Friday, January 13, 2012

Indiepreneur Spotlight: Stefanie Samara Hamblen

From Flickr user NatalieMaynor
Stefanie Samara Hamblen edits Hogtown HomeGrown, a free monthly newsletter focused on local food in North Central Florida, with seasonal recipes, menus and more. She also operates The Illegal Jam Company, selling batches of jams, jellies, and preserves using local ingredients.

IS: What inspired you to create Hogtown HomeGrown?
Stefanie: Watching people pick up items at the farmers’ markets and then put them back down because they either did not know what it was or how to cook it – Hogtown HomeGrown tells you what’s in season, spotlights one fruit or veggie, and has recipes, menus, and tips.
IS: How did you begin the process of building your business? 
Stefanie: I distributed the first printing of 500 copies around Northwest Gainesville - for the first few months it was word of mouth.  Then Haile Village Farmers’ Market and Union Street Farmers’ Market decided to advertise, so I set up a table at each once a month and distributed newsletters to everyone who would take one.  It took 18 months for the advertising to pay for the printing costs, and I have made a little money, but not a living.  Then came Facebook - I can make one post and it is seen by many people at once.

IS: What motivates you towards your indiepreneurial goals?
Stefanie: I am trying to replace all my nannying income with food income, so between limited ad revenue, jam sales and cooking demos and lessons, I am slowly working toward that goal.

IS: What advice do you have for other indiepreneurs who want to create a business? 
Stefanie: Well, I am not the kind of person that created a business plan, nor am I living off the money Hogtown HomeGrown is raking in - so I would suggest they have sufficient income to survive for three years while they build their business.

Check out Hogtown HomeGrown and The Illegal Jam Company on Facebook to discover Stefanie’s latest newsletter, cooking demo, or sweet spread!

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