10. March 2010 00:26
Each year there are approximately 2-2.4 million weddings and the top month for weddings is August with about 11% taking place. The month of June is a close second with 9.9% of the weddings occurring. In addition to these weddings there are always engagement parties, showers and the wedding itself. All of these events can and do incorporate candles in some manner. Party favors for the shower or wedding is always a great choice for this market place. The more you can personalize these candles the more opportunities that will exist for you.
Use the summer months to explore all the online opportunities to offer your products for the fall season. There are all of the big names like Ebay, Amazon and Craig’s List. These sites are fairly easy to list and sell items but the competition is fierce so focus on something that makes your candles unique. While you may sell some of your candles at a loss at times during the summer you may find some new solid customers from these sales. If they are purchasing candles during the summer months think how many they may buy in the fall.
One of most well suited portals to sell candles would have to be Etsy. Their marketplace is selling only handmade items. They have lower fees, longer listing periods then Ebay and has an audience which is looking for all homemade products.
If you already have a website use this opportunity to “refresh” the look and add new products. As we have written before research the opportunities available to promote your site such as pay-per-click advertising, e-zine advertising and improving your organic listings.
10. March 2010 00:24
NEW SELLING VENUES
Despite the current economic situation people are still taking vacations or as the new term “Stayvacations”. They just may not be venturing as far as they did in the past. This is a great opportunity if you have a resort area close to you. Approach these retail stores and offer to sell your candles on a consignment basis. The retailer will like the idea in that it is another product they can sell and what helps them is they don’t have to pay for it right away or take a chance it will sell. Again make candles that are suited for the location or time of year and also possibly use special containers that the customer may not find in the traditional retail locations. The 100% recycled glassware is a great option in that none of the large manufacturers are using this type of glassware. Choose fragrances that truly fit the area you wish to sell if in a beach town fragrances like Cottage Breeze , Citrus Breeze or Coconut Lime. If the location is the mountains or lake; Cotton Blossom, Cool water or even Moonlight Path are excellent choices.
Another nontraditional approach would be to contact campground stores and offer either outdoor candles (check out March’s issue for the perfect candle) or was we have written in past issues fire starters are a natural extension of candle companies.
Most wineries have gift stores and are probably looking for complimentary products to offer. The traffic at these stores increase immensely during the summer months. Several years back the state stores in PA (for those not from PA...all wine and spirits are sold at State Stores) introduced a very nice line of candles to complement the store.
10. March 2010 00:21
CRAFT SHOWS, FESTIVAL AND CARNIVALS
While in the past your market may not have been these venues, in today’s environment, it may be necessary to start doing these types of shows. With the exception of the enormous shows, these venues normally have a very low exhibitors cost and can get decent attendance. Many publications are saying that local show attendances are up because people still like to go out and can’t travel as far as they used to. In addition it provide a market for products the larger retailers just do not offer.
These shows also offer the added benefit of getting close to retail cost for your candle. Normally cash or credit cards are provided and you can gain valuable information from the face to face contact with your customers.
Check with the coordinators of these events and find out if they need door prizes. Use this as an opportunity to send candles from orders that were cancelled or overrun. The show organizers will love the door prizes and you can get some publicity from donating the candles.
The more you can cater your candles to these events the more success you are likely to have. For example if it is a Strawberry Festival, be sure to have your predominate candles scented with all of your strawberry fragrances. If the event is historic in nature, try offering beeswax candles or tapers and other colonial type candles.
While at the show be sure not to bury yourself behind the counter, be out in front and be ready to answer any questions your customers may have on the product. As tough as it can be for many of us to take time to strike up a pleasant conversation with people passing by, you never know what you may learn. Offer a drawing with a nice prize at the end of the show and have people sign up for the prize. Depending on how you market your candles, capture either the entrant's email address or mailing address (be sure to check out our February 09 issue on Database Marketing for more on this subject).
Many towns have “Market Days” where they set up an outside area on a regular basis during the summer months and merchants bring home grown products, hand made products and other summer needs. Be sure to bring some unique candles that may not be found in the traditional retail store.
10. March 2010 00:03
Candle making has always been an excellent choice for generating income for individuals and families during tough economic times.
There are a number of contributing factors to this:
- Candle making has a relatively low entry cost. It is possible with some research and testing to purchase some wax, add fragrance and pour into a container and have a very good quality product. This candle can then be sold at a local craft show at a pretty nice mark up.
- Candles have always been a desirable household item because it can serve in various functions in the home, room freshner, home décor and for ambiance in the evening.
- Since home buying is down dramatically and people are not moving, they are trying to accessorize and redecorate their homes on a smaller budget and candles can fit this criteria.
For many, candle making can be so fun it is easy to lose focus that you are doing this as a source of income. In part 1 and part 2 we are going to highlight some of the areas that sometimes do not seem like it should be a "margin drain", but without careful evaluation they could result in not to maximizing your income.
Establish the Right Scent Load
This can be a very tough subject and one that everyone has varying opinions on. Without doubt we have written numerous times that fragrance is considered the biggest factor in selling your candles and keeping repeat customers. The key is finding that right balance of fragrance for your candle without adding more then you need. Adding more scent than you need will be costly and may not be necessary. This is commonly referred to as the point of diminishing returns (you are adding more fragrance but it does not result in a better product). For many candle makers the tendency is to add more fragrance because you may think there is not enough. The best thing to do is test your different formulas with friends and neighbors. Be sure to evaluate the fragrance in a location other than where you pour the candles. Fragrances can easily take over the room when you pour your candles and when you then try and smell them your ability to sufficiently evaluate can be compromised. Also it is very difficult for you to be the own judge of the finished product.
When smelling fragrances for to long of a time period your senses can become somewhat dull and you become accustomed to smelling them at stronger doses. While it can be hard, let other people help you determine if your candle smells strong enough.
The last four tips are coming in part 2!