How to Start a Candle Making Business: A Beginner’s Guide
When I was younger, I used to love making candles with my mom. It was always so much fun picking out the scents and colors, and then watching the wax melt and transform into something beautiful. As an adult, I decided to turn my hobby into a business. And that’s how my candle making business began.
If you’re thinking about starting your own candle making business, then this guide is for you. We’ll cover everything from choosing the right wax to finding containers and wicks. So let’s get started!
Candle Making Business
Types of Homemade Candles
One of the great things about making candles is the vast array of options available. No matter what type of customer you’re trying to attract, there’s bound to be a candle that will appeal to them. This makes candles an ideal product for businesses looking to expand their offerings.
If you’re interested in starting a candle business, consider focusing on one type of product.
Soy candles are a great choice for those looking for an eco-friendly and natural option. In addition, soy candles burn cleaner than traditional candles, producing little to no soot.
The demand for organic candles is growing at a steady rate, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% from 2019 to 2025, according to a report by Grand View.
Soy candles are a great choice for those looking for a renewable and clean-burning option. Not only do they last longer, but customers also get more value for their money.
Scented or Aromatherapy Candles
This is the most common variety of candles. Scented candles offer a broad spectrum of fragrances to choose from — perfect for customers looking to freshen up their homes with a pleasant smell.
Scented candles are a great way to mask any unpleasant household smells or simply create a unique and inviting atmosphere. With such a wide variety of scents available, there’s sure to be one that appeals to everyone.
Aromatherapy candles can offer a variety of benefits depending on the scent used. For example, lavender scents are often associated with relaxation and calmness. Candles made with essential oils can help to improve physical or mental well-being.
Some candle makers are opting to go vegan, which means they’re using no animal products in any of their candles.
If you’re looking to avoid animal products in your scented products, then consider purchasing a candle that’s made with only plant-derived ingredients. These can include soybean, palm, and beeswax, as well as essential oils and botanical extracts.
Decorative candles add a special something to any space in your house. As I entered a houseware shop, I was immediately drawn to the wide array of scented candles that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some types of these specially crafted items have no fragrance or added ingredients and are simply there to add that special touch to your room.
Designers often use decorative candles to create a focal point in space. They tend to come in more intricate shapes, with added features or decorations and are often quite intricate in their design.
How to Start a Candle Business
Here’s a step-by-step process for starting your own successful candle-making company.
1. Do Market Research
Your target audience is people who are interested in your offerings and are most likely to become customers.
In the candle business, there are three categories of target markets.
Prestige. Luxury candles are a growing segment in the candle market. The average prestige candle can sell for $30 to $80 and can run as high as $185 like the Louis Vuitton scented candle.
Mid-market. These candles have broad appeal. You can find them in retail outlets such as Target selling for around $10. Mid-market candles are typically scented with rose water, grapefruit or basil.
Mass market. Brands like Yankee Candle and Bed Bath and Beyond belong to this affordable segment. Vanilla or ocean breeze candles sell for $5 to $8 per candle.
Choose a specific market you want to sell to.
Do you want to sell candles at Nordstrom or Macy’s? Then mid-market can get you into retail stores.
Want to sell exclusively through your own website and other online boutiques? Then prestige candles may be your calling.
Deciding on your target market will help you with everything from finding suppliers to branding your product. Once you’ve selected a target market, you’ll need to decide what types of products you want to sell.
While doing your market research, take note of what types of candle customers are interested in. Are they looking for eco-friendly, cruelty-free options? Or are they okay with traditional, non-vegan, petroleum-based products?
The candles you choose to sell will determine the type of brand you create.
2. Build Your Brand
Branding your candles is important if you want to create a following, develop marketing, and create more quality products for your audience.
Candle businesses are especially competitive, so it’s important to have a solid brand and reputation.
To stand out from the sea of candles, you can either become an artisanal brand, make a new unique fragrance, or create a new design.
Consumers value fragrance in candles more than any other feature. In fact, 75% of consumers say that scent is “very” or “extremely” important to them.
Offering something new and different in the fragrance category can help make your business stand out from the competition. Creating a unique blend instantly puts you ahead of the pack.
Instead of offering generic, common fragrances, go for complex, sophisticated ones. These will stand out and make people think of you.
What is your brand story?
