43 Business Ideas for Food Lovers

43 Business Ideas for Food Lovers

So - I'm assuming you're a foodie lover with the desire to start your own business.

The good news: Foodie trends are never going to go out of style.

The (also good), but hard news: There are tons of food companies out there, hence, a lot of competition.

But don't worry - as long as you check some of the necessary boxes off the list, it's highly likely you can create a successful business in this field:

  • Keep it simple - simplicity isn't a bad thing. Start by becoming an expert with one specific product (in our case, one recipe or one subscription box type).
  • Differentiate from the rest - Find that one thing that makes you different, and capitalize on it.
  • Talk to customers and gather feedback - This may seem like a simple thing, but one of the main reasons start-ups fail is due to not talking to their customers enough.

Here are 43 foodie business ideas, including many home-based options.

Start a restaurant catering delivery business

Tim Taylor started Spork Bytes, which sells restaurant catering delivery and is making $250,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 7 employees.

Working in the foodservice industry was something Chris and I experienced during our time at the University of Oregon where we worked in the catering department together one summer. After graduation, Chris began working in the hospitality industry while I went off to start a corporate career in finance.

Shortly thereafter, Chris began to notice that many local restaurants were struggling to effectively and consistently secure lunch catering orders from business in their area. From my vantage point, the example I shared earlier about eating the same pedestrian office lunches was something I personally experienced on a regular basis. Was it really that hard to coordinate good food from local spots? Apparently so.

Seeing a void and a potential opportunity sparked many conversations between Chris and I. Then, in early 2014, after numerous discussions about “could” and “should” we, Chris moved to Portland to live with me and we started Spork Bytes out of our garage. Literally. We used some of our initial funds to purchase equipment and stage catering setups in the garage to practice and learn what we were about to go sell to businesses throughout Portland.


Tim Taylor, on starting Spork Bytes ($250,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a nutritional meals business

Joey van Koningsbruggen started Jimmy Joy, which sells nutritional meals and is making $600,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 30 employees.

I got annoyed with having to choose between healthy or fast food. So I set out to create healthy fast food. Which then became a mission to create the healthiest meal scientifically possible. Starting with interns from the University of Wageningen and by partnering with a large manufacturer of baby food, the first recipe was created to be as close to health recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

When the company grew I hired a food technologist, a research analyst and worked with certified dietitians to do in house research to improve further health. Food is more than just the nutritional makeup however and recent updates focussed on flavor and sustainability too. Real fruit was added to improve flavoring and the highest quality ingredients were sourced to create not only the best in nutrition but also in texture, creating a smooth milkshake-like experience.

When I started there was nothing like it in Europe, I made it because I really wanted the product to existing here like it did in the US. The US company was focussed on making meals as close in the experience of drinking water. I immediately felt the need to work on taste. Even though the focus of our meals is nutrition, the taste is still very important, which is why I started with different flavours and options, flavoring with real fruit, vanilla sticks, and cacao.


Joey van Koningsbruggen, on starting Jimmy Joy ($600,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a natural prepared meals business

Michael Martinez started Eat Clean LLC, which sells natural prepared meals and is making $300,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 68 employees.

The idea came from my desire to enjoy healthy foods as well as to help others live a healthy lifestyle. I did not have a background in preparing food although my roommate at the time was a chef and helped start the business and prepare our original menus.

Do whatever is necessary to be able to grow your business and usually, it takes a lot of sacrifices that are not fun at the time but when you look back on it your proud that you actually did go the extra mile.

At the time the business was started I was fresh out of college renting an apartment. I actually had to downsize and move into a mobile home due to the massive cost of starting a food business.


Michael Martinez, on starting Eat Clean LLC ($300,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a protein snacks business

Krikor Angacian started Protes Protein Snacks, which sells protein snacks and is making $300,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 6 employees.

I had the idea back in college when I came back from a training session at the gym I sat on my couch and ate a very unsatisfying protein bar. I thought to myself right then, “why don’t protein chips exist?”.

At the end of the day making decisions should be taken after collecting a wide group of consultation and advice and making your own decisions.

The idea went away and I graduated from college, moved to New York City to become an investment banker. After over two years of grinding away as a banker, I realized I absolutely hated finance.


Krikor Angacian, on starting Protes Protein Snacks ($300,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a craft spirits membership business

Mack McConnell started Taster’s Club, which sells craft spirits membership and is making $270,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 3 employees.

Back in 2012, I was living in San Francisco, working at a big tech company and got the bug to launch a business that aligns with my passions. At the same time, I was getting fascinated with craft spirits from across the world and also became obsessed with reading and learning about them.

Even under tight constraints (day job, family etc…) don’t underestimate the impact of focused, continuous work, even done a little at a time, every night for a year.

As I kept on buying/trying new stuff, it became obvious that the process of discovering spirits is old and boring; most people go to the store and probably pick out whatever it is they had last (or, even worse, something they saw a commercial for!). I wanted to create a way for people to get spirits that was more exciting, convenient and encourages discovery. I was getting stoked about this stuff and I wanted to bring people along with me.


