Starting a candle business can be tricky, It may seem easy on the surface but trust me, it's not.
Things you need to know before you start a candle business.
When I first started/or got the idea to make candles, I was naïve.. for some reason I thought it was simply the case of melting some wax, bunging in some fragrance and a wick, and then boom I’ve basically made a candle. Boy was I wrong, I made a lot of rubbish candles, I mean a lot.
It turns out there is actually way more to candle making & starting a candle business than one may think, or perhaps I’m just an idiot haha. Different waxes, wicks, jars, fragrances – lead to an almighty amount of variables.
So in this post I want to share with you my top 10 tips when you start a candle business.
Here’s what we will go over in this blog post, knowledge that I've gained over the past two years:
The benefits of trying different waxes and wicks
The significance of accurate costings
The advantages of shopping around for suppliers
Importance of weighing ingredients accurately
The power of outsourcing
Avoiding comparison with others in small business
The significance of research and development in candle making
The importance of choosing the right sales platforms
The value of patience in starting a candle business.
These tips will definitely give you a head start!
1.Test your candles
Testing…. Testing, testing, testing. Always test your candles, especially if you’re planning on selling them, firstly you want to provide a decent product, secondly you don’t want to burn someone's house down. So let’s dive into why testing is important.
Testing candles before using them is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to determine the correct wick size for the candle. The wick should be chosen based on the diameter of the candle, and its size should allow for an even and steady burn, without any flickering or mushrooming.
Secondly, testing the candle can help to evaluate its scent throw, which is the strength of the fragrance when the candle is lit. This will give you an idea of how strongly the scent will fill the room and whether it is suitable for your needs.
Thirdly, testing a candle can reveal any issues with its quality, such as improper wax melting or improper curing, which can result in poor performance and waste of your candle. In conclusion, testing candles prior to selling ensures that the product is good, it's tried and tested you know its strengths and weaknesses and truly believe you're adding value when some one purchases one.
This may all sound confusing, but I've got you covered in this article I go over common candle making questions.
2. Don’t settle on waxes, formulas and suppliers too soon!
It's natural to want to stick with what works, but in the world of candle making, being open to trying new methods and materials can lead to significant improvements in the final product. By limiting yourself to one type of wax or wick, you may be missing out on new, improved formulas or materials that could enhance the quality of your candles. For instance, some waxes may have better scent throw, better burn times, or be more eco-friendly than others.
By testing different waxes and wicks, you can discover new possibilities and find the perfect combination to bring your candle-making to the next level. Settling on a wax too early can also mean that you may not be utilizing the full potential of your creativity. So, don't be afraid to try new things, embrace the experimentation process, and see where it takes you. You might be surprised at the results!
3. Costings, you need to make sure you’re profitable.
Getting your costings right from the start is crucial for the success of your candle-making business. Costing involves determining the cost of raw materials, labour, and overhead expenses for each candle you produce. This information is critical for setting a selling price that allows you to make a profit. Without accurate costings, you risk under-pricing your candles, leading to a loss instead of a profit. On the other hand, overpricing your candles can make them uncompetitive in the market and reduce sales. By taking the time to accurately calculate your costs, you can ensure that you are pricing your candles correctly, maximizing your profits, and securing the future of your business.
4. Suppliers – the importance of shopping around.
When it comes to finding the best suppliers for your candle-making business, it's important to shop around and not limit yourself to just candle supply websites. While these websites can be a great starting point, they may not always offer the best deals or the most variety. By thinking outside the box and considering alternative sources such as eBay, Alibaba, and beekeeping websites, you can increase your chances of finding the best deals on raw materials, wicks, fragrance oils and other supplies.
For example, you may find that a beekeeping website offers high-quality beeswax at a lower price than a candle supply website. Similarly, Alibaba may offer bulk discounts that are not available on other websites. By shopping around and exploring all your options, you can save money and secure the best supplies for your business. This will help to keep your costs low and increase your profitability. So, be creative, do your research, and don't be afraid to try new sources to get the best deals for your candle-making business.
5. Measuring your ingredients.
Accuracy is key when it comes to making candles, and one of the most important steps to ensure that your candles are consistent is to weigh your ingredients, rather than relying on jug measurements. Measuring by volume can be inconsistent as different ingredients can have different densities, leading to variations in the weight of the final product. For example, a cup of wax may weigh more or less than a cup of fragrance oil, which can result in candles that vary in strength, burn time, and overall quality.
Weighing your ingredients, on the other hand, ensures that the correct amount is used in each batch, resulting in candles that are consistent in their scent load and wax weight. This leads to a better end product and a more satisfied customer base. So, make sure to invest in a digital scale and take the time to weigh your ingredients accurately to ensure that your candles are always of the highest quality.
6. Outsource where you can.
As a one-man candle-making business, it's essential to maximize your time and avoid bottlenecks in the production process. One way to achieve this is by outsourcing certain tasks, if you have the funds. Outsourcing can save you valuable time and allow you to focus on the core aspects of your business, such as marketing, customer service, and product design.
For example in the beginning I was making all of my labels, printing them, hand cutting them, quite frankly I hated it, this took more time than actually making the candles. As soon as I could afford it I started getting labels made by someone else. It saved a tonne of time.
By outsourcing certain tasks, you can increase your productivity and avoid the bottle neck that often comes with running a one-man business. So, if you have the funds, don't hesitate to consider outsourcing as a way to streamline your candle-making business and take it to the next level.
7. Don’t compare your self to others.
Comparing yourself to others is a common trap when starting a small business, especially in the competitive world of candle-making. It's easy to get carried away and feel discouraged when you see others with better labels, more followers, or more sales.
