Ready, Set , GO
candle makers cannot wait until the fall months and specifically October.
Those that have been in the candle market always appreciate this is the time of year
when we start getting busy with fall festivals and readying for the winter holidays.
It is now that you want to do your final checklist to make sure you are ready for the
next couple of months. Do you have all of your winter fragrances picked out? Glassware
ready? Labels on order? And many of the other small details needed to make your finished
It is easy (most of time) to ensure you have wax because of the room it takes up,
the fragrance because you can’t help but to smell and the dye which never seems to
run out except for Saturday at 9:00 PM when you need it most.
As we have written in past issues of the Enlightener, candle makers need to be experts
in a myriad of functions especially organization and planning. At first glance you
would think the candle would only have a couple of ingredients; i.e. wax, fragrance and
wick. But by now you have realized that so much more is needed. Your label, burning
instructions, shrink wrap, UV absorbers, bag, box and other items are smaller but essential.
One of the critical steps we would suggest, if you have not already done so, would be to develop
a complete list of all of your components that go into your product, commonly called
a Bill of Materials. The Bill of Materials (BOM) can serve multiple uses such
as helping in determining your cost, tracking inventory, and determining when to place orders. The
best way to get started would be to list on a spreadsheet everything required to sell your
candle from start to finish. This would include the smallest of items.
The BOM can be as extensive or simple as you would like. At minimum you should
have the cost of the material, how many units go into the candle, your current inventory
of the item, and the lead time. Some other suggestions for information to include
would be your vendor, secondary vendor, and total cost of the inventory on hand (this will change
with each candle made). As you learn to use each column you will want to add additional
ones as a good tool to run your business, craft, or hobby.
The first column of cost will help you track all of your cost in order to determine what
you may be able to sell the candle for. By tracking this on a regular basis
you can determine if you can run a special on a candle and still make a profit. Maybe
your supplier ran a special on one of your components or you picked up the material
and saved on shipping.
The second column should list how much inventory of the item you have. This will help you
plan how many candles you can make in the upcoming days/weeks. While there are
other columns you may find important to your needs, one that should not be over looked
is lead times.
While most of the items may be something your supplier has in stock, inevitably something
you require will have an extended lead time. Nothing is more frustrating than having a
nearly finished candle and being out of inventory of your label. It would be a very
important exercise to call your vendors and inquire the lead time on each item.
The more critical information you add to the sheet and keep up to date the more effective a Business
Tool the BOM can become. It is amazing how a well constructed Bill of Materials
can help your business grow successfully and profitably.
Many fragrances are sold for holiday specific times but with creative efforts you can
extend the life of your candle scent by renaming the candle. If you have a candle
scent with hints of pine and other scents called “Essence of Christmas”. Maybe
rename it after Christmas to “Midnight Woods”. This can be done with most
holiday specific fragrances.
There are several holidays coming up that use traditionally unscented candles but with
some creative marketing you might be able to get customers to use scented. Every
carved pumpkin needs a candle. Why not enhance the experience and put in a scented Pumpkin
On Christmas Eve, many homes and downtowns line up luminaries. Instead of the white tea light
or votive, why not enhance the experience with Jack Frost, Egg Nog or Pine Needle?
I selected my fragrance and now wish to purchase dye to color my candles. I see
you have it in Blocks, Liquid and Powder. How do I know which one to use?
Any of these forms of dye will work in candle making and it really depends on what size
batches of candles you are making. Without doubt powdered dye will always be the most
cost effective but at the same time they are extremely concentrated and virtually impossible
to match colors in 4 pound batches. Powdered dyes are best suited when mixing
in 100 + batches. The liquid dyes aren’t quite as concentrated as the
powdered and a little easier to work with. By far the easiest to work with are the
blocks, but they are not as concentrated. As you make larger batches the cost is more then
the other forms.