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September 23, 2016

Fall Has Arrived!

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September 2016
Getting ready for the holidays is more than just having your product ready.
We are now a couple of days into the official start of fall, and, without a doubt, a candle maker's attention should be turned to getting ready for the winter holidays. As a small-business owner, you likely are going to be responsible for most, if not all, of these preparations.

The type of distribution channels you use will dictate how much work is involved. According to a study done by Forrester Research Inc., e-tail sales are going to be increasing from an actual in 2013 of $263 billion to about $414 billion for 2018, which represents about 57.4 percent growth during this time period. With numbers like that, no matter what your current sales channels include, an increased online presence is a must.

There are many different ways to approach the Internet experience, but number one should be having your own e-commerce site. There are many services that can help you set up the site and accept orders. Depending on your resources, you may just want to start with a very basic site and put your efforts into attracting customers to the site.

Unfortunately, building the site can be the easy part. Getting customers to find your site and purchase from it is the challenging part. There are many different ways to get customers to the site, and the key is finding out which is best for you. Search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and social media are the most common approaches. Unfortunately, each of these cost money, so you will have to determine which works best for you. More than likely, using the pay-per-click advertising program is the best route to consider when you're trying to get immediate results. Google Keyword Planner can be a great resource to help you get started.

Other efforts like search engine optimization require time to see sufficient results. However, if you're going to work on improving your ranking in the search engines, you must begin your SEO efforts at some point. The other Internet-based resources to consider would be improving your social media presence with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other channels so you can start building your brand by word-of-mouth. Use these to announce where you might be participating in a craft show, any specials you may be running, or to announce a new fragrance.

The other way to capture some type of audience on the Internet is by selling on platforms like eBay, Amazon, Etsy and Darby Smart. All allow small business owners to sell their products, and, in fact, some even encourage smaller companies and pride themselves on offering only hand made goods made in the US. Be sure to research all of these and find out which one(s) might best fit your needs.

Craft shows can be a great way to get your products in front of potential customers as well as to obtain firsthand feedback on your product line. There are many different types of shows these days, and finding the one that best fits your needs is important. You don't want to start with something too big, because, generally, the bigger shows have higher booth costs. Also, if you don't have a history of selling at these shows, you may discover that you do not have the right product mix for the event.

Starting with a show that's both small and local is the best way to begin. It keeps your travel expenses down, you may have friends and neighbors attending the event who may be inclined to purchase your product, and being local can make it easier for you to find help for the event.

When at any show, be sure to get everything you can out of the event. Sales are important, but the knowledge and feedback you can receive from the show can be just as valuable. Check out your competition or those selling other, similar crafts to see how they handle the show.  Most of all, enjoy the day. Potential customers will be able to detect this. 

Most important, before any sales take place, be sure that you have done all of your testing and development on any product you sell. You could have the best package, jar, and label, but, if customers do not like the fragrance or the way the candle burns, not only will they not purchase again, but also they will not recommend your product. Brand loyalty and word-of-mouth can be a growing business's best friend.

Make sure your vendor has sufficient inventory of the products you really need, and there will not be a disruption in the supply chain with these products. If necessary, stock some of your best selling items to cover yourself in case of any issues.  

Also, be sure to know what all of your costs are, including shipping, labor, overhead, and raw materials. This way, you are able to offer discounts to drive sales in case you are not meeting your goals.

While it may seem a long time before the holiday season is here, the earlier you prepare, the better chance for success you will have. 
TOP 10 SELLING FRAGRANCES
FOR 2016
Maple Butter Fragrance Oil
Maple Butter
Love Spell Victoria's Secret Type
Love Spell Victoria's Secret Type
Spa
Spa
Lemongrass Sage
Lemongrass Sage
Lavender Silk
Lavender Silk
hite Tea and Ginger BBW Type
White Tea & Ginger BBW Type
Lilac
Lilac
Snickerdoodle
Snickerdoodle
Amber Romance Victoria's Secret Type
Amber Romance Victoria's Secret Type
Lavender Vanilla BBW Type
Lavender Vanilla BBW Type
CHANDLER'S CORNER
When I use the Custom Wick Builder, it asks me to choose a sustainer base. Is that an important part of the wick assembly?
Hi. I'm Chandler.Yes, it is very important, and I would refer you to our chart that we have for the different types of sustainer bases and their recommended applications. The first number always refers to the size of the base, and the second number is the neck height, which helps to support the wick.
15 x 3 mm   is a sustainer base that is about the size of a dime and has a neck height of 3 mm. This sustainer base is generally used in tea lights and small, unscented votives.
15 x 6 mm   is the same as above, except the neck on this sustainer base is 6 mm high. This base is very popular to use in votives and small-diameter containers for paraffin wax candles. It is used with gels, but we would recommend a sustainer base with a 9 mm neck.
15 x 9 mm   is the same sustainer base as above, except that the neck is 9 mm high. This sustainer base is very popular for use with gels and paraffin candles.
20 x 3 mm   is a sustainer base about the size of a nickel with a neck height of 3 mm. This sustainer base is used extensively in votives and containers.
20 x 6 mm   is the same as above, except that the neck is 6 mm high. It is used in paraffin candle containers and gel candles. We would recommend the 9 mm neck for gel candles.
20 x 9 mm   is the same base as above, except that the neck is 9mm high. This base is very popular for gel candles.
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