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June 24, 2015

No Rest for the Weary: Planning Ahead

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"The En-Light-ener"
Candle Making Newsletter

No Rest for the Weary: Planning Ahead

It can't be! Several weeks ago the kids were getting off the bus for the last time of the school year and discussing how excited they were: no more tests, no late night homework or projects, and more time to sleep in every day! I too was excited that I might get to bed earlier without the stress of helping with 7th grade math, history and chemistry. That excitement seemed to last about 10 minutes until, while going through the mail, I saw a catalog from a major retailer promoting their "Back to School Program." My thoughts immediately shifted. Before I know it school will be starting right back up and I'll be worrying about how the kids will be able to finish their homework every night. As parents and business owners, we never seem to have the luxury of living in the moment and must always be thinking about the future.

Maybe, as parents, we should look forward to summer, but unfortunately, as business owners, we don't have the luxury of taking this time off. For a candle business, the summer might be slower than other seasons, but the reality of it is that before you know it, the busy holiday season will be upon us! Since fall is traditionally the busiest time in the candle and retail market, it is imperative that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The next couple of months is the perfect time to ensure this happens. You don't want to lose out on orders just because you are busy and didn't take advantage of the slower periods of the year to prepare. The challenge is always determining what will or won't sell each holiday season.

 

Scary, But True! Days Until... Thanksgiving: 155, Christmas: 184, Hanukkah: 165

 

While larger companies have the luxury of internal forecast, economic data for a specific sector, and the ability to drive the trend with extensive marketing and advertising campaigns, smaller companies do not have those kind of resources. As a smaller company, one of the first things to look at is sales from the same period last year. Reviewing what container sizes, types of candles (pillars, votives, etc.), and scents were most popular will give you an idea of how to begin preparing. Also, be sure to check if there were any exceptions to last year's buying patterns. For example, a large group of buyers making a significant one-time purchase might indicate that you did an extra show. Did you do an extra show? Did you complete a large private label job that may not be there this year? It is important that a single one time purchase does not over inflate your projection.

If you are launching a new fragrance, it is difficult to predict how popular it will become and how much money it will bring in. Reviewing your current year's sales data can assist you with the newer products. If you offer a new style container in a spring fragrance, there is a good possibility that it will do well in a holiday fragrance.

Once you have a general idea of which candles might sell, the next step is determining whether you can meet the demand and, if you increase your marketing efforts, whether you can handle the peak load. It seems that with every year the "selling cycle" shortens. Customers now need manufacturers to turn orders around in a much shorter time period. These changes, in many instances, have altered the way manufacturers do business. While many companies, such as Candlewic, are able to turn most orders around in 1-2 working days, it is sometimes the little items that can trip up many manufacturers. Nothing is more frustrating than having all the components to make your candle, then realizing you are out of stock on the front label and the printer's lead-time is 2-3 weeks. To assist on this matter, you can create a bill of materials for each of your candles. Depending on what type of software you use to track inventory, it might be helpful to develop your bill of materials in a spreadsheet.

In addition to tracking your inventory of glass, wax and wicks, it is also a good time to evaluate your accessories. If you are pouring pillar candles, do you have enough in stock to keep up with production? If you have 50 molds and your customer wants 500 candles in two weeks, you will have just enough molds, but there is no extra time to account for unexpected events such as employees calling out sick or having another rush order come in. Having some "wiggle room" on molds is definitely an asset during the busier time period. Planning early also allows you to take advantage of some of the promotions Candlewic offers. For example, right now we are offering 50% off pre-wick assemblies. By being able to anticipate this need not only are you prepared, but you are also saving money by taking advantage of this promotion.

Even if you might not be producing candles this summer, it is still a great time to evaluate business operations, look for new shows, and even begin approaching new customers to establish a dialog.

While you might not solve every problem that arises during peak production time, planning early can sure make the holiday season easier, more productive and more profitable for you.

CHANDLER’S CORNER

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

Wicking The Mold

"I use the polyurethane molds and always have trouble wicking the mold. What can I do?"

The wicking of the polyurethane molds can be a little "tricky" for the first time. The best way to wick this mold is to push the wick through carefully with a knitting needle or other similar object. The true secret is that you want to leave a lot of extra wick at the bottom so when you pull the candle out, the mold is already wicked for the next pour.

Fast Fact

Paraffin Myths

We offer natural waxes and paraffin waxes, and both are great. However, to this day, paraffin wax is still the most widely used wax in the industry for many reasons. Just look at the products most of your large candle manufacturers are using.

Paraffin is safe to use, and it can be easily modified to do whatever you need. This includes achieving deep, rich colors, having incredible scent compatibility, being easily modified for several different styles of candles using one wax, and being offered in an entire range of melt points to achieve spectacular candles that are new and exciting.


June 2015


 


Featured Project:
Making Candles With Shapes & Textures

 

 

Our project is going to focus on using both texture and shape to create a truly special candle. 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 & Amber fragrance is the perfect complement 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

 

Instructions:

STEP 1 - Melt palm wax in a 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 degrees Fahrenheit.

STEP 2 - Add some shavings of color blocks and 4-5% of fragrance.

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

STEP 4 - Before pouring the wax, it is suggested you heat the mold with a heat gun or a heat lamp to maximize the crystalizing effect of the palm wax.

STEP 5 - Pour liquid palm wax into the mold and let it 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.

What's Hot?

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We hope you enjoyed this issue of the En-Light-ener.
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
Our goal is to make this newsletter as entertaining and educational as possible.
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Candlewic Company
3765 Old Easton Road
Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901
800-368-3352

 

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