I LOVE cooking. My wife, daughter and friends have commented over the years that I missed my true calling in life. (naw, I didn`t). Here are my suggestions: SANITATION!!! All ingredients must be clean, hands must clean, all utensils must be boiled before using - this includes the pots, ladles, jars and lids - everything. You will need a stove (gas) that is large enough to handle 2, 5-gallon stock pots or you can use large pressure cookers to reduce the cooking time. You will need thermometers and gloves – heat is your friend (band aids will be required).
I haven`t done any canning in 20-some years, but I remember Mom always stressed sanitation above all else. She even made you wear a hair net if you had the thought of entering the kitchen.
Ball is no longer in the canning business but here are some links that covers home canning; http://www.homecanning.com/ and http://www.canningpantry.com/index.html
I suggest that you create a 2-fold or 3-fold label for your jars that have a cute logo and your brand name. You may be required to list the ingredients also. Too much information is usually not a bad thing (unless you deal with lubricants), anyway, one thing that always catches my eye - is the handwritten label on the lid with what’s in the jar, date of canning and name of who canned it. Tie a pretty ribbon around the lid...you get the idea as 95% of your sales will be to women - duct tape a small screwdriver to the lid and you might make some sales to the "men-folk".
The local market will be a great place to start your marketing. You also want to have a method to get testimonials from your customers - send us a testimonial and I`ll send you’re a personalized jar of _____. Another suggestion is to contact area stores, restaurants and try to place your sauces on their shelves, consignment works well as the business is not out any money until the sale.
You are about to invest in equipment and supplies to do the canning. You will need to purchase the ingredients. Canning, even on a small scale will require many hours of your time. All this equates into EXPENSED MONEY!!! I suggest that you work out of a home kitchen before you lease a retail space. Determine how well your sauces sell to the public. As you quoted in your post "Test the waters" - you gave yourself a fantastic piece of advice - listen to it.
Ok, now I’m getting hungry…Do you ship?
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