Holiday Season Checklist
There is no doubt the fall season is the busiest for most candle makers. Many candle makers are fully immersed in their candles for the holiday season. However,
there is still time to make sure you have an extremely successful holiday season.
It is now that you want to do your final checklist to make sure you are ready for the final months of the year. 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 candle complete. You also don't want to over purchase and have excess
inventory at the end of year.
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 first 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. It may seem like a simple item but the truth is a well constructed and utilized Bill of Materials can be the key to the success of your business.
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. Most of the accounting software available will
have a module that should include a bill of materials. By using this you can almost tell immediately what you need to sell your candles for. However, as with any use of the computer the information provided is only as good as what is being entered. Be sure to develop a system of checks and balances as you rely more on your computer.
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 Pie candle?
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?
How do I keep my wick centered in the candle?
For votives you have several options: the wick pin is an excellent
way to ensure the wick is centered in the candle. An added feature of using the wick pin is that it allows you to use other wicks such as cotton, flat braided and round wicks in the candle.
With jars and container candles, it is a littler trickier but the
Glue Dots are an excellent way to keep them in the center of the container at the bottom. To ensure they are straight throughout the candle secure the wick on top of the container with a wick bar or other securing bar.
With pillars the Pillars pin are the best way to proceed as well. The one drawback to the pillar pins is they are limited to round aluminum molds. The pins should also
speed up your candle production.
It is very important for the safety of the burning candle and performance that the wick is centered in the entire candle. When the wick is not centered it can waiver over
to the sides of the glass container making for intense heat in a confined area.