Mack McConnell, on starting Taster’s Club ($270,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an alcoholic party punch business

Justin Fenchel started BeatBox Beverages, which sells alcoholic party punch and is making $500,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 4 co-founders and has 18 employees.

I had the idea with a lifelong friend of mine (co-founder Brad Schultz) to make a party version of boxed wine.

We saw how popular boxed wine, typically Franzia was in college, at tailgates, kickball games, beach trips, etc. But no one was buying it because they loved the taste of the wine. They loved the affordability, convenience and taking the bag out of the box to slap the bag! We also saw the explosion of flavored malt beverages like Four Loko, Lime-a-Rita and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. So we asked ourselves why had no one made a fun flavored version of boxed wine for the millennial consumer?

Don’t just assume your idea is great. Even if your family and friends say so. Get a prototype out into the market. Get people outside of your network to tell you it’s a good idea.


Justin Fenchel, on starting BeatBox Beverages ($500,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a craft beer business

Diego Benitez started Progress Brewing, which sells craft beer and is making $120,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 5 employees.

I graduated with a PhD in chemistry in 2005 and after working in academia for a few years as a nanotechnology researcher, I joined a small angel venture investment firm as a technology analyst.

One option was to get a regular job, or… we could start a brewery.

I participated in the founding of a few angel-backed companies and as the venture fund dried up, I joined one of the portfolio companies as Chief Technology Officer. The company, Amicrobe, Inc. is focused on developing biomaterials to address antibiotic resistance.


Diego Benitez, on starting Progress Brewing ($120,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a seafood delivery business

Cameron Manesh started Cameron's Seafood, which sells seafood delivery and is making $300,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 10 employees.

My father invested in the first retail seafood location in 1985 and my uncle ran it. My father and I built our Apartment Brokerage while my uncle and his son built what is now the largest retail Maryland crab company in the world.

My cousin, Pey, and I are second generation and we wanted to ship Maryland Crabs from the Chesapeake Bay to people who can’t get them real thing, nationwide.

One morning, a crab-lover from West Virginia rolled up to one of our family-owned food trucks in Hagerstown, MD, to buy a bushel of Maryland blue crabs. He told my cousin Pey, who was working on the food truck that day, that he was so sick of paying exorbitant prices for dodgy crabs in WV, and to him it was worth driving 6 hours, round trip, to come get the real Maryland crabs from us.


Cameron Manesh, on starting Cameron's Seafood ($300,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a dessert boxes business

Samantha Khater started Dessert Boxes, which sells dessert boxes and is making $150,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 20 employees.

Dessert Boxes.com.au was born out of our frustration of having to send and receive boring gifts which would end up being thrown away, dying, never used, and at best, re-gifted.

So, a week before Valentine's Day last year, we launched a Nutella themed Dessert Box! We collaborated with the biggest dessert makers in the industry, and within five days, we sold over 400 boxes! We searched for the best products on Instagram and did Google searches to find Nutella themed products.

This was our first ever Dessert Box:


Samantha Khater, on starting Dessert Boxes ($150,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a local gifts nationwide business

Samuel Davidson started Batch, which sells local gifts nationwide and is making $150,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 6 employees.

During the summer of 2013, my co-founders (Rob Williams & Stephen Moseley) and I were discussing all the great things our hometown of Nashville had to offer, especially in the way of small-batch, handmade gifts and treats. But, there was no one-stop shop to get all of these items (you had to run around town or attend certain farmers markets or festivals).

Lo and behold, we actually hit the 200 mark our first month. The local media covered what we were doing and sales jumped to 600 for the second month and then 1,000 or month three (well beyond our original goal!).

Could we come up with a way to consolidate all of these local, small businesses making awesome products under one roof?


Samuel Davidson, on starting Batch ($150,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a healthy meal delivery service business

Cesar Quintero started Fit2Go, which sells healthy meal delivery service and is making $130,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 11 employees.

I have an engineering degree and a corporate marketing background, and worked as a production engineer in Venezuela, specializing in logistics and project management. I also spent four years as a marketing manager in R&D for Proctor and Gamble in Latin America.

Three factors combined to fuel my move to Miami in 2005 and change my career path. First, things were economically tough in Venezuela. Second, I wanted to start a business. And finally, while I’d found weight management to be a lifelong struggle, the corporate lifestyle made it even more difficult. A hectic work schedule basically gives you two options—grab something from the vending machine or hit a fast food joint.

For a long time, I thought that being a good leader meant feigning total strength and confidence. This is a big problem with first-time and even many seasoned entrepreneurs—those negative connotations around the positive concept of vulnerability.


Cesar Quintero, on starting Fit2Go ($130,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an authentic thai food business

Alex Moore started Rosa's Thai Cafe, which sells authentic thai food and is making $2,000,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 373 employees.

My wife and I used to own a small restaurant in Hong Kong called Tuk Tuk Thai, which is still going strong today, but it’s now owned and run by others. After 17 years in Asia, we moved back to London in 2005. After moving back to the UK we craved Thai food but were disappointed by the Thai offerings in the UK which felt more to us like a representation of what a Thai person thinks an English person would want a Thai restaurant to look like! Photos of waterfalls, elephants and mediocre Thai food didn’t feel representative of the places we’d eaten in Bangkok and Hong Kong. With this in mind we decided to set up our own business and do it better.

