The California Homemade Food Act went into effect on January 1st, 2013. The Act makes it possible for small production of certain types of food-related goods. With the Act and the growing popularity of kitchen incubators, we saw a need to develop our Go to Market program centered around specialty foods. Our first one took place on May 28, 2014 in Watsonville. The program is designed to provide first class training in rural areas that otherwise wouldn’t have access to the information. Since 2014, we’ve held another Go to Market in Chico and will hold one in Fresno in 2017.
We’re delighted to announce that our Go-To-Market program has expanded from specialty foods to the crafts, another class of home-based businesses.
We recently kicked off the first Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship training at the SBDC in Chico as the second part of our Go-To-Market program in Chico. The first was our specialty foods conference in April (see below). Everyone came with their products – jewelry, Christmas ornaments, greeting cards, quilts, children costumes, wood pallets, leather goods, pet products, ceramics, water colored paintings, clothing, and tea. There was even a cattle rancher who owns goats and sheep and makes wool (for knitting, including adding colors) from shearing her goats and sheep. According to SBDC Director Sophie Konuwa,
“It was a great training and everyone was able to set up a shop.”
The Etsy class is a focused pathway for artistic individuals who make products themselves or add value to an existing product such as clothing, jewelry, or wood crafts. They have to apply and be selected into the program. Those selected are serious about their work. Some are already in business and want to grow; some have tried to make a business work, but stalled; and some want to turn a hobby into an income-producing business.
The classes are customized toward Etsy businesses. Participants can get help and advice from teams in their geographical area or craft specialization and they have access to mentoring services. Topics include:
- Taking clear, quality photos (ultra important to a web-based business!);
- Writing a good ‘About’ page, for the business owner and the product;
- Describing a product, the what and the why;
- Identifying your target market and reach customers;
- Using social media to market products;
- Providing excellent customer service; and
- Implementing best practices for shop policies, i.e. payments, exchanges, returns, packaging, and pricing.
The 5-week class has 32 registered participants and a waiting list for the next class. Learn more about the Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship program in Chico.
Big thanks to Shufina for spearheading this program!
A Specialty Foods Conference
California is a foodie state if there ever was one. There’s no better place to grow food, explore food innovations or market food. We have teamed up with the Specialty Foods Association to offer up a full day of learning about the food industry: business and marketing opportunities, how to stay viable and competitive, and financing.
If you’re interested in starting a food business or work with food businesses, Micro Goes to Market is for you.
In April of 2017, we brought this top-notch training to the Central Valley with our partners Fresno CDFI and the Fresno State SBDC and many others.
Previous Go to Market’s include: April 2016, serving five Rural North counties -Butte, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity Counties; and April 2014, serving Watsonville and San Benedito, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.
Download a sample Go To Market flyer.
- Networking Breakfast
- Opening Remarks
- Regional Overview – How can we establish a ‘pro-business/slow growth’ economy that formally supports and recognizes job creation through entrepreneurship in the food sector? Who are the local pioneers and partners? What role does tourism play? What opportunities lie in other offshoots of the food sector? What are Value Added Producer Grants?
- Victor Bribiesca, Small Business Administration
- Tobias Teran, owner of Tofas Mediterranean Grill
- Creating a Specialty Food Community and How the SFA Supports the Sector, a national overview. What does the future hold for food? What are current trends? What does it take to be successful in today’s market?
- Ron Tanner, Specialty Food Association (Data, Trends, and Growth Opportunities)
- Supporting Regional Food Entrepreneurship Economy with Local Tools
- Eduardo Gonzalez, Fresno State SBDC (facilitator)
- Shawn Miller, Clovis Culinary Center
- Yeri Olivares, Downtown Business Hub
- Chanel Ruiz-Mendez, Better Blackstone, New Market Incubator
- Tom Matott, Better Blackstone, New Market Incubator
- Are You Ready to Grow Your Business? (YES!!!)
- Ron Tanner, Specialty Food Association
- Break into the Market: Who and How to Sell To
- Ron Tanner, Specialty Food Association (moderator)
- Brad Van Dam – Marich Confectionary
- Sell to specialty food retailers: Cathy Leland, Market Hall FOods
- Financial Round Table, Serving the Sector
- Shufina English – CAMEO (facilitator)
- Ana Medina, Fresno CDFI
- Maria Waters, Feed the Hunger
- Scott Rogalski, Business Loan Consultant, SBDC
Meet the Regional Food Producers and taste their products and local wine. Yum!
Free! Bring Friends!
- Specialty Food Industry Overview
- Sukhi Goes To Market
- Partnering with Distributors
- Selling to Specialty Markets
Feel free to submit resources to CAMEO.
We are grateful to our sponsors who have made this possible.
Thanks to collaborative partners: Specialty Foods Association, USDA
This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.