Once you’ve found the fun hobby of cookie decorating, you may be interested in selling cookies online. There are some rules and restrictions for selling cookies online, especially with a cottage license.
Let’s go over how to sell cookies online whether you have a cottage license or commercial license.
*Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and, as such, this information shall not be considered legal advice. Please refer to your own local laws and regulations and seek legal counsel prior to selling cookies online.
How to Sell Cookies Online with a Cottage License
Once you have obtained a cottage license and any other required licensing to do food business in your state, you will need to know your restrictions for selling cookies.
To find out your local laws in regard to selling cookies online in the United States, reference your state’s WAC and RCW. You may have additional requirements within cities and counties as well.
Here is an example of a state’s WAC, Washington State WAC for cottage laws.
In many states in the United States, it is illegal to sell cookies online. I live in Washington State, and it is illegal to ship cookies as well.
However, states that do not allow selling cookies online often allow you to advertise online. This can be a great way to obtain customers. Again, make sure you understand your local laws and regulations around advertising online.
To advertise cookies for sale online, utilize social media rather than sites like Etsy or using WooCommerce.
For example, you can join your local Facebook group’s Buy Sell and Trade group and post that your cookies are for sale there. Make sure to inform people that they will need to do a porch pickup or meet in town, both to exchange money and the cookies.
Other ideas of advertising cookies online include using Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter. Really, anywhere you have a following of fans is a great place to advertise.
Try advertising your involvement in the local farmer’s market or upcoming event as well. This is a wonderful way to get customers to come to you and buy cookies in person.
To recap, here are ways you can sell cookies online by way of advertising:
- Advertise cookies for sale using social media sites making sure to include that the cookies will need to be sold and exchanged in person
- Advertise online your involvement in the local farmer’s market or other events so that customers can come to you
How to Sell Cookies Online if Your State Allows You to Sell Online
If you are allowed to ship and sell your cookies online with your cottage food license, you have more opportunities. To my knowledge, and again, I could be wrong so PLEASE reference your local regulations and laws, but Florida is the only state that allows cottage licensed bakers to ship cookies online.
A popular way to market your cookies online is to use Etsy Etsy is a site for homemade goods to be sold all over the world.
As a seller, you can also restrict where your cookies are sold on Etsy. If you want a local pickup option only, you can do that. Or, if you only want to ship within the United States, you can also do that.
The other ways you can sell your cookies online is through your own website. If you have a website that allows for e-commerce, set up a store with your cookie products.
You can also sell via social media channels and Facebook Buy Sell Trade groups. Really, the internet has so many endless opportunities to sell cookies online. Just remember to check your local laws/regulations to find out if you CAN sell cookies online.
How to Sell Cookies Online Without a License
I will make these section quick and easy: you don’t sell cookies online without a license. You also don’t sell cookies in general without a license. Making cookies as a hobby and gifting them is a different story, as it is akin to making a lasagna and giving it to a friend for dinner.
The issue is the exchange in money or goods part. You cannot legally sell cookies (online or in person) without a license.
How to Sell Cookies Online with a Commercial License
A commercial bakery license will give you more freedom to sell cookies online. You will need to follow any local laws and regulations necessary and obtain proper licenses before attempting to sell cookies online.
Make sure to review your licenses’ exemptions or rules, making sure that it is completely possible for you to sell cookies online.
It is advisable to reach out to a lawyer to make sure you are following all laws.
To sell cookies online, you can generate your own website and use software such as WooCommerce. You can also build a site on Squarespace, a site that makes it extremely easy to sell products online.
As mentioned in the above section on how to sell cookies online with a cottage license, you can use any social media site to advertise your cookies. You can then send customers to your website to make a purchase.
Lastly, using sites such as Etsy, Ebay, and even Craigslist can offer a great reach to potential customers. They also make it easy to sell products online without having to design your own website.