Susie Wyshak, an Oakland-based food business strategist, offers plenty of insight into that very question in Good Food, Great Business: How to Take Your Artisan Food Idea from Concept to Marketplace
, which just came out from Chronicle Books.
Wyshak was working for the upscale foodie online marketplace Foodzie when she decided to embark on the book. She had also thought long and hard about starting her own food business, and had heard from so many others about their successes and failures. Rather than start a business of her own, she decided to help others learn how to do it.
With advice and anecdotes from more than 75 experts in the field, Wyshak helps you consider not only whether your personality is right for entrepreneurship, but if it is, what kind of food business to consider. She gives the plusses –like many places need better food options – and the minuses – 60 to 80 hour workweeks are not uncommon when starting out. She discusses whether you need a business plan, about branding and why it’s important, packaging, and production. She discusses the ins and outs of selling your product independently as opposed to being sold at markets, should you use a distributor, how to determine pricing, and the all-important marketing.
Wyshak’s style is casual and conversational, and the anecdotes about local businesses – like the East Bay-based Lotus Foods, whose founders had no prior food business experience, had an epiphany eating forbidden black rice on a visit to China – are engaging and informative.
While I have no plans to start a food-based business of my own, it’s great to know this book is out there in case I change my mind.
Susie Wyshak will discuss her book in the CUESA classroom (under the white tents in front of the Ferry Building) at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13.
Seems like everyone wants to quit their day job to open their own artisanal mustard company these days. But while doing it may seem glamorous, how sustainable of a business idea do you really have?