You Can Make Money Baking at Home – Meet Anna-Marie

Making money baking from home is a dream of so many, but actually building a successful business takes hard work. For those of us who love to bake, it is the perfect choice. Baking to make money is something  that up until recently was prohibited in most states. Cottage Food Laws are now making it possible to legally bake your specialties and sell them directly to the public.

That opens the door for home bakers, but there is a lot to running a successful baking business. I recently told you about Anna-Marie. She and I have been corresponding since I first contacted her about featuring a story about her here on my blog. She has generously agreed to write a guest post offering you advice from her experience baking under Cottage Food Laws. So I want to turn this blog post over to her.

Anna- Marie’s Bakery

Dough Raising Mom – what a great website to learn about home-based business and the
Cottage Food Industry! Good job, Grace – thank you!

Anna_MarieI have always been fascinated with the US economy. When the economy changes some businesses close and others get started under those unique circumstances. How exciting to find ourselves pioneering a new industry – home bakers under the various Cottage Food Laws passed across this great
nation! How exciting is to know there are many other bakers pioneering along with me.

I have learned a lot over the past year getting the home bakery going and growing. Some customers return and some don’t, that’s normal for any business. It’s important to be loyal to the repeat customers and always look for ways to bring in new ones.

Of course, you can find new customers the old-fashioned way by handing out business cards and samples of your product but also be available and knowledgeable to those interested in your business or your goods. Contact local news outlets to make them aware of this new industry. Learn about the Cottage Food Law in your state and use those guidelines to take your passion and dream of home baking as far as you can.

Pricing is a Delicate Balance

I bake gourmet biscotti, a low fat, low sugar cookie infused with healthy nuts, spices and fruits. The product has to be good, but the price also has to be profitable for the owner and affordable for the public. A couple things to remember when you price your product;

  1. You are baking because you enjoy it (maybe even passionate like me!)
  2. You are also baking to earn some income.
  3. The other thing to remember is that your customers are people that usually don’t bake themselves but often buy from bakeries or grocery stores. Most home baked goods are much better than store bought. Customers realize this and will pay a good price for homemade baked goods.

In our bakery the packaging has been adjusted several times. About 6 months into the business we finally settled on packaging we are happy with and our customers love. I think many of our customer sthought, because the bakery is in a home kitchen, the biscotti would come in a Ziploc Bag. Albeit there are some cute Ziplocs out there, we never did that.

Presentation Makes a Huge Difference

The Gourmet Biscotti from Anna-Marie’sSpecialties come in a white bakery bag with a window, a large label on the front with our logo and a large ingredient label on the back with our logo along with a cute hang tag. During the holidays so many customers were buying our Biscotti Family Bags for gifts, we decided to add a cute hang tag permanently and find customers now buy them through the year as gifts. Whatever product you make in your home bakery, find nice, food safe, professional packaging and then add something unique to make it your own (like our hang tags).

Nice packaging is a smart investment that takes your home kitchen to a Home Bakery. If you want to succeed in this Cottage Food Industry, take it seriously as a business and be passionate about your products.

Anna-Marie
annamariesbakery.com
“Be sweet to someone—share some Biscotti!”

A Big Thank You

First of all, thanks for your kind comment at the beginning of your blog 😳 (and no, I did not bribe her). I just think it will help all of you realize that this is doable for you now. As you can see, Anna-Marie is really developing a business that has the potential to grow. If she wants to, in the future, she will be able to expand beyond the Cottage Food laws. Her business will be able to support her growth decisions. I don’t know if she wants to grow it that much, but doing things the right way from the very beginning will give her choices she may not have otherwise.

If you live in a state that allows you to bake and make money at home, do your homework. I gave you an example of what an application from the state of Washington looks like. If you don’t know what states have these laws, you can read which states currently have Cottage Food Laws .

Anna-Marie and I would love your comments and questions, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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  • Nicci Fruia

    My sister and I are looking to start a in home bakery under the Cottage food laws here in Texas. We are so not sure if we just file a dba or form a llc? Or should we just start selling them and worry about all that later? Also so confused on the taxes side? Any advice would be helpful.

  • I am trying to get started. Oklahoma’s bill passed the house and is in the senate. They have made an amendment about licensing. We are very happy this is going well. God has blessed us. This will help a lot of people and will give extra income to families. My question is how do choose what to sell? I am not sure about what to sell. Should I just talk to people, friends, families, business people. I am wanting to make sure what I do is right, and is a good product. Do you have any ideas? Would handing samples out be a good idea? Asking people what they would like to be able to purchase, price range, availability of ingredients.

    • Mary,
      You have been a champion getting this passes, I am so impressed. Congratulations. As far as what to sell, I would start by asking what you like to make. If you hate to make pies, then you will hate your work. Asking friends and others you know if they would list things they would be interesting in you making would be helpful. Another thing to take a look at is the cost of ingredients. Homemade yeast products are usually popular, and the margin on bread, rolls, etc is good. Fruit pies on the other hand have expensive ingredients, so you have to make sure you can cover that cost and a decent labor charge as well. Remember, you are in this as a business, and you need to make a profit. Don’t try and be the lowest price, you simply can’t compete with Walmart and the grocery stores on price. I built a reputation with cinnamon rolls, but also sold lots of other baked goods. My catering company was well known for our homemade bread. Find a way to make a product a signature product. For instance, I made my loaves of bread over sized, and that made quite an impression on folks.

      Another thing that set me apart was that everything was freshly baked, no day old product and my customers knew it, they could taste the difference.

      When I was much younger, a chef I knew had a good motto to follow, “garbage in, garbage out”. I have never forgotten the things she taught me. Marie prided herself on using the best ingredients. She only used real extracts when baking, I do the same thing. I use a lot of real butter. People might not know why, but they like the taste and that sells product.

      If you have great cookies, experiment with different sizes. Mini sizes are popular right now, so that might be something to try.

      If you are a cake decorator, keep an eye out for a niche. Maybe you concentrate on kids cakes, wedding cakes, you get the drift.

      If you have colleges, maybe you can contact parents about ordering cookies for their students and deliver them to the dorms.

      I hope that some of those ideas are of some help. Keep us posted on your progress, you are doing a great job.

      Blessings,
      Grace

  • james

    I’am thinking about starting my own baking  business , would you have a advice to give?

    • doughraisingmom

      James,

      Thanks for your question. The answer would be to start by
      deciding if you are wanting to open a brick and mortar bakery, or if you
      are wanting to start your business making use of the Cottage Food laws
      that would allow you to start your business out of your home. If you
      live in a state with Cottage laws, that would be a possibility and is
      the most preferable way to get your foot in the door without spending a
      fortune.

      If that is not what you have in mind, you might first
      want to start by doing your market research. You need to know if there
      is a demand for what you want to bake, what your competition is, the
      profit margin you will need, what your expenses would be and a lot more.

      Rather
      than speculate what information would be most helpful, if you would
      like to ask me some specific questions, I would be happy to try and
      answer your questions.

      I look forward to talking some more with you.

      Best Regards,
      Grace