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How To Start A Candle Business
When considering a new business venture, the first question you probably ask yourself is: where do I start? And this is normal, if not expected, and a great place to start. Asking yourself these types of questions is where the first phase of business begins as you get to know more about what kind of business you are looking to start, and in this article, we are looking at candle-making.
Candles are a surprisingly lucrative business, as the industry is projected to reach $5 billion in value by 2026. There is even a national association dedicated to candles in the United States. This is because not only are candles great gifts for nearly every occasion and make a perfect décor choice, but other businesses use candles in their practices, such as therapy and spa industries.
Here is what you need to know about how to start a candle-making business.
Step 1. Start with a business plan
Step 2. Build your brand
Step 3. Purchase your stock and tools
Step 4. Figure out your costs
Step 5. Market your business
Swift Filings helps you register your company online and handles all the paperwork for you.
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Start with a Business Plan
All businesses typically thrive more when you spend more time planning before taking the leap. A candle business is no different; there are many choices and decisions you need to make before you make your first sale, and it is worthwhile to plan more than to miss something. What makes starting a candle-making business a desirable endeavor is that the starting investment is typically on the lower end, and the product is easy to sell anywhere and is highly customizable.
A business plan will help you to define your strategies, identify challenges early on, and help to analyze your direction before you launch. In your business plan, these factors need to be accounted for. Think about your audience, how many resources you have available to you in the beginning, and what your initial goals are for the business. Other factors to think about while planning include:
- Online or “brick and mortar” store front?
- What will your brand be known for?
- Ideal niche and customer base
- Business name (keep it short and simple, yet memorable and pronounceable)
With any business, there will be room for improvement and changes that may need to be made, but having a brand and customer base in mind as you produce products will make marketing and direction of the business easier to manage.
Building Your Candle Brand
Branding and “building your brand” is a common term and phrase people hear, even when they are not looking to start a business. But you are, so it is important to acquaint yourself with branding, which starts by asking yourself questions such as these:
- Who is your target audience?
- How do you plan to market your candles? Luxurious or casual?
- What will your price point be?
- What scents will your candles be most well-known for or associated with?
Other factors that play a big role in establishing your brand are the visual aspects. Think about your logo; your logo will be visible on your packaging and be a part of the “face” of your brand. The design of your website, social media accounts, and photography of your products will also affect the impression people will have of your brand. Most luxury candle brands are quite simple and modern in design, whereas mid-market brands strive to meet every occasion and need.
Another aspect of branding that you will want to invest time in developing is the story behind your candles. This may sound cheesy but dressing your candles with descriptive stories that describe their scents, what inspired the candle’s creation, and so on develops meaning to the customer. The more you experiment with scents, shapes, and packaging, the more elaborate these brand stories can become.
Where to find a logo designer:
Higher-end logos: 99Designs
Affordable logos: 48hourslogo
Cheap logos: Fiverr
Tools of the Trade
Making candles starts with a set of supplies that often can be bought in bulk, from the wax and wicks to the jars or container and labels. Supplies will vary greatly in price depending on their types and qualities. You will also need tools such as silicone spatulas, a thermometer, glue, and a double boiler pot set. Once you’ve obtained this toolset, then you should spend some time experimenting with different scent combos, wax types, and wicks.
Experimenting does take some initial cost investment but will be worth it in the long run, especially if you plan to expand your business in time. It is also good to try out new combinations to see what sells more frequently amongst your customers. Sales and product turnaround is key in your market research.
There are multiple types of candles on the market, in addition to the different types of wax and wicks. Let’s take a look at some of the choices you have, and keep your branding in mind as you read ahead.
- Wax: Paraffin, gel, beeswax, and soy; beeswax is the more expensive type of wax but is natural and has a pleasant scent, whereas soy is a newer type of wax but is cheaper and can be colored more vibrantly. Keep in mind, the type of wax you use can attract, as well as deter, customers.
- Wicks: Braided, cored, wood, etc. There are many types of wicks to choose from, some are more fit for specific candle types as well, so be mindful of the length, burn time, etc.
- Containers: Freestanding, jar, votive, tins, etc. Really any type of solid and hollow object can become a candle or a candle holder, but the key factor to remember is safety. Make sure the container is stable, isn’t easily breakable, is inflammable, and won’t leak.
- Colorants: Dye chip, color block, liquid, and powder; candle dye comes in different forms, and some work better than others. Coloring your candles is a cosmetic decision and some customers prefer colorless options. Of course, if color is a factor in your overall branding, then it is worth experimenting with.
- Scents: Standard fragrance oils, natural oils, and essential oils are most commonly used to scent candles. The type of scents you use can matter more to some customers, especially if they lean toward a more natural candle.
Ways to Market Your Candle Business
In the age we live in with innovative technology being upgraded every year, there are now many ways to market your business. While paying for a spot in the newspaper helps support local newsrooms, print advertisements do not carry as far as digital methods, such as email and social media. Also, marketing isn’t limited to advertising, so let’s take a look at the ways to market your business.
