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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:

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

Three Step Guide to Show Success

by Chandler 8. June 2012 20:08

While many are busy planning their vacations, camps and activities for the summer, we encourage all customers to consider doing several shows this summer -- even if that is something you have never done. Craft shows, street festivals and fairs can be a great way to improve your sales for the entire year if you choose the right show and do everything you can to maximize the event. In this issue of the En-light-ener we will outline how to approach this in three steps.

Step 1

Picking the correct show is important and, unfortunately, there is not a full proof method without doing extensive homework. By doing some preliminary homework you can pick the better shows for your line. Always contact the event's coordinator/promoter and get as much preliminary information as possible. Find out things like how many people attended last year’s event, theme of the show if any, what things they have added, who exhibited and contacts for past exhibitors so you can call get their experience with the show. Also, if they have a preliminary list of exhibitors for the upcoming show,  you can cross reference the repeats. If a large list return, this will tell you the show was very good for them.

If possible make sure your target price for candles will be consistent with the show. If your line uses upscale glass and you want to cater to the high end candle purchasers, then the "flea market" show is not a good fit. If you want to clear out old inventory on your candles, then a flea market might be right. If you have the list of exhibitors and they include candle companies, research their general pricing or type of candle line they offer.

"Google" the event to see what type if any pre- or post- press took place. Make sure all cost of entry are clearly outlined and you know the rules of the show. If you can’t park too close to your booth, you may need extra time to set up or a hand dolly or wagon to get your candles to the booth. If the show is outside and you can’t set up a canopy, then the candles may melt.

If you want to minimize the impact to you for a potential bad show, try and tie in with a vacation, visiting friend or relatives, or close to a vendor (hint, hint, hint) where you can tie picking up materials after or before the show. This way if the show is not successful it help defray the cost of getting to a place you were planning on going.

Step 2

Preparing for the actual show can be the most important aspect of having a successful show. By doing your research on the type of show and what type of exhibitors can help determine what type of candles to bring. If the show is "Country Themed", be sure to bring fragrances best suited for that audience. While it may go without saying, we do want to note if there is a theme be sure to heavily stock up on those type of fragrances, i.e. Apple Festivals, Peach festivals, Strawberry and etc bring your best fragrances for that theme.

The hardest part of any show is knowing how much inventory to bring to the event. You definitely do not want to bring too little and loose out on potential sales, but at the same time you do not want to bring too many candles because you will have to carry them to and from the booth. If the show is close enough have a back up plan where the candles are easily retrievable for someone else to grab for you.

Another important aspect of preparing is having a "Plan" for maximizing the event. Selling your candles is always the primary focus but the event should also be used as a great opportunity to gather email addresses or mailing addresses for people who stop by the booth. Be sure to offer something like a "Basket", free tea lights, or other promotional ideas to get this information.

If you have a data base be sure to let your Customers know where you will be and be sure to stop by. Maybe have incentive if they say we got your newsletter or something offer "free" or discount at the show. If you have followers on Facebook be sure to promote where you will be.

Step 3

"Showtime" starts early in the day of the event. Be sure to have your car packed early and give yourself extra time to arrive. Bigger events do limit how close you can park to your actual booth and will make setting harder and longer. Smaller shows may let you drive up to set up but will require you to move the vehicle well before people starting arriving so be sure to leave yourself time for this.

Make sure you have as many different fragrances as you have available for potential customers to test. Use the entire show to interact with anyone walking by or into your both. The direct interaction with potential customers can be priceless. Find out what they like and dislike about candles, what fragrances they may be looking for and ideas for new glassware. Don’t sit behind the booth waiting for people to walk up, stand in front and make yourself available for any questions.

If you have people helping out be sure to walk around and possibly talk with the other vendors find out what shows they like. Look at the other booths and get some decorating ideas and layout on what seems to be working for them.

While the inclination will be if the show is going slow to pull out your book or phone we encourage ignore this temptation and interact if possible.

While there is no guarantee the show you will pick will work out exactly as you planned but preparing can help make it as successful as possible. As mentioned earlier if you can use the show as another platform can definitely help you feel productive that day.


Categories: Candle Busines

Choosing Candle Color: The Basics

by Chandler 28. February 2012 01:32

Our industry, including ourselves, focuses a great deal on the importance of fragrance when making candles. But an important aspect of the candle is also the color. In addition to people enjoying the fragrance, for many they also need it to match the decor of the home as well. In many instances, the choice of the pillar is based solely on color and not fragrance.

Color grabs our eyes, alters our mood, beautifies our surroundings, and evokes feelings of days long past. A great deal of material has been written on the topic of color and, in fact, there is a great website completely devoted to the subject of color and how it truly influences the world.

