Start Your Candle Making Business Right
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I’ve written a few articles about starting a candle making business. However, I haven’t done one that actually goes through step by step what you need to do to get your candle making business started, from scratch, right from the beginning. In this post I am going to go through the first stages of starting your home candle business. Hopefully by the end of this post, you will have enough info to get your business going.
When I first started my soy candle making business, I just kind of jumped right in. I hadn’t done much testing of my candles. I just bought a kit off of eBay and I liked it, and within a month, I had my website up.
Now, it is good to have the attitude like I did and just go for it once you’re ready, but I would definitely do a few things differently if I were to start all over.
So let’s just jump right in to each step starting with step 1
Buy Supplies And Start Making Candles!
If you haven’t already tried making some soy candles, then you really need to buy some supplies and try making a few first to see how you like it. You definitely don’t want to spend the time planning your candle making business if you don’t even know if you’ll enjoy making the candles in the first place!
I would recommend going with a kit since it is usually more cost effective and you’ll get everything you need to start making your soy candles. I bought my first kit off of eBay and it turned out great but if the seller doesn’t specify on the listing what type/brand of soy wax, wicks and fragrance oil, then you should ask. Then, if it works really well for you, you will know what type of supplies you might want to look for when you start buying from a supplier.
I already mentioned eBay, but here are some links to suppliers that sell candle making kits:
You can use the recipes on my site, but remember that the container candle recipes are specifically for 100% soy container wax. There are other soy container waxes such as Ecosoya Xcel or Golden Brands 464 wax that may not work as well with pouring at 100 degrees F. So if you try one of those waxes, you should use their specific instructions for melting and pouring the wax first. I will eventually add information on this site about best heating and pouring temps for specific waxes once I have tested them all.
So, once you have made a few candles for yourself and done some testing to find the right recipe for your candles, go ahead and make some for friends and family and ask that they give you honest feedback about how they smell and burn. If that goes well, then move on to the next phase, otherwise fine tune your candles to fix any issues such as smoking, soot, wick mushrooming, weak fragrance throw, too much frost, etc. (don’t expect to get 100% soy candles frost free 100% of the time. You may just have to hit them up with the blow dryer or heat gun occasionally if you get some that don’t look quite as pretty! But don’t obsess about it if it isn’t that bad). See my FAQ section for answers to many of the issues above.
Ready to move on?
Inventory or Made to Order?
When I ran my soy candle making business, I usually made them to order. In fact, I kind of prided myself in doing that…..that is, until I started getting more and more orders. The thing is, is it really that important to make your candles totally fresh? Well, not really. Many times letting them sit longer can actually make for a stronger smelling candle. However, with soy wax, if you let them sit too long, they will eventually start to frost and the color possibly start to fade.
On a positive note to making your candles to order, you don’t have excess candles sitting around that aren’t selling. If you keep an inventory of candles, you could use those extra candles for promotions from time to time.
And of course, if you plan on doing home parties and craft fairs you will want to make a good amount of candles ahead of time.
If I were to start selling candles again, I would go the inventory route. I’d make several of each type of candle I want to sell and have a nice shelf for them to sit on, ready to be packed and shipped at a moments notice. I would set aside a day or two a week (give or take) just to make some inventory. Depending on how much I’m selling, that way I don’t have to worry about making candles every single time someone orders!
What Kind of Candles Should I Sell?
Next, you need to ask yourself what kind of candles do you want to start out with? Do you want to do container candles? If so, what type of containers? (Mason jars, regular canning jars, teacups, metal tins, coffee mugs, wine glasses, other decorative glasses, Libby jars/bowls/etc……….). Below is a list of soy candle ideas for you that you could use to start your product line:
- Mason Jar candles are popular for rustic themes
- Libbey glass containers. They have all sorts of styles. Can be great for more of a modern style
- Status Jars
- Apothacary jars
- Metal tins
- Coffee mugs
- Wine glasses
- Melts/tarts. You can do all sorts of shapes with these if you find some molds of the right size such as ice cube trays or jello molds, etc….. You can also do the standard tarts or use the the clamshell tart molds (similar to Scentsy bricks)
- Sliceable Soy Wax Loaves – Find this recipe in my book (customer slices off pieces to use in their tart melter)
- Candle loaves or pies (using pie tins or loaf tins you can get at the Dollar Tree and use multiple wicks)
- Pillar candles (must use a soy pillar blend wax)
It would be best for your candle making business to start off small. So if you know you want to do more than just container candles, then start with container candles and votives or containers, votives and melts. If you are wanting to specialize in more decorative, unique candles, then I would focus on only those at first until you get a good system down. For example, Chunk Candles take quite a bit more time than just regular container candles. The same goes for Swirl candles, layered candles and if you’re using whipped wax toppings (all 3 of those recipes are in my soy candle making book)
Once you figure out what you want to specialize in first, you need to decide on what fragrances you want to start out with.
