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July 01, 2001

Selling and Marketing Candles


"The En-Light-ener" July 2001
Candle Making Newsletter

Welcome to the En-light-ener, Candlewic's newsletter for the candle making community. We are already at six editions and going strong! We wish to thank everybody for taking the time to read this Newsletter and to participate in the various activities that we have initiated. It is very enjoyable to know that you find this newsletter informative, and we hope you continue to find it to be the case.

As you may be aware, last month we ran a contest for individuals who went to our web site. The winner of this contest (chosen by random drawing) was Stephanie from Richmond, KY. We wish to thank everybody who took the time to register for the contest.

This is the final article in the three-part series on how to successfully market and sell your candles at all levels. The second article focused on how to produce the candle in the most cost effective manner and on selecting the proper markets. The final article in this series is how to select the proper raw materials.

One of the unique features of manufacturing candles is that there really is not a right or wrong way to make candles, provided the end result is a safe burning candle with a consumer-accepted appearance. If you look at candles such as those with a mottled look or "primitive" look, they were considered imperfect many years ago. This look is now one which many companies strive to achieve.

As was discussed in the last edition your two main cost components are generally wax and the fragrance. The other components are equally critical when producing the candle, but the cost of these materials is not as extensive as the primary ones.

As you may have already learned, not all waxes are created the same. When sampling waxes or starting production of candles, it is imperative that you keep notes on all aspects of the process including precise measurements of the components you are adding (we recommend that you measure all components by weight because measuring by volume can really be misleading), the temperature of the room, the relative humidity in the room, the temperature of the mold and/or container and the pouring temperatures. (We strongly recommend that you purchase an accurate thermometer and periodically check it for accuracy.) The room temperature should be maintained as consistent as possible. If that is not realistically possible, you may have to adjust procedures to take into account for the seasonal changes. Some of the changes generally occur during the first frost or in early spring when the humidity begins to develop. The more variables you are able to control the more consistent results you will be able to achieve.

Selecting your wax should be based on how consistent the wax performs. You will want to determine if your supplier consistently purchases from the same source so you know you'll be starting with the same material every time. Also, you will want to consider if your supplier is going to maintain sufficient inventories of the wax, how long they have been in business, and what the cost of the wax will be.

It is very important that additives are measured as accurately as possible. Once again, if possible, everything should be measured by weight and not teaspoons or tablespoons. This will ensure consistency in the finished product.

One key component of your candle--and in most instances what sells the candle--is the fragrance. The trend in fragrances has been to continually add fresh, new and "exciting" scents. Traditionally, the fragrances such as vanilla, strawberry and seasonal fragrances such as hollyberry and bayberry where big sellers. These fragrances still are a big part of the market, but the growth of candles has been with new images such as garden path, tropical paradise and cucumber melon.

It is also imperative to try to market your candles based on the season. This helps develop a year-round market. For example, in the Spring, the fragrances such as lavender, sunflower and gardenia can be popular. When Summer approaches, the fragrances such as watermelon, mango and guava become popular. In the Fall, fragrances such as pumpkin spice, oatmeal and vanilla hazelnut are appealing. Then, the Christmas/Winter is the popular time for fragrances such as sugar cookie, Christmas essence and bayberry.

While it may seem like common sense, the keys for a successful candle company are to 1) make a quality product both in terms of safety and appearance, 2) sell at a competitive price, 3) develop new products and/or fragrances, 4) develop a solid reputation for your company and 5) know your marketplace and limitations.

We hope that you have found this series interesting and informative. We at Candlewic are committed to helping you achieve these goals. Should you have any further specific questions please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone 610-847-2076 or email us at

One of the important elements when marketing a candle (besides the candle itself) is the burn time. Each candle company has different burning rates depending on the waxes used and the size of the wick. In order to properly determine the burn time of a candle, the following procedure should be used:

1. Light the candle and let burn for four hours. At the conclusion of this time, blow out the candle.
2. Wait one hour. Then trim the wick and relight for four additional hours.
3. Repeat this procedure until the candle is consumed.
4. Record how many hours you burned the candle.
This will give you a standard burn time at which you can market the candle. Many times consumers will let the candle burn continuously. This will not allow the candle to obtain the maximum burn time.

How can I increase the burn time on my votives?

The burn time of any candle is a combination of the wax formula and the wick size used. To increase burn time, you may want to try using a smaller wick and raising the melt point of the wax. Raising the melt point of the wax can be done by going to the next higher melt point wax or by increasing the amount of an additive used such as C-15 or Vybar 103 and/or a Microcrystalline wax. When doing this, ensure that you continue to get complete burning out to the sides of the candle.

How much fragrance can be added to gel candles?

When using the CG-1 (Low Density) 0-3% fragrance can be used. When using the CG-2 (Medium Density) 0-4% fragrance can be used. When using the CG-3 (High Density) 0-5% fragrance can be used.

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