6 years ago my wife and I bought our first house. Once we finally got it all settled it was just before Christmas, so we made our house warming a Christmas party and have continued it ever since. Working on establishing my coffee company, I saw this as a great opportunity to convert my friends and family.
I originally planned on putting up a sign to sell the extra bags I roasted, but my wife pointed out that it was tacky to invite guests over and then try to sell them. I thought about it and had to agree. IT took a little work, but I got my wife to add my brand name to the label in front of the coffee pot. The results were pretty good.
I stacked my labeled bags of coffee by the coffee pot and kept my on people who inspected. I had quite a few people pick it up and read the label with interest. My brother asked where it came from, which means he thought it was from a "real" company, not some dude printing on his computer. I felt good about that.
The party got rolling and I ran out of coffee about half way through. That never happens. For some reason people just don't drink coffee at our party (probably because it's later in the evening). My cousins husband stopped me and told me that the coffee was really good....and that I was out. I took that as a clear signal to go brew more. As I went to brew more coffee (of course I spilled spent grounds all over the kitchen floor, why wouldn't I?), my dad came up and told me that it was really good. My dad drinks Circle K coffee, so mine was much "stronger" than what he is used to and I was threatened with a midnight phone call if he was up all night because of it.
As my guests started to pack up and leave, I offered my cousin's husband and my dad a bag of coffee to take with them. They were both pretty excited about it. My cousin's husband even offered to help me with some website stuff, which I plan to utilize as soon as I get legit.
My last experience this week was shipping my first bag of coffee. Firstly, I don't know who can sell anything online. Shipping is outrageous. The cheapest I could find is $6. I had to squeeze my coffee into that little box too. That has actually changed my approach. I originally wanted to start with online sales, but it just isn't feasible. The cost is far to high. No one would be willing to pay $6 in shipping for a $7 1/2 lb bag of coffee. So now I am eyeballing a local art event that happens every month. We'll see how it goes.