It's mid January 2016, which means I just filed my taxes for 2015, because I'm an overachiever. The first entry in my Mint.com account tagged as "Mallow & Hop" was May 19th, 2015, to Squarespace for this very website. What's happened since then?
I see so many of my peers fall into this pattern - the job is hard to quit, because the drinks with friends and ability to pay the rent that we once viewed as such a luxury is now a requirement. The job becomes your buoy and your enemy, and is treated as such, with apathy, disdain and resentment. The dreams make it ok, because the dreams are who you are. The job is just the job. But you don't quit. And you get older. The dreams stay the dreams. And then what
One of the problems with blogging about this CFO experience is that it makes skirting the law in minor and insignificant ways a conundrum: if I do try to do something minor but certainly illegal, I can't plead ignorance. I've already blogged about it!
I tried creating a bunch of these experimental cereal bars for a party Mallow & Hop catered over the weekend: Cherry Beer + Cocoa Krispies + Dried Cherries; Passion Fruit + Cap'N Crunch + Butterscotch Chips; Apricot IPA + Spicy Pub Mix (barely a 'cereal' bar but certainly interesting!). This one was the best by far - ready?
One of the benefits of starting a Cottage Food Operation rather than a full fledged commercial food business is that the fixed costs are minimal. If life gets in the way and you find yourself with no spare time to devote, if success isn't knocking down your door, if the exciting leads dry up, there's no evil business vampire lurking over your shoulder telling you you're going to run out of money.
This particular benefit of a CFO is also, right now, its biggest disadvantage.
This past weekend I had what in retrospect will be considered my launch event, Meet the Makers at Milkfarm LA in Eagle Rock. I really can't say enough good words about Leah and her staff there - not only were they warm, welcoming and supportive, but they've curated an incredible line of products in their store.
Here I am, applying for a Cottage Food Operation permit through a law that went into effect only in 2013. Though a state law, California left the details up to the counties to enforce, meaning that most experiences I read about didn't accurately set my expectations for mine. If you're looking to start a Class B CFO in Los Angeles County... I hope this helps you. Here's what I did.
In which I make 16 batches of vanilla marshmallows in an insane attempt to scientifically see what effect the amount of sugar / syrup / gelatin / water / heat has on the final product. It has mixed results.
I may be shooting myself in the foot with this post, especially in Los Angeles. We certainly have the reputation of being a group that spends all day at pilates classes, drinking kale shakes and worrying whether than size 2 dress on Rodeo Dr will fit tomorrow if I sneak a bite of this vegan cookie.
But I also want those who google "Mallow & Hop Nutritional Information" to not come up short.
One of the requirements for applying for a cottage food permit is providing your county with a version of the labels that you'll be using. They want to ensure your ingredients are allowed under the law, that any allergens are clearly noted, that "Made in a Home Kitchen" is displayed in a large enough font size. I get it. But it's also incredibly daunting to have to create and finalize your labels before you get the go-ahead to even start a business.
At the risk of becoming a cliché, I got my second tattoo in the weeks before I left New York for good. It's a Walt Whitman quote, from a poem I've in all honestly never read all the way through (like your typical teenage girl getting the chinese character for "Noodles" on her shoulder). "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself,