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
Reply
The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjusts the sails.
Reply
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

GeminiRJ, when I grow up I want to be as talented as you. By the way, 49. If you can find a kitchen, pm me and I will share what I do. Once the kitchen is obtained, the rest is easy and not very expensive. You have what it takes!




Does the FDA require that there be a separate kitchen regardless if your state oks you to use your home kitchen? How do you write a recall policy? If you sell cookies on etsy do you need these same things in place?

Is it serious if you sell to maybe two clients during the year out of state without being registered with the FDA?

I would really love to expand to more of out of state business but it seems like if you can't have a home based business that might not be feasible for the long run. Where do you begin as far as looking for a commercial kitchen? Professional printed packaging & design?
post #13 of 23
I am sure that it has to be a separate kitchen because I know you need the three compartment sink and floor drain. It's like everything else, if you engage in interstate commerce, the FDA is involved. It's like a drug deal...

"Well,I mostly sell in state, and only a few times across state lines". That's still federal prison. And that guy that shot those people in AZ... one was a federal judge... now it's federal. I don't mean to equate cakes with drugs and murder, but no one knows the answer as to whether or not you will get caught.

But with the feds, it's not how many times you do it, it's if you do it once. And they are very serious about registration with the bioterrorism act. I don't know the chances of getting caught. But I would guess the problems start with recalls, such as eggs. If a person gets sick from mail order cookies, the FDA will be involved.

I would not dare do it once. They take food shipping seriously since 9/11. I am sure the requirements are online somewhere, or cal the state dept of ag. That is where the FDA inspector is in our state.

The recall protocol is up to you as to how you do it. The form just tells you what info to have on hand and for how long. But you are required to keep track of what you produce daily and who got it, which is pretty easy in the baking business.

I have a question to ask when they come to inspect and it is this: if I always buy the same brands of eggs, butter, etc, do I have to keep lot numbers, or can I just have returned all unconsumed products made with that brand during that time? My plan is to mass email and ask for all frozen and unconsumed products back. It can't be that much, maybe a few cookies someone may have frozen for later, or part of a cheesecake.

My kitchen is the first floor of a three story home. I am approved because I met all of the requirements, but it was expensive.

Instead of doing it myself, I hired a web design company. Because they have all of my artwork, they can pop out anything I need at a very low price. So program ads, car magnets, labels, etc., take her about five minutes to produce. They have made sure that I am in the right categories in the right cities, and make sure I show up as one of the first in my categories (which is hard in my case because I advertise outside of conventional categories).

They also saved me $60.00 a month on credit card fees, so in 10 month, that savings alone will pay for the initial $600.00 investment. Because of my marketing background, I did design everything, logo and site design, so that saved me a lot.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeminiRJ

Looks like I've got some thinking to do. I would certainly need to get all my ducks in a row, because I know my husband won't be very supportive. My sons, however, would be highly supportive! They're both getting their masters in accounting degree (very identical twins), and they'll be happy to have me employ them as my accountants!



I just replied to another thread with similar theme, but wanted to share that in my experience, selling only locally, the state (VA) was very easy to work with and the entire set-up of my business was quite reasonably priced. My standard residential kitchen (with a few small modifications in how I store things) was fine with the state.

I think I am in a more "lenient" state, but I just wanted to encourage you to look into your state requirements before you write it off totally. I am paranoid about someone having an allergic reaction (my cookies contain nut extract) so I was sure to have my insurance policy in place before the first batch went out.

Perhaps license to sell just locally/within your state would be enough to get you started...it certainly is for me icon_smile.gif Seems a shame not to be paid for your amazing art!!
post #15 of 23
I have ever saw a place sell their own stuff,looks good
http://pinklighthouse.com/bb/
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