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Before I get a shop...
October 28, 2006
2:50 pm
boycie
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Forum Posts: 18
Member Since:
June 30, 2006
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Hi guys!

Before I open a chocolate shop I’m wanting to sell chocs at Farmers Markets (in the UK). This means I will be making the chocolates in my house. Has anyone done this? and if so, how did you deal with the regulations surrounding this?

Can anyone say if it works to start from home, or do you think that’s impossible and I will need to hire a unit?

I realise you’re all probably busy with the run-up to Christmas, so good luck with all of that!

Thank you very much!

Thank you!

Thank you!
November 1, 2006
8:34 pm
wrks4choc
Hopewell Junction, USA
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Forum Posts: 82
Member Since:
February 23, 2006
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Hello, Boycie;
Well first of all, the regulations I’m sure are quite different between the US and the UK, so, I can’t advise you on that, but what I have done in the US for the past 3 yrs or so is made the chocolate in my home. For a while I made a deal with a restaurant, to use their kitchen when they were done for the evening. I would go in to “work” at 11pm, and finish up at 8am, then get a small amount of sleep and go to my day job!! Needless to say, this was very difficult. Still this is an option with exsisting businesses. Also, if you have a seperate unused basement, that works very well. (of course just needs to be extremely clean!) The biggest problem being that you need to coerce the environment to you specific needs and I usually use a combo of air conditioning and small closed in areas so you can better regulate the airflow, temp., etc. I’m still looking to move in to my own kitchen, and don’t like doing it in my home for many reasons, most of which there are steep fines in my state, plus I would just like to have a pefectly set environment at all times. Good Luck!

Keep it Sweet!

Keep it Sweet!
December 26, 2006
1:21 pm
Bala C
United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 45
Member Since:
October 13, 2009
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Hi Boycie,

Late reply due to xmas rush! but just in case you are still looking for answers on this … I did exactly the same. I started off making from home and selling through the local farmers market.

I contacted the local environmental health office and asked them to come and have a look round the kitchen and advise their thoughts on this. Obviously they want to see a clean and tidy area. They are quite adamant about having two sinks nearby – one for handwashing and one for dishwashing. If you have a cloakroom nearby, they do allow this to count as a handwashing sink so long as there are at least two doors separating the cooking area from the cloakroom.

For cream / fruit other fresh “higher risk” products that you may be using they will want you to keep a record of where you are storing them and if eg in the fridge then you need to keep a chart of daily temperatures of the fridge.

I think those were the key areas they were concerned about, but the local office was very helpful and I would suggest contacting them as a first step.

Good luck! Hope all works well!

Bala

Bala :)
http://www.thechocolatecellar.co.uk

Bala :) www.thechocolatecellar.co.uk
January 1, 2007
5:25 pm
robers7
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Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
May 23, 2006
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Bala – we are also looking to start small – making confectionery in our kitchen and possibly selling through farmers markets.

I visited thecocolatecellar.co.uk – congratulations on winning your award! I read the “our story” link and I am intrigued as to which distance learning course you took – I haven’t been able to find anything suitable and I have been hunting for months.

Also, how easy was it to get into farmers markets? We have contacted our local market and they will be getting back to us in the new year, but I understand there may be a waiting list for stalls. Are pitches at such markets generally expensive?

One thing I do worry about with Farmers markets is that chocolates may be a bit “seasonal” (i.e. more difficult to sell in the warmer months), not to mention more difficult to display in the heat of the summer. Did you experience this problem at all?

Well done on the success of the chocolatecellar, and here’s to another wonderful year for you.

Thanks

January 3, 2007
10:03 am
Bala C
United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 45
Member Since:
October 13, 2009
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quote:


Originally posted by robers7

Bala – we are also looking to start small – making confectionery in our kitchen and possibly selling through farmers markets.

I visited thecocolatecellar.co.uk – congratulations on winning your award! I read the “our story” link and I am intrigued as to which distance learning course you took – I haven’t been able to find anything suitable and I have been hunting for months.

