Is It That Close?
Is 165 days a lot or a little? Historically the Candle market has always been a winter holiday with the Christmas holiday season being the height of industry. So sitting here today as many of us are immersed in a heat wave an important decision may have to be made--is 165 days enough?
Deadlines always seem to impact individuals in different capacities. There are those who devote full attention the task as soon as a project is handed to them and it is completed well before the due date (like me, I am sure that is the case with everyone reading this newsletter).
The other type of person is always waiting until the last minute and trying to accomplish the task within the time constraints. Many people thrive in this environment but without doubt it can add stress to your everyday life and in most instances will not work with Candle making.
Candle making should be one task that you are always looking and planning well in advance. As we know, traditional holiday buying kicks off on Friday, November 24 which is only 128 days away or if you really want to tighten your deadline only 90 working days. (Do you have any vacations planned between now and then?)
However, if you are selling to these retailers they are going to want the product in their stores before that time so they can begin merchandising the product, setting pricing and cross marketing programs. For smaller retailers this may only be a couple of days, but the larger stores going through distribution centers this can be a much longer process.
The question each and every Candle maker has to make is when to start producing candles. The answer is going to depend on your customer base, production capabilities and your forecast. Whatever date is appropriate, now is the time to start planning your needs and determining if you are going to add any new scents, color, or types of candles. It would be very helpful to spend some time with a calendar and develop a strategic plan with dates. You may want your worksheet to consider the following:
Date your customer needs the product. If possible this should include estimated quantities because this will impact production time. You will also have to account for any type of re-order program.
How long is the transit time between you and your customers? If you are shipping closer to the Holiday you may want to allow more time as the number of packages increase and delays can develop.
Production Time. This is where estimated quantities and forecasting are most important. If you can make 200 candles a day and your customers want 4,000 then that will be a full 20 working days. Be sure to check with your staff regarding their vacation plans. Going to a second shift or working weekends can help meet these deadlines but will add cost to the process in different ways.
Supplier time lines. Be sure to check lead times with ALL of your suppliers. It will not help if your wax supplier can ship in 2 days if one of your fragrances will take to take 2-3 weeks. Be sure to account for the transit time between you and your supplier.
Product Line. If you are learning to make some different types of candles, now is the time to start testing and developing. If you traditionally make containers and want to add pillars or votives then you must begin selecting the proper wax and wick. If you are thinking about trying a different wax, Soy, one-pour or mottling, now is the time to start that process. Start identifying fragrances so you can see how they perform in your wax formulation. Show them to friends and neighbors and get their thoughts.
If you mark your calendar with these key dates taking all of the above into account and building some cushion for unexpected delays you will be surprised by how soon you need to start your process.
It seems that my candles have recently started developing air bubbles what is causing this?
One of the things that I always stress in candle making is that temperatures affect the outcome of your candle making. (My October 2005 message stressed the importance of all three temperatures). As the summer months are upon us humidity plays a critical role in the appearance of the candle. Pre-heating your container with dry heat is always the best way to prevent this from occurring.