Every day the demand for organic and natural products grows stronger. This isn’t just true for the food you find at the grocery store. It is also true for the products you use in the home and especially for the products you use on your person. It’s a booming market that isn’t likely to wane anytime soon and you want to get in on that profitable action. Here are some tips to help you do that.
Knowledge is Power
Selling your homemade moisturizer or original recipe cookies are much different than simply giving them to your friends or using them yourself. If you want to sell these items, you need to make sure you not just understand but also follow the best food handling and safety practices. It’s a good idea to get certified in these subjects. Most communities have resources for people who are entering the food service industry. Many states, for example, require anybody who comes into contact with food to obtain a “food handler’s card.” Some sites, like statefoodsafety.com, also offer online courses and certification programs for those who might not have a local office or have trouble getting there.
What you put on your label matters. It isn’t enough to simply slap a branded sticker on your homemade bath bombs or on the packaging for your all natural oatmeal. Your label needs to include specific information about nutrients, ingredients, calorie counts, etc. The FDA provides a specific list of regulations and expectations for any company or independent seller who wants to sell products made with food. Follow these regulations to the letter!
Getting Your Product Out There
The first step toward building buzz for your homemade jams, salad dressings, or body soaps is to give some to your friends and family. Seriously! It seems so simple but by encouraging your friends and family to use your stuff and, of course, to recommend it to their friends and networks, you tap into the power of word of mouth advertising. The buzz might be small at first, but as it grows you’ll be able to get a feeling for how much you should charge, who likes your products best, etc. This is all valuable information to have when you’re figuring out your marketing plan.
Going Beyond Your Own Network
Eventually, you’ll graduate from making your products for your social and familial network and feel like you’re ready to go public. How do you do this? There are two great ways to grow here. The first is by buying space at your local art fairs and farmers markets. This adds a personal touch to your promotions because people can ask you questions right then and there. And, thanks to tools like the Square card reader and other mobile payment developments, getting paid “in the wild” is easier and more accessible than ever.
The second (and arguably more important) method is to use the internet. You’ll want to have at least a basic website set up before you buy space at any local fairs or markets. And once you have that built, you can expand your online offerings through sites like Etsy, eBay, etc.
Outgrowing Your Kitchen
Eventually you might find that the work involved in running your own natural product business is too much to do on your own or even with the help of an assistant or a local team. This is when it’s time to start working with mass manufacturers and distribution centers. These present their own challenges in terms of maintaining food safety, ingredient choices, etc. Before you take this leap it’s a good idea to take a business class or two and to learn everything you can about the mass production of food-based products. For now, though, focus on what you can do locally!
It takes time to grow a natural food-based product business but if you’re willing to put in the work and open to learning, you’ll be turning a profit sooner than you thought possible!