January 05, 2010

New Year, New Decade & New Tactics

New Year, New Decade & New Tactics

It is hard to believe the New Year is upon us. As expected I continue to write 09 on my checks and probably will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks. However it is a new decade and it is important (if you were unable over the holidays) that you do a detailed evaluation of your business from all aspects.

For those that read all of our issues you will know we write on a balance between the "craft" of candle making but also the business side. We all know the world is rapidly changing around us and this is particularly important in the business world. The methods and tactics used even 4-5 years ago may or may not work in today’s environment.

The Ever Changing Internet
The internet has definitely forced business owners that rely on that type of business to stay on top of the latest trends. Who can forget the banner ads that were initially so popular then paid clicks, the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and now the latest entitled Social Networking. This is the technique where you use Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube and others to create awareness and interest in your products and website.

Keep It Personal
It is important when using these methods to always bring something of interest or need to visit the site to the user and one that can help create interest in your products. In your text use something like "To create that perfect balance of ambiance and fragrance throw at your next Dinner Party take our latest Warm Vanilla Sugar Cookie candles with the wood wick and place in your fireplace. No more worry about tending to the fire or leaving the fire unattended when someone leaves the room." Or it can be a simple invitation to your next open house personalized "To all my friends: haven’t seen you in quite some time and would like to cordially invite you to our next open house where in addition to being able to see our last products we also we be serving coffee, tea and cookies."

Find New Ways To Advertise
Even the largest of companies have started curtailing advertisement none bigger then Pepsi who decided not to advertise in this year’s Super Bowl. (Editors note: At 3 million for 30 seconds I am not sure anyone can recoup this). The key in today's environment is to get as creative as possible to stretch out your advertising dollars. Everyone does this differently but a couple of suggestions are to find avenues where someone actually pays for samples of your products. This may sound like a reach but one way is to sell votive's and or tea lights on Ebay and other sites at drastically reduced prices. While you may break even on the transaction you now have someone with your product and now you can market your bigger ticket items like containers, and pillars. One note of caution: pay attention to all of your cost because listing fees, PayPal fees, packing material and your time can be costly.

Another way to get "Free Advertising" go to local businesses in town and offer to place your candles in the store on consignment. This way the business does not have any risk except losing some shelf space but if they can generate income they might be agreeable. Be sure they let you put a small placard up with a short write up about your company be sure to stress you are local. This arrangement will not work in all businesses but this type of arrangement is very suitable in nail salons, tobacco stores and even ice cream parlors.

Use Live Networks To Your Advantage
Be sure to engage in any of what I will call the "Live Networks", Chamber of Commerce, Civic Associations and other similar organizations. Most of these have low membership fees and normally includes people in all walks of life. Many have "spot lights" on businesses and etc. When given the opportunity point out how a candle can work for them, remind Realtors what a great "Welcoming" gift a candle can make, and tell furniture stores what a nice addition candles can make to the home decor. These organizations are a great way to meet new and exciting people. Most small business owners also will share what has worked for them and not worked. Use these organizations to also help run your business find out which banks and insurance companies favor your size business. So in addition to generating sales they can help you build a better company.

For those with somewhat larger budgets, PPC (Paid Per Clicks) are a necessary part of the advertising program. Before jumping into these programs be sure to have ways of measuring the results you achieve in advertising mode. Getting traffic to the site and getting them to purchase is only part of the equation.

As you start to get into 2010, be sure to keep your ears and eyes open to everything going on around you. From many indications consumers are feeling a change coming on.

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

CHANDLER'S CORNER

How do I keep my wick centered in the candle?

For votive's you have several options: the wick pin is an excellent way to ensure the wick is centered in the candle. An added feature of using the wick pin is that it allows you to use other wicks such as cotton, flat braided and round wicks in the candle.

Another option with votives is to use the 32mm sustainer base. This clip fits perfectly at the bottom of the candle and ensures your wick will stay centered at the bottom.

With jars and container candles, it is a littler trickier but the Glue Dots are an excellent way to keep them in the center of the container at the bottom. To ensure they are straight throughout the candle secure the wick on top of the container with a wick bar or other securing bar.

It is very important for the safety of the burning candle and performance that the wick is centered in the entire candle. When the wick is not centered it can waiver over to the sides of the glass container making for intense heat in a confined area.

 


January 2010

Featured Project

To really create that special candle, our project is going to focus on both texture and shape. We have selected the octagon aluminum mold and the Palm 2 wax. The Palm 3 wax or any aluminum mold can be substituted to create your own special look. I think the Ylang and Amber fragrance is the perfect compliment to this unique candle. Again, you can select any fragrance to fit the shape or ambience you are trying to create. Did we mention that by using the Palm wax you are also making an all Natural Candle.

Ingredients

Step 1
Melt Palm Wax in double boiler. Note that the hotter you make the wax, the more the wax will create a snowflake look on the candle.

Do not exceed 210°F.

Step 2
Add some shavings of color blocks and 4% to 5% of fragrance.

Step 3
Using the rubber plug and wick bar, prepare your aluminum mold for pouring.

Step 4
Before pouring wax, it is suggested to heat the mold with a heat gun or a heat lamp to maximize the crystallizing effect of the Palm Wax.

Step 5
Pour liquid Palm Wax into the mold and let cool. By slowing the cooling rate of your poured candles, you can create fantastic crystal effects in your Palm Wax candles.

Step 6
Sometimes Palm Wax requires a second pour. You will know it is necessary if a thin layer of wax forms over your candle when cooled. Simply poke a hole in this layer and perform your second pour.

 


Fast Facts

It seems many businesses have unique terminology that we all assume everyone knows the definition or meaning but that is not always the case. We have included a couple of the most common ones used in retail you may not have heard of. 

BOGO - Buy One Get
One Free

SKU - Stock Keeping Unit

A common term for a unique numeric identifier, used most commonly in online business to refer to a specific product in inventory or in a catalog.

Black Friday
(1) A day commonly referenced in which retail stores have enough sales to put them "in the black".

(2) An accounting expression alluding to the practice of recording losses in red and profits in black.

UPC - Universal Product Code

This is the small bar code you see on all retail items. This helps the retailer identify specific items. Every product has its own unique UPC number.

 
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