If you are passionate about good, clean food, then consider starting an organic products company. According to the Organic Trade Association, the market for organic products grew from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.6 billion in 2008. Although this growth slowed somewhat during the recession that began in 2008, organic products continue to be a good bet heading into the future because of people's mounting collective concern regarding environmental and health issues.
Consider the many options for starting an organic products business. You might choose to be a producer of organic products, a distributor or a retailer. If you enjoy the hands-on work of physically creating a clean product, then look into becoming a producer. If you are skilled at researching and marketing products, then tailor your interest in organic products to becoming a distributor, making connections between producers and retailers. If you enjoy working directly with customers, finding products that meet their needs and also supporting organic producers and distrubutors, then consider becoming an organic retailer by opening a store or building a website that sells organic products.
Research the licenses and permits you will need to start your organic product business. You will probably need to obtain organic certification from your state, and if you are creating a product that will be distributed across state lines, then you will need to obtain organic certification from the USDA. You will also need business licenses from your state and municipality, as well as a food processor's license if you will be producing a food product. Register as an employer with your state and with the federal government if you will be hiring employees.
Choose a product or product line that interests you personally and will appeal to a range of customers. Do formal and informal marketing research by speaking to retailers, distributors and customers about their needs and preferences and also by tracking trends in the organic industry. Join the Organic Trade Association, and take advantage of the marketing and information resources it provides. Attend organic trade shows to get a feel for the type of products currently popular.
Develop your customer base by advertising your organic product business through natural foods outlets and organizations that promote healthy living and environmental values, such as yoga centers, alternative day-care centers and elementary schools, as well as green businesses and organizations. Advertise in their newsletters, and distribute product samples.
Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.