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How to Start Your Own Candle Business

by Chandler 19. July 2012 00:45

Over the years people have started their own candle business in many different ways and for many different reasons. For some, the candle business may have grown out of a hobby they enjoyed, for others it may be because of the loss of a job. Or perhaps it stemmed from the desire to start a company and finding through research what a great business the candle industry can be.

According to the National Candle Association, 7 out of 10 households burn candles. Talk about a great opportunity! If 70% of prospective people desire your product, you are off to a great start. The key is starting your candle business off right, so that you give it the best opportunity to succeed.

Finding the proper way to start your candle business is always difficult. If your business started as a hobby you probably have mastered the candle making side of things, but you may not know how to run a business. If you researched a business and how to start a business you probably have never made a candle. The key, no matter where you are starting from, is to do as much research as possible on both subjects. Running a candle business requires you to serve many functions, especially in the beginning. You are the Production Supervisor, Salesman, Marketing Director and Accounting Manager.

If you have already done the research on how to start your business, then the Candlewic website is the perfect resource for learning how to make the candles. To get started, it is always recommended to keep things simple. Focus on a single type of line, i.e. containers or pillars. This way, the inventory of your waxes is kept to a minimum and you are not trying to learn a number of different techniques and processes. The Candlewic site has an excellent video on making soy wax candles.

If Soy is not your cup of tea, it is still worth watching this video to learn the basics of the candle making process. Here is another excellent video on how to go about choosing the proper wax for you.

If you still have some unanswered questions after reviewing these videos, let our friend and resident expert Chandler help you out.

Chandler can help you get started no matter what type of candle you want to make. The step by step process can be great for learning to make pillar, votives and other natural wax candles. Another great site to learn as much as possible about making candles would be:

http://www.letsmakecandles.com/index.asp

Without a doubt, one of the best resources to be found is ALL the back issues of our Newsletters. We have covered a wide range of subjects related to candle making and we strongly encourage you to read as many of these as possible:

If you are looking to take the first step, be sure to download our catalog to see all of the items you need to make candles. The National Candle Association estimates the candle business to gross over 2 billion annually. Many opportunities exist out there to grow your business.

The actual starting of a business will require you to use multiple sources to get all of the information you will need. Unfortunately, one of the hardest realities in today's business climate is that before you sell your first candle you must be sure to have some type of insurance. Sometimes a homeowner's policy can cover you if you do it as a "craft" or "hobby business." The requirements vary from state to state, so start researching this very important topic.

One of your most valued resources can be the Small Business Association (SBA), which covers many topics on starting a business.

One of the great unknown resources we have written about before to help get guidance on starting or running a business is an organization called SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). This non-profit organization consists of retired executives who will meet with you to discuss starting your business, or if you have already started one, how to effectively grow your business. They offer a wide range of effective free services, such as one on one meetings, online email counseling and local workshops. The network they employ has a wide range of expertise with their membership. They also have an excellent website which provides most things you will need to know about starting and running a business. This is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to make sure they have a good starting point for their business. For more information on SCORE be sure to check out their website.

The key to starting and growing any business is to get as many people involved in your research as possible, so you completely understand what you may be getting involved with.

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Categories: Business Articles | Candle Busines


How to Make Recycled Chunk Candles

by Chandler 16. March 2012 00:42

One of the important aspects in today's market is customer experience in the purchasing of the candle.

By consumers coming into your location, you have an extreme advantage over the internet, and now the key is to "hook" that customer on your candles.

A growing trend in retail is to let people make their own candles. The problem is with most candles the long set up time necessary for the candles.

One way around that is to have them make chunk candles. In this case, the vast majority of the candle is already hard and they need to do is fill in the gaps. Even if you don't have a store, making chunk candles can allow the customer to pick their own colors.

Step 1
For the best results, a 140 Paraffin wax should be used for the chunks. Begin by melting your wax to make the actual chunks in any color and pour into a cookie or baking sheet.

Hint: If you have extra wax, use it for the chunks. These chunks can be scented or unscented. (For a uniquely scented candle try using different types of scents in these candles.) Using different scents will allow these candles to "throw" different smells during the burning cycle.

As the wax begins to harden take a knife and cut the slightly gelled wax into different shapes, patterns or designs.

Step 2
When the chunks are completely hard remove them from the sheets and place in any type of pillar mold. Common mold sizes would include 3 x 6-1/2, 3 x 9-1/2 and 4 x 4-1/2. Once the chunks have been placed in the mold, take a pillar wax (scented or unscented) and pour over the chunks. When the candle is completely set up, remove the pillar from the mold.

