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New Business Idea - what do you think?

Since times are hard for me right now with the recession, I have been brainstorming on ways to make some money to help pay my bills. (believe I have already sold almost everything that I could think of that I didn’t need or wantso far – I might have to start selling things I don’t really want to sell!)

As some of you may know from my posts, I am really into hair and natural beauty things and I used to be a cosmetologist. One of my ‘hobbies’ is making new things for my hair and hair nutrition.

I thought it might be a good side to make some of these things myself and sell them probably on Ebay (or maybe craigslist too). I noticed that many people sell homemade beauty products on Ebay.

These would be things like rinses for the hair (natural and mostly raw and some of the ingredients would be wild too) and tonics and maybe some natural raw skin products too (like lotions) and oil blends maybe. They would be made to order so they would be fresh. I also thought I could write a little e-book on natural raw beauty care. It would small – tips, nutrition, information etc.

How to do you think a thing like this would go over? I am not expecting to make a fortune or anything but just to help me through this tough time.

I have sold stuff on Ebay before but mostly stuff I already own like clothes etc so I know how to do it. But I am not sure about how to get the materials at cheap so I make a profit. Like bottles (would have to be plastic I guess with spout tops) and jars.

I am in technology so I am great on the computer. I’ll probably start up a website soon and maybe I could have some stuff on there.

My other idea was that there is a great farmers market near my apt and it is pretty popular and I thought maybe I could sell there too. I thought about making some of my dehydrated raw things to sell there too (like my bacon) and see how that went over – have to see about getting a booth place I guess. I think omshanti did something similiar and she said it worked out great.

Suggestions? Comments? Do you think I would end up losing money on the supplies? Should I not bother? How do I price things fairly so I can make a profit?



  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    It might be hard for me to trust homemade products on ebay. But an ebook could work, possibly. The farmer’s market idea could work, but make sure you have a variety to attract a crowd to your booth. Many people in my town go to the farmer’s market looking for a delicious meal – and the booth that gets the most attention serves very fresh vegetable salads, a large variety (and a few cooked vegan entrees). Think about being a raw chef for folks maybe? For people in your town? Some folks would love to receive a huge box of prepared goods (tell them it’ll cause weight loss too!)

  • how about marketing your raw goods (foods and other products) to local health food stores and raw restaurants?

  • Since you know so much about hair already you could put out an ebook marketing yourself as a former hairdresser and the truth about hair products, recipes for natural hair products and edible recipes which promote healthy hair. First you need to educate people about the problem, and then offer them the solution. You’d be making money and helping!

  • SarahJSarahJ Raw Newbie

    I agree with the ebook idea. I might be interested in that.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    sounds like you have some great ideas. We sell a lot of dehydrated bread mail order. And people are always asking us to increase our menu with more dehydrated things. It sells well and it is easy and relatively cheap to make. Dehydrated raw foods are what people really want to buy in terms of convenience raw food. I think it would work well for you. It is also good because it is easy to ship and it won’t go off.

    I like the ebook idea too. I read on Karen Knowler’s blog ages ago that she made about

  • Thanks all for all the great advice so far! I really appreciate it. So, maybe selling on Ebay isn’t such a great idea? I guess I worry about stuff that goes into stuff made in factories more than homemade stuff but I defintley don’t want to lose money on Ebay fees if my items don’t sell. I might just try a few listings and see how it goes. It can be hard to ship liquids though so maybe an oils or creams. :)

    If I write an e-book, how does it work for publishing and stuff like that? Is that anything you would have to worry about for something like that? I wouldn’t think so but I have always worked for other people and not for myself so this is all new to me. :)

    I am definatley seriously considering the dehydrated stuff because I would really like to open a vegan/raw cafe someday. So that would probably be something good to start with as sort of background in food. It is also good because my bf is working on building a new type of dehydrator and once it is done, I will get to use it for my products if I want (we have to do tests in it anyhow). So, it will be good “advertising” for his dehydrator too.

    Zoe, did you have to get some sort of certification to sell your food? I that someplaces want you to take some sort of “Serve it safely” class before you can serve or sell your food to the general public.

    Do you have just one dehydrator that you do your selled items in? Our dehydrator is only a five tray and pretty noisy – I was worried about electricity costs too.

    I would definatley be starting out small since it is just me that would be doing it and I don’t have a big gourmet kitchen in my apt! But I deifnatley going to get my website going and I’ll post the link when it is up.

  • omshantiomshanti Raw Newbie

    hey queen fluff, your hair care tonics sound great for the farmers markets but i gotta tell ya, the food thing is hard…it may not be as regulated by you as by me so checkinto it, but most farmers markets require permits and certifications throught the state = sizable investment and lots of red tape…but i bet its not as tough withthe othre products and i would totally buy natural haircare in a beautiful bottle for gifts and to put in my guest bathroom! and if you had an estore wher i coud order more…great!!! let me know what you find out about your county… ebook sounds great too, i know nothing about that! teehee

  • Hey Omshanti!

    thanks so much for your input! I remember reading your posts that you sold your dehydrated yummies at a farmers market before. Yeah, I was guessing there was a bit of “red tap” involved in that – getting a booth and such. I don’t have the extra money right now for certifications (organic I guess you are meaning or just certified to make and sell food?) and permits to sell I guess. Sounds like alot of work – if I had the extra dough I would do it (well, if I had extra dough, I would go and open my vegan cafe first and not do this!). I think that step will be for later.

