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I Need Advice...


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#1 Simona19

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 08:43 AM

Hi!

I lost my job a week ago. Now I need to look for another one, or?

Everybody is telling me that I should open my own business. That I should open a bakery.

 

 

I'm very good in the gluten and casein free baking. I developed a bread  that can lasts up to week and half covered just in plastic foil and stored on my kitchen counter. Even after the week and half the bread is still soft and edible. Later it will get moldy, but it will stay soft. I sent the sample (bread mix) from it to our friend Love2travel for testing. She sad that it was very good, and that  was gone in two days.  

I also know how to bake Danish cakes and raisin bread- Babka that will last for 3-4 days - they will be soft. You don't need to store them in the fridge or freezer.

I improved my recipe: Simona's gluten free Challah bread (I posted it long time ago on this forum), and the Challah that I'm baking now is 10 times better.

I also know how to make other things that taste and look like the real things (crepes, empanadas, tortillas, pirogues) .

 

In addition to that I can make European gluten and casein free pastry, cookies and cakes. They are also low on sugar.

I will post some pictures later.

 

And now the dilemma part:

How to start business? What to do? Do I just start to bake at home and sell things frozen online? I'm freezing my own pastry for 2-3 months (from one holiday to another), and they are still perfect.

Should I buy a stand at some flee market and sell things there? Would you buy something like this?

Should I ask at the local stores (Whole food, Trade's Joe, Shoprite,, or some café), if they would buy and sell my goods?

I don't have money to open a real bakery, so the options are limited.

Would you even believe to somebody who would tell you that everything is safe to eat (everything is gluten and casein free)? If not, what do I need to do?

Is this even worth it to try?

Please, any advice?

 

P.S.: If  I posted this at the wrong spot, just move it. Thank you

 

 

 


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#2 BridgetteIMcleod

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:00 AM

I think this is a great idea! If you are passionate about baking, the world always needs more gluten free options. First do you have any gluten free bakery in or close to your town. Talk to them they might be helpful. If not try some that are online they could guide you. This is the one where I live.  http://www.gnibakery.com/

They might be able to help you get started. The idea of flea markets and farmers markets are a good options to get started.

​If you have an independent grocery store(not a chain) they are more approachable than the big ones, until you make a name for yourself. 

You might even approach a regular bakery and see if they will give you a separate space to display your goods. 

If I can be of further help let me know.

Good Luck 


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#3 kareng

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:01 AM

I don't know where you live.  If you live in a bigger city, you might do better because there are more people to buy.  However, in most of the US, if you want to sell in retail (like Whole Foods & sometimes even Farmer's markets/Flea markets) you must use a commercial kitchen.  Sometimes you can get your home kitchen inspected and approved.  Bigger cities have ones you can rent.  You would need to check with your local health department for the rules.

 

Some community colleges have courses on starting a small business.  They help you understand things like taxes - both sales & other taxes business must pay, incorporating, etc.  That might be helpful.  

 

IF you have enough private people/friends that will buy from your home, under the table, you could do that while you are figuring out the legalities.


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#4 Adalaide

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:10 AM

The first thing you'll need to do is find out if your state requires that kitchen certification, inspection or whatever rules are in place about that. Then you'll have to sort out the rules about operating a business under a business name, which if you sell outside of to your own friends, you'll need. (I simply needed a sales tax license, to register my name and a local city license in my state but I know this can vary widely.) Other than the sales tax thing, which can be tricky if you're in an area that does state, county and city taxes (which you'll have to adjust and count for differently at every different location you go to out of your own city!) sales tax is easy if it's just a flat state rate. This probably all sounds complicated, but it isn't really after you get yourself wrapped around it. It's the getting settled into it that's difficult.

 

I don't do a business that is food based and eventually decided that doing a separate business tax return every year as well as paying for a business license (even if it was only $30) was silly for me just for the right to DBA. I know do business under my own name, formerly the business name. A sneaky way to still use the business name and no longer worry about all the paperwork and pay for it. Hah! Unfortunately, when it comes to food, we expect to see the name of a business on our packages. It helps instill a certain amount of trust, even if that doesn't make a whole lot of sense when it doesn't change anything about how you would do things.

 

As for local stores, I think it comes down to each different stores policy on locals and local products. I have two local stores I would approach if I were doing something similar, but neither is a large chain. One has only three stores and one has maybe a dozen. The others I know would simply turn me away. I would be prepared if you can get into a store, of even if you can get set up to do the round of farmers markets, flea markets and such, to do samples. Make sure a store would allow that (hopefully they would) mention it on the store's facebook page and give away as much as you can in an afternoon. With the markets, before you get loyal customers you may find they'll be more wiling to buy if they know it doesn't suck first. I can say for certain that I'm always more willing to drop the several dollars it costs for bread if I know it's good than on a new product I'm unsure about.