Also, how easy was it to get into farmers markets? We have contacted our local market and they will be getting back to us in the new year, but I understand there may be a waiting list for stalls. Are pitches at such markets generally expensive?

One thing I do worry about with Farmers markets is that chocolates may be a bit “seasonal” (i.e. more difficult to sell in the warmer months), not to mention more difficult to display in the heat of the summer. Did you experience this problem at all?

Well done on the success of the chocolatecellar, and here’s to another wonderful year for you.

Thanks


Thanks v much! The course I took was the Ecole Chooclat course – I think a few people on this forum have done it. I did find that I needed to top this up with further training and chose to go to Slattery’s for that. Both were invaluable and I learnt a huge amount from each course.

Generally at a farmers market, it is not too difficult to get in if there is no one else doing the same thing. At one of the markets I go to there are 2 other confectioners, so there is now a restriction on any new people until someone chooses to stop going. I would be very persistent and make friends with as many of the other traders as you can – they will keep you informed if there are any spaces coming up.

To start with I was just about covering my costs and was finding that I had to give away lots of little samples to potential customers. This, however was not in vain – I found that 90% of people bought after trying a little. You always get the few who just go to the markets for free samples. This has now paid off, and as people have got to know us they come to the market just to buy our chocolates.

I had a huge peak over xmas, but no real dip over the summer. We found that the slow markets were mostly when there was something else going on to distract people away from the market – eg the local council lay on an annual show with the red arrows attending etc and this drew people away from the market.

Obviously this is all just personal experience in our local area and may be different for other people, so if anyone else can add anything that would be great!

Bala :)
http://www.thechocolatecellar.co.uk

Bala :) www.thechocolatecellar.co.uk
January 3, 2007
7:05 pm
boycie
Member
Forum Posts: 18
Member Since:
June 30, 2006
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Hi everyone

Thanks for the reply Bala and ‘wrks4choc’ – I will certainly heed your advice! hope you’ve all had a great christmas, I’ve now registered my premises but think I will invite the Environmental Health over. Thanks for your comments – I’m now satisfied that I can at least start at home. And what a good idea to ‘borrow’ a restaurant kitchen at night – fab!

Thanks to all!

Thank you!

Thank you!
January 18, 2007
2:30 pm
TC
Member
Forum Posts: 8
Member Since:
December 5, 2006
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Hi Boycie,

Just interested to know how you are getting on with the chocolate making at home? What was the process concerning Environmental Health like?

Thanks,

TC

March 13, 2007
3:05 pm
robers7
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Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
May 23, 2006
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Thanks for the info Bala.

We’re much closer to attending a local Farmer’s market and we have been told we need liability insurance.

Question is – what sort of liability insurance do we need? The insurance companies keep quoting us as “confecetioner’s” (in the sense of a corner shop selling newspapers and sweets – not really appropriate!). Sometimes I get quoted as a ‘cake decorator’ which, again, insn’t really appropriate.

Anyone else had a similar issue?

March 21, 2007
8:10 pm
Bala C
United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 45
Member Since:
October 13, 2009
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Hi – try the national market traders federation – they’re used to people like us :)

sorry quick reply – have 2 wk old baby now as well as the business – no time!!!

Bala :)
http://www.thechocolatecellar.co.uk

Bala :) www.thechocolatecellar.co.uk
April 19, 2007
4:12 pm
sprunty
London, United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
April 19, 2007
Offline
10

Hi everyone,

Wow I never realised how many people were starting up chocolate businesses.

I had the same problems getting insurance as well. What I ended up doing was going to a small firm where I could meet people face to face and talk to them, after giving them some samples they were so excited they did all the legwork hunting for the right policy for me. If you’ve got a small firm near you then you could try that.

You could always ask the market that you’ll be trading at to recommend something too.

sprunty ^_^ http://www.naturallyindulgent.com/