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July 23, 2018

Maximizing Your Profitability

The 'En-Light-ener' Candle Making Newsletter
August 2018
Over the years, we've written about why candle making is the right opportunity for many, regardless of their current employment status, start-up budget and space availability. There are myriad reasons that we have been promoting this premise – including, but not limited to, some of the factors below.
  • Candle making has a relatively low entry cost. It's possible, with some research and testing, to purchase some wax, add fragrance and it pour into a container and have a very good quality product. This candle can then be sold at a local craft show at a pretty nice mark up. If you wish to ramp up quickly, this can be done as well.
  • Candles have always been desirable household items, because they can serve various functions in the home. They can act as room fresheners, enhance home décor and add ambiance in the evening.  
  • Since the rate of home buying has been relatively flat in many areas, many people are not moving. Instead, they're trying to accessorize and redecorate their homes on a smaller budget, and candles can fit these criteria.
  • You don't need a large work area. For many, the kitchen, garage or basement is more than sufficient for many "start-ups."
  • If you hold a full-time job, you can pour candles in the evenings or on weekends. If you're between jobs, you certainly can learn how to make the perfect candle in a short amount of time.
For many, candle making can be so much fun that it's easy to lose focus that you're doing this as a source of income. In this issue, we're going to highlight some areas that may not seem as if they would be "margin drains," but, without careful evaluation, could result in your not maximizing your income.
Establish the Right Scent Load
Candle and Soap Fragrance Bottles This can be a very tough subject and one that everyone has varying opinions on. Most, if not all, will agree that fragrance is considered the biggest factor in selling your candles and gaining repeat customers. The key is finding the right balance of fragrance for your candle without adding more then you need. Adding more scent than you need will be costly and is not necessary. This is commonly referred to as the point of diminishing returns (you're adding more fragrance, but it doesn't result in a better product). This statement is particularly true with soy wax. For many candle makers, the tendency is to add more fragrance, because you think there isn't enough. The best thing to do is to test your different formulas with friends and neighbors. Be sure to evaluate the fragrance in a location other than where you pour the candles. Fragrances can easily take over a room when you pour your candles. Then, when you try to smell them, your ability to sufficiently evaluate the fragrance can be compromised. Also, it is very difficult for you to be your own judge of the finished product.  

When smelling fragrances for too long a time period, your senses can become somewhat dull, and you become accustomed to smelling fragrances at stronger doses. While it can be hard let other people help you determine if your candle smells strong enough, it's the best way for you to know.
Set the Right Sales Price
Finished Candles Setting the proper price for your candle might be one of the most difficult tasks in candle making. There are many issues that must be considered. Naturally, we would all like to sell at the highest price, but your target audience might not be willing to pay that price. On the other side, there are consumers who think that if you sell a candle too inexpensively, there is something wrong with the product. For initial guidance on developing your prices, be sure to check out our June 2007 Englightener. Some important considerations must be: What prices are your competitors using to sell their products? What is the target audience for your candles? Can you offer some products at a lower margin in hopes that customers will buy higher priced items to go along with their candle purchases? Depending on the market you are selling in, you also can run "specials." People like to feel that they're getting value in the product.
Save on the Cost of Shipping for Your Supplies
Shipping Box It's always best to try to minimize the number of supply shipments you receive, especially when it comes to ordering wax. Receiving one case each week is much more expensive than ordering four cases at one time. Combining the purchase with additional fragrances you may need later can result in substantial savings. Also, when you can ship by common carrier, be sure to "load" as much as possible onto the skid. Many carriers charge flat rates for a skid, so the rate is the same if you ship 500 pounds or 2,000. Be sure you have all of your products shipped together if you're using a common carrier.
Use Everything
Recycled Wax Candles It seems that, no matter how you do things, you will end up with some extra wax, fragrance and even color. Use your extra wax to make tea lights, fire starters or even tarts. If you have just a little bit of fragrance remaining, maybe have a bottle that you use to start collecting these left over fragrances. Have one for all of your florals that you can then call "Bouquet of Flowers." You could have another for home-baked-goods fragrances and perhaps call it "Granny's Kitchen." Don't discard any of your extra raw materials. They all have some value when put into a finished good. Even if you cannot sell items made from these leftover materials, giving them out as promotional items will gain you the attention of someone.
Vendors can be a Resource
Vendor SuppliesQuality companies offer services to their customers that can have value. Make sure you use them. If you have a new candle requiring a different wick, check to see if you can get a sample. Candlewic has always provided free wick samples. (Sorry for the self-promotion, but I couldn't resist.) Rather than just purchasing books, check out the other resources a vendor has to see if there is sufficient information available without your having to invest in that book. Be sure to take advantage of promotions for the products you use.
Since the summer months are a bit slower, they're a great time to review all of your costs and make sure you've kept up with current prices of products. Review your entire operation to make sure you're doing everything in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Key for any small business is ensuring that you're offering the best product you can, remaining competitive in your marketplace, and, most important, achieving some profit to put in your pocket.
Since we have really dived into the topic of scents, I thought it would be appropriate to revive one of the most frequently asked questions we receive every year:
Should I consider making tarts and/or clam shells?
Interest in tarts and clam shells may be at an all-time high, and they're now becoming a must for any candle company to consider offering. What is great is that they're easy to make, and, in keeping with the theme or our July Enlightener, these items offer great uses for your extra wax. What's more, they require no wick because they're used in tart warmers. They also can be used as a way to offer your customers samples of your fragrances. The clamshell molds are easy to use. Just by merely pouring wax into the clamshell and closing the mold, you have a finished product.

Tart molds provide yet another advantage: These same molds can be used to make floating candles. We recommend using the CBL-129 and the M-112 tart mold. Add about 5-7 percent fragrance, and pour it at about 180°F. Within a couple of hours, your tarts should pop right out of the mold.
Beeswax Candle Sheets
Clamshell Molds
Container Blend Wax CBL-129
Container Blend Wax
Container Blend Wax CBL-129
Tart Mold - M-112
View All

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