Fresh spices, especially when locally grown, are appealing to professional chefs and home cooks. If you have a garden where you are growing spices for your own use, you have probably also toyed with the idea of selling your spices. If you don’t have a lot of wholesale business experience, you may be asking, “How do I bottle and sell my own spices?”
Investigate Local Regulations
Contact your city and county authorities to confirm if a spice-bottling business is permitted to operate in your home. If not, consider renting compliant kitchens by the day from nearby churches or restaurants with limited hours of operation. Your county may required that you complete a food-handling safety course.
Know Your Market
Determine where and how you intend to sell your bottles of spices. Are you selling to grocery stores, specialty cooking stores, or gift shops? Determine how you will interest them in your product, especially if they are already selling spices from multiple sources. Will you need to establish an online store or just a web page to promote your spices?
Complete Business Filings
Selling bottled spices is a small business enterprise that will benefit from filing a DBA or Doing Business As form with your state and county. A DBA allows you to operate under a different name for business purposes without having to form a corporation. File for a resale certificate through your state taxing authority to take advantage of wholesale prices on bottles and other supplies.
Locate Wholesale Bottle Suppliers
Purchasing bottles at wholesale prices allows for better profit margins off the sale of each bottle of your own spices. Not all suppliers require you to purchase large quantities, so shop around for a supplier that fits your needs.
Don’t skimp on label design or limit yourself to your own inject printer. An attractive, professional-looking label may be more important than the spice itself when a shopper is making comparisons between your spice and those of your competitors.
Invest in a Quality Scale
A scale designed for small measurements ensures that each bottle has the amount specified on the label. This protects both your customer and yourself. They should get what is promised, and you don’t need to lose product by putting too much of each spice in each bottle.
Calculate the Costs
Establish a price for each bottle of spice once you have determined the costs to set up a business and the costs of operation. Calculate the cost of supplies and their shipping to you. Be sure to factor in the costs of your labor. Is the final price competitive? If the pricing is too high, your spices will be hard to sell. If necessary, reevaluate costs to see where you can trim expenses. You may need to change your strategy of selling to stores and instead sell directly to consumers.
Create a Written Business Plan
Even if you are the only person operating a business, you should write out a business plan to sell your own spices. The exercise will strengthen your knowledge of the market and increase your ability to overcome obstacles when they appear.
References and ResourcesIowa State University Extension: Selling Food Products:
Small Business Administration: Write a Business Plan
University of Missouri: Home-Based Business—Market Your Product
ResourcesLightning Labels: Introduction to Product Labeling
eBottles.com: Food Jars & Bottles
eCrater: Free Online Store Builder