Maryland Cottage Law/Setting Up A Cookie Business

Hi

I am in the contemplating stages of starting my cookie business. I talked to the state agency and they said that I can only sell at the Farmers Market or to Farms. I don't have a commercial kitchen to bake in so I guess it won't happen anytime soon. Can you tell me some ways that you promote your cookies? How did you find a kitchen to bake them in. I really want to bake at home. Also did you get a business license and register your name?

Original Post

I'd start small by working from home and selling at farmers' markets, as your cottage laws seem to allow. Once I'd built a big enough reputation and clientele (and surplus from the business), then I'd consider taking the leap from home to commercial location - after running the numbers and writing a business plan. The overhead associated with a commercial spot can be quite significant, so knowing what you need to earn to cover those costs is key. And having a sizeable customer base before you make the leap is also a good safeguard.

 

I started my bakery out of my home, which was illegal at the time in the state of Missouri. I was quickly picked up by the Department of Health as soon as my products were written about in the local paper. So I promptly had to find a space outside of my house to continue the business. I first sublet a portion of a kitchen from a local caterer; that lasted about 6 months. During that time, I wrote a detailed business plan (with projections based on the data I had already gathered in growing my business that far); then I went to a bank, got a loan, and bought a small building (fully equipped, as it had previously belonged to another caterer). Finding the right space was a several month process though, as few spaces seemed to be the right size. I didn't want anything too large, as my operation was still small and I didn't want the added financial risk.

Thank you.  That sounds like a good plan. I am terrible at writing a business plan but have been working on it.  My state says that we have a cottage law but I am hearing from the local Farmer's Market that my county doesn't allow it. I thought it was state wide. They sure don't make it easy.

 

I'd also suggest you follow our business posts on this site. Many of these topics are being addressed in them. The first is a series written by Litterelly Delicious Cakery that chronicles her process of moving her business out of her home. This series of blog posts can be found here: http://cookieconnection.juliau...lly-delicious-cakery

 

Michelle Green has also been contributing a number of posts about what to think about when launching a cookie or sweets business; her posts are sprinkled throughout this blog category, and I'll be posting the next in her series next week: http://cookieconnection.juliau...-business-of-cookies

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