Step 3
For variations in the basic chunk candle, try some of the following variations

  1. Once the chunks are placed in the mold, pour your pillar wax at a higher temperature, which will cause the chunks to streak and create a unique look.
  2. Try using different types of molds such as octagons, squares and other unusual shapes.
  3. Try making chunk candles in a jar. For best results make the chunks out of wax with a lower melt point wax.

What makes the chunk candle so unique is the endless possibilities that can be made with the same basic concept. Some candle makers are starting to use this same concept with palm waxes for truly unique candles.

Also be sure to make unique shaped chunks using the floating molds and even candy molds in some instances.

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Categories: Candle Making How To's


Candle Making Wish List

by Chandler 19. December 2011 23:45

With the approach of a new year, it's a good time to evaluate ehancements to your candle making business. Here is Candlewic's candle making wish list to get you thinking about ways to diversify your candle lines.

New Candle Fragrances

Our avid readers know that fragrances are a driving factor in sales, and of all candles sold, 94% of them are scented. The classic fragrances such as Cinnamon, Balsam and others will always sell, but consumers, especially candle purchasers are always searching for something new. Some of the most popular fragrances these days go well beyond your basic Strawberry, Apple and Blueberry.

The current fragrances include a wide range of different fragrances and some of the top new ones have many different notes and draw from some classic fragrances. These include Pumpkin Chai, Mistletoe and Fig, Pomegranate Cider to name a few. These are great for fall and winter and would be a great addition to any candle line.

Some of the better sellers can be re-introduced with some new wrinkles to them. For example Apple Crisp, Apple Pie and Sweet Apple Pie have always been great sellers. In the new Apple Crumb fragrance, some nice new scents have been included like cinnamon, nutmeg & clove spices in a vanilla and musk base.

New Glassware

In addition to offering new fragrances it also helps to change up the jars you offer. There are many new and unique designs out there. Because the diameters are similar in many cases, you do not have to go through the process of resizing wicks. Some of the newest best sellers include Libbey’s Status line which is available in sizes ranging from 2.75 ounces all the way up to 21 ounces.

Another very nicely designed line offered by Libbey is the Interlude which is available from 4oz and 12 ounces which is perfect for this design.

Wooden Wicks

While it is hard to generate excitement with a wick, wooden wicks will definitely liven up any candle line. These relatively new wicks are not designed to eliminate your cotton wicks but are more to offer a different candle burning experience to your customer. These do work best with a soft soy/paraffin blend. These are available in Small , Medium, Large and Extra large, so you will be sure to find one that will work in your "new container".

Soap Making Supplies

In many respects the soap and candle making processes are the same, and a nice collection of soaps can enhance any candle line. The holiday seasons give you an audience to test them out, and soap makes for wonderful gifts for friends, neighbors and co-workers. There is an excellent inexpensive kit if you wanted to try a soap making kit (Kit-14) from Candlewic.

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Categories: Candle Busines | Candle Making (General)


End of the Year Business Tips

by Chandler 12. March 2010 00:34

12. Drummers Drumming
As the number of shopping days dwindles, it's imperative to finish strong. Be sure to “Drum” up as much business as possible before the holiday.  Offer incentives to help reduce inventory. 

11. Pipers Piping
Most companies fiscal year will be ending shortly. Be sure to get your tax information together so when it comes time to pay the piper (had to reach on this one) you will be prepared.

10. Evaluating Your Inventory
Evaluating your inventory is a very important year end exercise for any size business. Reducing inventory can be very important because it can generate cash flow for the new year and not be taking up valuable space in your warehouse. You didn’t make any money on candles sitting in your warehouse or shelf.  Holiday candles are difficult to sell after January 1st unless deeply discounted.  Excessive inventory takes up space and hinders your ability to purchase new products.  

9. Donate to Charity
If it appears certain candles will not sell, consider donating them to an appropriate charity. This will go to a good cause and can help with your tax deductions. If they have no value, be sure to get them off your books so you do not have a tax liability on items that have no “market” value. Check with  your accountant for all true tax questions.

8.  Discount
When it appears selling at full value will not happen, offer deep discounts because generating the sale in most instances is better than having the inventory for another 9-10 months.