 

All that said, I think it's a great idea. We need more people starting small businesses who truly care about what is good for us and who make a quality product. I think you should go for it and I hope it goes well!


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#5 Simona19

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 11:11 AM

I can't post pictures. I tried many times, but the buttons Paste, or Image doesn't work. My computer will just freeze.


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#6 bartfull

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 11:25 AM

As others have said, it depends on the rules in your state. I know you say you can't afford to open your own bakery, but that would be the best way to go. If there is something in your town for rent that has an oven, you would be good to go. If not, you might try to find a small place for rent, make sure the electrical service is adequate, and then look for used equipment either locally or online.

 

If you decide to go the local grocery route or flea markets and farmers markets, label everything as to ingredients and a large "made by a celiac in a gluten-free kitchen". If any of us saw that on a label, I don't think we would hesitate to buy it.

 

As for taxes, if you sell to grocery stores, they would probably buy from you "for resale", and as long as you have a tax ID, THEY are the ones who have to worry about taxes. All you need to do is keep clear records. Then, if you also sell at flea and farmer's markets, you just charge the appropriate sales tax, fill out the forms and send in any taxes collected at the end of the month. (If you stay in your own town for that you won't have to worry about varying tax rates.)

 

But seriously, when I opened my business, I was scared to death. I figured I would lose my shirt. Eight years later I am still paying the bills. I rent a 1,000 square foot space, and I pay my own utilities, plus of course the taxes and utilities on my house. (I have no mortgage payment, thank God.) And of course, I sell guitars, not food. With guitars it is feast or famine. I will go weeks without selling anything but small stuff - strings and picks and such, and then I'll think, "I'm not going to make it!". Then someone will come in and buy a guitar and an amp, and half an hour later someone needs a banjo. That makes it really hard to look ahead and predict how much money I'll make.

 

But with a bakery, you can pretty much figure after a while, how much you will make each week.

 

They say the first three years of any business, you will lose money, but that hasn't been my experience. Do your research, figure out if there is a market for it, advertise, put on a grand opening so people can sample your wares, and if it all falls into place, you will make it.


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gluten-free since June, 2011

Can't eat soy, corn, or foods high in salicylates.

Nightshades now seem to bother me too.

 

BUT I CAN STILL PLAY MY GUITAR AND THAT"S ALL THAT MATTERS!

 


#7 SUZIN

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 02:37 PM

Hi!

I lost my job a week ago. Now I need to look for another one, or?

Everybody is telling me that I should open my own business. That I should open a bakery.

 

 

I'm very good in the gluten and casein free baking. I developed a bread  that can lasts up to week and half covered just in plastic foil and stored on my kitchen counter. Even after the week and half the bread is still soft and edible. Later it will get moldy, but it will stay soft. I sent the sample (bread mix) from it to our friend Love2travel for testing. She sad that it was very good, and that  was gone in two days.  

I also know how to bake Danish cakes and raisin bread- Babka that will last for 3-4 days - they will be soft. You don't need to store them in the fridge or freezer.

I improved my recipe: Simona's gluten free Challah bread (I posted it long time ago on this forum), and the Challah that I'm baking now is 10 times better.

I also know how to make other things that taste and look like the real things (crepes, empanadas, tortillas, pirogues) .

 

In addition to that I can make European gluten and casein free pastry, cookies and cakes. They are also low on sugar.

I will post some pictures later.

 

And now the dilemma part:

How to start business? What to do? Do I just start to bake at home and sell things frozen online? I'm freezing my own pastry for 2-3 months (from one holiday to another), and they are still perfect.

Should I buy a stand at some flee market and sell things there? Would you buy something like this?

Should I ask at the local stores (Whole food, Trade's Joe, Shoprite,, or some café), if they would buy and sell my goods?

I don't have money to open a real bakery, so the options are limited.

Would you even believe to somebody who would tell you that everything is safe to eat (everything is gluten and casein free)? If not, what do I need to do?

Is this even worth it to try?

Please, any advice?

 

P.S.: If  I posted this at the wrong spot, just move it. Thank you

In Nebraska you can go to the Univ. of Neb. to get help starting a food business....you might check out your state University to see if they have that kind of help for new businesses too....


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#8 Simona19

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 02:51 PM

Thank you for the advice. I live in the USA, in New Jersey, in Union county close to Westfield, Cranford, Union, Linden, or Elizabeth.