What Candle Fragrances Should I Start With?
Now candles are a very “seasonal” product, so you need to consider that when choosing your first few fragrances if you want to start out well. I would choose a couple tried and true “classics” such as good old Vanilla. Below is a list of some “classic” candle scents that do well year round:
- Clean Cotton or similar scent
- Coconut type scents
- Apple Pie
- Ocean type scents
Those are some classic ones you see in stores pretty much year round. You will also want to find some for whatever season you are in.
For example, right now as I’m writing this, it is nearing the end of Summer. School is starting and people are beginning to think about Fall and Winter and all the holidays that fall into that. (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.) So right now, I would want to start getting some of those types of fragrances into my lineup.
How Do I Know Which Fragrances Will Sell in My Area?
You can get a good idea of what’s popular at certain times of the year by going to stores in your area. Just take a look at what fragrance of candles they have on their shelves! Especially stores like Walmart or Fred Meyer, larger chains like that. You KNOW that they put a lot of thought and research into what people want and what sells. It would also be a good idea to do some research on the Yankee Candle website as well as Scentsy.
That doesn’t mean you have to sell exactly those types of fragrances. However, it might be a good idea to include a few of them or similar ones, especially at first. Maybe put your own spin on a popular fragrance this time of year such as Pumpkin Pie. I made some Pumpkin Nog candles one year and they did fairly well. Here’s what I did, I just mixed Pumpkin Pie fragrance oil with Eggnog fragrance oil and Whala! 🙂
So anyway, you just want to have as many fragrances as you can handle at first. Don’t try to be the one that has them all, like I did! You end up having someone order a fragrance that hardly ever sells. Then if you’re out of that fragrance oil, you have to order some from your supplier just for one customer!! That doesn’t work well with your profit margin. So, just don’t do it lol
Play it smart and get really good at marketing the few candles that you start with before gradually adding more.
How Many Fragrances Should I Start With?
So, now your going to ask “But how many fragrances should I start with?”. Well, that really depends, but if I were to give a number, I would say start with around 6 fragrances give or take a few. Use a couple classic fragrances, some seasonal and maybe one or two more unique fragrances.
The key to success in any business is to figure out what makes YOU and your product stand out from the rest and really work with that. Do a little research and take a look at different soy candle web stores. Think about what makes you different. It doesn’t have to be the candles themselves, except maybe the quality of them. When I had my candle making business growing, I really wasn’t selling any “special” kind of candles. Others were selling mason jar candles too, and probably a lot of the same scents. Now this was online. Offline, I had hardly any competition in my city/state. I had people in the area and friends and family as pretty regular customers.
You should also look at what the competition seems to be doing right and what seems to be working for them. Find some reviews from people, or comments people are making. For example,look on the companies’ Twitter page or Facebook page. Then you can get some excellent insight into what people like and don’t like. You can also find out what you can do to fulfill those needs and what not to do by learning from any negative feedback that company might have.
So before my next post on starting your candle making business, I want you to think about how you can stand out, and get started on the steps above if you haven’t already.
Great stuff already did everything you suggested! Looking forward to ur next post really need insight on that!
Tammy Adams Jackson says
Wow!!! Very informative. That’s exactly what I wanted to do but wasn’t sure how. Thanks and can’t wait for the next post.:0)
Thanks for your insight. I am hoping to launch a soy candle line by the end of October, and I am happy to learn that I’ve done the steps you mention in your post. One aspect of the launch that I am completely lost in is the web design. I have secured the domain, and that is about it. Did you purchase any self-help books or find any sites online that were helpful? Also, how did you tackle labeling? I found a few companies online for labels, but I feel that I should be able to do them myself and save the expense until this get rolling. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated 🙂
Lynn, so sorry for not getting back to you. Somehow I didn’t see your comment until now. I am planning on doing a series on building a web store, but in the meantime a really good, quick video to get you started in WordPress is one by Pat Flynn from http://www.SmartPassiveIncome.com. He has lots of other awesome info for entrepreneurs as well, like for search engine optimisation and stuff and I have been following him for a few years. Here is the link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPwQvnar99w It shows you how to start a blog, but with WordPress, you can easily turn your site into a webstore with all the plugins and themes that are available. You can check out my resources page to find a link to some themes like WooCommerce. Also, as far as labels, I always made mine using a free progam called Gimp (very similar to Phototshop) and then upload the image to Avery Design Pro where you can use either the sticker labels (Avery) or just some card stock or photo paper to make tags that you tie on. I usually printed these out myself or you could send them to someplace like Staples or Office Depot or something. I go into a little more detail in my book about printing labels. It’s definitely cheaper to do them yourself at first until you start needing larger quantities.
