Ok so I have seen many people on here talking about their online business. I have also seen people selling good on places like etsy.com and was just wondering how it all works. I'd like to expand my sales and this seems like another avenue to do it, but I was just curious if there were any tips or tricks yall had/ how you did it? For example is there a certain carrier you use ( ups,usps, fed ex) and what kind of garuntee do you offer since so much is out of your control?
Thanks so muc!
To sell over the state lines, you must have an FDA approved kitchen. No home kitchen will comply. After that, you must apply for the FDA license which has a multitude of requirements. You also must have all recipes analyzed which costs about $125 per recipe. After that, you must follow all FDA requirements for shipping. That is why the cost of shipping is so high.
When we talk about an online business, this may mean, as in my case, that I take orders and credit cards on the site in a cart situation. I havce an FDA built kitchen but have not bothered to get the license yet because the cost of breaking into the shipping aspect is expensive. The business must have good volume to support the plan. My retail shop is opening soon and only after that is well established, will I consider shipping.
Many people ship without the license because they don't know ant better, but remember, it is a federal violation. The HD does not come knocking on your door when you get caught, it's the Feds.
I do non-edible sales on etsy (gumpaste flowers for decoration, silicone molds, tutorials) but I don't sell cookies or candy. If you want to learn about etsy specifically just go to that site and go through their terms of service and blogs for sellers. They have a lot of information on there for people, and they make it easy to set up a shop.
I agree that you don't want to get into selling edibles. I tell people on etsy that the gumpaste is technically edible so it's food-safe, but you wouldn't eat it like candy. I had one woman yesterday email to see if I could make fondant pearls that were big so that she could put them in bowls to eat at a party. I had to explain that wasn't a good idea since they're not candy. Yuck.
You may see many people say they sell online. It often means they have a local business with a website/Facebook page and post a menu. They take orders online and make local deliveries.
Other businesses do mail order. I assume this is what you are asking about. Mail order can be a great way to earn additional revenue, but creating an income from this type of business is far more difficult than it appears. It's great if you live in a tourist town, have had exposure on TV or in a food magazine, find a wholesale outlet, or have a product so unique that customers are willing to pay shipping expenses. I know people who posted edible products (cupcakes, brownies, etc) on etsy and had no orders. I know people who have created extensive websites, but their sales did not cover their expenses. It's possible to succeed, but it's not easy and not if you want quick cash. As Jason always points out: Your business plan will show the way.