At A Glance
Title: Homemade for Sale: How to Set Up and Market a Food Business from Your Home Kitchen
Author: Lisa Kivirist and John D. Ivanko
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Release Date: May 2015
Cover Price: $22.95
Target Audience: Cottage food entrepreneurs in the making; anyone who desires to add supplemental food-based income to their homestead or farm
John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist are passionate people. Whether it’s running Inn Serendipity, their Wisconsin bed-and-breakfast entirely powered by renewable energy, advocating for a Cookie Bill in their home state that would allow cottage-food producers to make additional income selling baked goods, or sharing their wealth of knowledge on organic vegetable production and kitchen know-how on HobbyFarms.com’s “Farmstead Chef” blog, the pair is deeply passionate about local, sustainable food. Not surprisingly, they also have an ardent desire to spread their knowledge, and with their latest book, Homemade for Sale, they’ve tackled starting a food business from home with aplomb.
Even if you’ve only daydreamed about selling preserves or baked goods as a side business, the couple will get you excited about the prospect from the very first page. “You could be part of a growing movement of people starting small food businesses from their homes,” they write in the introduction. “No capital needed, just good recipes, enthusiasm and commitment, plus enough know-how to turn ingredients into sought-after treats for your local community. Everything you require is probably already in your home kitchen. Best of all, you can start tomorrow!” It’s hard not to say yes to that, right?
The book is not all pep talk without substance, though: Kivirist and Ivanko dig deep into the finer points of running a business, from navigating the tricky worlds of zoning and licensing to properly marketing your product in an increasingly digital world. The section on financial management is particularly valuable—and legitimately not boring!—with its breakdowns of cash-flow projections (with actual numbers projected for the authors’ future Fresh Baked line of baked goods) and bookkeeping basics. It may not be as fun as the chapters designed to help you nail down what you’ll make and sell, but the behind-the-scenes information is just as important, if not more so: The best of intentions can be waylaid by poor bookkeeping, and the authors make a point of reminding you throughout.
Homemade for Sale can feel a little scattered at times, but that’s only because its slim page count is positively bursting with useful information. The profiles of cottage food entrepreneurs and sidebars included in every chapter may seem distracting from the chapter itself, but the authors use them to highlight successful business tactics and firsthand advice from these business owners, which accentuates and enhances the marketing and management discussions.
Ivanko and Kivirist set out to write “the first authoritative guide to launching a successful food enterprise operated from your home kitchen,” and they’ve done just that with Homemade for Sale. It’s bursting at the seams with their experienced advice.
The Final Word: If you’ve ever dreamed of starting a food business from your home kitchen, give Homemade for Sale a read—it may just be the final push you need.
Get more food-business help on HobbyFarms.com: