I am new to the forum but confess I have been lurking for months. This is my first post and I decided to come to the experts with my situation in hopes you can guide me. I am a hobbyist turned wanna-be profesional. I have been baking and decorating for years and have been wanting to turn my hobby into my profession for some time now. I have been to my local Health Department, read all of the material, been to countless websites, investigated many options and still feel like I am nowhere.
I have been putting off taking cake orders with the explanation that I want to be "legal" before moving forward. I recently got a request to do 15 dozen cupcakes to be delivered to doctor's office in my area and I see the potential "advertising" as an excellent opportunity, yet I am still not "legal." But the reason I am not legal is I cannot get my head wrapped around what is expected of me to be licensed. There is information out there that Mississippi does have a Cottage law but I cannot find any record of this. My Health Department has been less than helpful to say the least. I am very close to just taking my chances . . . any guidance would be MOST appreicated. Thanks!
I didn't get far with my health department but the State government website sent me a start up package with the info I needed based on a few questions I answered. I would start with the Secretary of State and your State website (try yourstate.gov)and look for a business link. Hope this helps and good luck! Try your local Score office they can be a great help as well.
Thanks for your suggestions. I am not familiar with the "Score" office. Can you please explain what that is? Thanks again!
SCORE offers free mentoring to small business owners, you can find info on your local chapter here:
Based on the page below, it doesn't look like MS has a cottage food law, so you would probably need to rent a licensed commercial kitchen or build a secondary kitchen on your property.
I agree with MelissaJeane. The information in the applications and the online laws will spell it out. You won't understand it all, but you will be able to ask the right questions. My big question was, "What is a grease trap?". I found out soon enough. It is now the huge hole in my yard... covered, but no grass for a long time. Just mud.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
One more question, since I of course will not be able to jump through all the necessary hoops prior to when the oder needs to be delivered, if YOU were in this position, would you go ahead with the large cupcake order with all of its potential for generating more work while you continue to move forward through the red tape, or would YOU turn down the order all together?
Do you have a church kitchen you could use? Again I don't know your state laws and it's hard to get experience before officially hanging your sign. I know that you can rent a time slot in a co op kitchen in a lot of areas. Maybe just call around and see. It might be more affordable than you realize. Best of luck!
I would not do it. Never did. I did charity work before I was legal. I didn't expect anything from it. But it gave me a way to practice, plan timelines, and take pictures. I am one of the more outspoken members where it comes to being legal. In the end, it is your conscience and your code of ethics. I am also very conscious of the example I set for my kids and their kids. Don't discount that.
Some advice from a former marketing company owner. If you want to promote your business legally, save your money and plan your giveaways and samplings closer to your opening. They will forget you and lose your card. The truth is that no one really cares until they need you. Too early, you are forgotten. Do a blitz just before or start or just when you get your license. It will do you more good than starting early.