A story is the best way to connect with people. It’s how a brand shapes its identity and communicates with others.
Your brand is the foundation of your messaging and your voice.
Brand stories are essential to connect with customers and inspire them to take action. They should be captivating, human, and honest to create an emotional connection with the audience.
The founders of candle company Keap were unhappy in their current jobs. The candlemakers wanted to find a more meaningful and inspiring way to use their work, so they turned to making candles.
To figure out your story, start by asking yourself:
Why am I making candles? Who am I making candles for? What impact do I want to have on the world?
Your visual branding is one of the most important things for your candles. It influences how customers perceive your business. Make sure your logo, photos, website design, social media accounts, and product packaging all match and complement each other.
When designing your line of scented soy wax, you’ll want your packaging to reflect your brand. Your audience will purchase your candles for their scent and as home décor, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re appealing to them.
For example, Boy Smells branded candles are bright and sensual, appealing to all gender identities.
The brand’s visual identity embraces both masculinity and femininity, empowering people of all backgrounds.
The iconic brand uses its logo on all of its marketing materials, from its website to its social media accounts, as well as over 300 retail stores around the world.
Boy Smells has a strong visual identity that you won’t forget once you interact with it.
3. Create a Business Name
You’ve probably brainstormed a few names for your business by now, and it’s time to choose one.
When choosing a name for your candle business, keep it short and sweet! This will make it easy for customers to remember, and word-of-mouth marketing will be a breeze.
If you have a name that’s difficult to pronounce, you might miss out on free word-of-mouth marketing.
If you’re still struggling to come up with a name for your small business, try entering your keywords into Shopify’s business name generator.
4. Write a Business Plan
A solid plan is essential for any business owner. Before opening your candles company, create a detailed, comprehensive plan that outlines your goals, identifies any potential problems, and details the resources you’ll need.
Figure out what your brand’s end goal is. Who are your top 3-5 biggest competitor brands?
Do I want to open my own retail store or start an e-commerce website?
When building your candle-making business, keep your goals top of mind.
5. Make Candles to Sell
You can make many types of candles at home, and we’re going to show you how to make a basic soy candle. Soy candles are a great option because they’re environmentally friendly and have a long burn time.
You can combine the same ingredients in different ways to come up with your own unique recipes.
Gather your materials
To make your homemade soy candle you will need:
- Soy Wax
- Super Glue
- Essential Oil
- Double Boiler
- Mason Jar
- Pen or pencil
While you may have some of these materials lying around, you can find the rest online. Soy wax is available in bulk for as little as $4 a pound on websites like AliExpress or Bulk Apothecary.
If you’re looking for glass jars or other storage containers, check out AliExpress for wholesale options. Or, check your local thrift shop or dollar store for affordable (and often unique) options.
If you’re looking to start making your own essential oil blends, a craft or hobby store is a great place to begin. You can find oil ingredients on Amazon or Etsy as well.
Prep your wax and container
Take your wax and put it in a double boiler. As you melt the wax in medium heat, be sure to stir it frequently with a spatula. This will help to break up any chunks and ensure an even consistency.
While the wax is melting, take the wick and stick it to the bottom of the glass container with glue. Allow the glue to dry to keep the wick in place as you pour the wax.
Customize your candle
Once your wax has melted, add your favorite essential oils at a once ounce per pound ratio. If you’d like your candles to be a different color, you can add pieces of non-toxic crayons.
Once your ingredients have fully been mixed, let everything cool down to 130–140 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure it’s at that exact temp.
Prep your pour
Now that your wax has cooled to the correct temperature, it’s time to pour the candle mixture into your container.
Hold the wick upright with one hand while you pour the wax. Fill up three-quarters of the jar.
To keep your wick from leaning to one side, tie its end to a pen and set it across the mouth of the jar.
Finishing your candle
Let your candle cool slightly before pouring your remaining melted soy into the jar. The sinkhole you see in the hardened layer around your wick is normal.
Once you’ve poured the remaining melted mixture into the jar, allow the candles to set. This will ensure they’re properly formed and ready to burn!
Your new scented soy wax candles are now ready to use! Feel free to trim off any wicks that are too long, and then light up your beautiful creation. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the soothing atmosphere that it provides!
6. Build Your Online Store
If you want to sell your candles, the best place to start is by setting up your own e-commerce store.
