Starting a food business during a pandemic is crazy, right?
Truth be told, we didn’t plan it this way–but the pandemic has provided us space to slowly dip our feet into the water, getting used to it gradually rather than taking the freezing plunge.
There is a lot that goes into starting a business, and even more so for a food business. It’s crazy expensive, and there are so many little details you have to pay attention to so that you don’t get in trouble. (We don’t understand how people do this all the time if they aren’t independently wealthy–which we definitely are not!)
You have to get a business license, get permission from your local jurisdiction to perform said business, and you have to get set up with the state Department of Revenue. You have to figure out whether or not you need to charge sales tax, research what kind of business insurance you need, and then find an insurance company that will even work with you at such a small size.
On top of all this, you have to come up with a whole business plan so that people know you’re seriously serious and have considered all your angles.
For a food business, particularly one that deals with potentially hazardous foods like cheese, you aren’t allowed to just work out of your home or any old space; you have to find an authorized kitchen that the health department inspects, pay a ton of money for licensing from the health department, and only then can you begin thinking about getting set up to sell your wares. All this before you even make a dollar!
It’s been a challenging year for small businesses of all kinds, but surely it has been hardest for small, food businesses. If they normally have to hustle to make ends meet, you know they have had to work five times as hard during this time.
From our vantage point, it’s been reassuring to watch our local communities rally around their local businesses, shopping small and supporting local farmers, producers, and retailers.
We’ve taken our time making each step forward, partly because the past year has been utterly exhausting, and also partly because we have had the time to move slowly as we’ve watched how public life has transitioned during this time.
We are excited to be officially official in the coming months–to get out into our community and introduce our neighbors to all the lovely little cheeses. By doing our fine work of hawking cheese, we’ll also be supporting other local businesses: cheesemakers, producers, farmers, and distributors.
(OH, and uh, making money to cover all those expenses we’ve had to shell out for over the past eight months while we worked to get to this point! We won’t say no if you want to help your girls out and pitch in a few bucks to help cover the cost of the cheese, accompaniments, and platters we’ll need to purchase before we can take to the streets.)
Are we nuts for starting a small business during the pandemic? Perhaps. But if you don’t think so, then neither do we.
Courtney and Tailor