    Do you know if you have to do all the permits and certifications if you sell online (the food I mean)? I wouldn’t see how you would be able to – I have to do some research on it.

    I have definatley decided to do the online thing. I trying to think of a good name that hasn’t been taken yet. It will be all dehydrated stuff and I make for now but I might add some natural beauty stuff and an e-book.

    I might ask for a vote if I can’t decide on a name! :)

  • etsy?

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    We have a 9 tray and a home made huge dehydrator, 3 times the size of an excalibur. We had to register with our local environmental health dept and they came round to have a look at everything, and there’s a few things we have to do to keep it all legal but nothing that is a hassle, or complicated, it is just common sense really. But I live in the UK it will be different for you in the USA. Your local environmental health dept should be able to give you all the info you need.

  • hkittykitty has a great idea, check out etsy. I sell on there as well. It is a great site and costs VERY little to use. Plus the shoppers are very enlightened. Try it!

  • Zoe: sorry totally off topic… but I like your new picture! It is nice to see who you are after reading all of you posts :-) Also, do you know of any UK businesses that sell agave that is really raw? (If it even exists..) Thanks!

    Also, I love this topic. I have also had it in the back of my mind to start promoting raw foods where I live, in Norway, and maybe branching out and working with it somehow. So even though I don’t feel “ready” yet it is fun to read about it. Good luck queefluff

  • omshantiomshanti Raw Newbie

    zoe look at you! nice to see you!

  • Zoe – Yes, I love your new picture! It is nice to finally know what you look like! :) Thanks so much for the advice. I definatley can’t afford to upgrade the dehydrator right now. We have a SausageMaker which, according to my bf, has a more powerful fan than the Excalibur. I have used both and I prefer the SausageMaker but it is on the noisy side since it is stainless steel. My bf doesn’t like me running it at night – it doesn’t bother me.

    Question: where do you buy your containers at cheap? Online or do you have a place in the UK your go too?

    hkittykitty and LisaMarie – I have seen the Esty site before and almost bought something on there before. If it is cheaper than Ebay fees I might give it go if I do any beauty stuff.

  • Ok, guys I think I decide on a name (at least for the domain – my “line” of foods might be called something different).

    A Raw Paradise

    It is hard to change a domain name so I wanted something that I liked. What you all think? Nice name for a site to sell raw things? Raw Paradise was already taken. I have other ideas if anyone wants to here them. I really want to get started on programming the site so I want to pick something today. :)

  • Ya, what are your other name ideas?

  • I like “A raw paradise” though…. :)

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    Glad you like to see my face, I wasn’t sure about putting photo up! Anyway, we get our containers in bulk online, the ones we can’t get online we get from the Chinese supermarket where they stock everything for all the local take aways.

    Sorry, Don’t know of any raw agave in the UK.

  • have_merseyhave_mersey Raw Newbie

    You could print out some of the booklets and sell those, and the ingredients at the farmers markets, ebay, or etsy? And you should have a few smaller containers/bottles so people can try it first and see how they like (maybe a small trial set or two as well). Then if they like (and most definitely will) they will come back and buy a larger quantity. You could always offer personalised. I’m not actually sure what all of this consists of. But buying a few of the necessities in bulk really cuts down on your and the consumer’s price. I recently quit shampooing or I might find this more interesting. I think this could be a very good idea.

  • The other names were a bit similar to A Raw Paradise: A Natural Paradise, The Raw Paradise, The Natural Paradise, A Raw Oasis or The Raw Oasia. (ha ha – so many names were already taken – so I had to put a A or The in the front). Yesterday, I had names like “Natural Noshies” but I figured I wanted something that wouldn’t sound it was just food since I might have other stuff on there too.

    Do you like any of the other names better?

    Zoe – Great thanks! Another question for you: do you make your items in your home kitchen then? I know you have a kitty. I am guessing the UK didn’t have a problem with you having pets in the same area that you do your “cooking”.

    By the time, I really get this thingy under way – I may have moved to a different apartment anyhow! But right now, the litter box is near the kitchen, just wondering if there were issues with that with your kitty. I am looking into the local health rules.

    It looks like you don’t actually sell your goodies through your site (meaning, people can’t purchase them at the site) but you advertise at the site and do phone orders. I am guessing it doesn’t matter if people purchase them at the site or they order them by seeing your site – you still need to have some sort of permit to make them in yourself and sell them to be legal.