While it may seem daunting, creating your very own online store is easier than you may think. These online marketplaces, like eBay and Amazon, cut into your profit margins and limit your ability to express your brand freely.
Your online storefront is not only more lucrative in the long haul but serves as a virtual headquarters for your enterprise.
Building an e-commerce store doesn’t have to be difficult. With a simple, easy-to-use platform like Shopify, you can build your own online store without writing any code or spending a lot of money.
For $29 a month, you get a beautifully designed website, SSL certificates, fast servers, and tons of other helpful sales and marketing tools.
You also get access to over 4,000 apps in the app store, which can help you customize your online store and increase sales.
Now that you’ve perfected your candle recipe, it’s time to start selling your creations.
7. Create a Marketing Plan
Using social media, your own website, and other platforms, you can reach customers all over the world and sell your candle products.
There are a few digital platforms that can help entrepreneurs get started in sales. While not every platform will work for every merchant, it’s worth trying a few to see what works best.
The following list of marketing channels isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start for new businesses.
Instagram. Lifestyle brands have found success using platforms like Instagram to build their customer base. Use curated images of your candle products, staged photos, and behind-the-scenes shots to show customers what goes into making your product. You can also reach out to brand ambassadors, or influencers, who will promote your products to their followers.
Pinterest. Homemade candles are a major product for home decor, which is one of the biggest categories for shoppers on Pinterest. So it would be wise for DIY home fragrance vendors to consider adding this platform to their marketing mix.
Snapchat. As one of the most visually-oriented platforms, using Snapchat can be a great way to market to makers. With over 200 million active users, the platform continues to grow.
Giveaways and contests. You can use some of your products as prizes in competitions and giveaways that are part of an overall content strategy. Not only will such promotions help to build your brand, but you’ll also be able to showcase how good your products are.
Email Marketing. Send out emails with promotions, discounts, and news right to your prospects’ inboxes.
While online sales are a great option, don’t shy away from in-person sales.
Selling homemade scented candles is convenient, as they’re small and easy to carry.
If you’re thinking of selling your home decor items at craft shows or pop-up shops, it’s a great way to get in-person feedback from potential customers.
Selling in person has many advantages, such as:
Getting direct feedback. Getting feedback from your customers is important. One way to do this is to sell your products in person. Meeting face-to-face with potential customers gives you a chance to listen to their feedback, as well as get new ideas for product improvements.
Discover wholesale opportunities. Ready to expand your business and get into wholesaling? Market and fairs are the ideal venues to network with potential wholesalers and lay the groundwork for a relationship.
Build your online following and email list. Use pop-ups and market booths to grow your digital following. Ask visitors to your stall or store to follow you on social media or sign up for your newsletter.
Networking and inspiration. Networking with other business owners and artisans is a major part of attending craft fairs, festivals, and trade shows. Getting to know other vendors can inspire you with new, creative ideas and help you find solutions to problems that you share.
If you’re selling products at a physical location, you’ll need a mobile point-of-sale (POS) system to take payments. Shopify POS is an easy-to-use app that works on any iPad, iPhone, or Android device. It’s perfect for fairs, markets, and pop-up shops. With Shopify POS, you can track inventory in real-time, process orders quickly, and accept various types of payments.
Is Candle Making a Profitable Business?
As long as you have the basic supplies like melting pots and molds, the other materials needed for candle making are relatively inexpensive. This leaves a good profit margin for those selling candles.
Keep your startup expenses low by only offering a few products, such as a few fragrances and a few different mold types. Also, try to keep your shipping costs down.
How Much Money Can You Make from a Candle Business?
As an entrepreneur, you can expect to make at least $22,000 from a small candle business startup. With a successful candle business, you could potentially make up to $34,000.
Those are the expenses for a sole proprietorship. Of course, your costs will be much higher if you opt to have an actual storefront or manufacturing facility, and employ people.
Where Can I Sell Homemade Candles?
You can sell your handmade scented candle creations online through platforms like eBay, Facebook, and Amazon or your own e-store.
You can also sell your products at physical locations such as craft shops, home decorating boutiques, kiosks, booths, and supermarkets.
If you’re thinking about starting your own candle making business, then this guide is for you. We’ve covered everything from choosing the right wax to finding containers and wicks. So now it’s time to get started!