Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Look Back at 2012 - Part 2

Yippie-Pie-Yay 2012 year in review Licensing

Linda: Now that we had the name and business plan all sorted... it was time to get legit! After a quick review of the Cottage Act legislation that would support Yippie-Pie-Yay, it was time to take care of all that pesky paperwork. The Small Business Administration provided great information about starting a business. Courtney had prior experience with all of this so she quickly handled all of the filings required. It was all her on this but it seemed to me that the process was fairly quick and mostly painless.

Courtney: Ha! That's funny! Anything seems quick and painless if you're not the one doing it, right?! All kidding aside, thank goodness Linda works in a state office and isn’t afraid to read legislation. I never would have made it past the second sentence of that stuff. 
Hand pie taste testing
We got so tired of pie we forced our friends to participate.
Applying for a Cottage Food license requires you to submit all of your recipes to the Washington State Department of Agriculture with a big fat check. In our case, this meant testing recipes ad nauseum for a solid month before submitting the whole packet. I trust my recipes, but if one thing was wrong with what I sent to the State, I would have to write that big fat check again and restart the entire process. Can I get a woot-woot for government oversight? Hell yeah! After a solid four weeks of testing recipes, to my surprise and dismay, I actually got tired of pie! That would be one down side to the process. (The other down side was that none of my pants fit after day 11.) To relieve our pie-tasting overload (and tight waistbands), we made some friends our official taste testers. Who would have thought they'd be happy to help? Anyway, once our paperwork was received the D of A took about 5 weeks to comb through everything before scheduling our on-sight inspection. It's quite straightforward and I think they pretty much just want to make sure you're not changing diapers on your cutting board, but I still found it stressful because I did not want to fail the inspection and have to wait another 5 weeks before trying again. Also, pretty much everything stresses me out. Also, it is kind of alarming to let complete strangers into your home to look through your pantry and make sure your tap water gets hot enough to do a proper handwashing. (You can read the blow-by-blow of the inspection elsewhere on this blog if you are so inclined.) The awesome thing is that the inspection only takes about 10 minutes (my kitchen is incredibly small) and they email your license the same day! So, props to the D of A on that!  Other bonuses to the Cottage Food application process: The people at the D of A are incredibly friendly and helpful, and there are no surprise inspections of Cottage Food operations like there are of commercial kitchens. This is great because I occasionally do find myself changing diapers on my cutting board.  JUST KIDDING! That's gross!  Stay tuned for the tales of woe from our day of spreading pie love all over Seattle... on the rainiest day of 2012! Stellar planning, as usual! Yippie!

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