Starting a Food Business

I recently quit my job as a Software Manager at Amazon to start my own company. Specifically, a food start-up called The Buttermilk Company. I come from a software engineering background so this was not only a major career change for me but also a big industry move. My parents were of course concerned, and probably still are, that I left a good, stable job in a highly-respected field for an unstable coin-flip of a future. And I can’t really blame them. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

This probably isn’t the best thing to say as a CEO of a company (it’s still so weird to call myself that), but it’s true! The biggest barrier to entry for anyone wanting to start their own thing is the fear of the unknown. Where do you even start? The food industry is especially complicated. I’ve learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes so far, so I hope that sharing my experiences as I learn will help someone make better and faster decisions for their own food venture!

If you’re starting a food business, first research the laws in your state. For Washington State, for example, you need several permits and licenses on top of general business licenses. No matter what state you’re in, if you plan on selling food products that you’ve made, you need to make it in a commercial / commissary kitchen.

I hope to provide more details on each of these steps soon, but the first thing I suggest before officially forming your business is test your product! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be packaged, you don’t even need a finalized product. Get it in front of people that you trust will give you honest feedback and iterate as much as possible before paying a ton for licenses πŸ™‚

Have specific questions? Email me at And I hope you try Buttermilk + please send feedback (always iterating!)

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