Rosa’s started life as a market stall and office catering company, which served food cooked in our small flat in East London. We’d wake up at 4 am to prepare and cook, the kitchen was so small Saiphin would have to use gas canisters to cook the food, before ferrying it down in a taxi to the market stall in London’s famous Brick Lane. The stall was an instant success, we’d sell out every Sunday. Saiphin would cook amazing authentic Thai food using locally sourced ingredients, wherever possible, and in doing so adapted traditional dishes that are still incredibly popular in our restaurants today, such as the butternut red curry and soft spring rolls.

The market stall went from strength to strength, and so we opened more stalls nearby. I’d support all the logistics behind the stall, such as signage, electricity, pricing, and receipts. I’d jump on my bike to go back and forth to Chinatown to buy supplies as they ran out. During one of these trips, I saw a for rent sign in the window of a former English cafe called Rosa’s Cafe. I gave them a call, spoke to the landlord and put together a business plan, we then pitched against 20 other businesses to open a restaurant, and in June 2008 we opened our first brick and mortar site, using money we made from the market stall, some friends and family seed investors and Alex’s credit card! Due to our incredibly tight budget, we opened without a dishwasher and not enough money to finish the basement, it was left bare. We also had no money to change the sign, so we kept the name Rosa’s and so Rosa’s Thai Cafe was born.


Alex Moore, on starting Rosa's Thai Cafe ($2,000,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an unprocessed cane sugar business

Scott Unkefer started Just Panela LLC, which sells unprocessed cane sugar and is making $175,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 10 employees.

I had just moved to Medellin, Colombia in 2011. I would, about every morning, go to my local “Juan Valdez” brand coffee shop and notice these single serves of “Panela” ‘endulzante’. Spanish for ‘sweetener’.

I wrote it off as just another artificial sweetener but my curiosity got the best of me. I asked the barista “What is this Panela stuff?”. They replied “It’s sugar!”. Alright I’ll give it a try. I opened a sachet of this fluffy golden powder.

It wasn’t a crystal or hard like a rock like refined or turbinado sugars. I put it in my cappuccino and that was the famed “ Aha! ” moment. It made for the best cappuccino I had ever had.


Scott Unkefer, on starting Just Panela LLC ($175,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a gluten-free pastries business

Kyra Bussanich started Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC, which sells gluten-free pastries and is making $64,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 11 employees.

Before I went to pastry school, I had a very uncreative and unfulfilling job, but I didn’t know what I was “supposed” to do with my life. Added to that sense of directionless was the fact that I had been increasingly ill for nearly a decade. I wondered who would even hire me, and felt like I should just be grateful to have a job that was flexible and allowed me to work from home when I needed it.

As my health got worse, the thought of a career that would fulfill me became more and more distant, and I found myself in and out of the hospital, doing chemotox infusions every six weeks, and more days than not, curled up on the couch in the fetal position in pain. I had been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease but none of the medications seemed to help, not even the steroids that caused me to gain 18 pounds in a week so that my skin felt stretched like an overripe grape that was about to burst.

It wasn’t until my gastroenterologist wanted to remove the most diseased portions of my intestinal tract that I considered going gluten-free in order to reduce the inflammation in my body so that perhaps I would finally respond to the medications.


Kyra Bussanich, on starting Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC ($64,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a speciality foods business

Stacey Schlaman started Liberated Specialty Foods, which sells speciality foods and is making $100,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 20 employees.

I was working as a fitness instructor at the time and was already very aware of and “into” the paleo and keto diets for physical fitness. I had a background of working at a bakery in my younger years, and as a distribution manager for one of the largest retailers in the USA after college so had a little experience there also.

Find a mission that you really care about, something where the mission can push you through the hard times because there will be many.

Our daughter was diagnosed with a host of autoimmune diseases at a very young age including Epilepsy, Hashimoto’s, Celiac, Psoriasis, and a bunch more. Doctors had prescribed a number of very heavy pharmaceuticals (including shots) to treat these that would need to be taken the rest of her life. Worried about the side effects, I found nutritional options to treat which were supported by several respected doctors. The results were astounding, but forced me into the position of hand-making much of her food, from ketchup to crackers to cupcakes. It was a full-time job, especially for someone who had little food-manufacturing experience outside the home.


Stacey Schlaman, on starting Liberated Specialty Foods ($100,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a matcha tea and accessories business

Andre Fasciola started Matcha.com, which sells matcha tea and accessories and is making $190,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 5 employees.

I grew up in a military (family) which allowed me to travel all over the world. This was challenging at times but it was also (provided) a world-class education in that it taught me a tremendous amount about other cultures. It also taught me the importance of listening to the perspectives of others. This has served me very well in life and in business.

Systems are vital. You need to think long and hard about building the systems that will replace you so that when you scale you can remove yourself from the operations and focus on growing the business.

