5 Valuable Tips for Starting
a Candle Making Business
As the job market continues to tighten, more and more people look to start their own business. There have been a number of articles written on starting your own business during a recession, but we always like to bring it back to candles. Many articles like to identify that both Microsoft and Disney were started during a recession and further articles like to write that a recession is the best time to start a business.
If you are reading this article, you already may be on your way to starting a new business. Many people starting businesses will look to their hobbies, interest and passions as a business opportunity. Historically crafters in general have been very good at this. As they enjoy their craft, they become consumed by it and the most logical way to continue such a passion is by selling their products. This is always a good start to business, but even success with this model will not always ensure your business will succeed.
To give your business the best chance to succeed we would recommend some of the following steps:
Write a Business Plan:
The plan should include product focus, marketing, how you plan on producing the product, expected revenue and other details. The plan should be written so that anyone wishing to be part of the business can fully understand the plan. There are many excellent resources that can help with this process. The more details you can include about the industry, the more people may be willing to help. One of the things that amaze many people we encounter is their lack of appreciation in terms of the scope of the candle industry. When people review your plan and see the size of the industry it can be easier to get assistance.
Minimize Capital Expenditure
One of the most common recommendations on starting a business is to choose one which has little capital expenditure. As you have probably already observed candle making is ideal for this reason. Most people start their candle business by hand pouring in their kitchen, selling at very lost cost venues like craft shows, holiday bazaars and other reasonably priced venues. In most instances you can avoid tradeshows and other higher marketing/selling places. If pouring jars your capital expenses can be limited to only needing a pouring pot, thermometer and the raw materials.
Understand Your Market
One of the important aspects of starting a business is to make sure you have an understanding of the market or industry. This should be done early even as you choose the wax you plan on using. If you feel your company has the most success by marketing natural wax candles you will need to choose a soy, palm or beeswax. If you want to market US MADE, then you will need to make sure you choose the right glassware. Understanding the market early will help you plan better.
Track Fixed and Variable Costs
As you start to sell your candles, be sure to know all of your costs both fixed and variable costs. You want to make sure you are making sufficient margin in all of the candles that you sell. Don’t forget about all of the small costs -- packaging, cartons to ship material out, your time and most importantly the cost of shipping your raw materials from your suppliers.
Take Advantage of a Recession
Starting a business in a traditionally tough economy can certainly have its advantages. You may find people more willing to negotiate any of there rates to help out. You may find talented people looking for work during these times. And, right now, commercial real estate in great locations are available.
Only you will know what is best for your specific situation and the best advice we can give is to explore the opportunity. There is nothing better then being in a business with an item you truly love.
I have never made a candle. Can you please tell me how to get started?
As we identified in our feature article, making candles for a source of income is becoming more common then ever. Because of this we are getting this question more than ever. As I always like to say, “There is not a right or wrong way to make a candle if the candle is being made safely and results in a safe burning candle.”
Inevitably, there is some type of initial research by the “future candle maker,” which should be undertaken to learn the basics. I have always offered the following:
- My homepage which is a “walk through” on the different types of candles and suggestions on wax, wick and color selection.
- A sponsored site that helps with different aspects of candle making.
- All past issues of the Enlightener.
- We now have an excellent video to also help you learn the basics of pouring soy wax candles.
- Because it is so complete our print catalog can also serve as a good starting point for the beginner.
- Visiting a local craft store like Hobby Lobby or AC Moore can also help with finding the right materials.
Finally nothing beats getting in and trying the process. Two of my favorite kits:
Kit-5 - Soy Wax Container/Tea-light Candle Making Kit
Kit-8 - Container Candle Making Kit (Paraffin Blend)
Making Dipped Tapers
Bend a metal coat hanger into a rectangle with hook centered at top, making sure that the width and height will fit to dip entirely into your large, metal pot.
Tie lengths of wick vertically between the top and bottom of the frame. Make sure to space the wicks a few inches apart, so that your candles will not touch as they are dipped.
Place wax in a deep pot, such as our melting pot. Place in a pan of water and place on the stove top. Melt the wax in this double boiler and keep the temperature of the wax a steady 160°F (71°C). If the wax is too hot, it will not adhere to your wicks. If the wax is too cool, the surface of your finished candle will be lumpy.
If color is desired, add your color squares to the wax once it is completely melted. Make sure the color squares have been dissolved before starting to dip the candles.
The dipped tapers are made easily by repeatedly dipping the wick in the wax. Start with dipping the frame all the way down into wax in a slow smooth motion. Slowly pull frame straight up and cool for 3 or 4 minutes. Continue to dip, holding candles in the wax for about 3 seconds and cooling for 3 or 4 minutes between each dip. It is important to move slowly, smoothly and to always dip to the same level. After 6 or 7 dips, you will have a candle about the size of a pencil.
As you dip, your frame will also fill up with wax. Periodically push this build up down the sides of the frame into the pot to remelt.
Continue dipping until you have the candle diameter you desire. Please note that the candle will automatically form into a rounded, taper shape when the candle is dipped fully each time.
Using scissors, trim wick at the bottom of each candle. Suspend your frame and let candles hang until completely cool. Then cut wicks at the top of the frame and level the bottom of each candle in a warmed tin pan.