After being injured in a motorcycle accident in 2014, my life just came unraveled. I lost my job, my apartment, pretty much everything. When I’d healed from my injury I had no idea how I was going to put my life back together and it just happened to be the season for picking blackberries. So I started picking. I spent the little money I had on some of mason jars, sugar, and pectin and made jam. A friend of mine had a peach tree so I picked those and made more jam. I made the trunk of my car into display area with a checkered tablecloth and a little wooden crate and went around selling the jam. People loved it. Using really ripe fruit lessened the need for added sugar so I would use only one half or even one third of the amounts called for in the recipes and I found raw sugar to have much better flavor. People loved it even more when they knew that. Then the holiday season came around and I started making pie fillings and preserving them as well. Blackberry, peach, apple. Before long I had a following. As customers returned again and again I expanded my inventory to include seven jam varieties, two of them having no sweetener added whatsoever, applesauce, pie fillings, and fresh baked pies. Nearly two years later, thanks to the unwavering support of over fifty regular customers and have just reached a major milestone in the development of my brand by being accepted as a vendor in my local farmer’s market. With applications in to three others, my goal this season is to participate in four regular weekly markets as well as other community events such as July Fourth Celebrations and possibly even the county fair. My ultimate goal is to grow Sustainable Sweets into a livelihood that will sustain me through law school.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Sustainable Sweets is a home-based start up which offers a variety organic fruit jams, pies, all natural baked goods for sale at local farmer’s markets and other community events, as well as through my online store at www.sustainablesweets.com. I started out homeless, picking fruit from neighborhood trees (with permission, of course), using my friend’s kitchen to make jam, and selling it from the trunk of my car. Due to the quality of my products and my ability to market them effectively, I was able to build a strong customer base. And because I listened to and learn from my customers I was able to expand and perfect my product line and thus expanding my customer base even further. Before long I had a loyal following in two cities. Now, nearly two years later, I make my products in a commercial kitchen. As well, I’ve got my business license, am properly permitted through the county in which I live and do business, and was just accepted as a vendor to my first farmer’s market with pending applications to three others. I have a plan to purchase a mobile food facility and have it operating after close of market season, then expand into catering by mid to late 2017. Currently however, I am without my own vehicle which makes getting myself and my products to and from venues extremely difficult if not impossible . I am proud of what I have accomplished thus far, especially given the challenges I have faced and the limited resources I’ve had to draw from. I haven’t come this far just to come this far.
What is the purpose of this loan?
At a cost of between $3000-$4000, a van or truck makes it possible to transport myself and my products to the farmer’s markets where they are sold, as well as the day-to-day operations of by business. At present, these markets are my business’ primary source of income, however upon expansion to a mobile food facility, said vehicle will also serve to pull the trailer. Finally when the catering phase begins, it will facilitate the logistical aspect of that as well. At which time the remainder of the money will be used for a pressure canner, cookware, and serveware for catering.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years