I was fascinated by all things Japanese (every) since I took my first martial arts (lesson) in my teen years. It came in handy each time I met the school bully at each new base we moved to. We eventually settled in the US and I started on my entrepreneurial path. My first trip to Japan came in 2007 when I traveled with my business partner Dr. Andrew Weil. It was during this trip that I first had great matcha green tea (it was not available in the US at that point - at least the good matcha that is). I became transfixed by its brilliant green color, the ancient culture surrounding it, and how it made me feel after I drank my first bowl. When we returned to the US we searched for the same level of quality but it was nowhere to be found. Thus an idea was born.


Andre Fasciola , on starting Matcha.com ($190,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a local coffee business

Mike Mwenedata started Rwanda Bean Coffee, which sells local coffee and is making $90,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 20 employees.

I am from Kigali, Rwanda and came here to the United States in 2011 after finishing college searching for a new opportunity. When I first arrived I saw so many coffee shops in Portland, Maine, and Boston. I saw the price that people would spend on a cup of coffee or latte ($3-6 each) sometimes multiple times per day.

This got me thinking about the Rwandan Coffee Farmers back at home and how hard they work, often more than 10 hours per day equally over 70 hours in the field per week.

Know your numbers and work on coming up with realistic projections. Money will run out quick, and it is much better to expect and be prepared for the worst and than be really happy if any better happens.


Mike Mwenedata, on starting Rwanda Bean Coffee ($90,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a loose leaf tea business

Andy Hayes started Plum Deluxe Tea, which sells loose leaf tea and is making $75,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 7 employees.

I started off with just a blog, I was living in Europe and writing about my adventures and experiences. My focus was really on enjoying a slower pace and appreciating the little things in life. I was working in enterprise software - my day job not all that interesting, but I did enjoy it.

You can read all the books you want about the different cycles and phases of businesses, but I’ve found that nothing replaces lived experience! Just focus on where you are and always be asking yourself, what is the NEXT RIGHT step. That’s it.

Eventually, I left my corporate job looking for something more fulfilling - I did consulting on the side related to my previous job, but started rolling out some advertising display ads and affiliate relationships to try to generate some revenue from my efforts. Back then generating traffic (at a low cost) was pretty easy, but I wasn’t able to generate a lot of revenue.


Andy Hayes, on starting Plum Deluxe Tea ($75,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a meal preparation business

TJ Clark started Healthy Chew, which sells meal preparation and is making $60,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 7 employees.

My name is TJ. I am currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer and 50% owner. I was originally hired to help my business partner Peter wash dishes and make breakfast. Peter had been meal prepping for about 1 year before he brought me on board. When I was hired, I saw that he was a fantastic chef, handled sales, and was able to grow without efficiency.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That one Facebook video doubled our client base overnight.

I filled in the gaps and taught him how to properly scale the company, hire more employees, and both structure and organize it into a self-sustaining business. I lacked the sales and cooking experience he had. So we were very yin and yang.


TJ Clark, on starting Healthy Chew ($60,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a fruit infused water business

Jesse Hambly started Pressa Inc. , which sells fruit infused water and is making $53,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 0 employees.

We started the project in college when we noticed class-mates flavoring their water naturally with lemons and limes. One of our roommates complained that she wasn’t getting much flavor and often disposed of the fruit at the end of the day. So we went to work creating concepts for how we thought the product would function and look.

We had absolutely no background in plastics and for this reason. Jesse’s background was marketing, Lukes was manufacturing and Mason graduated from Toronto Film academy. Our product is quite complex and was difficult but once we got it dialed in we’ve been able to repeat the manufacturing process perfectly. After our first concept, we validated the product by running a successful Kickstarter campaign. Our campaign wasn’t pretty but it did the trick and we reached our goal of 35k.

In our Kickstarter campaign, we underpriced the product. People on Kickstarter expect to pay slightly more to be the first to own a product, if we were to have done this again I’d price the product higher.


Jesse Hambly, on starting Pressa Inc. ($53,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a food and drink tours business

Jessica Baumgart started Delicious Denver Food Tours, which sells food and drink tours and is making $30,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

My background is in marketing and communications, which has helped me immensely as I grow my business. I was working a standard 9-5 job and feeling pretty unsatisfied when my then boyfriend (now husband) and I got the idea to quit and travel for a year.

On that trip around the world, I started to question why I was working in a career that was making me unhappy and resolved to start really listening to what my passions were.

We planned and saved over the course of two years (and got married in the meantime). Right after the wedding, we sold everything we owned, quit our jobs and went backpacking through 25 countries on a year-long trip around the world.


Jessica Baumgart, on starting Delicious Denver Food Tours ($30,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a bee inspired goods business

Kara Brook Brown started Waxing Kara, which sells bee inspired goods and is making $33,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 3 employees.

Waxing Kara grew organically from my work as an artist. I paint with encaustic, a paint made with beeswax, and in 2010, I started beekeeping on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to harvest wax for my encaustic paintings.

