If you’re a home gardener you might be growing apples, berries or tomatoes for the fun of it. There’s nothing better than eating the literal fruits of your labor—except maybe sharing them! If you have a lot of fun preserving your harvest as jellies and pickles, you have probably considered starting your own home-canning business. Here’s how to turn those dreams into a reality.
Know Your Limits
The first step is to find out the laws you need to adhere to. Some states are more lenient towards small businesses than others and knowing whether you can cook out of your home or will have to rent a commercial kitchen space will give you a good idea of the affordability of your endeavor.
Your local grocery store may not be the most reliable place to stock up on ingredients and glass jars for food products if you’re manufacturing on a large scale. You should get in touch with suppliers directly to ensure you have a consistent supply.
Pick a Direction
What will you be making and where you will sell it? It’s best to start small on both fronts, and with areas where you’re already comfortable. For instance, if your favorite canned goods to make are, for example, apple pie filling and salsa, make those your first product lines. If you regularly go to your local farmer’s market every weekend, sell there before branching out to neighboring towns or online.
These days, people are more interested in lifestyles than brands. They still want the food products they buy to be lip-smacking good, but they also want to feel good about themselves and feel their purchasing decisions have an impact on the world at large. For instance, they like knowing they’re supporting a small business, or they like knowing their foods are grown locally or organic. By having a social media account, you give people a peek behind the scenes. Sharing your process and values helps create an emotional investment in your products rather than just a financial one. It also helps you find like-minded creators to network with.
Get To Work
Even if you have a “day job” to pay the bills, you have to take your side business seriously, or else no one else will. That means having a consistent production schedule, having sales goals as well as putting in the work to meet them.
If canning brings you joy, don’t be ashamed to toot your own horn and market yourself. People will appreciate the enthusiasm and confidence, and give your goods a taste when they otherwise might not have.