PTM 012: Making Extra Money by Starting a Small Food Business

In this podcast, PT talks to Jennifer who has started a dog treat company! She offers lots of tips and advice for any potential entreprenuer. She also has plenty of tips for folks specifically interested in small food business.

Part Time Money PodcastIn today's episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with Jennifer Lewis of Petit Four Legs, a handcrafted dog treat company. Jennifer started her part-time gig while in grad school and has continued with the business while maintaining a career in marketing. Her income from the part-time business now reaches close to a third of her career income.

Jennifer's story and advice can really help anyone interested in staring a small food business. There are plenty of good entrepreneurial takeaways as well.

Listen to the Podcast


Here's more from Jennifer:

“My “side” company is a handcrafted dog treat company called Petit Four Legs which focuses on the lucrative pet gifting market while my “real” job is working in marketing for a nonprofit organization.

Starting a Part Time Food BusinessNot only did I start and currently run a small business on the side but I also wrote about a book about how to start a part-time food business that was just published. The book I wrote, which is titled Starting a Part-time Food Business: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Love for Food Into a Successful Business Without Necessarily Quitting Your Day Job, came about after numerous people asked me to consult with them regarding how to start a small part-time food business.

In todays market, with a growing focus on hand-made food products and farmers markets, its easier than ever for someone to start up a small food business on the side. For the book I not only drew from my culinary background (I used to be a professional pastry chef for a luxury – human – hotel) but also from the knowledge I gained while earning my MBA is marketing, entrepreneurship, and finance from Northwestern Universitys Kellogg School of Management and, of course, the experience of my last five years running Petit Four Legs. The book also features the stories of several small food entrepreneurs who each started their businesses on the side.”

Questions I ask Jennifer during the podcast:

On Money and Life

  • What made you want to make part-time money?
  • Did it fill a financial need, or was it a passion?
  • What is your full time gig and how does that work with your part time business?
  • Have you always had a full time job?
  • Was your MBA for your marketing career or for entrepreneur?
  • How much are you making with the business?
  • Are you planning on full-time?

On Starting a Food Business

  • What made you choose this type of business over something else?
  • How did you develop this small food product and how did you promote it?
  • How did you get into Neiman Marcus?
  • How did you get on Good Morning America?
  • How were sales after a big media hit like that?
  • What is drop-shipping and why do you use it?
  • Do you have retail space?
  • What percentage of your business is drop ship vs wholesale?
  • Do you make all the product yourself at home?
  • Is kitchen rental space your biggest expense? What other expenses?
  • Why not do the work in your own kitchen?
  • What mistakes have you made along the way?
  • Where is a good place to find a PR firm?

Full transcript can be seen by clicking show