I became captivated by honey production and the plight of honey bees in this country. I learned about the importance of bees to the sustainability of our food supply, and the preciousness of honey, especially its nurturing and healing properties. Before launching Waxing Kara, I became a honey bee advocate and began raising bees on a small scale and have increased each year until 2020 when I will manage 18 hives on our 102-acre farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For the bees, I began planting food sources such as sunflower, bergamot, and lavender. The goal was to cultivate a complex, organic environment that provides bees essential nutrients through nature. We have planted at least 40 acres of wildflowers, fruit trees, and berry bushes, an incredible habitat all for bees (and other winged creatures) with consistent blooms from May through October.

There isn’t one single life experience or educational achievement that has put me where I am today. Instead, it’s been a series of inspirations along the way. There was no master plan. In hindsight, everything that happened has flowed like honey to lead me down this path.


Kara Brook Brown, on starting Waxing Kara ($33,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a plant-powered meal plans, cleanses and protein powder business

Jen Hansard started Simple Green Smoothies, which sells plant-powered meal plans, cleanses and protein powder and is making $30,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 1 employee.

In 2011, we moved here from California to Florida so my husband, Ryan, could help start a church with a friend. He was a brand new pastor and the job didn’t come with a salary. I was a stay-at-home mom doing any random design job I could to scrape together money to help pay for rent and groceries.

Being an entrepreneur was never my dream. I wanted to get married, raise a family, decorate a cute house, travel a lot as a family. I started my own business out of necessity— it was my way to help feed our family and pay our rent when things got real tough.

One day, I got the mail and opened a letter that said, “You no longer have health insurance.” We knew this was coming. But we couldn't avoid it and sorta lived in denial that it would happen to us. Well, it did and I felt like a safety net had been pulled out from under us. What if one of the kids gets sick? Or one of us gets sick? Our small savings would be wiped out and we'd go under.


Jen Hansard, on starting Simple Green Smoothies ($30,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a gourmet coffee subscription business

Jon Butt started Blue Coffee Box, which sells gourmet coffee subscription and is making $65,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 3 employees.

I have been running my own businesses since I left school (that means I have grey hair). During my travels in the USA a few years ago, I read about speciality coffee subscriptions that curated from various niche coffee roasters. In the UK, subscription services tend to only supply from the one roaster and are more for convenience of reordering rather than discovery of new coffees.


Jon Butt, on starting Blue Coffee Box ($65,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a healthy breakfast foods business

Ashley Drummonds started ABS Protein Pancakes, which sells healthy breakfast foods and is making $25,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

Before starting ABS, I was a personal trainer for seven years with a passion for helping people feel better and hit their fitness/weight loss goals. I always had a desire to do something bigger that allowed me to have more free time while still helping people. I am a foodie at heart and have a passion for breakfast food - specifically pancakes. Years ago, I came up with this protein pancake recipe that I used to make every day for myself as part of my breakfast routine.

At the start of 2014, I was going through a bit of a rough patch and needed to do some soul searching to figure out where I was headed with my life. I was still so passionate about the fitness/nutrition industry, but I knew that I couldn’t be a personal trainer forever and expect to make the money I wanted to make. I spent about two weeks meditating, journaling, and setting out clear goals of what I wanted my future to look like. I came out of that realizing “the answer” or “the how” would happen naturally through life, the universe, and God.

See your entrepreneurial journey as a marathon and not a sprint. It’s the daily things you do that keep you moving forward.


Ashley Drummonds, on starting ABS Protein Pancakes ($25,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an old fashioned cocktail mixers business

Christopher Thomas started Eli Mason, which sells old fashioned cocktail mixers and is making $45,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I didn’t start it, but I do love cocktails, and I recognized a problem in this: If you don’t have the time or desire to learn how to make a good Old Fashioned from scratch, then it can be really confusing and intimidating. Eli Mason was sitting on the shelves at my local bottle shops at a $9.99 price point. It was made with premium ingredients and it was sitting next to similar products that were smaller, yet priced higher. I thought the product and packaging were great, but the brand was missing an opportunity to price itself like the premium product that it was. Distribution was also weak, so I felt we could bring some solid distributor relationships to the business. I met with the owner over a few hours to learn more about the business. It was still relatively small (doing less than $70k/annually) and it was losing money. The owner really wanted out, and I saw a lot of potentials, so I made him an offer and he accepted. The whole transaction took about a week to complete.

When we bought the business in 2017 it was doing a few hundred dollars per month in e-commerce sales. Today we consistently do in the low five figures, and it’s growing consistently every quarter.

Today I love making cocktails from scratch at home, but when someone asks me how to make a great Old Fashioned from scratch, I tell them I like to use Demerara syrup and Jerry Thomas bitters and their eyes start to glaze over. Some folks want an easy and delicious cocktail that they don’t have to think about. That’s why people love our product. We take the guesswork out of making a consistent and delicious Old Fashioned at home every single time.


Christopher Thomas, on starting Eli Mason ($45,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a vegan ice cream business

David Greenfeld started Dream Pops, which sells vegan ice cream and is making .

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 4 employees.

