Lakebilly Pies at the Mundelein Farmers Market

What a whirlwind! I had my first market on June 12 and brought 30 pies with me. In about an hour and a half I was sold out. If you have followed me up to this point, you know my plan this summer is to sell at the farmers market as a sole proprietor cottage food vendor, and grow from there. In one of my past posts I wrote about how to get started as a cottage food vendor. Since then I have figured out buying ingredients, tables, figuring out my tent situation and recently decided to go through PayPal for credit card purchases and invoicing (they sure make it easy!). I also made 30 pies the day before and morning of the market—it was insane, but in the best way possible. My little town is the best, and I appreciate those who supported me. I’m small and super local right now, and if my name gets out there it will be by word of mouth at this point.

The other vendors at the market were just awesome as well. St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store was the featured non-profit, and they were so supportive! They had a credenza left at their booth that didn’t sell and they gave it to me because they thought it would be perfect in the back of my booth. There is also a bakery/restaurant in town called Taste of Paris (such a great place), and the manager/daughter of the owner, who was in my high school graduating class, came out and bought some pies from me. The local support was welcoming and full of encouragement—I am full of gratitude, and once again, I feel as though I am lucky to have had this experience.

What I learned at my first market day

  • Making 30 pies is not easy! If you read through some of my recipes, you will see that I don’t take shortcuts with my pies. Like I wrote above, I’m small—one person small—and I can only produce what I can right now. I also want the pies to be fresh so I don’t want to make them days ahead of time. My plan right now is to produce what I can, and when I sell out, that’s it. As I figure this out, I know I will produce larger quantities, but it is essential that the quality is at my high standards.
  • I also learned that folks really liked the smaller sizes. Next time around I will do more of those for sure!
  • I was so busy that I took one photo. Not good. I rely on social media to get my name out there, and when I don’t show what I’m doing I’m losing out. I need to make sure to get some pictures of my booth and pies next time.
  • There are folks out there that are as passionate about pie as me. I had so much fun talking with customers about recipes, all-butter crusts, sour cherries, bourbon, pecans and everything else pie. I post my recipes because I want everyone to make, eat and share real deal pies.
  • Growing pains—I’m gonna be feeling them.

And you can go to the moon
But if you want something to change
You gotta change your life
And take your time
It just takes time
It just takes time
It just takes time
Hard work and your time

My next post will get more into the nitty gritty of cottage food/small business stuff, but I wanted to write down my experience while it was still fresh in my head.

What an overall awesome experience, I can’t wait to be back on June 26!

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