Thanks for all the information about websites! For me, creating and maintaining a website seems more difficult than getting a perfect soy candle top – lol
Hi Melissa do we have to license or register ?
Sunny, it depends on where you live if you need to register a business license. I live in Linn County, Oregon and I didn’t need to, although I did register my assumed business name since I wasn’t using my own name in the name of my business. But many places require at least a general business license so you would need to contact your city hall.
As far as insurance, here in the US it is not required, but if you do want to get it, from my research so far, it can be really difficult to find an insurance company that will insure candle makers because of the risk. I will be hopefully shedding more light on this in my next post once I’ve gotten some info back from a few places I’ve contacted.
Great information!! Thank you for sharing and I look forward to the next post.
thank you thank you thank you… didn’t know where to begin because i am too eager that i think about everything at the same time until i get confused.. this post helped me A LOT!! again, thank you!! 🙂
Thanks for the Information provided, I am definitely looking into starting a candle business… really helped a lot!!
Thanks for great info Now I wish I would seen this sooner before I got a ton of different fragrances O well live and I’m here to learn lol Can’t wait for the next topic
I live in indiana I’ve made lots of candles but now want to expand by putting on internet but not sure how or any sujestions on selling? So I need to call about license
If the candle has a unique design should it be patent?
I live in Vietnam, and I produced a lot of candles which are export to America also. With a licence and certificate …so now I want to looking for more suppliers for our expanding. Could you please give me any advise? Thanks in advanced. Ms.Thai.
Dee Orgeron says
Your articles were wonderful full of information. I want to make a fragrance called vanilla sugar cookie,and want to make one that small like a Christmas tree.Can you tell me where the best place to buy these Fragrances?
Loving your site .. Very informative.
Can you recommend any UK suppliers especially with regard to fragrance oils ?
Danni – Just scrolling through, did you find somewhere to obtain your fragrance oils from? I use ScentPerfique and Just a Soap – excellent fragrances and good customer service too. I’m selling candles on Ebay for now, and on a couple of craft sites – although yet to get a sale from those. Good luck.
I am planning to start my candle line in July, can you please tell the best way to print labels for my company?
I am bit confused, I mean with 7 different scents how do you get it print from companies when they have minimum order of like 250?
Thanks in advance.
Sally Engle says
I buy my blank labels from Planet Label (shop around there are a lot of label companies out there) and print my own labels. The label company should have a downloadable format to use for each style of label. I bought Print Master program (they are not expensive. You can buy it as on line only or buy the disc). It is images for posters, business cards, signs, address labels, etc. I found my images on it. This way I can print out what I want and as many. I also create holiday ones – like a snowman for Jack Frost. I know this reply is late but hope it helps.
Good info..I’m thinking of making wax melts , soya ones..but i’m so annoyed as they are not cheap to make , therefore each one i’ll have to sell for like £1 – £2 each depending on size , but I have no idea how others can make them so cheap ..Have you got any tips ? Thank you
I’m interested in making soy candles and a possible web business. However, I would like to use essential oils instead of chemical fragrances. Is it possible to keep a candle smelling good with essential oils or would they dissipate after a short time. And since they should not be heated I’m wondering if this would negate their therapeutic properties. Also, if you know of fragrances that are non chemical I would be interested in that website in case EO are not possible in candles.
I started out as a hobby. I am a full blown company now just hitting one million in sales and still working out of my home. Things that never get brought up is liability and liability insurance. It is not cheap and I wouldn’t pour a single candle without having it. Also never mentioned and falls under liability is , don’t just pour in any container (mason jars are good). Pouring in tea cups and glasses, are not always safe, these can break and cause fires. I hope this helps. This goes for soap too. Believe it or not premiums are higher for soap making than candle making. I wish everybody good luck!
Hi Paul. Are you in the UK? Sounds like you’ve had Amazing success with sales of 1 million. What time period is that over? I’ve been making candles and soap for 12 years and teaching it through my job in education and as a hobby holding workshops for kids and sdults, but keep putting off taking that leap to quit my job and start a candle/soap business. What sort of realistic income in your experience would a successful business make for middle to high end product target audience?
Myrtle Brooks says
I am looking forward to your next steps. I have done all of these and am ready to go.