Bringing a product to market:  Phase Two

Bringing a product to market: Phase Two

The packaging needed to be unique and recycleable.  I did not want plastic because salt absorbs moisture and if sitting in the sun at a market all day, I was concerned about plastic leaching into the contents - BPA free or not.  I also wanted packaging that was see-through, so everyone could see the vibrant color of the salt.  I was coming up short as all the jars I was looking at were either sold in enourmous quantities or were just too expensive once the shipping was included.  I was told to look in the craft stores, like AC Moore and Michaels.  If I found something I liked, I could order it through the store and save on the shipping!  Awesome!  Packaging done.

I must admit that at this stage I was completely overwhelmed.  I would start to research one thing which lead to another thing which then lead to another.  There was so much to do and I did not have a clue as to which one to takle first.  After a few days of spinning, I realized that I needed to focus on getting the product ready to sell at the Farmers’ Market and with the outdoor seasoning coming to a close, I needed to see if I could get into the last few markets before the winter season.  This put a deadline on things, so I put blinders on and focused on what I needed to do in order to sell my first jar at the market.  Now I could concentrate on the tasks and not get as distracted about all the bigger stuff that I could safely set aside for the moment. 

But I need a license to make the product at home, don’t I?  Yes.  I got in touch with The Department of Agriculture and Markets and applied for a home processors' license.  I have well water in my home and needed to have a water test done to check for coliform before applying.  Phew, it all came back negative.  I am lucky in my choice of product because I fell under the “Cottage Food Law”.  Not all foods do.  If you have a food that does not fall into the cottage food law, then processing cannot be done in your home and must be done in a professional kitchen and or processing center and that is big bucks.  Really, nothing is cheap in the food industry, but having a home processing license, at least in the starting of your food business, saves an enourmous amount of cash.  There are downsides through.  For instance, in the state of NY, I cannot sell my product to any other state and I cannot sell online.  At least not until I move my processing to a professional organization.  For the moment, I think that concentrating on the state of NY will keep me pretty busy for quite a while.  It’s when space runs out in my home due to storage, that’s when I’ll think about making the next step.

Now the fun part . . . design and branding.  I am pretty lucky to know some amazing people who are quite talented in what they do.  Margarita Rudnik of Dtour Design did my logo for my personal chef company, Simple Earth Cuisine, many moons ago and I hired her again to do my logo for Wild Sea Salt.  I was tossed into the whole “how to package a product to sell” arena.  There is an emense amount of information about this on the internet.  It is truly daunting.  Although salt seasoning does not require a complex nutritional label, I did want to have vitamins and minerals listed on mine.  I found a great resource in Recipal.  This is a subscription based website that makes the process so easy.  Customer service is outstanding and the owner, Lev, is available to answer questions and help you every step of the way.  

I did some literal cut and paste with real sissors, real paper and colored pens/pencils to figure out the size and details of the labels.  I guess I’m just old school, but I’m a visual person with very little technical skills, so I get by any way I can.  Now I had the cut and paste, but how do I upload it to the computer?  Margarita, help!  Dtour Design did it again.  She took the information and plunked it into her design program.  That was a great resource worth every penny!

Oh, and while all of this was happening, I also should mention that I was pitching my product to all the best Farmers’ Markets in the area to see if I could sell there.  Criteria for the markets is limiting, but I find that to be a good thing.  Many want vendors with products that are local to a range of 200 miles, others want vendors who make their products themselves or have a very unique product that the customer range would want.  I fell into the last two catagories.  My first market of acceptance was Nyack.  I am shooting for Irvington, Hastings or Chappaqua too.  I know I need to have my product at the Farmers’ Markets for many reasons.  One, I want to build a relationship with my clientel.  They need to know who is behind this product and what my ethics are.  I want to learn about them and their needs and how my products can be of service to them now and in the future.  Also, the markets are a great place to fix any mistakes that I may have made.  Either with the packaging, the product or concept.  People are very forward with opinions and I love to hear feedback - either positive or negative.  Feedback is how I can learn and grow.

Excited about the ending?  Contine reading “bringing a product to market":  Phase Three.

© Wild Sea Salt established August 2015