It's way to much information to go over. I don't know, if all this is even worth it to try. All that trouble for one slice of cake. :unsure: :unsure: :unsure:


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#9 Adalaide

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 03:10 PM

It seems overwhelming to get started. Believe me I know! But once you have started and get going you realize it isn't as bad as it seems and while it's a lot, it isn't going to bury you. The first thing to do though would be to find out if you even could legally operate a food based business out of your home. If not, while it seems impossible, there are a lot of options out there specifically set up to help and encourage women in business that could help you. You should look into any of those as well as whatever is available at your local universities.


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"You don't look sick or anything"

"Well you don't look stupid, looks can be deceiving."

 

Celiac DX Dec 2012

CRPS DX March 2014


#10 bartfull

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 03:43 PM

Addie is right. After you have done your research, you close your eyes, grit your teeth, and take the plunge! And honestly, running your own business is the most satisfying thing you can do. Think about it - you spend at least eight hours a day at your job, and unless you love your job, that is eight hours of your day spent being less than happy. Kind of ruins the REST of the day when you're not in the best of moods because your boss or a co-worker, or the job itself is giving you a hard time.

 

Since I opened my business, even on days when my students don't practice and the guitar repair I am working on doesn't go well, I am truly happier than I've ever been in my life. If I ever had to go back to working a "real" job it would kill me!


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gluten-free since June, 2011

Can't eat soy, corn, or foods high in salicylates.

Nightshades now seem to bother me too.

 

BUT I CAN STILL PLAY MY GUITAR AND THAT"S ALL THAT MATTERS!

 


#11 mommida

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:52 AM

I have been to Farmer's market in our state.  They put a sticker on it saying it was not made in a commercial kitchen.  (I don't know how that stays in compliance with the commercial kitchen law?)  Can you go to a farmer's market and ask a merchant?

 

There is a commercial kitchen rental business going on in states that make it a requirement.

 

Farmer's market and catering business to start seems logical.

 

A friend of ours was a chef for years at a private golf course.  He started getting diagnosed with numerous food allergies/intolerances.  He is know working at a newer concept hospital.  The hospital has been trying to make patients diets healthier and teaching about avoiding food allergens.  There are probably more jobs growing out of more accurate diagnoses of Celiac and other food allergens avoiding diets.  (Cancer patients, MS ~ I have personally seen a woman start gluten free diet as a last resort because she could not afford the medications IMPROVE.  It was a drastic change! she looked 10 years younger, did not limp as much, and her hair grew longer and shinier.)

 

Sometimes life has to push you toward your true calling. ;) 


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#12 GF Lover

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 08:50 AM

I think an important piece needed is getting your products tested and certified Gluten Free.  If you advertise the products gluten free they must meet testing maximums.  I would contact the Certification Companies and ask around.  I would also contact your Small Business Association.  The Government may also have grants available.  

 

Good Luck

 

Colleen


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#13 cyclinglady

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

I agree with Colleen, you really need to be certified. I talked to large gluten-free baker in the Atlanta area who is certified and who supplies products to local grocery stores in their region. Even the employees can not being in gluten in their lunches in order for the bakery to be compliant.

In CA, home-based businesses are now legal as of 2012 or 13. I contemplated doing the same thing, but could not forbid my daughter from eating any forms of gluten in my house. If your kitchen is gluten-free, certified, small business legal, then go for it. Start small. Approach regular bakeries and friends. Minimize any overhead. Make a plan. Make a work-breakdown-structure on a large wall using yellow sticky notes and map out all the necessary steps to meet your goals. It really helps!

We are self-employed (training) and love it!

Good luck!
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#14 Simona19

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:25 AM

I just want to tell you that I already checked long time ago what it means to be certified gluten free bakery. You must send each of your products for testing twice a year ($500,-- each time). Plus the testing company would do the testing on its own too. They would go to any store where your products are sold, and take a samples for testing twice per year (another $500,-- per testing). 

Now, who can afford  that? The small business, just starting, can't compete with something like that. The big company that you are talking about, can.

I would like to at first just to see, if somebody would even buy my goods. My kitchen can't be certified as gluten free, or commercial at the moment.

To rent a big commercial kitchen somewhere is a great idea, but there are two problems: One: who knows how to bake in that thing (temperature of oven, etc.), two: If people used it  before me for gluten things, what I need to do to have my products safe for people with celiac disease?

 

I'm just more and more discouraged about the idea of starting "business". 


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#15 Simona19

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:32 AM

I have a question: If you using in your baking goods things that are already certified, do you really need to have certification of your own? I know that everything is safe, and I wouldn't put anybody's health in jeopardy. And in addition to that, I don't want to get sued.


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