How to Start a Gift in a Jar Business

Almost any recipe can be transformed into one of the increasingly popular gifts-in-a-jar, and if you have a knack for making these unique gifts, you have the potential to start a lucrative business from this. However, it is important to understand that whether your business grows or not is dependent upon several factors, including the effort and resources you can put into promoting the business, the market in your target area and the quality of your product.

Find some unique, easy recipes that will be well-suited to the gift-in-a-jar format. Create your own recipes, or use recipes created by others—but be sure you have the appropriate permissions and rights to use these recipes in a commercial endeavor. Test all of your recipes before finalizing a list of recipes you will offer to customers.

Create a brand "look" for your gifts-in-a-jar. For example, perhaps you will cover the jar lids with a certain kind of fabric or tie the recipes on with a particular ribbon. Maybe all of your recipe cards will be handwritten on a specific color paper. The point is to design the outside of your jar to be unique and memorable so that when people see that gift-in-a-jar they associate it with you.

Develop a business plan. This does not have to be long or complex, but it should help you to determine how much start-up money is available, where your business will operate from, who your target market is and how you plan run your business. For example, do you plan to sell year-round to individuals and groups, or are your sales primarily going to come from attendance at arts and crafts fairs or similar events?

Obtain the appropriate licenses or permits from your local governments, including registering your business name. Some authorities do not require a permit to operate a crafts business from home while others do, and some governments require a registered business name to go through a number of channels before it can be used, so start all of this paperwork early. Local small business associations and the clerks at your local government offices can help you to determine everything you'll need to be in compliance with government regulations.

Advertise your product. It helps to set up an advertising plan ahead of time so that you can more adequately distribute your resources and see where you're getting the most benefit for your dollar. You can set up a website, take out ads in local newspapers, distribute flyers or brochures to local businesses and community groups, and even put a small sign up at your home. Be sure to ask customers how they heard about you when they order one of your gifts-in-a-jar to help you keep track of the best advertising methods, and consider asking repeat customers for referrals.