- Advertising: Print ads, social media, email lists, paid ad space on blogs and other websites, etc.
- Social Media: This is not only good for advertising, social media is also good for building your brand and expanding your customer reach, with multiple channels to choose from. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and Snapchat to name a few top picks.
- Giveaways and Contests: Once you’ve built a steady stream of supporters, particularly through online means, you can create engagement with your audience via events, such as contests. Make sure when you do something like this that the prize is worth entering for and is exciting/appealing to the audience.
- Craft Shows/Flea Markets: By participating in more social events such as craft shows, you are able to increase the face behind the brand i.e., people can formulate a more personal opinion of you, which can boost customer morale.
- Sections in Stores: Small boutiques and other storefronts can offer you a way to make your products more readily available. Sometimes, the shipping and handling fees can go over the customer’s budget, so in-store offers a way around that; this way, you can start to build a “brick and mortar” clientele.
Using these methods, come up with a marketing plan and decide which methods and online channels are best suited for your goals for your candle business. In your planning, it is important to evaluate your plan based on key factors in marketing:
- Demographics: Your clients’ age, gender, place of purchase/geographical location, etc. Paying attention to the demographics will help you to better target future customers and be able to target promotions.
- Spending Behavior: Once you’ve begun to sell products, figure out which products are purchased more frequently. Do they purchase the premium grade candles, or the best value candles? What scents sell the most? Do customers shop more during sales or deal promotions?
- Brand: How you present your candles will most likely determine who purchases them. If you promote more spa-like quality, you will most likely attract people who work a lot, enjoy relaxing scents, or even people who run spas.
- Buyer Persona: Following branding, think about who your ideal customer would be. Do they live in rural areas and love baked good scents, or do they live in the city and enjoy ocean and sultry scents? How much is this buyer typically willing to spend? Do they buy candles as gifts, for themselves, or even for their office and business?
- Promotion: Promoting sales, special deals, and new products is a major factor in running any business, but with the candle business there are slow seasons. The holidays are the busiest, but the trick to selling more product is to promote products that fit every time of year and type of occasion. Think about weddings, graduations, birthdays, and every holiday on the calendar when promoting through emails and social media.
Starting Up and Expenses
The initial costs of startup in the candle-making industry are relatively low compared to other businesses, as the cost of supplies ranges between 200 and 400 dollars, depending on the supplies you choose. Make sure to budget out the funds you have available; if you expand beyond local sales, then you will need to budget for a website domain, advertising, marketing, and so on.
Of course, it is best to start off small and start by selling and sampling products with those closest to you. Your family and friends are most likely going to be your first audience and it is important that they provide feedback, if possible, as feedback will help you to improve your candles. From there, after you’ve begun to acquaint local people with your candles, then you can begin to determine how far you want your business to grow.
Do you want this business to stay as a side hustle? Or do you want to expand your business as far as you can, in hopes of opening a physical store location or creating a candle line to be carried in other stores? Either choice has its own set of requirements for budgeting and managing, among other resources. Other expenses and responsibilities of running a candle business include:
- Website domain and hosting (average between $10 and $60)
- Advertising (can be done on the cheap, or free, but the average is between $5 and $50)
- Shipping materials (bubble wrap, packing peanuts, boxes, etc. Average $40)
- Rent for store space, partial or full (cost dependent on location, square footage, etc.)
- Acquire the proper licensing
- Spend efficient time managing customer service
- Upkeep online storefront
- Staying on top of consumer trends
Not only do you budget finances in business, but you also need to budget how much time different tasks require. You need time to brainstorm new candles, produce the candles, package the candles, and ship candles out. Additional time is spent answering emails, traveling to craft shows or stores, and building a relationship with your customers.
Your first day selling product, known as launch day, is the big first impression moment for your customers. Being diligent in your timing is the first key factor that your customers will notice; having inventory listed correctly on your website and neatly presented on physical shelves presents a reputable image.
Launch day should not be left to be announced last minute. Once you have experimented and perfected a small batch of candles, spend the additional time in finalizing preparations before they land in the hands of your customers. Treat your products nicely; customers will notice sloppily applied labels and uneven pour jobs, so do not rush the process. Quality is best noticed in the details, after all.
After your launch day has passed, and you’ve begun to receive orders more frequently, then you can begin to experiment with other ways to turn a profit. Think about developing a subscription box service or creating deals that are valuable for both you and the customer, or push holiday sales when advertising. In time, you will be able to expand your product line and offer specially molded or customized candles.
Frequently Asked Questions (Faq)
Where can I buy wax to make my own candles?
Where do I register my business online?
Swift Filings helps you save time and money by registering your company online for you.
A candle-making business can be a great way to supplement your current income; you may also be able to start a brand-new career as a candle-making entrepreneur, too. So, take the information provided here into consideration, and then get out there to start your candle-making business as soon as you can.