The Business Side of Candle Making
With the New Year well on its way it seems many people get serious about business during
the month of February. Not sure if it is a case of being locked inside because of the
cold, the trade shows spark your interest in new products or that we just got used to
writing 2008 on our checks.
In this issue we are going to focus on the business side of candle making and highlight
a subject which is commonly called database marketing. By now you must be feeling that every
time a new Enlightener comes you seem to get assigned a new title.
internet has certainly changed the way all businesses run their operation. One of the
key areas this affects is the way we approach advertising. All you have to do is look
at the growth of Google to put the matter into perspective. In the past, choices in advertising
were somewhat limited to print publications, mailings, billboard and other similar methods.
These traditional forms of advertising required developing copy, coordinating layouts
and placing these ads. The start to end process could take weeks and sometimes months.
It would take many months to determine the effectiveness of an advertising campaign.
Now the options and methods of advertising are endless. But you must ask the initial question, “Was
my advertising strategy effective last year?” If you spend any amount of money on
advertising you should develop a means to evaluate the results of the advertising expenditure.
By doing this you have taken the first step into the highly sophisticated world of database
marketing. In the business world there have been many books dedicated to this very subject.
The large catalog companies like L.L. Bean, J. Crew and others have perfected this subject
for their business and, with some testing, you will be able to find out what works for
We will try to highlight some quick, effective ways to see if this is something you need
to spend more time on and hopefully help you evaluate better ways to spend your advertising
money. Many people make the mistake of just looking at their sales and if sales are up they
credit this to the advertising. With so many advertising venues it is important to find
which ones will bring in the most cost effective Return on Investment; this is commonly
referred to as ROI. Money spent on advertising should be looked at the same as purchasing
equipment, if you are going to spend extra money, it must yield sufficient results to warrant
this extra expenditure.
The type of advertising that will do this varies depending if you are a retailer, wholesaler,
or do craft shows or other direct selling. All business have to do some form of advertising
and if done right will be the most effective tool in growing your business. In most instances
you can always increase sales by just lowering your price but if you cannot yield a profit,
advertising will do nothing to help the overall structure of your business.
metrics in the retail environment is a little bit different because many of your customers
may be unwilling to provide the necessary data to continually monitor the purchasing patterns.
One way, if you wish to do so, is to use what the grocery stores have implemented, which
many call their “Advantage Card.” This customer service card
will help monitor purchases made by the customer and with this data you can decide what
type of coupons or mailings to send out. Often at the grocery store your receipt will
have a coupon offering a discount on something you purchased that day or on a previous
purchase. Stores are using the database they have on your past purchase to get you to purchase
an additional item they know you have used. In order to have your customers use these types
of cards, you will need to be able to offer them something in return: free products,
discounts that normally are not available and other “value” items. In addition,
your checkout system must be able to capture this information.
you are a retailer you also want to be able to track all of your sales by item. From that
you can determine the effectiveness of a particular sales campaign this way after several
months you can find out which ones have been the most successful. For example, if you
run a promotion of buy one jar get one jar for free it will definitely increase your sales
but in your calculation be sure to determine your net profit as well. Another sale which
might include giving away a candle topper with a jar candle might yield fewer sales but
may net more of a profit because you don’t have to give away as much to get the sales.
Each and every business has different needs so the strategy that will work for your company
can only be determined by testing. The key is getting as much information on your sales
and when possible, your customer. By discovering this information you can determine how
much to advertise a particular sale and where to advertise.
Doing business at the wholesale level does provide the ability to keep accurate information
on your customers. In addition, it allows you test different advertising strategies to determine
what will work best. Most business software has a means to sort data based on this field,
use this wherever possible. If you run a certain promotion you will want to mark the code/reference
in this section. By doing this at the end of the promotion you can determine how effective
the campaign was and which advertising venue will yield your better customers.
When you advertise try using two different venues and two different types of promotions.
In one venue use an effective offer like buy one candle get one free and the venue offer
50 percent off. Be sure to have the customer use a different code for each of these promotions.
The initial information will start to tell you which promotion your customers like more.
