A cottage industry is a small-scale business enterprise, so named because it is usually run out of someone’s home—originally, when the term was coined, a rural cottage. Today’s cottage industries operate as stand-alone businesses and/or as suppliers to larger businesses or industries.
Cottage industries often begin as hobbies and are an outlet for goods produced, sometimes as a way of financing the hobby or as a secondary income. Others grow out of experimentation or invention. Some cottage industries do so well that they become full scale businesses, and some of these have become legendary, as in Mrs. Field’s and Apple Computers.
Common cottage industries