Starting your own candle making business is a perfect example of how you can easily turn a hobby into a very profitable part-time or full-time money-maker. In fact, candle making is something that anyone can learn relatively quickly. Armed with a few hundred dollars worth of supplies, and a workspace, you can be up and running in no time.
$200-$300. This should provide you with the basics. It should be enough to allow you to learn the art of candle-making as well as creating a few samples. As your business expands you will want to invest in supplies and equipment that will allow you to create more variety. Eventually, you will need to buy your supplies in bulk to increase your profit margin.
Most of your start-up capital will be eaten up by basic tools of the trade. Keep in mind that these are only the basics. You will need:
Various color chips
Later on, you will want to purchase materials to make more exotic types of candles – especially if you need to create a retail display.
Types of candles
While you will likely start off with a simple mold and some paraffin wax, you should start thinking about the types of candles you will eventually stock in your inventory. For the candle making entrepreneur, the possibilities are endless as most large online suppliers stock everything under the sun. Will you concentrate on only one or two types – or offer a wide variety of shapes, materials, and scents? Will you make specialty candles such as hand-dipped, hand rolled, sand candles and gel? Will you carry some of the more exotic materials such as bees-wax and soy? How many different scents will you offer? There is a lot of choice.
How much can you make?
As with most ventures, you get out what you put in. That’s the golden rule of business and it’s no different for candle making. Thus, the money you can expect to make will vary greatly from person to person. If you put your heart and soul into it by working hard and running it as a proper business, you should be able to make between 25K and 50K per year. However, there is no reason that you could not eventually hire staff and expand your market. The sky’s the limit, as they say.
Gift shops. If you are a natural people person and can network with other business owners you will have no trouble getting your candles into some specialty gift shops around town. Many will agree to sell your product on consignment (especially if they are high quality and can sell for a decent price) for a percentage of the sale. Keep in mind that the percentage you give to the shop owner is the cost of doing business. If you do this right, you will eventually have your candles in several high traffic areas all over town. That is great exposure and well worth pursuing. Make sure you create a custom tag for each candle with a great design and your phone number and web address on the back. This is how word of mouth spreads – and that can mean huge profits down the road.
Flea markets. Craft shows, farmers markets – anywhere you can set up a table and get a lot of walk-up business is a good thing. Selling candles in such venues is perfect since people can see, feel, and smell your product. This creates the perfect atmosphere for impulse buying and that is money in the bank. Costs for vendor’s booths vary greatly depending on the venue. Craft shows tend to be the most expensive, followed by flea markets, then farmers markets. The higher the traffic, the more expensive the space becomes. One drawback is that you will need a significant inventory and possibly some signage before you begin.
Online sales. This can be a huge market for your candles. One of the simplest ways to start is by getting your Ebay account set up, taking a few pictures, and listing some of your best work. A word of caution: Ebay is very competitive. You might have dozens of other candle makers competing for the same sales. The result of this is that the overall price for similar items will fall. You don’t want to get stuck in an over-saturated, buyers market. You have a quality product – don’t give it away.
A better way to sell online is to either have your own e-commerce website, or pay to have your items listed on an established gift site.
One final note on marketing: Pay attention to seasonal fluctuations due to certain holidays, and be prepared. For example: you should start building your inventory well before the Christmas season. The weeks leading up to Christmas will be your busiest time. In fact, you could do the bulk of your yearly sales from the last week in November until Christmas.
Candle making safety
- Candle making can be hazardous. Wax is flammable and accidents can happen – especially if the hot wax is exposed to any source of ignition. Here are some tips you should always follow when making candles:
- Always use a double boiler to melt your wax. Never put the pot of wax directly on an element.
- Never leave your melting wax unattended.
- Read the manufacturer’s literature regarding the wax you are using. You should familiarize yourself with the flash point of the each material you are working with. Make sure you always use a thermometer when heating your wax.
- Work in a well ventilated area.
- Wear protective clothing such as an apron and long sleeves. Wear goggles.
- Have a dry chemical fire extinguisher rated for ABC type fires. Keep this close by at all times.
- Keep children away from the candle making area and lock up your candle making material when you are finished.
1. Education is the key. There are many well written, informative, authority books on this subject. Start by reading and getting familiar with all aspects of candle-making.
2. Next, you will want to buy some supplies (online stores have the most selection and the best prices).
3. Once you have your supplies, you will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. When you become comfortable creating some basic candles, use your creativity and experiment with several different types and designs.
4. Once you have a decent inventory, get out there and introduce your product to the world.
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