7. Donate to Your Community
Think about giving away the candles directly to the community. Take 20-30 candles with a nice bow to your church, spouses work or neighborhood holiday party. Give them to individuals that may not necessarily know that you make candles. They would be very appreciative of this gesture and may be more inclined to purchase your candles in the future.

6. Geese a Laying
While the information is fresh, look over your holiday sales and determine which items were big sellers (Golden Rings) and which are ugly ducklings (in this instances non-sellers). This will help determine which products you will want to drop from your product line.

5. Golden Rings
While you are looking over sales data, don’t just look at sales but also gross profit (see the May 2007 issue on pricing). You may have several items that the profit is better than others. Examine ways to sell more of the higher margin products in 2009.

4. Calling Birds
Reach out to all of your customers and let them know some of your plans for the upcoming year.  It might be new fragrances, new containers or even types of candle. Most people start the New Year with a lot of optimism, and if you can put ideas and concepts in their process early enough, you will have an advantage over your competition.

3. Change Candle Names
If a candle is a holiday specific fragrance rename so you can extend the selling season until the end of winter. A Christmas Cheer might turn to Winter Delight. 

2. Be More Efficient
Since there may be some slow days, look at your operation and see if there is any way to make it more efficient.  Any new equipment you might need.  Year end is always great for budgeting and planning so you can kick the New Year off right.  While the inclination is to wind down the year we have always been an advocate of taking this slow time to examine the entire business. 

1. True Love
Most consumers love candles. Be sure to use this in your marketing plan for 2009. Candles can serve many functions; room freshner, accessory and even function as lighting.  Be sure to incorporate all of these as you plan for new products in 2009. Most important be sure your passion and love for the business still burns.

 

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Categories: Business Articles | Candle Busines


Marketing Ideas (Part Two)

by Chandler 10. March 2010 01:33

Marketing at all Events of the Year
Wedding season is rapidly approaching along with showers and there is not a better gift for the attendees to these events then a candle to commemorate the occasion. Develop a "custom package" that simplifies the selection process for the bride or individual organizing the activity.  Maybe it is organza bag with a votive/small jar with a nice personalized tag identifying the event including names and dates.

While it is coming fast enough for my kids, end of the school year will occur soon and candles can represent a nice thank you gift for Teachers, Bus Drivers and School Aides. The key would be to have a package that can easily be customized.  The Avery Company has made if very easy to make custom labels using their templates you can import your own pictures, graphics and text.  Let your customer choose what goes on the label including possibly a picture, quote or graphic.  The way the templates are set up you can make each label personalized fairly easily and if you a color printer they can be printed right at your home computer.

Real Estate Agents and other professionals are always looking for nice gift items to give away to their customers.  Candles that can be customized for them presents a great marketing tool.

On a larger scale the entire retail climate has undergone a transition where only the strongest retailers are surviving and others are shutting their doors.  This can create tremendous opportunities because consumers still want choices and with so few retailers to choose from the selection of "niche items" like candles are hard to find.  The key is to try and reach these consumers.   

With the current high employment rate people are going to be looking for new opportunities.  Some of the most successful candle companies have achieved their success through "party plans".   Pitch the idea of a candle party to your friends, neighbors and acquaintances as a way for them to make money.   Even if the attendees may not purchase anything be sure to get them to sign up for your mailings.  

Online Marketing
In addition using every online resource is going to be essential for survival.  With new technology and other conditions building a website is much more reasonable.    As you may have read just putting up a website will not be enough you will need to drive traffic to the site but in the end it can be more cost effective than opening a retail store.   If you already have a retail store use the site to drive traffic to your store by offering coupons that can be printed out.  Or if your customer prefers to shop from home make that experience easy as well.

As you begin to build a customer base, the key is also to keep on top of the trends in the industry.  Fragrances are very important to people and having them timely to the season of the year is critical to maximize the impact of the season.

Without doubt the entire supply chain is undergoing a huge transition and techniques and efforts that may have been successful even several years ago will not be as effective.   The key is to continue building your own brand that consumers want even if currently on a local scent.


About the author

Hi I'm Chandler. Thanks for visiting! Illumine is all about helpful projects, ideas, and articles related to candle and soap making and the candle and soap making business.

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The Candlewic Company

Supplies the candle making industry with candle making kits, molds and accessories including candle wax, gel, and wicks.

3765 Old Easton Road
Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901
800-368-3352 | Local: 215-230-3601
Fax: 215-230-3606

info@candlewic.com




Official Distributors of: Penreco Candle Gels
Members: IGCA, National Candle Association



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