Because the subject is so expansive, this article will only highlight a few key aspects that impact the candle maker directly. For our purposes in the candle making community, color may quite simply be boiled down to the sensation caused by light rays as they interact with the human eye, brain, and past experience. Here are a few tips that help candlemakers control color and use it as a tool to help create wonderful candles that tempt the eye and tease the senses.

The Basics of choosing candle colors

For some of us, it has been a while since we sat through an art class. If the following paragraph is too dry or basic, please continue on to the next paragraph about the actual techniques that are used in candle making.

The three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. These 3 colors are mixed to create all the other colors in the rainbow. When you mix the 3 primary colors, you get the secondary colors, green, orange and purple. From there on out you can mix any color you need. This is how a color wheel was developed. When using multiple colors in a single candle, a good starting point is to use analogous or complementary colors. Analogous colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel such as shades of yellow and green. Complementary colors are those that are opposite on the color wheel. These are just the basic starting point to a phenomenon that knows no boundaries. You can use colors that resemble groupings found in nature, school/team colors, the latest popular interior design colors, or anything else that touches you or your customers' inner feelings.

This is part one of a three part series on choosing candle color.


Categories: Candle Busines | Candle Making (General)

Schedule Your Candle Making Business Checkup

by Chandler 24. January 2012 19:47

Not sure what the proper protocol is on wishing someone a Happy New Year, but, on behalf of the Candlewic Company, we wanted to do just that. For many, 2011 was a better year than the previous few but like anything customers do want it to be better. We at Candlewic look forward to helping you achieve this goal in 2012 and our first issue of the year hopefully kicks this off with your recommendation to do a "Check Up".

Most publications always try to tie the first issue of the year to "resolutions" but that seems too campy. In the medical world, at different milestones in life, they recommend checkups and a business should be no different. The nice thing about these checkups is they can be inexpensive, no referral needed and done quickly depending on the size of your business. The beginning of the year is an excellent time to do this exercise because you probably were very busy and may have seen some of the flaws your business had this past season.

Check Your Wicks

The checkup should encompass all aspects of your business no matter how effective the aspect may appear to you. Some of the important areas to hit include the performance of your candle. During the course of time things always change slightly - maybe you ran into a problem with fragrance throw and you added a little more fragrance, maybe you were not happy with the shade of your candle and you added a little more dye. Whatever the event, it can have an impact on your wick size. If you don't already test burn your candles as a regular routine in your business, now is the time to start. Don't let your customers be the one that brings a wick problem to your attention.

Check Your Pricing

Make sure your pricing to customers is still good. Price increases are a subject no manufacturer wants to talk about but they are necessary. Double check your raw material cost and operating cost. Throughout the year different raw materials and operating cost go up and at the time they can seem insignificant but enough of them can have an impact on your bottom line. In early January, both Fedex and UPS raised their rates an average of 4.9%. Certain fragrances like spice and others have gone up due to raw material issues. If you need help on calculating all of your cost be sure to check out our past issue addressing this issue.

Check Your Components

Weigh a couple of your candles and measure to make sure you are still filling to the same level. Filling a candle a little higher will mean you are using more wax, color and fragrance and it may not seem like a lot. But multiply that over the course of the year and it could be significant.

Make sure you are shipping your orders the most efficient and cost effective way. Both UPS and FEDEX have new programs for residential deliveries. In addition if you receive a number of shipments from UPS be sure to check out "UPS My Choice" this is a level based service UPS offers that lets you select what best suites your needs. There is a level where you can actual schedule the delivery in a 2 hour window (fee associated with many of these service levels). Click here for more information on this program.

Check Your Online Presence

If you rely on wholesale business, you must have a presence on the internet. According to a survey from Foresee results, 33% of shoppers used their devices to access a retailers site.

Other findings of the study include:

  • 30% used a mobile phone to research products on the Internet, look up prices, find store locations and so forth, compared with 11 percent in 2009
  • 11% made online purchases from a mobile phone, up from 2 percent in 2009

With so many candle companies on the internet, it is important to find all of the opportunities which may be available and take advantage of them. Some of the obvious include Ebay, Etsy and others like Craigslist. It is very important to have a website with a cart so when someone does land on your site they can purchase from you. Be sure to use all of the social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and others to drive traffic to your site.

Check Your Connections

Network with your peers despite some being competitors. Many are willing to share information and share their passion on the subject of candle making. No organization has been more effective at doing this then the IGCA. Be sure to check out the information they have provided:

Join the International Guild of Candle Artisans whose commitment is "to instruct and train members; to instruct the public; to encourage cooperation, good will, fellowship and exchange of educational ideas; and to raise and maintain the standards of candle making." This organization is focused on small business and hobbyist candle makers and is the only organization of its kind.

On the business side be sure to research to see if organizations like Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and other local organizations might be right for you to get good advice.

We hope that 2012 will be an exciting one and you have our assurance we will be here to help you grow your business.



Categories: Candle Busines

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)

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.

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