However, it's important to remember that everyone has their own pace and journey in business and that success is not a race. Every business is unique and has its own set of challenges and strengths. By focusing on your own progress and goals, rather than comparing yourself to others, you can stay motivated and confident in your ability to succeed.
It's also important to remember that success is not always measured by external factors like sales or followers. The internal satisfaction you get from creating candles and building your business is just as important. So, don't get caught up in comparisons and stay focused on your own journey. With hard work, determination, and a positive attitude, you can achieve success in your candle-making business in your own time and on your own terms.
8. Research & development.
Research and development is an important aspect of any candle-making business as it allows you to stay creative and innovative in your designs, scents, jars, and more. While it's okay to be inspired by other candle makers, it's important to not simply copy their designs but instead add your own twist and make it your own. Imitation can be a great way to start, but it's essential to have your own unique touch and style that sets you apart. This will help you to create candles that appeal to your customers and stand out in a crowded market.
Additionally, research and development can help you stay ahead of the curve and bring new and exciting products to market. Whether it's experimenting with new scents, wicks, or packaging, keeping an eye on new trends and customer preferences is crucial for the success and growth of your business. So, make sure to allocate some time and resources to research and development and always stay open to new and creative ideas for your candle-making business.
Ways in which you can stand out from other candle makers!
Creating a candle product that stands out in a competitive market involves a blend of innovative strategies and thoughtful touches that resonate with your customers. One effective approach is to offer a loyalty card program. This program rewards customers for their repeat purchases, fostering brand loyalty. When customers know they are getting closer to a free or discounted candle with each purchase, they are more likely to return to your business. It not only incentivizes them to buy from you again but also makes them feel appreciated and valued as a part of your candle community.
In addition to a loyalty card, consider adding free wax melts to each candle box. Wax melts are a delightful surprise that not only enhance the customer's experience but also allow them to sample other scents from your collection. This gesture can create excitement and curiosity about your other offerings, potentially leading to more sales. Moreover, personalization goes a long way in making customers feel connected to your brand. Include personalized thank-you cards in each package, expressing your gratitude for their support. Handwritten notes or even customized messages based on their purchase history can make customers feel special and create a memorable, emotional connection to your candles. These small but impactful touches set your candle business apart and leave a lasting impression on customers.
You need to make people feel special!
9. Sales platforms
When starting a candle-making business, it can be tempting to list your products on every sales platform available, such as Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and Shopify. However, it's important to not spread yourself too thin and focus on one or two platforms instead. Juggling too many platforms can lead to a lack of focus and a decrease in your overall sales and success.
Each platform has its own unique set of rules, processes, and customers, and it's important to understand and master them before expanding to other platforms. For example, selling on Amazon is different than selling on Etsy, and it's important to understand the nuances of each platform in order to effectively market and sell your candles.
By focusing on one or two platforms, you can build a strong brand and customer base, and eventually expand to other platforms when you feel comfortable and confident. So, choose the platforms that work best for your business and focus on nailing them before moving on to other sales channels.
Starting a candle-making business can be an exciting and fulfilling journey, but it's also important to understand that it takes time and patience to achieve success. Building a brand, creating a loyal customer base, and growing your business takes effort and dedication. It's not a sprint but a marathon, and it's important to be prepared for the ups and downs that come with the journey. Patience is key when starting a candle business, as success does not happen overnight. It's important to stay focused on your goals, work hard, and be persistent, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. Remember that every successful business takes time and effort to build, and that you should be proud of your progress, no matter how small. By being patient and persistent, you can overcome obstacles and create a successful candle-making business that lasts. So, take a deep breath, stay focused, and enjoy the journey. With patience and hard work, you will get to your destination eventually.
Lastly if you're new to candle making I have a great article that breaks it all down, showing you how to make a candle from scratch - explaining waxes, wicks temperatures. Click here for my beginners guide to candle making.
FAQ: Starting a Handmade Candle Business - Tips and Guidance
- How do I get started with my handmade candle business?
- To begin, research and choose the type of candles you want to make (e.g., soy, beeswax, scented, unscented) and create a business plan outlining your goals, target market, and budget.
- Where can I find quality candle-making supplies?
- You can source candle-making supplies from local craft stores, online suppliers, or wholesalers specializing in candle-making materials. Look for reliable suppliers to ensure quality.
- What safety precautions should I take when making candles?
- Safety is crucial. Always work in a well-ventilated area, wear appropriate protective gear, follow candle-making instructions, and be cautious with hot wax and open flames.
- How can I make my candles stand out in a competitive market?
- Differentiate your candles by focusing on unique scents, attractive packaging, and appealing designs. Consider eco-friendly options, custom orders, or collaborating with local artists for custom containers.
- Do I need any certifications or permits to sell handmade candles?
- Check with your local government and business regulations to determine if you need specific permits or licenses. You may also want to consider liability insurance.
- How can I price my handmade candles effectively?
- Calculate your costs, including materials, labor, overhead, and desired profit margin. Research competitors' pricing and consider market demand to set a competitive yet profitable price.
- How can I market my handmade candle business?
- Utilize social media platforms, create a user-friendly website, and participate in local craft fairs or markets. Build an email list, use SEO strategies, and collaborate with influencers for promotion.
- What are some common mistakes to avoid when starting a candle business?
- Avoid underpricing your candles, neglecting branding and packaging, overextending too quickly, and neglecting customer service. Learn from these common mistakes to grow successfully.
- How can I handle customer inquiries and feedback effectively?
- Respond promptly to customer inquiries and address feedback professionally. Customer satisfaction is key to building a loyal customer base and positive reviews.