I don't have a clue!


There are known knowns, and unknown knowns, and I don’t know either! I have been searching the internet for the best way to set up my cake selling business- and so far, I am confused.

After recently moving to Chicago, and having an obsession with making cakes (and feeding people) I realised my dream is to own my own Tea Shop. Since I am terrified of doing that straight away, I thought I would begin by selling cakes and baked goods- to build a brand and also get money!

Here is what I have learned so far:

Chicago has two laws regarding the sale of baked goods as a small business (that relates to my plan anyway). The Cottage Food Law, and the Illinois Home Kitchen Law. Both of which allow you to sell cakes from home, providing you have the relevant documentation and H&S certificates.
One law prohibits you from selling anywhere but Farmers Markets, but also- may not limit you to that. The other means you CAN sell foods directly to people, but also limits the money you can make per month. I think.

I need to register as a sole proprieter, register the business name, do a food safety course, (maybe) get my home inspected by health officials, get insurance/business liability… the list goes on. I have asked for help from a mentorship based in Chicago (SCORE) which should hopefully give me some sort of clarity into where to even begin.

Their reply has given me a great step by step plan for doing it correctly, in keeping with the laws, so I should be off to a good start.

I understand the registering self as sole proprietor, I knew I would need insurance, and that I would have to do some sort of Food Safety course. Having working in food based jobs since I was 16 I have taken multiple courses both here, and in the USA. That should be fine.

My other main obstacle that is coming up, is the cost of all these things. I have a credit card that can happily take the brunt- but without a solid income, I am worried to take the plunge.
I will keep searching the internet for information- but I now have a base of information from SCORE, I just need to take the plunge (and get a job on the side).

Wish me luck!



Time to move

Around 3 months ago, I went with my husband on a new adventure. He was starting a new job in Chicago and I was going to come with him! Very exciting, I know. I left my job, stopped baking for a while, packed up my kitchen and headed on a plane across the world.

I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was ready for a new adventure. I was ready to move on from my job role that I had, I was ready to start thinking about whether cakes were my direction in life, I also was ready to wait 3-5 months for a work visa which would mean I had the time to think it all through. Think of it like a semi retirement for someone who has worked since he was old enough to, but probably wont retire with a government pension when the time comes. (Classic millennial issue).

We arrived, met some wonderful new people, and he started work. I was left to fend for myself, so I went on walks around my new home. Lots of walks. I have walked up and down the lake side so many times, and been to the zoo (because it’s free) more times than I have ever been to a zoo before. I was worried about the zoo, as I am with most animals in captivity. On one of my (many) visits, I discovered that they actually do a lot for the city. They do research into the wildlife that live in the city, and how that impacts both city dwelling and the animals themselves. Who would have thought that in Chicago there were more than just the usual city mice and foxes. Coyotes, deer and DUCKS (bloody love ducks) are among the usual crowd living with us. I for one, find that exciting.

In my first few months, aside from walking around, I have eaten in lots of little cafes (shout out to Little Goat in Fulton Market area) and been baking up a storm in my new kitchen. If you follow my videos and have seen me baking along with the Bake Off this year, or follow my instagram or Tik Tok and seen my in between bakes- Thank you. My plan while I am here is to gain enough baking knowledge and have recipes to hand so when my Visa kicks in, I can potentially start to sell said baked goods. The “how to become self employed, start a business and take over the world” is much more complicated in the USA than in the UK- the Homemade Cottage food laws in Illinois are a minefield. It looks like I may have to hire out a shared kitchen space somewhere, I shall keep you posted on this.

We have also had visitors, my cousin and his wife came along, my dad has been to visit, and husbands parents have also come to say hello. Its been a busy few months. I went to visit my dads friends (with him) in Detroit, where their hospitality was beyond kindness. My hope is to share all my videos and pictures that I have been taking along the way- so you can see what I have been doing. Stay tuned for more.

See you soon



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