Microbakery Brings Sourdough Bread to the DSM Community
The food industry is a competitive one but running any type of food business out of your home has its own unique challenges. From understanding local laws to finding suppliers, it’s not the easiest undertaking. Yet, while complicated, it can also be rewarding to have fewer startup costs and more flexibility.
Iowa has what might be considered the best cottage food laws in the nation, allowing cooks to sell directly to consumers so long as the foods do not require temperature control and they are properly labeled. This came in handy for a variety of home-based food businesses that opened around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread By Chelsa B is one such business that became official in January of 2021 after founder Chelsa Smith received a sourdough starter for Christmas. Smith spent a lot of time connecting with people in sourdough groups on Instagram and Reddit and making bread for herself and neighbors until, through these connections, she realized just how many people were running baking businesses out of their homes. Apart from a food blog she ran in the early 2010’s, Smith had no experience in the food industry. It was through her ‘enthusiastic obsession’ with sourdough baking that she became more experienced in the art of perfecting homemade bread and the possibility of turning her hobby into a successful business. All she needed was time to get to know the consistencies of the dough.
As someone who had grown up in the bread culture on the west coast, Smith saw an opportunity to create what she felt Greater Des Moines (DSM) had been missing. Bread By Chelsa B specializes in sourdough, but also does focaccia, sourdough donuts and crackers, buns, cookies and more. For Smith, the potential profitability of her business became apparent after she became involved in Bakers Against Racism where she received an instruction booklet on how to run a bake sale. She used her skills to raise money for the ACLU which, in turn, led to people reaching out to her about when they could purchase more bread. Smith went on to reach her business goals thanks to assistance from the Small Business Association of Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Partnership. She urges other small business owners to ask for help and take advantage of the resources available in DSM. Since her business began, her baking has exploded to 200 loaves per week. She has also moved from doing pickups at home to popups to wholesale orders and a bread subscription process.
Entrepreneurship has allowed Smith to fall even more in love with the process of baking bread, knowing that the community entrusts her with this simple, yet profound task. The problem-solving and curiosity involved makes it a business that also serves as a way for her to learn from others in the local baking community, which she describes as the most inclusive, supportive and fierce — in a good way! — group of people. As an entrepreneur, Smith strives to be persistent and not give into failure so she can help serve up sourdough far into the future.
About Bread By Chelsa B
Bread By Chelsa B is a home-based, microbakery specializing in small batch, handmade, artisan sourdough breads.
Founder: Chelsa Smith
Industry: Home-Based Bakery | DSM County Location: Polk County
firstname.lastname@example.org | breadbychelsab.com
One Piece of Advice from Another Local Entrepreneur
“When you don’t know what to do, be still and listen.” – Karri Rose, Rose Farmstead
Entrepreneur Book Recommendation
“Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz
The Greater Des Moines Partnership celebrates the Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneur community and helps small businesses succeed with one-of-a-kind resources and opportunities for networking. Find out how other entrepreneurs have found success by reading their stories and attending local small business events in the region.