Cookiepreneur Interview with Amanda from Sweet Naomis Cookies
How many ways can you have a cookie business? Let us count them! Here's the third installment of Cookiepreneur Interviews. Let's hear about Amanda's cookie business!
How long have you been in business? Is it part-time or full-time?
Unofficially started in 2013 and finally got all my paperwork in order to be 'legit' in 2014. Technically, I'm part-time but it really depends on the week/season. :) I suppose the best answer to this is that I try to be part-time.
Tell us about the Health Department laws in your area? Do you have to use a commercial kitchen or is there a Cottage Food law?
For sugar cookies, a state inspected kitchen is required or you can operate under the Cottage Food laws (with restrictions). That is my understanding anyway! I use my home kitchen which is state inspected.
If you use your home kitchen, please tell us about that. What did you need to do to get it approved? How do you manage your kitchen when it involves both business and family?
I use my home kitchen and getting it approved involved getting a zoning permit from my county then getting an inspection from the VA Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
How I manage our kitchen for both the business and family....hmm, is that a trick question? ;) Honestly, there's no good answer to this. Just really late nights and lots of coffee.
Do you ship cookies? If so, please tell us about that.
Yes! I started selling on Etsy, so I started out shipping most of my orders. Only once I started getting more local orders did I realize how much more work shipping entails (because decorated cookies aren't labor intensive enough....ha)! We've tried different ways of shipping and found that using copious amounts of bubble wrap and shipping them upright (not flat) works best. I don't always do that though as I've found that it sometimes depends on the cookie shape and amount I'm shipping.
Does your business include anything else other than taking custom decorated cookie orders?
Just decorated cookies for us, for now.
What is your most enjoyable business task?
Does anyone help you with your cookie business or are you a one-woman-show?
I definitely have help, I couldn't possibly do it myself. My husband does deliveries and helps make the dough and baking and my oldest son helps with packaging.
If you could delegate one task, what would it be?
Clean up! I didn't even have to think about that one... :)
Best tip for those starting their cookie business?
Make sure your business works for you and not against you. If you do quality work, you will get busy fast so don't be afraid to invest in whatever will make the business more efficient.
How did you get the word out about your business in the beginning? How do you do it now?
Honestly, I've never done much with marketing. Starting on Etsy helped me get initial orders in but after about a year I took my listings down as now most of my orders are local through my website, referrals, and repeat customers.
Have you raised your prices since beginning?
Yes. And this is an area that I'm still adjusting to see what works best.
Any tips for efficiency – in making dough, decorating, shipping, invoicing….anything!
I don't, actually. I wish I did, I could use it! My best tip for efficiency is to keep your inner perfectionist to a bare minimum. Remember that most (not all!) customers aren't going to scrutinize and judge the cookies the way you do.
Do you have minimums on number of cookies per order, number of designs, number of icing colors?
Yes, sort of, and yes! 12 cookies is my minimum, I don't mind different designs so long as they use the same colors, and I try to keep it at 2 colors (plus white) per dozen. If I get an inquiry for something that I know will be a lot of colors, I'll either up the minimum cookie order or charge extra.
What are your cookie dreams? If you could, would you hire employees, buy a larger mixer, move into a larger space, etc?
My cookie dream is to decorate cookies in a super cute, sunny kitchen with cookies already baked, icing bagged/bottled in perfect consistencies (and they never separate!!), they magically bag and ship themselves, and my kids clean up the mess. It's nice to cookie dream. :)
Thanks so much for sharing Amanda! I hope this post has encouraged you or given you some new things to think about regarding your business or soon-to-be-business!
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