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Hello Indies,


I'm launching a natural body care company in New York City and want to hear from you on ways to manufacture my products in a lab space (or possibly professional kitchen). Has anyone had experience with this? Do you know of any spaces that I could possibly rent hourly? I am writing my business plan and need this information to do projections from startup to 5 years. I will initially create everything in my kitchen, following GMPs. As I grow, I want to continue to make the products by hand, instead of outsourcing to a contract manufacturer. Eventually I would like to lease a lab space/store front, but it's the part in between that I can't figure out. Thank you for all of your help!







Tags: Handmade, Labs, Manunfacture, New, York

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Hi Krystian


I too am in NYC and work/manufacture from my home. There are kitchen incubator programs in LIC and one is starting in NYC soon I believe. However if you are making soap with lye, I don't suggest using the kitchens because you could cross contaminate. I also don't know if the kitchen's would acutally allow anyone to use the space for anything besides food prep. You can easily rent store fronts big and small but of course that depends on your location and what you can afford. I do know someone in Astoria who has a storefront but she makes most of her stuff from home and has also subcontracted out because she doesn't have the space in her storefront to manufacture.

Good luck!


Thanks for the insight, Melissa! Did you have to get an in-home business license, or have any trouble with zoning working from home?

Hi Krystian..Good questions! The truth is I didn't do anything special as in licensing or zoning. How it works for me at this time, since I do have a FT job outside of the home, is NGS is parttime with its own business license etc.  What I have done is I have a room designated in my home for manufacturing. I have a 2 bedroom apt in Astoria and one room is for my son and one room is for my other baby, the business. As you can see I am homeless in my own apartment. So one room houses my products, equipment, packaging and manufacturing etc. I do have a corner spot in the hallway where my computer is located and where I do my research, invoicing, labeling and all office related stuff. You are always welcome to come by one day if you like.


Stenu Robinson (Spectrum Cosmetics in the Bronx) helped with a co-op buy once.  He let me into his mfg. facility where we prepared a 30 gal. batch of bubble bath together and charged me only for his costs, just for the good will.  He may be willing to work out some arrangement on a standby basis as a sort of bridge between full contracting and plain facility rental.

I had to make that decision last year.  Partly what you do depends on your city and county laws.  Food, you are usually not supposed to do in your own kitchen, no matter how good your GMPs are. 

The best information leading to a decision, I received from a county inspector.  She told me about the absolute NoNos and HaveTos.

In the end, though it would be nice to have a commercial kitchen,  I could not justify the installation expenses compared to the sales income I will make from that particular part of my business.

However, a workable solution might be to rent a commercial kitchen by the hour.  You will need a manager's food processing license (and take a class that goes with that); you might be able to store your stuff there for a fee.  Those kitchens are often well equipped.  They probably will not allow soap making; they might allow lotions etc. - see also Melissa's reply.

Unless you have a big enough customer base and produce fairly large lots, contracting out would probably add quite a bit to your cost and to your product prices. d

These days, there are small spaces available for rent all over the place, and you can get a one-year lease to see whether that works for you.  Just don't let owner/real estate agents intimidate you.  I assume that you are already insure through INDIE.


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