I Got A Vending Spot At Small Benefit...but I Have Questions

Business By Brandyf817 Updated 31 Oct 2011 , 1:29pm by cakesbycathy

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Brandyf817 Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 7:47pm
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Hey all! So I am going to be vending at a small event for Autism on November 13th. I am so excited! I am really trying to get my business cards out there and score some side jobs. But I Definantly have abunch of questions.

Ohio does the cottage food thing. How do I apply for this? Also I read with it that you can not have pets in the house. Ahh my 10lb maltese is so staying. Do they check? Do I need this? The lady doing the event didn't ask me about any papers or certificates. I assume it is more of a private event.

I am assuming there will be about 100 people (maybe more) at the event (it's a belly dance event), I was thinking of doing cupcake (2 each or 4 for 6) and some decorated cookies. But how many should I prepare? Its such a guess and I know I do not want to be left with a bunch of extra. The vending will be about 4.5 hours total. The show is about 2 hours of that. I am the only one doing baked goods.

Also should I do a dummie cake to show I do more then cupcakes? Should I make any kind of handouts for holiday orders?

Any advice about how to do this would be great! I want to be prepared as much as possible.

Also random question how long would my cream cheese based frosting with stand no refridgerator?

8 replies
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fedra Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 8:07pm
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From what I am reading: You have obtained a spot as a vendor for an event so that you can get your business out there but need to know how to get set up with the cottage food law.

Sorry to be directly honest but seems like you are doing things backwards. IMHO, I would have figured out the cottage food thing first before applying as a vendor anywhere. There might be some stipulations that you are unaware of when dealing as a vendor.

As for what to take: I would get a confirmation on the expected number of guests and then decide the most cost effective baked goods you could take. Also, as a registered nurse, I deal with several autistic patients and the majority of the time parents have their children on special diets (ie: gluten free, Casein free diets, plant based, etc.) so that's something to keep in mind also when deciding on baked goods to take.

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SnLSweetEscapes Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 10:22pm
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I have to be honest and agree with fedra. You need to be careful with the laws. The minute you advertise or get your name out there, the Dept of Health will find you. I don't know if there will be fines or not. I had to build a separate bakery. I have 2 dogs but they never said anything about them. Of course my bakery is in my basement with 2 separate doors and they are not allowed in the basement.

As far as the event find out what they are serving. I did an event for the Mental Health Association with over 200 people attending. I was the only bakery vendor. The problem was the attendees were at a workshop type thing for 2 hours in the middle which included diuner and cupcakes for dessert!!! I made 300 cupcakes and sold 6!!!

The people that attend these events, in my opinion, are there for the event, food and appetizers. They are donating money most likely too. I will attend this event again next year because I will be the one providing the cupcake dessert. This time I will just bring dummies and information.

I don't want to discourage you but I hate to have you do all that work. Your situation may be different. I ended up donating all those cupcakes to various fire Dept. and hospitals. So I will get the tax write off.
Good luck!

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Leauna Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 10:48pm
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I'm not sure what your cottage food law is in Ohio or if it differs by state. I am in Utah and I can tell you this....it states in there "no free roaming pets", I asked about this when I contacted the HD and this is what they told me, "free roaming pets mean dogs and cat, but we don't worry about the dogs as much as the cats because dogs can be locked out of the kitchen, but cats are a BIG NO NO, because you can't really lock a cat out of your kitchen unless you have a seperat kitchen with a seperate entrance."

They did however tell me that you can license using someones else's kitchen ie friend or family member, but the same rules apply. And YES, they check, they come out and do an inital inspection of your kitchen. So, sorry to say, but you would not pass the inspection just for the fact that you have a cat.

IMHO, I have to agree with the other two posters. And if you haven't already, you should contact your HD in your area that handles the cottage food law and find out all of the rules before you get started on this. They will email you all of the information that you need to get started. Hope this helps.

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cakegirl1973 Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 10:55pm
post #5 of 9

I operated my business under Ohio's cottage food law, when I lived in Ohio. You should do your own research about the law, since you have to abide by it, but I will share with you what my understanding was of that law.

Ohio has a home-based bakery license (different than the cottage food law) that you can obtain. The cost was like $10.00 for the license; it involved an inspection and you could not have any pets in your home. The cottage food law does not involve an inspection, and the law did not specifically state that you cannot have pets in your home. Here is a link from the Ohio Department of Agriculture that spells out the cottage law rules: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/foodsafety/docs/Cottage_Food_Rules_Final6-09.pdf.

A couple of thoughts about this charity event and the fact that you are looking to develop a business. First, you mentioned that you were wanting to serve cream cheese icing. From how I interpreted the cottage food law, I determined that it could be considered a "potentially hazardous food" since it requires refrigeration, so I did not sell any cakes/cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. This is how I interpreted the rule, so it may not be correct, but I wanted to err on the safe side.

Second, you have to label all of your products, and the law tells you exactly what the label must say. When I handed out free samples for charity or at bridal shows, my samples were properly labeled. I wanted there to be no mistake by anyone that I was a cottage food baker.

Lastly, I strongly suggest that you obtain liability insurance for your business, if you are serving your products to the public and intend to sell them in the future. Doing so will protect you, and it is relatively inexpensive to obtain.

Hope this helps!

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itsacake Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 10:58pm
post #6 of 9

Someone who shares time in my kitchen and has all the necessary licenses to sell food both to the public and to restaurants etc. was recently told at an event similar to the one you are describing that she needed an additional $200.00/day license to sell at a one day event. The health department inspector who showed up at the event gave her the choice between paying for the one day permit (plus a penalty because she didn't have it in advance) or shutting down her booth before she sold anything. Not wanting to look like she had a problem with the health department in front of a lot of potential customers, my colleague paid for the additional permit, but it took most of the profit out of the day. Just saying..... it is good to know the rules before you play. This may just be California, or indeed just our county, but maybe not.

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Brandyf817 Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 12:43am
post #7 of 9

Thanks everyone for the advice! I will call tomorrow about the cottage food thing. I have time to lable things and I can take the cream cheese out my items easily. And thanks for letting me know about the special diet, I have some gluten free items I really want to try out. As for cats, no cats here icon_smile.gif and locking the dog out of the kitchen would be possible. The event isn't serving food as part of it. It is a dance event with belly dancers performing. I will con't my research tonight, thanks for putting me in the right direction! icon_smile.gif

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myslady Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 1:38am
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You should also check to see if you will need a vendors license to sell items and the health department requires that things be covered. I participated in an event giving away samples and they had to be covered per the health dept.

My understanding of the cottage law is that you can operate legally with a pet but you cannot become a licensed home bakery.

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cakesbycathy Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 1:29pm
post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by myslady

You should also check to see if you will need a vendors license to sell items and the health department requires that things be covered. I participated in an event giving away samples and they had to be covered per the health dept.

My understanding of the cottage law is that you can operate legally with a pet but you cannot become a licensed home bakery.

I am in OH. This is correct. To operate under cottage food law you can keep your dog but you cannot sell anything perishable so no products with cream cheese for sure.

You should also make sure the venue where the event is being held(not the organization) will allow you to participate/sell without a license.

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