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!