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Exceed Network Presents: Taking Your Business from Passion to Product

food event

Going into the food business can be prosperous and enjoyable. However, turning that passion to product is not as easy as you may think! Before satisfying your customers’ cravings, there is a lot to prepare.

On March 25th, Exceed Network hosted an enlightening event to discuss sales, marketing, branding, packaging, production, and work/life balance. The incredible panel of entrepreneurs included Elizabeth Alpern, Cofounder of Gefilteria; Eleanor Maleh, Co founder of Mazza and More; Chanalee Fischer Shlisser, Founder of Challah Fairy; and Jen King, Co founder of Liddabit Sweets. Jessie Blonder, Managing Director, Co-Founder, and Owner of The Center of Kosher Culinary Arts, moderated and shared his vast experience and knowledge as well.

Branding

Your branding is how people will identify your product. It includes your business’s name, symbol, and design. Your brand differentiates you from other sellers. Elizabeth Alpern suggests using an emotional experience to brand your product. “You’re not just selling a product, you’re selling an experience. Think about what it makes the consumer feel like to eat your product,” she explained. Remember that your branding is how you will sell the product. When you advertise, people will know your product through your branding, so presenting your business as the only option will bring consumers to you.

At the beginning stage of branding, consider what makes your product unique. “If you’re selling a unique experience, you need to know why it’s different and how to articulate that,” continued Elizabeth. There are many players in the food business, so you want your product to truly stand out. By branding yourself properly, people will recognize the strength in your business.

To brand your business, Elizabeth suggests the following:

  • Be authentic, consistent, and reliable.
  • Find a niche.
  • Think outside of the box.

Packaging

Your product has to taste good, but it also has to look good. Similar to great branding, packaging is one of the most important aspects of the food business and can inhibit sales if taken lightly. “The packaging has to look professional and be easy for the retailer to display,” explained Jen King. If your packaging looks crude, retailers will not want to prominently display your product and potential customers will question your legitimacy. Additionally, consider your point of view and decide what your story you’re trying to tell with your packaging. Elizabeth added, “Be yourself, and figure out a way to share it with the world.”

Like with any business, you should also consider a transitional plan for expansion or increase in demand. When it comes to packaging, consider buying in bulk. Jen King said, “Although we recommend buying packaging supplies in bulk, the tricky part can be ensuring that you build up enough your product to use everything.” Buying in bulk can reduce costs along the way when demand increases.

When planning your packaging, Jen recommends the following:

  • Determine how long it will take you.
  • Use packaging that will be easy for consumers to understand and for you to create.
  • Start small, but have an expansion plan.

Production

Before you start your business, learn the rules and regulations that govern production of food for public consumption. For example, when Chanalee Fisher Shlisser started Challah Fairy, she quickly became popular and knew she had to move to a professional facility. After making the transition, Chanalee had building department and health approvals, important factors sales outside of the home. She now owns a bakery and her challah can be found in over twenty stores across New York and New Jersey.

Understanding legal and kashrut regulations are vital for someone contemplating beginning a food-related business. New businesses may not have the funds for proper regulations, but consumers are more likely to trust and buy products that are seen as professional and safely made.

Family/Business Balance

One of the most difficult things about owning your own business is finding a stable work/life balance. Eleanor Maleh began her journey in the food business when she co founded Mazza and More with her mother. A few years and three kids later, Eleanor branched out even further, and developed a healthy lunch program with Yeshiva Darchei Eres School.

Eleanor constantly heard that you can’t have it all, but she disagreed. “Everybody’s capable; you just have to find your balance. You have to set aside time for yourself and your family. It may not be easy, but it is possible,” explained Eleanor. To cultivate a functional work/life balance, set priorities. Decide what is important to you and what you can give up. Set working hours so you don’t miss time with your kids. Finding a stable work/life balance is a struggle for countless people across the country, but with time, you can find success.

The event ended with closing remarks from Jessie Blonder and a Q&A. Participants learned to proceed with their food business one step at a time. Spend time on the product or concept that you want to provide to your consumer. Carefully examine and execute all the steps needed to become successful and like with any business, be prepared for the unexpected.

By Lolita A. Alford

Want to add a little spice to your food business? Call us at Exceed Network and see how we can help you!

info@exceednetwork.org

718-787-1400

379 Kings Highway

Brooklyn, NY 11223

 

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