Before jumping head-first into vegan ice cream, I spent quite a bit of time in the finance world. I previously was an investment banking analyst and associate at Houlihan Lokey in their TMT and Consumer Retail divisions.

While there, I was able to grasp an understanding of how businesses were built, capitalized and operated. I decided to leverage this skill-set to pursue my dream of building my own business.



David Greenfeld, on starting Dream Pops () full story

Start a food tours business

Joe Griffith started Wander New Mexico Food Tours, which sells food tours and is making $20,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

I never thought I would have my own business, much less a tourism business. It was born of necessity, a bit of luck, and good timing.

You can have the best product in the world, but that won’t do you any good if customers don’t know about it.

First, some important context – this is technically my second attempt at entrepreneurship. Back in 2011, when I was living in Dubai, I had the idea of starting an online food delivery business – basically UberEats, for Dubai. At the time there was only one serious competitor, Foodonclick.


Joe Griffith, on starting Wander New Mexico Food Tours ($20,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a nutritious snacks business

Louisa Mesquita Bakker started Funky Fat Foods, which sells nutritious snacks and is making $20,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about health, sports, and nutrition. Growing up, my parents owned a health store and were the distributors of mineral water brands from around the world. In our family, talking about health and nutrition is something we do all the time (which can be a little annoying for friends and boyfriends). After I graduated from a Business study program in 2017, I went traveling in South America. One of the many things I did was visit different cacao farms because I just found it so fascinating and wanted to learn more about it.


I was so intrigued by the beauty of cacao and its health benefits. I love dark chocolate but never knew about the tremendous cacao varieties. During this trip, I spent a lot of time reading articles from different doctors in the US who specialize in natural treatments, health, and longevity.


Louisa Mesquita Bakker, on starting Funky Fat Foods ($20,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start an ice cream business

Stephen Layton started The Good Scoop, which sells ice cream and is making $16,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 1 employee.

The backstory for The Good Scoop is that one of my good buddies from school and I were kicking around the idea of starting a business together, we went through a lot of different concepts and ideas along the way. After some time, we came upon ice cream. The conversation actually started with the idea of us buying out an existing ice cream shop in the Sacramento area but quickly evolved into making our own. We started making ice cream on the weekends and having a lot of fun while doing. Then came the realization that this might be a great business that could help put smiles on people's faces.

I had been working in the consulting industry for a number of years and I knew I wanted to do something different with my life when I went to Portland Oregon to visit some friends in February. They took us down to Salt & Straw ice cream and the line was out the door even though it was a rainy Portland winter's evening. That really got me thinking, if an ice cream shop could be that busy in the winter in Portland, how about the summer in the Central Valley of California?

When I returned back to Sacramento, I really dove into the local market looking at who was there making ice cream and although there were a lot of really great ice cream shops in the region, I felt like there was some room for some innovation along the lines of what some scoop shops in New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland were making. It was from these ideas, and playing around with the concept that I decided to help bring artisan ice cream to the Sacramento region. There are a number of other individuals in this area working in the same market, which I personally think is great. I think the more Artisan ice cream makers we have the better off we all are.


Stephen Layton, on starting The Good Scoop ($16,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a smart coffee cherry bar business

Raivis started Coffee Pixels, which sells smart coffee cherry bar and is making $15,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 5 employees.

My journey up to this point has been going through fields of hospitality, IT, corporate sales and back to hospitality, this time running a coffee shop - the place I really fell in love with coffee.

Make sure that someone isn't already solving the problem that you're about to tackle, or, more importantly, if there even is a problem at all.

Back in 2010, with the same team, we started coffee pixels, we launched a healthy lifestyle coffee shop in Riga, Latvia. We served vegetarian snacks, food & hi-quality coffee, known as specialty or 3rd wave coffee. There I found about the true story of coffee & how it can taste if done properly.


Raivis, on starting Coffee Pixels ($15,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a handcrafted food delivery business

Lyla Wolfenstein started Full Belly Fare, which sells handcrafted food delivery and is making $14,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 3 employees.

After more than a decade in catering and food service, I left the industry to raise my children. During that time, I focused my passion for food on feeding my family and friends. In addition to my food prep background, my other professional focus has been on human services from an early age. I started out at the tender age of 17 workings with adults with mental illness (actually providing job training via a catering micro business!), and went on to work with homeless adults in a variety of roles, and finally, after my children were born, I worked for more than a decade with new families, providing allied healthcare services, parenting education, and more.

Once my children were grown, I was inspired to merge my human service background while turning back toward my roots in food. At the time, I had several friends struggling with chronic illness, who had very specialized dietary requirements and lacked the ability to meet their own needs in that realm. Seeing this gap in service in the community reignited my desire to offer anyone and everyone the pleasure of good food, made with love, that meets each individual person’s unique needs!

I did a crowdfunding campaign that offered gift cards for the service in exchange for “pre-investment”

Full Belly Fare was born from my desire for everyone to have access to flavorful, wholesome foods at a lower cost than restaurant food of the same quality. I knew there was a need from personal observation and it quickly became apparent that I had not overestimated that need! Full Belly Fare has many long term customers, who receive most or all of their weekly nutrition through our service! We also have many customers who come to us because loved ones purchased gift cards for them during a time of transition. I am constantly reimagining how to meet the varied needs of the wider community, and am deeply inspired by the stories I hear from customers about what brought them to Full Belly Fare and how our service has impacted their lives.

