How To Reduce, Reuse and
When Making Candles
Earth Day is rapidly approaching so we thought it would be a great opportunity to incorporate some of the themes commonly associated with this holiday into this issue and show how incorporating these concepts into your business can save you money.
Demand for all natural candles continues to increase in popularity and we highlighted some of the more popular choices in our February 2010 issue. Even if making 100% natural can present challenges for you due to fragrance throw and other performance issues, it is definetely worth considering blending some of the lower cost natural wax products into your current formula. As you may have seen the cost for paraffin wax has been on the way up but for the most part soy wax has remained stable. In a 16 ounce jar candle using Soy wax at 50% can save almost $0.28 per candle or 20% off your wax cost.
Reduce -- In order to save money on many different levels, reduce the amount of trash you accumulate by looking at your orders over the year and trying to buy larger sizes of commonly used items. For instance, why pay the higher price for a yearly usage of six, 8oz bottles of scent/color when you could save money and produce less waste by purchasing three, 16oz bottles? The benefits also include less ordering cost, more efficient shipping charges, lower price per unit and guarantee you have the materials on hand when needed.
Recycle -- To protect your supplies during shipping, we must use packing materials to be sure your products arrive to you in perfect condition. Candlewic’s paper packaging can be re-used to help protect your candles when shipped to customers. The plastic scent bottles we use are suitable for most recycling programs that accept plastic. The boxes some of waxes are shipped in are triple pressed making them perfect for reshipping your products. Single boxes for shipping can run in excess of $1.25 so if you were to re-use boxes and if you ship even 10 boxes a day you save $12.50 daily. Over the course of the year is $3,250.00. It may help if you print a label that states you are using a recycled box to help the environment.
Reuse -- Years ago when wax was much cheaper it was more cost effective for candle makers to scrap their wax rather then trying to find a use. Continuing to do this in today’s "environment" is a double hit; you have to pay to dispose of and you are also discarding a valuable commodity in your wax. There are multiple ways to reuse your "scrap wax". Blend in smaller quantities of the wax into your darker colors even if the wax is fragranced you can do so and in fact it may create a new uniquely fragranced candle.
Start to develop a line of candles that can incorporate other recyclable materials into your own line. This will take some very creative thinking but the possibilities exist. Several years back we went to presentation that included one of the most unique companies we have run across called TerraCyle.
Find a company that has clean soup cans, tuna can or other tin cans (be sure no seam), then fill with soy wax and you have a very unique product made of recycled and natural products. If you don’t want to use the can, think about using off spec items as packaging material.
While none of these will help turn around the company, incorporating these ideas can all help add to the bottom line while also being environmentally conscious.
How Does Chandler Figure Out Tough Challenges?
New products and technologies are introduced on a regular basis. Once in a while a candle maker will run into a challenge 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 – temperature and 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, while others may have restrictions on how hot they can be heated.
The other things 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 but 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.