  • omshantiomshanti Raw Newbie

    queenfluff, finest city paper has affordable”green” containers in bulk, google em they are here in san diego….i got mine from them

  • OMG~ off topic i know, but I think my Zoe dream came true with that new picture hahaha, queenfluff knows what i’m talking about! (see ‘nightmare’ thread, doesn’t mean it was a nightmare though hahaha) You look like a doll, Zoe! fantastic!

    these are some really great ideas. Honestly, I have to agree with the potential from your education/skill in the raw beauty, and more specifically raw hair care department. I do consider you the no poo expert! With all the things you have written in that area, I think you would be the best for putting something together on that, whether it be an ebook or something else… one thing that comes to mind is little booklets i’ve seen in whole foods in the health/beauty department on different things, i bought one once on ‘Detox’ about different ways to detox your body of different things and other neat tips and information… i dont know if thats any help but my point is, you definitely have an advantage/skill in that area…

    In terms of selling at farmer’s market, I think its relatively easy as long as you get past the legal side of it. The kitchen or wherever you make your food needs to be certified, and you need a permit to set up a location at the market…i’m not sure how much that is but i guess its a cost to consider that whenever you sell there you also have to pay… if you check out the farmer’s market website, they should have a section where you can find out information on how to sell there. you probably already knew these things though! I think your website is a great idea. You might even use farmer’s market as a way to advertise your site too.

    you could probably get your food items sold at a co- op too, the one here in santa monica sells stuff from small raw food companies around here. they always have their website on the labels.

    yay i can’t wait to buy queenfluffs raw hair care book and raw food treats!

  • Aw you guys are so sweet!:)

    Well, I decided on the name A Natural Paradise instead of A Raw Paradise – only because I will be selling things other than food so I though it might be a little more appropriate.

    so the website is: www.anaturalparadise.com

    I am already starting on it. I have done tiered websites before so I already have a basic page up (I hate those Under Construction page) but it is just really basic so far. (I am slightly cheating because I am using code from an old project so it is alot of cut and paste and upload of files already done – saves my hands from too much typing!). The links dont’ go anywhere yet but they will in a few hours!

    Thanks for all the tips guys! I am definatley keeping them all in mind. Yeah, the legal part is the part I hate. Don’t like all the permits and stuff – it is confusing too me.

    kundalalita – yeah, the kitchen certification part might be a little tricky – I don’t have much of a kitchen and not much extra money. The Farmers Market near me doesn’t have much of a website. I am sure I’ll find something though – I’ll have to go poking around there and ask some vendors maybe. Unfortunatley, there are no co-op’s in my area which really sucks. That is one of things I don’t like about my area. My bf says since this is Silicon Valley and everyone works too much to go to co-ops and they just go to Whole Foods ..or the Farmers Market (which is only on Sundays).

  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    queenfluff~ Congrats!!!!! To support you to where you are going… I had an idea… since you are web-savvy and your local farmer’s market’s webpage is a bit sparse… if you are interested… propose to your Farmer’s Market to get pay to improve their website or trade for space at the market…

    Sending you lots of success energy!!!

  • RawKidChefRawKidChef Raw Newbie

    congrats! queenfluff, if you sold raw soaked sprouted if possible low temperature dehydrated nut butters I would go crazy over them!!!

  • BlueDolphin – Thanks! I certainity could use the “success energy” – Success has definately not been in the cards for me in the last few years – I could really use it! Hmm, good idea about the farmers market website. I will have to look into that!

    RawKidChef -

    thanks! I don’t think I will get into nut butters but who knows – maybe someday! :)

  • I was just further checking out that esty site yesterday – there is woman on there who already sells stuff similar to what I want to do. Does any one if you have to get some sort of permit or something to sell your homemade stuff on there? (talking about the beauty products here).

    Or can I just “make and sell”? I don’t see anyone on there mention they have some sort of permit or anything?

  • RawKidChefRawKidChef Raw Newbie

    I’m not sure about the permition thing but I was just curious what kind of food products do you plan to sell? Cookies, cakes, pies, nuts, crackers? I can’t wait to find out what you’ll sell!!

  • Right now I am planning on selling mostly dehydrated stuff that I make of my own recipe. Breads, cracker, bacon, sweets and candies. The second thing I am going to sell is homemade “raw” hair products. No chemical “shampoos” or “conditioners”. Since I don’t use either or those myself. I plan on doing some herbal hair rinses, oil blends, creams (like with coconut oil or other oils in them), hair styling products and conditioners for the hair. Only edible things in the products.

    There maybe other stuff too – I have a friend who is intereted in making and selling his dehydrated stuff too so maybe that stuff will end up on my site too.

    I don’t think I am going to sell any stuff that needs to be refrigerated and will perish – it is too much of a hassle. The dehydrated stuff will keep better – that is where more of my interest lies anyhow.

    It might be a while until you find some of my foods for sale – I am not certified nor do I have a permit. You will probably see the hair stuff first.

    Btw, I love your kitty in your avatar! So cute! :)

  • RawKidChefRawKidChef Raw Newbie

    queenfluff: That’s great! I ccertainly wouldn’t mind having some dehydrated crackers and stuff around!! I’m sure you’ll do a great job in selling your stuff. :)

    Oh, thanks that is my little Blueberry! She is blue-point Siamese. I love your kitties too, they were in your previous avatars! They are beautiful.

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