For example, the message below still means a great deal to me - and I receive similar fairly regularly - this is from a customer who is the (older grown) son of a 90 something-year-old woman and he sent her meals every week, throughout her last days in hospice even, via Full Belly Fare! It is always so thrilling for me to hear about a real person who is truly helped by the food we make - not just as food/nourishment but mentally and emotionally!


Lyla Wolfenstein, on starting Full Belly Fare ($14,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a hot sauce business

James Bryson started Flaming Licks, which sells hot sauce and is making $13,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 3 employees.

Our journey started back in 2014 when James decided to make his own piri-piri sauce to gift to friends and family members as a Christmas present. His sauce didn’t quite go to plan, but we gifted them anyways, and everybody loved it. From that, Sidekick sauce was born in 2015, selling at UK chili festivals and to a few retailers.


Not happy with just making sauces, we opened a chili shop in James’ hometown, Wimborne in Dorset, and then shortly after acquired the first hot sauce subscription box in the UK (named Lick My Dip at the time). The love for discovering new hot sauces in the UK and finding out about new amazing producers is what made us jump at the opportunity to take it on.


James Bryson, on starting Flaming Licks ($13,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a dog-themed chocolate business

Sarah Gross Feoli started Rescue Chocolate, which sells dog-themed chocolate and is making $12,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I’ve always been interested in animal welfare, and grew up with at least one or two dogs in the house at all times. During middle school and high school, I volunteered at my local animal shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana. I also became a vegetarian and then a vegan during those years. (I chose the vegan lifestyle primarily out of compassion for animals. Later I learned that it is also beneficial to the environment and one’s health as well.)

My love for chocolate didn’t happen until my mid 20s, after I had moved to New York. I enjoyed visiting the artisan chocolatiers in the city and sampling exotic varieties. For a short time, I worked at a raw vegan chocolate factory in Queens where I developed a best-selling flavor.

Then I adopted a homeless pit bull.


Sarah Gross Feoli, on starting Rescue Chocolate ($12,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a gourmet food box business

Nicholas Figoli started EatTiamo, which sells gourmet food box and is making $10,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 5 employees.

Both me and my co-founder are originally from Cinque Terre, in the Italian Riviera, a stunning beautiful region in the North of Italy. I studied in Parma and after my graduation I started working in the Marketing field in the multinational company L’Oréal.

Never underestimate the importance of making surveys before starting the business. I see many entrepreneurs that decide to skip this important step thinking that by doing this they will save time and invest it in more “fruitful” operations.


Nicholas Figoli, on starting EatTiamo ($10,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a hangover drink business

Harris Derner started Brine Brothers, which sells hangover drink and is making $10,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 0 employees.

In 2015, when I figured out Pickle Juice was curing my hangovers, I looked everywhere to find a drinkable pickle brine, but it did not exist.

It took me a couple months to realize that pickle juice was the main reason I was not getting a hangover. When I went out and took over 3 pickle back shots, the next morning I felt great.

We invested a total of $11,000 in 2016 and had a business valuation of $200,000 3 years later.


Harris Derner, on starting Brine Brothers ($10,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a craft granola business

Ashley Chase started Birdseed Food Co., which sells craft granola and is making $8,300 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

Fall 2016 I moved to Bend, Oregon as a way to clear my mind and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had done some college, worked in management and also in a hospital but still wasn’t clear on what my “passion” was.

During this time I was reading books such as The 4-Hour Work Week and realized the power in selling a product online; I knew I wanted to sell something online and build a brand but didn’t know what yet.

I took a job as the manager at a coffee shop and would bring my own granola to work in the morning and one of the employees saw it in a mason jar and was like “Why do we have birdseed?” I replied, “That’s my granola!”. He even made a funny Snapchat video saying, “Ashley, you’re eating birdseed!! What are you doing??”


Ashley Chase, on starting Birdseed Food Co. ($8,300 revenue/mo) full story

Start a candy surprise boxes business

Bemmu Sepponen started Candy Japan, which sells candy surprise boxes and is making $6,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business as a solo founder with no employees.

I’m originally from Finland, but now live in Japan.

I started working full-time as a developer at a tiny software company when I was 17 years old, then changed jobs and worked at a university developing tools related to freetext search. The department encouraged me to try to also apply as a student, I got in and now have a computer science degree as well. Finland can be very flexible like that.

The biggest impact from becoming a student for me was the ability to have an exchange study period. The choice of where to go was obvious, as I had been interested in Japan for a long time and Japanese was my minor subject. I spent a year in Tokyo, then didn’t really feel like going back, and asked the administration if I could maybe stay another year? And to my surprise they said yes, so I ended up studying Japanese full-time there for two years total.


