There is something about us who do cakes that seems to cause us to feel less than we are. Is it because of our creative temperament? I am not sure. Why don’t we all feel like real bakers?
In my last blog, I was trying to warn people who baked at home about liability issues they could face. I deliberately excluded those who bake under Cottage Food Laws from the point of that blog. Nonetheless, bakers began thinking that me (former shop owner) was calling them (baking in compliance with the cottage food laws) operators of an illegal bakery. I even had a few people who operate under their state’s Cottage Food Laws post to say that one day they want to go “legit”. A number said that one day they wanted to have a “real” bakery.
Just like in my blog to tell you you have every right to wear a chef coat, I am here in today’s blog to tell you that you are legit. You operate a real bakery.
If your state has a Cottage Food Law and you meet the requirements and follow those rules, you are not only real, but LEGAL in your state’s eyes. Do not think of yourself as less.
If you live in a place that allows you to have a licensed bakery in or attached to your home, and you follow your state’s rules for that, you are legal also. You have a real shop.
Sometimes I think that people believe the only real bakery is one with a storefront open to the public. It is funny, when I had my shop with over a dozen employees, I still thought of myself as running a small shop. We all seem to downgrade our operations.
If you sell cakes under any circumstances, you run a bakery. Just as there are many breeds of dogs, there are many breeds of bakeries. One isn’t better than the other. The only question is which one is right for YOU and your life right now.
Those of you in the states with Cottage Food Laws need to embrace this new, permissible form of operation. Consider your business real and legal because it is!! If you still dream of owning a storefront, that is fine. But a storefront is just a bigger form of the bakery, not the only legit form.
I also want to be clear that, as a shop owner, I did not and do not have a problem with home bakers. The majority of my friends (and a number of my former employees) bake from home – some legally, some not. There is simply no way one bakery can do all the cakes. I booked up so early that I was happy people had other choices.
By the same token, I am a bit of a mother hen and I worry about a lot of you young bakers who write me seeking information. I want to share any knowledge I have that could help. I know that back when I did orders at home for Aunt June’s friends, I had NO IDEA that the health department could have seized all my kitchen equipment or that I could have been sued if someone got sick. I was ignorant of the liability risks of my choice. I don’t want anyone to get into a pickle because no one would talk about home bakers.
A friend said I pointed at the elephant in the room with the last blog…the split between shop owners and bakers from home. That was not at all the point of the blog and I am afraid some people read my blog looking for a fight. My attempts to educate turned into a very different dialogue.
I want to be crystal clear. If you bake, you are a real bakery. If you operate under Cottage Food Laws, you are legal. If you operate a storefront or boutique bakery or bakery attached to your home that is licensed, you are legal. If you operate from home in a state that does not have Cottage Food Laws, and you do not have a license, then you are running an illegal bakery and might want to read my last blog to think about the risks associated with that choice. I am not telling you not to do it, just know what you are getting into!
The bakery business is tough enough. Let’s not fight amongst ourselves. Let’s work to share information and knowledge so that we all are more successful. Isn’t that the sweeter approach?