August 01, 2008

Candles & Their Fragrances

Candles & Their Fragrances

On behalf of the Candlewic Company, we wish to thank all of our loyal readers and customers. It is hard to believe that we are entering our 38th year in the candle making business and one of the topics that never seems to get old and, in fact, continues to invigorate most people is fragrances.

Ask some of the largest candle companies about the key to their success and, for most, it would be their reputation for making strongly scented candles. Ask any new candle making company what they would like their customers to say about their products; we are confident the response would be to have the best fragrances.

The Prevalence of Fragrances

In all walks of life, fragrance has become a major part of our lives in all ways.  From the time you get up in the morning and use the fragranced shampoo and soap; to getting in your car with the freshener hanging from the mirror; until the time you get home and put a load of laundry in with Fresh Linen smell into the washer.

How To Be Better Than the Large Candle Manufacturers

The home fragrance market is definitely where the large consumer product makers have really put a lot of emphasis. Look at the number of room fresheners on the market; sprays, reed diffusers, plug ins, gels and others. In spite of all of these choices available to the consumer, the small/medium candle manufacturers can offer three things that your largest manufacturers cannot deliver. As the candle industry continues to change and evolve it will be important that you incorporate as many (if not all) of these into your marketing campaigns.

1. Offer More Fragrances Than the Best Retailers

In order to achieve a wide acceptance of their product, large producers must focus on several fragrances that will have the widest market appeal. If you try to purchase a spray, there might be possibly 8-10 fragrances at the best retailer. But in most instances, it might be just 4-5 on most retailers’ shelves.

This creates opportunities because consumers desire more choices then the 4-5 their local market may offer. When making custom or smaller run candles, the opportunities are endless.  At Candlewic we offer over 420 fragrances (http://www.candlewic.com/candle-scents/default.asp) that can be blended and mixed in any number of combinations.  

Focus on custom and unique fragrances that others may not offer. The other issue large manufacturers can have is offering fragrances for specific times of the year.  Yes, they may roll out additional fragrance for the winter holidays but the selection can be limited. 

When developing your line keep adding new and exciting fragrances.  In some instances if you have a great smelling scent you like and your customers seem to like, think about renaming it. This will definitely spark new interest in the product.  With any good marketing program how you title your candle and the presentation of the candle can be as effective as the consumer smelling the fragrance.

2. Provide More Glassware Choices

Similar to the fragrance the large candle producers must select glassware that will have wide market acceptance.  Choose glassware that has a unique look or choose types that the large manufacturers are not using. 

As we have written in past issues, the concept of “Green Marketing” and using renewable resources continues to grow and our large selection of “100% Recycled Glass” has become very popular. (See the May 2008 edition http://www.candlewic.com/candle-making-newsletter/0508.asp).

In addition to choosing the glassware, be sure to keep on top of the current color trends.  While fragrance is an important component of the candle, color can be just as important when consumers incorporate candles into their home decor scheme.   

3. Take Advantage of a Candle's Unique Atmosphere

The third unique characteristic which separates candles from other room fresheners is that a candle can deliver many different types of atmospheres from a soft, warm and romantic one to a very festive setting. The atmosphere changes simply by how many candles are used and where they are placed. 

When marketing your candles be sure to incorporate this theme into your materials.   It seems every media source trying to promote the themes of warm, soft and romantic will have candles placed somewhere in the visual picture. 

As you have probably experienced by now there are many key components of a candle that must be incorporated to ensure customers will come back. One of the key components to begin building a brand is having a great smelling candle from start to finish.  

Key Terms Associated with Fragrance

Scent Load - This is the amount of fragrance that is used to make the candle. Most people reference this in percentage. In most instances a scent load of 5-7% is what many people use to get started.  There are other driving factors to what works best for you but this is always a good starting point.  In terms of measuring, this works out to be about 1 ounce to 1.25 ounces per pound of wax.

Double scented/Triple Scented - When this term is used it generally associated with “Marketing your candles”.   There is not a point of reference to what constitutes double and triple scented but the implication is to indicate 10%, maybe even 12% fragrance, is used to make the candle.

Polar Non/Polar - These terms are used less now a days unless making gel candles.  The gel requires non/polar scents be used to allow the candles to burn safely.  When making paraffin, soy, palm and non-gel candles, the polarity of the fragrance is not important.

 

Hi! I'm Chandler!
I can help you
learn how to make candles.

CHANDLER'S CORNER

How Does Chandler Figure Out Tough Challenges?

Why does it seem all of candle making problems occur during a late night pouring session, or while I am off traveling the world on weekends looking for new and exciting products? These are the times when you need answers most, but there is nobody awake you can call.