Bemmu Sepponen, on starting Candy Japan ($6,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a zero-proof balsamic beverage business

Aaron Weast started Drink Shrub, which sells zero-proof balsamic beverage and is making $4,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 1 employee.

In February of 2015 I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. That was to enter a treatment program for alcohol addiction. I’d been struggling to contain and control my habit for a while, and everything I’d tried had failed. With an incredible amount of support from my family, I entered a treatment facility where I could focus on solving the problem once and for all.

When one’s focus is on a substance and how to get the next drink you put all of your life dreams on hold. Now that I had clarity of mind and energy to put toward living out my dreams it was time to get started. The first of my life dreams to tackle: entrepreneurship.

It is common for folks to have cathartic moments while going through such a significant life change. In my case, two things became acutely clear. First, I wanted to be a better person. In the recent past I’d been selfish and hurt a lot of people. I wanted not only to right the wrongs as much as possible but also pay forward what my support network had given me. So whatever I did, a portion of the proceeds would go toward an organization that helps folks in need - particularly those that don’t have the robust support network I do. I’m proud to say that since day one, Drink Shrub has donated a percentage of revenue to LifeWorksNW.


Aaron Weast, on starting Drink Shrub ($4,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a gourmet kettle corn business

Katie Young started Klondike Kettle Corn, which sells gourmet kettle corn and is making $4,500 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 0 co-founders and has 1 employee.

It was actually a close friend’s idea to set up a kettle corn business in the Yukon. He had seen one set up down south (Vancouver) and thought it would take off in Carcross, a small community just outside of Whitehorse, that was starting to cater to tourists coming off the cruise ships from Skagway, AK.

When other work commitments did not allow him to follow through with his business idea, I stepped in to help. Eventually, I bought the kettle corn business from him and started to attend the Fireweed Community Market in Whitehorse.

Be open to new ideas and always be searching for creative ways to keep your product interesting.


Katie Young, on starting Klondike Kettle Corn ($4,500 revenue/mo) full story

Start a meal replacement business

Enric Miquel Pico started KÜiK Meal, which sells meal replacement and is making $12,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 2 co-founders and has 6 employees.

The journey that drove us through entrepreneurship was natural, because in a way all of the founding members were currently working in a startup environment.

All the founding members were currently working in a fast paced environment at Laboratoires Grand Fontaine, so it seemed like an evidence to them to launch the KÜik Meal project as a startup.

As I used to say in my daily work : “Don’t expect the right answers from your mind, but rather from the market. Listen to it, pay close attention to all the details that your consumers or potential customers reveal in every interaction.”


Enric Miquel Pico, on starting KÜiK Meal ($12,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a farm fresh cocktail ingredients business

Belinda Kelly and Venise Cunningham started Simple Goodness Sisters, which sells farm fresh cocktail ingredients and is making $7,000 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 0 employees.

In 2015 Belinda left a job at Microsoft University Recruiting that required a lot of travel and wouldn’t work for her other new job title of “mom.” She took a work from home position on the same team at a much lower pay level (yes, that sucked) and decided to explore her interest in entrepreneurship. With 4 hours daily saved by not commuting, she had the time to work on an idea she’d had for a mobile bar business.

Having been responsible for hundreds of events over her 6 years at Microsoft, she saw a gap in the catering world of Seattle and thought a mobile bar company that raised the bar on drink quality, presentation, and service would be well received by tech companies and the greater events industry. While never a bartender, she had enough experience in the service industry and enough hutzpah to begin studying cocktails voraciously and apply for a business license. She decided to up the ante (and the effort!) further with a farm to bar, craft beverage program supported by her sister Venise’s farm and others in the rural community of Enumclaw, WA, their HQ.

At that time, Simple Goodness Farm was a garlic and goats (mostly) hobby farm for Venise and her growing family (the sisters had their first babies within two weeks of one another.) Venise worked in HR at the real estate startup Redfin and commuted downtown daily while also managing the herd and fields in her free time.


Belinda Kelly and Venise Cunningham, on starting Simple Goodness Sisters ($7,000 revenue/mo) full story

Start a protein water business

Sean Penrith started Mindful Proteins, which sells protein water and is making $0 revenue/mo.

They started the business with 1 co-founder and has 0 employees.

It sounds a little dramatic, but yoga saved my life. It set in motion a series of life-altering shifts that had me brutally examine what I ate, what I thought, and how I moved. Considering my demeanor 10 years ago, it is a miracle my wife remained married to me.

Soon after I sold my business, moved to Portland and met my wife, I tore both meniscuses in my knees, preventing me from walking up stairs without searing pain. Before my mother passed, she convinced me to avoid any medical procedures and instead try yoga. Without much conviction, I followed her advice, purchasing a beginners’ disc by Rodney Yee. Within three months of daily practice, I could run for the train!

We have been bootstrapping the business since filing the company papers in June of 2018. I run a climate finance consulting company and we divert as much revenue as we can towards investing in this business.


Sean Penrith, on starting Mindful Proteins ($0 revenue/mo) full story


Thank you for reading! To learn more about starting a business, visit us at Starter Story

Samantha Walls,   Founder of Starter Story Blog
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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