April 01, 2009

Candle Ideas for Summer

Hard to believe school will soon be out and summer will officially begin.   The summer is usually a joyous and exciting time period for the vacation industry.  Unfortunately for many the “candle world” does seem to go on vacation and selling candles can be difficult.   

It is easy for many to let this time slip away but in this article we would like to highlight some things that may help get you through the upcoming months. Some of these recommendations and suggestions can yield immediate results while others may lay the foundation that will pay dividends in fall/winter months.

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.

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. 

WEDDING SEASON
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.  

INTERNET OPPORTUNITIES
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. 

CAMPS
Many camps are finalizing there programs for the summer and coordinators are always looking for new and exciting activities for the kids to try. Offer to teach a class on candle making and use this time to send home information about your company.  Even if the candles are not something you may sell it provides an opportunity to get your products in potential customer’s hands. The beeswax sheets and granulated wax are great projects for the children to do. The free publicity you get from this can pay dividends later and normally the time commitment is not overwhelming.

BASKETS, SOAP AND HOLDERS
Use the slower months to explore new extensions to your lines.  Check out opportunities with other local businesses to see if gift baskets that include their products and your candles. This gives you partners that will help market your product as well as their own.  

Use this time to see if possibly making soaps will fit into your product mix. Many of the fragrances you use for candles can be used in soap and the steps of melting, pouring and molding are similar. Cross marketing your candles with holders gives the consumers ideas on how to use and display there candle.

While the weather may be great outside and your phones might not be ringing, the summer can be a great opportunity to find new business.  It will take extra work but in the current economic climate it will be necessary to survive during these times. 

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

CHANDLER'S CORNER

There is one question that I get asked more often then any others, and one I never have the “right” answer for: What is your best fragrance? 

That is an extremely tough one to answer and is similar to asking a child what’s their favorite candy. I love all of our fragrances and each and every one of them is carefully selected to ensure they meet our customers' requirements.

We evaluate color and fragrance trends to ensure we have products that meet our customers’ targeted audience. There are several “major” high-end retailers that “drive” the fragrance market trends and we always monitor what they are doing.

What’s interesting is, when you look at the best sellers they always come back to the basics; cinnamon, vanilla, red apple peel. So, when someone asks me what’s our best fragrance, I find it best to list our top 10 best sellers right now.

 


  April 2009

Featured Project:
Bath-Time
Scented Frog

We have decided with "Camp Season" just around the corner to highlight a great project for any age group to try. In additionif you do any type of demonstrations in your store or class this project can be a quick filler. It is a good balance between candles and home products.

Be sure to download the full instructions for this project here.

Material Needed
(for one candle)

- Beeswax Craft Sheets
  1 Honeycomb Hunter Green
  Scraps of Honeycomb Sunflower and Honeycomb Burnt Orange

- Candle Bowl

- 340g Scented Candle Beads

- 3 Prewicked Votive Tabs

- Pair of googly eyes

- Black fabric paint

- PROJECT SHEET

Step 1
Using an exacto knife, cut 3 pieces of Template A (Frog Head) from the Honeycomb Hunter Green Wax.

Step 2
Cut 12 pieces of Template B (Frog Hands/Feet)

Step 3
Taking the 3 pieces cut in Step 1, warm using hands and press together.

Step 4
Using the pieces cut in Step 2, press 3 pieces together warming with your hands. This will make one hand. Continue with the remaining pieces until you have 2 hands and 2 feet.

Step 5
Press the googly eyes as shown in the picture. Using black fabric paint, draw the smile on the frog’s face. Let the fabric paint dry completely before completing the remainingsteps.

Step 6
Take frog’s head and press the neck firmly onto edge of bowl to secure. Place the hands and feet as shown in picture, pressing the arms and legs firmly to secure themto the edge of the bowl.

You will want to make sure the pieces are secured to the bowl as once the candle beads are in the bowl, they make it difficultfor a loose piece to stick to the side of the bowl.

Step 7
Place prewicked votive tabs on bottom of bowl in a triangle. Space evenly.

Step 8
Pour scented candle beads in bowl to look like bath tub. Fill candle beads right up by frog face and hands and feet so all you can see are the hands, feet and face stickingout.

Step 9
To make the bird take a small piece of Honeycomb Sunflower scraps. Roll into a small ball. Make a small fan shape and press onto end of ball to make tail. Make another ball,  smallerthan the first and press in onto the larger ball to make the birds head.

Step 10
Take a small scrap of burnt orange to make the beak. Press onto face.

Step 11
Paint two eyes on bird, using Black Fabric Paint. Set in candle beads.

 

FAST FACT

Candles have a rich and long history in many applications.   They have been used for illumination, the Songdynasty in China (960–1279) used candles as clocks, most if not all religions incorporate candles into ceremonies and in today’s market are used for decoration and homefragrances.




 

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