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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.


Tealights Project

by Chandler 10. March 2010 01:21


Soy Wax

This project features a useful item to add to your operation regardless of your size. Tea lights are a great way to use up extra wax, create little "calling cards", or offer prospective customers a chance to sample your scents before purchasing a larger candle.

Below you will find the instructions for using our tea light mold that ensures perfectly straight wicks, but alternative techniques follow.

Step 1
Lay the mold release over the entire mold.

Step 2
Prepare wax with color and fragrance to suit. Pour wax into the mold so that all cavities are filled. There is a lip that holds overflow wax.

Step 3
Remove pins and pop the tea lights out of the mold. Clean any overly rough edges with your fingers.

Step 4
Insert a pre-assembled wick assembly into the hole in the candle and place into a tea light cup. You will notice that tea light cups have a small circular indentation on the bottom. This indentation is 15mm and is designed to match our 15x3mm wick tabs.

Alternative Methods
When pouring batches of wax, keep a few tea light cups on hand to pour excess wax directly into the cups. This is also the method used for pouring tea lights when using container wax. If you currently use a M-63-P votive pin for your votives, it will fit into the tea light cups as well. Simply place the pin in the tea light cup and pour a votive or pillar wax into the pin/cup set up. After it cools remove the wax/pin from the cup, flip the candle over and put back into the tea light cup. This will result in a beautiful recessed top.


Simple Outdoor Candle Project

by Chandler 10. March 2010 00:52

We are going to make this month's project relatively simple so it will allow you to approach the project from several different angles. 

  1. With summer rapidly approaching many people start to reduce the amount of time spent inside thus burning less candles. This project will allow you to make a candle that your customer can burn outside when enjoying a nice Spring or Summer night on the patio.  Citronella candles remain a popular outside candle.
  2. We featured what to do with small amounts of left over wax you could use the wax from a large container/pillar that did not meet your expectation.
  3. It can be made 100% natural
Materials Needed

Wax Suggestions

Container Fill
Excess Wax (Anything you have on hand)
Soy 120 or Soy 125 (If wanting to make all natural)

Wick Suggestion
Square Braided if using large containers
# 8 or #10

Wick Clip - CI-315
Citronella Scent
Glassware - GW-016
Glue Dots

Step 1
Take the wax you have selected and heat up to recommended temperature:

  • If using Soy 120 or Soy 125, heat to 125F and add your fragrance.  For best results add approximately 1 ounce per pound of wax.
  • If using the Container Fill, heat it up to 150F-160F and use the same amount of fragrance.
  • If you are using your left overs, follow the recommended pouring temperatures.

 Step 2
Take your wick and feed through the wick assembly.  Take needle nose pliers and pinch the clip.  Place in the container and secure with Glue Dot.  Pour your wax in at the recommended temperatures above.

Step 3
Due to the size of this container several topping offs will be necessary. .

This project should be easy and makes for a great outdoor candle. If you use the soy wax, you can market it as a very "green candle".

 


Mold Techniques for Candle Making

by Chandler 10. March 2010 00:49

It seems in today's market one segment of the market which can go over looked is the Free standing or "pillar market".  It seems everyone has different containers, tins and glassware and nothing can compliment the line then a nice pillar candle.  Pillars are a logical progression because these types of candles are easy to make, smell great, and are relatively easy to maintain multiple brands using different labels. Every candle maker is faced with the challenge of creating more revenue for various reasons whether it is at the crafting level to fuel their hobby, or a manufacturer that needs to pay next week's payroll.

One way to bring in new customers and increase sales is to offer new and unique candles that are not offered by you competition. This can easily be achieved by learning how to make freestanding or pillar candles using a variety of mold techniques. According to the National Candle Association, candle users say they most frequently burn candles in the living room (42%), followed by the kitchen (18%) and the bedroom (13%). One may assume that aesthetics are important in the living room and creating beautifully unique pillars that burn cleanly could be a great way to increase sales. The following tips and tricks should help you with increasing your freestanding candle offering.

Aluminum Molds

  • Aluminum molds are heat resistant, durable, and leave no ugly seams in the finished candle. Finished candles are professional looking and have an extremely smooth finish.
  • Pillar Pins are a great way to increase production while maintaining perfectly straight wicks. Once mastered they are a necessity for making pillars efficiently.
  • If you are using rubber plugs to seal the wick hole, place molds on two parallel strips of wood or other material that allows you to keep molds level.
  • Adjust pouring temperature to achieve different effects. If candles are not de-molding easily, try raising pour temperature a bit.

Polyurethane Molds

  • Leave an extra few feet of wick coming from the bottom of the mold. This way fresh wick comes up through the wick hole when you remove the finished candle, thus eliminating the need to push wick through the tiny hole for the next candle.
  • You can carefully trim the mold down the sides or where needed with a sharp razor blade.
  • Rub a very small amount of petrolatum on the seam to help smooth seams. While you are rubbing the petrolatum on the seam, use the opportunity to verify you have the mold correctly lined up.
  • Use picture wire or a D-string from a mandolin to help you wick the mold the same way you would thread a needle.

Polycarbonate Molds

  • Be sure to use the correct wax designed for free standing candles. If you use the wrong wax or incorrect temperature, it can be tricky getting the mold cleaned out.
  • Do not pour wax into the mold if it is over 200 degrees or damage to the mold may occur.

In addition to the above types of molds we recently wrote about how easy custom size molds can be created.  Making custom molds can increase your presence even more because those types of shapes/sizes will probably not be made by the larger candle producers.  
One of the key points to stress is that you must continually update and reinvent your own line.


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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