Setting the Mood Year Round
Hopefully by now you have already purchased your special Valentine gift and that it is a nice fragranced candle. I have already prepped my Valentine that I did not have time to shop because of our newsletter. Valentine's Day has traditionally been a very good holiday for candles in that there is a lot of focus on creating romantic and relaxing moods and we always like to think there is nothing better to achieve this goal than a highly fragranced candle.
Selling and marketing around Valentine's Day, Winter Holidays and Thanksgiving can be easy but the challenge to candle companies has always been how to do this on a year round basis. Without doubt the current financial situation will make the task even more difficult.
The key to surviving is going to be utilizing every resource available to you and, as we highlighted in our November issue, to think outside the box. It is also going to take a great deal more work than possibly in the past. If your job situation has changed, now would be the perfect time to take your candle passion/business or craft to a new level.
Maybe try some new craft shows, festival or flea market and use this opportunity to not only sell your product but to begin building a database. Your database might be just names and address to send catalogs, mailings and special promotions. Mailings sometimes are easier to capture the attention of the consumer because they actually have to grab the mailing but is more costly than emails. If you have a strong database (one that has proven results when you do mailings), you might even want to send something like a scented tart highlighting your new fragrance. The cost for a mailing like this would be higher but would be a more effective way of grabbing the potential customer's attention. Think about how many times you smell the perfume swatches they put in magazines.
These days email is definitely the most cost effective means to reach a large segment of the population. Consumers get inundated with emails so you will need to have a different approach and one that can bring value to the potential customer. Have a monthly/quarterly or seasonal mailing that provides tips on using candles to decorate the home or reminder of activities coming up. As part of that campaign be sure to include candles/fragrances that are very timely.
Marketing at all Events of the Year
Wedding season is rapidly approaching along with showers and there is not a better gift for the attendees to these events then a candle to commemorate the occasion. Develop a "custom package" that simplifies the selection process for the bride or individual organizing the activity. Maybe it is organza bag with a votive/small jar with a nice personalized tag identifying the event including names and dates.
While it is not be coming fast enough for my kids, end of the school year will occur soon and candles can represent a nice thank you gift for Teachers, Bus Drivers and School Aides. The key would be to have a package that can easily be customized. The Avery Company has made if very easy to make custom labels using their templates you can import your own pictures, graphics and text. Let your customer choose what goes on the label including possibly a picture, quote or graphic. The way the templates are set up you can make each label personalized fairly easily and if you a color printer they can be printed right at your home computer.
Real Estate Agents and other professionals are always looking for nice gift items to give away to their customers. Candles that can be customized for them presents a great marketing tool.
On a larger scale the entire retail climate has undergone a transition where only the strongest retailers are surviving and others are shutting their doors. This can create tremendous opportunities because consumers still want choices and with so few retailers to choose from the selection of "niche items" like candles are hard to find. The key is to try and reach these consumers.
With the current high employment rate people are going to be looking for new opportunities. Some of the most successful candle companies have achieved their success through "party plans". Pitch the idea of a candle party to your friends, neighbors and acquaintances as a way for them to make money. Even if the attendees may not purchase anything be sure to get them to sign up for your mailings.
In addition using every online resource is going to be essential for survival. With new technology and other conditions building a website is much more reasonable. As you may have read just putting up a website will not be enough you will need to drive traffic to the site but in the end it can be more cost effective than opening a retail store. If you already have a retail store use the site to drive traffic to your store by offering coupons that can be printed out. Or if your customer prefers to shop from home make that experience easy as well.
As you begin to build a customer base, the key is also to keep on top of the trends in the industry. Fragrances are very important to people and having them timely to the season of the year is critical to maximize the impact of the season.
Without doubt the entire supply chain is undergoing a huge transition and techniques and efforts that may have been successful even several years ago will not be as effective. The key is to continue building your own brand that consumers want even if currently on a local scent.
One of the most common topics with candle making is the wick. Since we are on the topic of wicks I thought I would have list 2 of the more popular questions I get associated with wick.
How do I conduct my burning test?
The most effective way to conduct a burn test is in accordance with how your instructions are written. In general the instructions will be to burn the candle for four hours and then extinguish. Wait one hour, trim the wick and relight. This process should be done until the entire candle is consumed. By conducting the burn test in accordance with your instructions, you can help when problems arise with smoking and sooting. It is always best to start your testing with the smallest intended wick for the application and move up in size until you select the proper wick.
What do you mean when you say burn rate?
The burn rate is the amount of wax that is consumed per hour. However, without something to measure this against, the burn rate is not an effective measurement. Where the burn rate can be effective is if you want to change something (such as the type of wick) in the makeup of your candle. For example the 60-44-18 zinc wick has a burn rate of 6.6 grams per hour. If you wanted to switch from zinc to cotton wicks, you would know to start your test burning with something like a 44-32-18 cotton wick, which has a burn rate of 6.4 grams per hour.
This month's project features a useful item to add to your operation regardless of your size. Tea lights are a great way to use up extra wax, create little "calling cards", or offer prospective customers a chance to sample your scents before purchasing a larger candle.
Below you will find the instructions for using our tea light mold that ensures perfectly straight wicks, but alternative techniques follow.
Lay the mold release over the entire mold.
Prepare wax with color and fragrance to suit. Pour wax into the mold so that all cavities are filled. There is a lip that holds overflow wax.
Remove pins and pop the tea lights out of the mold. Clean any overly rough edges with your fingers.
Insert a pre-assembled wick assembly into the hole in the candle and place into a tea light cup. You will notice that tea light cups have a small circular indentation on the bottom. This indentation is 15mm and is designed to match our 15x3mm wick tabs.
When pouring batches of wax, keep a few tea light cups on hand to pour excess wax directly into the cups. This is also the method used for pouring tea lights when using container wax. If you currently use a M-63-P votive pin for your votives, it will fit into the tea light cups as well. Simply place the pin in the tea light cup and pour a votive or pillar wax into the pin/cup set up. After it cools remove the wax/pin from the cup, flip the candle over and put back into the tea light cup. This will result in a beautiful recessed top.