May 1, 2012

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30 Women to Watch

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Promoting Your Micro-Business with Macro Results

Peri Kinder

May 1, 2012

“The Wasatch Front Farmer’s Market is dedicated to providing local communities with local produce, foods, crafts and processed goods,” Alston says. “Our locations are handpicked to offer the public and vendors a unique experience and an accessible place to purchase and sell local goods.”

As more shop- and buy-local initiatives are promoted, interest in the farmer’s market community is growing. Alston has a list of 250 vendors and more than 100 of those merchants participate in the market day. Low booth fees, live music, fun events and a farm-fresh breakfast draw sellers and patrons to the locales.

“Farmer’s markets are about going back to living more simply,” Alston says. “I think we get over-stimulated and it’s nice to go back to a simpler way of life. Plus, people feel good about supporting local artists and farmers.”

Reese recruits her family members to help so they can sell their products at several market locations. She also got involved with the Buy Back America radio program, providing on-air giveaways that gave her a big spike in business.

For entrepreneurs selling food products, Reese suggests allowing more time than they think it will take to get a product on the market. “It took me eight months from the time we started organizing the business until we had the kitchen the way we needed it,” she says. “Make sure you have all your certificates ready before you apply, like tax ID numbers, business licenses and kitchen certification.”

Reese has gone through the process slowly, without taking out loans and adding equipment gradually. She built a commercial kitchen in her basement and is finally living her dream. Her goal this year is to get her product into more retail shops, grocery stores and gift boutiques, and to attend more markets and home shows during the summer.

Her website, MimisGardenShop.com, is included on every product and her online sales are beginning to increase.

“We’ve wanted to do this for several years but life just didn’t allow it,” Reese says. “I’m not rich but I’m making a little bit of money and it’s growing every day. You should make sure you really like to do what you’re doing if you want to start a small business. It will work you seven days a week.”

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