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Websites and Cottage Laws

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
It says that sales over the Internet are prohibited by Cottage Laws. Does this mean I cannot have a website or that I cannot do transactions over the internet? I'm unclear, as I see websites for home bakers here.
post #2 of 16
Good question. I would guess the answer varies from place to place. I'd call your authority and ask them that question. Ask too if you are permitted to simply have a website that contains photos of your cakes, with or without a name attached to it. Maybe you can do something like photobucket where you can post your photos, just to direct people to without actually offering them for sale there.
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post #3 of 16
Where is "here"? Not all cottage laws are the same. I know many of them prevent online sales, but you can have a Facebook page or a website. But there are strict rules on what you can post on there so you are not "selling" only "advertising".

Again, depends on the exact laws in your area, and I'm only stating what I think I've read here in CC.
post #4 of 16
Usually cottage food laws allow home bakers to maintain web sites and solicit orders online as long as the actual transaction occurs face-to-face between the baker and the customer (e.g. no shipping, no wholesale). If you say where you are located it would be easier to provide more concrete information.
post #5 of 16
Every state's law is different. If you are in Texas, refer to #6 here. http://texascottagefoodlaw.com/TheLaw/LawSummary.aspx
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the replies! I am in Massachusetts.
post #7 of 16
You must check with your inspector about having a website. But mail order from home kitchens is strictly forbidden: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not acknowledge a private kitchen in someone's home as an approved source of foods for interstate commerce. Mail order sales from residential kitchens are also prohibited for this reason." Chapter Four http://www.mass.gov/agr/markets/specfood/food_processor_resource_manual.htm

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post #8 of 16
I am also in Mass. I've been doing a lot of research on this subject. From what I gather if you have a residential kitchen you cannot sell online, you can have a website/ facebook page, which I do and people can order from you but, but you cannot do "online" ordering/ shipping. Its the "cottage law" it puts a lot of restrictions on my business.
post #9 of 16
There's this little pet peeve I have and if you'll please all bear with me, but I've spent 3 years of my life working on this cause, and it's called "Cottage Food Laws".

Now imagine Boston Cream Pie. Yum. Now imagine that a lot of people just start calling it Boston Pie. What!? You can't do that! It doesn't mean the same thing. You have to say "CREAM" to accurately describe the pie. You might even just say "Boston Cream" and people would know what you meant, but you can't just leave out the cream and call it Boston Pie. That's dumb.

So, no more laws for cottages. That doesn't make sense. Cottage Foods, or Cottage Food Laws. Thank you for bearing with me, I realize this makes me sound a wee bit nuts, but I'm ok with that. icon_biggrin.gif
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sweetcookies

I am also in Mass. I've been doing a lot of research on this subject. From what I gather if you have a residential kitchen you cannot sell online, you can have a website/ facebook page, which I do and people can order from you but, but you cannot do "online" ordering/ shipping. Its the "cottage law" it puts a lot of restrictions on my business.



I realize that these Cottage Food Laws can feel restricting when we want to run a business. But the intent behind these laws is to allow people to sell home-made foods with few of the (more expensive to comply with) regulations placed on larger food businesses. In NY, where I live, I always remind my students that while this CFL has restrictions it allows us to bake/sell from our homes, rent free. If this is too restricting there's always the option of building-on or moving to a commercial kitchen which has greater leeway in allowed products.

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post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

There's this little pet peeve I have and if you'll please all bear with me, but I've spent 3 years of my life working on this cause, and it's called "Cottage Food Laws"... So, no more laws for cottages. That doesn't make sense. Cottage Foods, or Cottage Food Laws. Thank you for bearing with me, I realize this makes me sound a wee bit nuts, but I'm ok with that. icon_biggrin.gif



I totally agree with Kelley. When we are careless with our words it allows for misinterpretation of important information.

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post #12 of 16
I do appreciate having a home based business and not having to rent space and it does make it more personal. But for me and the area I live in I just can't make enough. Advertising on a weekly basis is too expensive, it just makes it hard.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sweetcookies

I do appreciate having a home based business and not having to rent space and it does make it more personal. But for me and the area I live in I just can't make enough. Advertising on a weekly basis is too expensive, it just makes it hard.


How much are you spending on advertising, and where are you advertising? It looks like your prices are pretty good so the problem may be that you're just spending too much on customer acquisition.
post #14 of 16
I advertise in our local smart shopper it goes out to over 28,000 homes. It's $30.00 a week to place a business size ad ( i'm related to an employee so I get a discount). I only place the ad about every 3 weeks, because it just gets too expensive. I do get a good responds but not always the orders. I try to keep my prices low but people around here just dont always want to spend the money on a custom cake.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sweetcookies

I advertise in our local smart shopper it goes out to over 28,000 homes. It's $30.00 a week to place a business size ad ( i'm related to an employee so I get a discount). I only place the ad about every 3 weeks, because it just gets too expensive. I do get a good responds but not always the orders. I try to keep my prices low but people around here just dont always want to spend the money on a custom cake.


You may need to step back and think about who reads your local smart shopper magazine. If the magazine is targeted at people shopping based on price then even with a discount you probably aren't getting a good return on your investment -- this would explain why you are getting plenty of interest but not as many orders.

Refocusing your marketing to hit your ideal target audience (people planning events who are willing to pay a premium for a quality custom cake) should help you quite a bit. Try networking with wedding planners and venues, and look into Google AdWords and Facebook ads. Before approaching wedding planners and venues you should make sure you have business liability insurance as well, not having this coverage could prevent you from getting professional referrals.
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