There is good news. Most times the answer is in your very own hands, and you do not even realize it.

There are two factors to concentrate on:

  1. temperature and
  2. variables

It is amazing how pouring and heating temperatures can dramatically affect the appearance of your candle. Check all your ingredients and make sure you are following the manufacturers suggestions on temperatures. Some additives need higher temperatures to fully incorporate. Others may have restrictions on how hot they can be heated.

The other thing to note are the variables. Try removing different ingredients one at a time in order to see if the undesired aspect is affected.

Let’s take a basic candle with fragrance and color and suppose you are unhappy with a certain characteristic of that candle. The next step is to make the candle other ways by leaving out the ingredients one at a time. You would make one candle with just wax, one candle with just wax and fragrance, and one candle with just wax and color.

After each candle has cooled, inspect the new candles and see which one loses or gains the undesirable characteristic. By doing this, you can narrow down which ingredient is causing the problem and take the corrective action that is needed.

Sometimes it is as simple as decreasing fragrance, using some additional additives, or changing your pour temperature.
By taking very detailed notes on your experiences, you will have reference material to fall back on in the event you ever run into a similar situation. After running into the same challenge repeatedly, it starts to become embedded into your brain and earns you one more notch in your belt of experience.

These late night lessons are sometimes uninvited, but by using the process of elimination, you can get yourself out of almost any bind.

 


August 2008

Project:
Pillar Candles

With the holiday season approaching it is still not too late to add a pillar line to your fall offering.  As our project this month we will outline what types of molds are available and how to choose them.

Aluminum molds for making freestanding candles are a great investment as an inexpensive way to extend your line of candles. Jars have become so popular in recent years, that many candle makers have forgotten that pillar candles add a real touch of beauty to any home’s decor. Pillar candles offer extremely vibrant colors due to the fact there is no glass blocking the true color of the candle as seen with the naked eye. The profit margin on pillar candles may be higher as well because the price of the glass is removed from the cost of raw materials. Aluminum does not rust, so you can enjoy your molds for many years.

Selecting your mold can be fun. Candlewic offers many shapes and sizes depending on which pillar best would complement your existing line of candles. There are round molds, triangle molds, octagon molds, square mold, oval molds, plus many other unique shapes in our designer series of polycarbonate molds.

There are two wicking techniques that are most commonly employed when using aluminum molds. You can use the traditional method or the pillar pin method. Both techniques work well depending on the volume of candles produced or the amount of labor available.

The traditional method involves the mold, raw wicking on a spool, a wick bar, and a rubber plug. This method is best for lower volume production or when you want to leave a little length of wick on the candle to attach a bead or a tag. You simply thread the wick through the mold and place a rubber plug into the small hole to hold the wick in place. Place a wick bar across the large opening of the mold and wrap the wick around the bar and pour the wax. After the wax has cooled, the finished product will have the wick nicely centered down the middle of the candle.

The pillar pin method involves a round mold, a pillar pin, and a pre-wick assembly. This method is better suited for the small to large production run. Basically, you are making a candle with no wick and inserting a wick after it cools. There are 2 ways to use the pin. You can either stick the disc part of the pin down into the mold or stick the pin up through the mold from the outside bottom. Pour the wax and let cool. When you are done, you will have a candle with a hole through the center core and no wick. Take a wick assembly and insert up through the hole and you are done. The wick will be perfectly centered.

When using aluminum molds, there are a few tips and techniques that will help you regardless of the method you use.

1. Take good care of your molds. Do not use them for any other use such as a penholder or thermometer holder because you may scratch the inside, which will be apparent on the finished candle.

2. By heating or cooling the mold, you can achieve different aesthetic qualities to the finished mold. Cold molds give a primitive appearance, while warm molds may give a good gloss.

3. Keep molds level unless a desired layered appearance is trying to be obtained. By resting the mold on various angles, some neat stripes can be achieved.

4. Take careful note on the pour temperatures. By adjusting the temperature, you can control the shrinkage. Pouring too hot produces more shrinkage and may involve more “topping off”, while pouring too cool may not give you enough shrinkage therefore making it difficult to de-mold.

5. For making perfect bottoms on your pillars, Candlewic highly recommends using a heated base leveler and angle plate for perfectly level pillars every time.

 




Quick Facts

When making pillars, a single 50-pound case of wax will yield approximately:

Dimension (diam. x length)

Shape

Number of candles

3 x 3

Cylinder

81

3 x 6

Cylinder

41

6 x 3

Cylinder

20

2 x 3

Cylinder

182

2 x 6

Cylinder

92

3 x 3 x 3

Square

57

3 x 3 x 4

Square

42

3 x 3 x 5

Square

34

View All

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