Hey there crafty friends! Have you ever dreamed of starting your own handmade candle business? I'm Jason, and I've been hand crafting beautiful soy wax candles in my spare room for 3 years now with a company called Suffolk Candles. I absolutely love it and hope to be my own boss one day, the creative aspect, joy you get from that and just the whole process involved is rewarding.
But I remember when I first started out, I was super intimidated by how much money I thought I needed to invest in supplies, packaging, marketing etc. I wondered if my candle dreams would ever actually become a reality.
Well, through trial and error I've learned that you really don't need as much capital as you may think to start selling your handmade candles. In this article, I'll break down exactly how much money you really need to get your candle biz up and running. I'll share tips on how to keep your initial costs low, how to price your products, and how to do it on the cheap end, best to start off small, test! Then work your way up.
It's easy in the beginning to get shiny object syndrome and attempt to make every scent under the sun, trust me I've been there!
Whether you want to sell at craft fairs on the weekends for some extra cash, or grow your home-based business into a full-time income - you CAN make it happen on a budget. Don't let money hold you back from following your passion! Let's get started...
Learn from my mistakes haha.
Candle business introduction
In this article we will go over costings, suppliers and the cheapest most effective way to get going in your candle making journey. This is what I would do differently with the knowledge I’ve gained now… Hindsight is a wonderful thing, these views are subjective and merely offer a guiding light in the ever confusing world of candle making - see what I did there..
Anyway let's crack on.
Candle business Equipment
First up we need equipment, I recommend just spending a bit of time and money on some decent equipment first, in the beginning I tried to blag my way through it by being a cheap skate. Save yourself time and pain and get these things:
A wax melter, I’d spend 40 quid on a cheap soup kettle, 10 litres is plenty of room to get you started, I can do about 30 candles once my soup kettle is full. In the beginning I was using double boilers which lacked the volume I needed, I tried a slow cooker which was horrendously slow and I even tried a skillet which heated up quickly but also lacked volume. I bit the bullet and got a couple of wax melters.
This is the soup kettle and this is a little presto pot, both of which can be bought on amazon.
The presto pot is great for small batches and it heats up incredibly quickly and comes with a handy spout, the soup kettle is my work horse.
Next we need some scales. We weigh everything, don’t use volume like I did in the beginning waxes and fragrance oils have varying weights and densities. Amazon is also a good place to get some decent, accurate scales.
A thermometer for accurate readings is useful too, we want to heat the wax up to certain temperatures, add oils at certain temperatures and also pour at the correct temperature. Once again the mighty Amazon has some cost effective probes, I’d just get one of these.
We will also need some jugs, wick centring tools and something to stir the wax and I reckon we’re there. Jugs I just get plastic ones from B&M and replace them every now and then. Wick centring tools you can get from amazon and most other candle supply websites.
Oh one more thing, to secure the wick to the jar, wick pads are rubbish. I use gasket silicone - yes bare with me gasket silicone. High temperature resistant, super sticky and quick to wick.
Candle making supplies
With that sorted we will need some supplies!
Wax, wicks, jars & fragrance oil. To be honest in the beginning I’d just go cheap and cheerful, you’re going to make some mistakes and quite frankly some crap candles, I most certainly did and still do even now!
What I’d suggest is some basic 30cl candle jars, TCR 27/16 wicks, and container wax, we need to be very specific on this one if we are making container candles it needs to be container wax I made the mistake in the beginning of just buying any old wax and expecting it to work… I think I bought pillar wax and tried to make container candles… They were rubbish. So a good beginners choice is soy wax c3 and then I’d test a few different fragrance oils from a few different companies. Fragrance oils aren’t all made equally so it’s worth playing around with a few and seeing how your candles perform and whether you like them.
I’ve had a quick google and one of the first ones is scents soaps and candles which has wicked reviews so If I was going to buy some of my first supplies I’d head over to a website like that and buy the aforementioned.
Labels, we’re going to want something to make our candles stand out, What I did in the beginning and what I still do now Is buy my labels on eBay in bulk. I can get 70 transparent labels for £15 which works out at 21p a label, which is pretty cheap. We will also need CLP labels for the bottom of the jar and I also get those on eBay and they work out at about 10p a label.
In the beginning you’ll want to do everything yourself to save costs, but do yourself a favour and just get someone else to do the labels for you!
Candle Business Packaging
And finally we will need a box and some tissue paper to package and send your lovely candles. I use mug smash boxes, super cheap and very protective, each one costs around 40p and in the beginning I bought tissue paper in bulk to wrap my candles in. Once again I buy these on eBay 100 boxes costs 35 quid and a bulk stack of tissue paper is £10 for 100 sheets.
Candle business cost breakdown
So let’s break it all down!
A wax melter - we have the two options a soup kettle or presto pot, either one is £70
Thermometer - £10
Scales - £10
Wick centring - £10
Jugs - £10
Gasket silicone £10
Candle Supplies cost
5kg soy wax £30
50 tcr wicks - £3.60
Fragrance oil - £51
Jars - £27
Front jar labels £15
CLP labels £2
Tissue paper £10
Boxes - £35
Which brings us to a grand total of: £303
Candle business start-up costing conclusion
Now this is a very conservative low end starting point with us only making one candle but it gives you guys a chance to see how I break down the costs and how to look at it. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed so we need to look at it logically and cost it, there’s no point making a candle and your costings being out and it not making you any money.
There are some things I already had that I’d recommend, a printer for printing off your postage labels and I use mine for my box labels.
I won’t get into candle insurance but it is important and I’m sure there’s a few other things I’ve probably missed. This is just a good starting point with some basic supplies and equipment to get you going and testing!
FAQ Starting a candle business on a budget
What inspired you to start your handmade candle business?
- I have always had a passion for crafting, and the idea of creating something beautiful and meaningful with my own hands inspired me to start my own handmade candle business.
How long have you been crafting candles, and what motivated you to pursue this business?
- I have been crafting candles for the past three years. The joy of creating something unique and the desire to be my own boss were the key motivators that drove me to pursue this business.
What challenges did you face when starting your candle business, and how did you overcome them?
- Initially, I was intimidated by the perceived high costs of supplies, packaging, and marketing. Through trial and error, I learned to manage my initial costs efficiently and make cost-effective choices without compromising on quality.
How can I start a candle business on a budget?
- Starting a candle business on a budget is possible by making informed choices about equipment, supplies, and packaging. It's essential to prioritize essential tools and materials and find affordable yet reliable suppliers.
What are the essential equipment and tools needed to start a small-scale candle business?
- Some essential tools include a wax melter, thermometer, scales, jugs, wick centering tools, and a reliable source for stirring the wax.
Where can I find affordable candle-making supplies and equipment?
- Websites like Amazon and specialized candle supply stores offer a range of affordable candle-making supplies and equipment suitable for beginners.
How crucial is it to invest in high-quality candle-making equipment and supplies?
- Investing in high-quality equipment and supplies is crucial for ensuring consistent product quality and streamlining the candle-making process.
What types of wax, wicks, and fragrance oils do you recommend for beginners?
- For beginners, I recommend using container wax like soy wax C3, TCR 27/16 wicks, and experimenting with various fragrance oils from reputable suppliers.
Where can I find reliable and affordable suppliers for candle-making materials?
- Online marketplaces and specialty candle supply stores often provide a wide range of reliable and affordable options for candle-making materials.
How can I efficiently manage and control the cost of candle production?
- Efficient management of costs can be achieved by tracking expenses, making bulk purchases when possible, and focusing on cost-effective production methods without compromising on quality.