The past few years have reminded many people about the need to have a home that feels comfortable and cozy. Candles can add a fresh, pleasant look and scent to any room.
If you already like making art pieces, or you want to learn more about making crafts, then creating and selling candles could be the perfect business idea for you.
Here’s what’s great about having your own candle business:
- Simple to begin. You don’t need a lot of money to get started. Some basic supplies and a small, organized workspace can help you start making and selling candles.
- Easy to price and sell. You can sell many types of candles for twice the cost (or more) spent making these candles. There are also plenty of places to sell your candles including online sites like Etsy or your own website, as well as physical locations including gift/craft stores and farmers markets.
- Lots of potential customers. Most people have at least one candle, and often a few candles placed throughout their homes. Many people also enjoy collecting candles and regularly updating their collection based on holidays, seasonal changes and other reasons.
Here are some possible challenges facing candle business owners:
- You might face a big learning curve. It’s easier to create candles if you already enjoy creating crafts and/or art pieces. You will probably need to spend some extra time and do more work to learn how to make candles if this is your first visually creative project.
- The work might feel repetitive. Learning something new is often fun. But sometimes this new feeling quickly goes away as making candles becomes just another part of your weekly (or even daily) routine, especially if you’re creating only one or two types of candles.
How to Get Started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
Here are some tips for how to start your candle business:
Learn your craft. Take the time to learn the basics about making a great candle that burns well and produces a pleasant, balanced scent.
Plan your candle business.
- Find your suppliers. You can start simply by checking out your local craft supply store to buy wax, scents, and related items. (If you have Hobby Lobby in your town, that’s a good place to start.)
- You need to package your products. You can find nice-looking boxes that would also be good for shipping from any craft store, like Michaels.
- Decide how many candle products you are going to produce. It’s best to start with a manageable amount — three or four products.
- To make your products more enticing, you might want to come up with names for your candles. (For example, “Christmas morning” sounds better than simply “pine scent.”) Search YouTube and Google to see what others are doing and use that information for ideas. (It’s not a good idea to simply copy others, though. You don’t want to be accused of stealing ideas; plus you want to create your own identity.)
- Come up with a business name (that’s not being used by anyone else). Make sure you have the right license(s) and/or permit(s) required to run a candle business in your area. A good place to start is the secretary of state’s office in your state. (You can Google that.) Ask a family member or friend to help you, if needed.
Consider where and how you will sell your candles. The easiest and most obvious place to sell is online — and an easy way to get started online is Etsy. (See this guide to getting started on Etsy.) You can also use social media, especially visually-friendly sites like Instagram and Pinterest, which are great free marketing tools for your products.
Another relatively easy option is children’s business fairs. These are one or two-day events in which young entrepreneurs can sell their products and services, (See this guide to children’s business fairs around the country.)
You may also want to approach stores in your local shopping malls. Look for gift shops that sell a variety of products — the owner may be happy to stock products from local businesses.
How much to charge:
First, figure out the cost of making each candle. Be sure to add in all costs, including the costs of shipping and any service or website you use to sell the candles. Then add a modest mark-up to the price of each candle to make sure you are making a profit.
As a guide to how much you should charge, most candle businesses are in one of the three following target markets:
- Mass-market: This market includes affordable candles available in many retail stores. The average price range is $5 to $8.
- Mid-market: You can find some of these candles in certain retail stores, outlet stores, large department stores at your local mall, and in locally owned businesses such as gift shops and boutiques. These candles offer a wider variety of scents. The average price range for these candles is $9 to $14.
- High-end market: These candles are sold in luxury stores and upscale boutiques. Candle businesses in this market focus on presenting a prestigious image/brand as well as providing high-quality packaging and fragrances. The average price range for these candles is $15 to $20+.
Decide which target market you will focus on when starting your candle business. You can switch to a different level market at a later time, if appropriate.
Taking it to the next level:
1. Watch the first two months.
While you should have ongoing plans and a budget, the first two months are very important for a new candle business. Use this time to learn more about creating and selling candles. This includes looking at the average costs of supplies and noticing what type(s) of customers are buying your candles.
After two months, you can set an estimated budget for at least the following few months. You can also use what you’ve learned about your customers to help you market and promote your candles.
2. Develop your own unique brand of candles.
Here are a few creative ways candle creators can connect with their type(s) of customers (sometimes called a niche) :
- Creating unique scent combinations
- Designing special and/or custom packaging
- Create a logo and put it on all of your social media and boxes
3. Scale up your business
As you get more sales and product requests, you can save time and money by buying supplies in bulk from a wholesale supply business. This is when you will plan your inventory, which means deciding how much to spend on supplies and choosing how to organize and store these items.
Taking even a short amount of time to make these plans will make your candle-creating process faster and easier. Consider using inventory apps available for smartphones and laptops to help you create ways to keep track of your candle supplies.
4. Form partnerships
Consider selling candles to support and promote a charity and other good causes, especially a charity/cause that’s meaningful to your customers.
5. Create loyal customers
Consider building an email list of subscribers/customers so they can be the first to know about any discounts or new products you have to offer. You can also use email to ask your subscribers about their favorite scents or candle types to get ideas for new candle products.
With your own website, you can sell directly to consumers and will not have to share profits.