A Stanford News report dated June 2020 showed 42% of the U.S. labor force is now working from home. The pandemic has played a major role in redefining how business is conducted and the job descriptions of many.

Chelsie Khan took dual-enrollment college courses at Northeast Alabama Community College and early online college courses to achieve an Associates Degree in Drafting and Design and graduated in 2016. She put her new skills to good use by obtaining employment soon after graduation.

Initially, she worked for a company in Stevenson, but the 100 mile daily round-trip to work soon had her seeking something closer to home. She acquired employment with TVA as a Lead C.A.D. Technician and was able to work from the campus of NACC. However, like so many workers during this pandemic, she is now working from home.

Khan, wanting to supplement her income, felt a desire to turn her hobby into a profitable hobby.

“I started researching how to have an at-home business in connection with my hobby of baking,” said Khan. “I learned about Cottage Food Laws.”

Alabama Cottage Food Law went into effect in 2014 and provides guidance and information for cottage food entrepreneurs. The law states that individuals can produce certain foods in their homes that may be sold, but not to restaurants, novelty shops, grocery stores or over the internet. All items must be sold face-to-face, such as at farmer’s markets, festivals and the like. A set annual income of $20,000 or less is also part of the stipulation for operating such an in-home based business.

“The Alabama Extension Office offers free online courses,” said Khan. “Then you take an online exam for $25, and if you pass, a certificate is mailed to you. Once that takes place you have to create a name for the business and then you register to get a business license from the health department.”

Kahn plans to advertise her business via social media and is still working out the plans and a business name. The items she bakes include both sweet and savory treats in the way of cupcakes, cakes, breads and some foods from her Indian heritage. Khan offers some signature specialty cakes and makes her own icing that is not the typical shortening and sugar recipe. “I make more of a meringue type silky frosting,” said Khan.

“I plan to include some authentic Indian foods such as Gulab jamun,” said Khan. “It is a dessert from India. It is sort of a ball of dough that is fried and has saffron and rose flavoring and is soaked in a sugary syrup.”

Her business plans include offering customers the option of ordering made-to-order treats for business meetings, parties, and other events. Khan’s new business should be up and running in one month. She may be reached at 256-418-5426.

— Marla Ballard’s Spotlight on Business appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition.

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