It's Distribution, Distribution, Distribution!

So, I’ll spare you the backstory but I completed the Better Process Control School class and it was every bit as exciting as you would think it would be! Who knew processing acidified foods was a “thing” in academia. At least it’s done. This week I’m concentrating on how to set up a Shopify commerce site so I can start selling Chumley’s Natural Ketchup to you and all your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, all the people you know!

So, back to business. One of the things I’ve been really struggling with (besides developing a product and navigating all the challenges of just starting a business, never mind an online food business) is distribution. It’s been my obsession because, as great ketchup as Chumley’s Natural Ketchup is, if I can’t get it distributed, I can’t sell it, and if I can’t sell it, I don’t have a business that lets people buy great ketchup and that would make me and Chumley, well, sad! 

I’ve been reading a lot about how to distribute small-batch food products and the one distribution channel that keeps coming up is, of course, farmers’ markets. It’s where you have to start to get real-world feedback about your product and where you’ can get people to try your product, etc. but I just don’t see how a real business can get going and compete with the “big boys” by spending every weekend at a table hoping to sell a few jars of Chumley’s Natural Ketchup. I mean, that’s a hobby; not a business. I just isn’t sustainable. So, yea, distribution is my obsession and it’s why I thing the online channel is the way to go especially when you consider that weekends at a farmers’ market is “down time”, basically. I can’t make ketchup or market it broadly if I’m standing at a table for an entire weekend. So, I’m focusing on the commerce channel which brings me to this week’s kind of exciting discovery of Amazon. Why? Well, because they have distribution with a capital “D” and along with distribution, one of my other obsessions is shipping. Here’s why: So, I’ve developed a product, started a company, gone through the licensing demands of the Department of Health, found a commercial kitchen, etc. (see previous blog posts for backstory) but in order to get Chumley’s Natural Ketchup into a customer’s hands, I need to ship it and shipping is expensive. BUT, apparently if you start an Amazon store, they offer attractive shipping options for both the store (Chumley’s Natural Ketchup) and the customer (YOU!). So, this week that ’s going to be my focus. I’ll let you know how it goes in my next blog post. Come back again and let’s ketchup!