It is also important to have different promotional codes tell you which venue was more effective.
To get even more information for the database, it helps to run the promotion a second
time. Use the same advertising venues and switch the offers you marketed to previously.
Once you have done this, it will not only help identify which promotion is more effective
but then it starts to identify which venue was more effective as well. This will help you
in the future as to determine which advertising venues are best for your product and how
much you can afford to dedicate to advertising.
Direct Sales Advertising
If you do craft shows, fairs and other direct sales like home parties there are similar
options like the above and you can just custom fit what may work for you. Although the customers
may not always be the same, once you find a promotion that is successful in most instances,
consumer patterns are consistent and you should have similar results when all other things
remain the same.
As stated, there is so much that can be done to improve your business through database
marketing that you should try, learn and utilize as much as possible. We have only outlined
some of the preliminary steps involved. While it is not overly complicated, the key is always
obtaining as much information as possible and having the ability to sort, track and maintain
the information. As you progress you will be amazed how similar buying patterns will be
with your customers. By knowing these trends you can harness this information to help grow
As we have always stated between making candles and growing your business you can almost
honestly say you are burning the candle at both ends. You may have seen before, this
is a cliche we like to use.
I am having trouble keeping my wick centered in the container, even after I have straightened
it. Sometimes the wick will fall to one side. What can be done to eliminate this?
It is critical that a wick stay straight in the container, not only for the appearance,
but also the safety of the candle. I would offer several suggestions. First, take your
wick assembly and apply a glue
dot the bottom and firmly place in the center of the glass. Second,
and equally important stage, use either the bow
tie wick bar or the plastic centering device.
This will ensure the wick will be centered at the top of the container. These bars have
been designed so the wax can still be poured around them.
The second option, when using waxes that require topping off, is the wick
will help keep the wick centered and straight throughout the candle. Keeping the wick straight
will help the performance of the candle over the life of the candle.
As you know candle making has been around for thousands of years, but some of the
most fun candles were developed between 1965 and 1973. From our research, today’s
project seems to have been within this time frame, although one of our readers
might have an earlier reference.
All of the best projects all seem to come back and the ICE Candle is no exception.
This candle is very easy to make and every candle will look different and unique.
This project is also well suited for most shapes of candles although we have found
the aluminum molds yield the best results.
Prepare your mold as if you were pouring a standard pillar mold. Where possible,
use the wick pin because it will give the candle another avenue to release the water.
Fill the mold with ice. The amount of ice will vary depending on the effect you
want to achieve. The more ice you add, the more cavities will exist, but can make
the candle brittle.
Mix your color, fragrance and wax. For this project any color/scent combination
will work. Pour your wax (for best results a 141 pillar wax) into the mold. For
different effects, pour at various temperatures. In most instances pouring around
175 to 180 degrees will yield a very nice finish.
If using the pillar pin, remove and hold the candle upside down and let the water
run out. Try to get as much water out as possible.
Take the candle out and insert your wick. Depending on how much ice you have
added will determine how many cavities exist. One of the people assisting
me commented, "if the candle was yellow it sure would look like Swiss cheese."
After you take the candle out, place it back in the mold upside down and pour
a different color of wax to fill the cavities. Putting the candle in upside
down will work best since many of the cavities form at the top of the candle.
To create a similar look, place two to three rods about 1/4" thick into the
candle at different angles. As the candle hardens remove the rods. Then pour
wax into the holes of the candle. Be sure to remove the water first.
|TERMS RELATED TO DATABASE MARKETING
Time Value of the customer) - If your customers are repeat, this is the amount
of purchases they have made since they have been a customer. This is important
when companies use loss leaders to attract new customers.
CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) - This is used to measure
the short term impact of a promotion. If you advertise in a particular venue
and it costs $1,000 and you yielded 500 customers you can use the value that
it cost $2 to get this customer.
PPC (Pay Per Click) - In the internet advertising world, through
Google and other search engines, you can advertise by paying them for everyone
that clicks through to your site. Depending on the interest in the keyword,
it can run as low as $0.05 per click and higher. This allows for easy measuring
of advertising cost.