With candles rapidly getting higher in demand, more individuals are starting up candle making businesses right from the comfort of their homes. With the recent boom in the homemade candle-meets-interior decor trends amongst others, the homemade candle and general candle making business is now seemingly the next big thing for entrepreneurs as it has also proven to be very profitable. With more individuals producing candles, there is now more structure and accessible guidance on how to successfully start up a thriving business in candle making.
To begin, it is essential to create a clear business plan to help one highlight what needs to be in place and put one in a better position to tackle any unknowns. The business plan should outline all the necessary materials that will be used in creating the candles and the type(s) of candles that will be made. This will help one figure out startup and ongoing costs.
Materials required for making candles at home
- Candle wax: Some of the types of candle wax include soy wax, beeswax, paraffin wax, palm wax, coconut wax and gel wax. Paraffin wax is the most commonly used.
- Candle wicks: With increasing innovation in the candle making business, there are now more options on the market when it comes to wicks. Wicks have been designed and created to add different benefits to the consumer and the environment. Some of the types include the more commonly used cotton core wicks, wooden wicks, zinc core wicks, paper core wicks, tin core wicks, ECO wicks preferably used for soy wax candles, LX wicks more commonly used for paraffin wax candles, etc.
- Candle moulds: Types of wax moulds include metal, plastic and silicone moulds. Metal moulds produce the best finish, leaving the wax with a smooth surface but the rigidity of the metal mould does not allow for a large variation in shape and form, hence restricting design. The plastic and silicone moulds help to give more diversity to the shape, form and overall design of the candles. Basic candle moulds can be bought online however if more complex and unique designs are preferred, the moulds can be custom made for production.
- Candle dye (colouring agents): Adding beautiful colours to the candles can give an advantage when it comes to appealing to the target market. It is important to know how the different types of wax take to the dye to have more control over the desired results. Soy wax does not take to dye well and therefore, will create lighter pastel colours. This could be extremely ideal for candle makers depending on taste and the required look of the finished product. The different types of dye include block dye, flake dye and liquid dye.
- Containers: If preferred instead of using moulds, glass jars or tins can be used to contain the wax and can be tagged with the brand label to finish, ready for sale.
- Fragrance oils: There is a large variety of organic and synthetic fragrances on the market. Adding unique and pleasant smells to your candles can give an extra edge to your business.
- Candle sealant: This is only needed if a mould is being used. This seals up the moulds and helps to prevent any leakages.
- Wick holders: This is needed to keep your wick in place as you pour and cool the wax specifically in jars and containers.
- Wicking needle: This makes threading wicks through moulds for making free-standing candles easier.
- Double boiler (pot and pitcher): This equipment helps you melt your wax without burning it. It consists of a metal pan containing water and a glass or metal pan or bowl on top, which will contain the wax to be melted. This prevents the wax from coming in contact with direct heat from the stove.
- Pouring pitchers: These help to achieve a clean pour of the wax into moulds or containers.
- Temperature gun/Thermometer: It is important to use the thermometer or temperature gun to ensure that the wax is not heated above or cooled below the required temperatures at different points in the process.
- Scissors and wick cutters: To cut the wick to the desired length after the wax has cooled.
- Packaging and branding supplies: These include all the essentials required for decorating, boxing, labelling and shipping your finished products.
Most importantly, you will need a space to work in addition to obtaining the necessary material. Some certain tools and features are needed in your candle making studio or space. You will need to have sufficient room to create, a sizeable and flat surface to work on (a large table or countertop), shelves to place your tools and products, cooling racks, trays, cleaning supplies, heat source and storage containers.
How much does it cost to start a candle business?
Unlike certain businesses, the candle making business does not take a huge toll on your finances. The total cost of starting a candle business includes the cost of supplies, equipment, branding, marketing and so on. This cost, of course, depends on the type, quantity and quality of supplies and equipment that will be used in the production of your candles. With fragrance oils, especially essential oils, being the most expensive part of candle making, all other supplies and equipment can be found at affordable costs. From a few hundred dollars to about $1,000, you would be able to kickstart your candle making business from the comfort of your home. However, if you would like to have your candle business on a larger scale (for example, getting your storefront, purchasing equipment for large scale production and having a higher marketing budget for more publicity) you could be spending an average amount of $44,000. Candle making can be extremely profitable, with low capital and a continuously growing demand, you are sure to get a return on your investment.
How to price your candles
First off, you need to define your target audience. Who are you looking to sell to? You should not plan on selling to just anyone and everyone. Defining your target audience determines the position you would have in the market. This then brings about the topic of where you would like to sell. Are you looking to sell in your local store or a global website? How many people utilize these platforms and who are they? Are they luxury or basic shoppers? These are the questions you put into consideration when deciding on where to sell. Once you have that sorted out, know your competition on that platform, what their products cost and how they sell. You may decide to price lower, the same or higher depending on your marketing strategy.
With the knowledge of how much it costs to start up a candle making business, whether small or large scale, you can then begin to determine the price of each candle that would be produced. You may need to weigh each candle to determine the exact amount to allocate. Then comes your net profit. How much would you like to earn a profit in a month? How many products are you willing to sell a month? What is the total cost of making these candles a month? Now you can set a cost for each candle.
Legal requirements for selling homemade candles
In the beginning, you should have already registered your candle business name and formed a legal entity that you will be operating with. Make sure that you have registered for taxes before you start your business. And finally, open your business bank account and receive your bank cards (credit card, etc.) You may also need to set up business accounting to record your expenditures.
Importantly, you must obtain all necessary permits and licenses. Any failure to do these could result in hefty fines. So check with your local authorities what is required of you before you start your candle business. Below are some of the legal requirements that are specific to candle making businesses.
For starters, your candle making business must follow the General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR). This means that any goods sold to the public can present unnecessary risks during normal use. Hazardous ingredients must be provided on the CLP (Classification, Labeling and Packaging) label. This means that your packaging instructions all warnings need to be available on the packaging of the label to tell the consumer what to do. For example, “Never leave the candle unattended”, “Never burn a candle longer than 4 hours”, etc.
Next, you must indicate who you are. The consumer has the right to know who they are getting into business with or purchasing from. Your name must be present, your contact details like telephone number, email and address. Also, your product website may be required.
You have to test the safety of your candles and also test to determine the characteristics when burning. You need to test to determine the flame size, the melt pool, does it frost? You also need to perform a test burn sheet. You need to test all these features to determine your candles’ characteristics so that you have done your due diligence. Find the regulating body in your country so you can follow the guidelines stipulated. Fill out the forms required when taking these tests and then file your application. Avoid misleading test results. You must present facts with evidence when filling out your applications.
Your CLP labels have to be compliant with the regulations and your Safety Data Sheets should also be filed. Compliant Product Safety Labels is required. All hazards and warning symbols can be separate from your CLP labels, but sometimes, they are combined. All candle products must have a general warning sign. Under the safety standard, all candle products must have these three mandatory pictograms: Never leave the candle unattended, Keep away from things that catch fire and Keep away from children and pets. These three pictograms must be on your candle. They can also be in text form, but to be on the safe side, use both text and pictograms. For example, if you claim your candles provide aromatherapy you must back it up with evidence.
Make sure all your technical files (mentioned above) are filed and well organised for each fragrance or type of candle that you sell. These legal requirements must be strictly adhered to.
If you sell on a website, make sure that all your contact details are present such as Name of Company, Telephone number, Business address, etc. You must also give rights to your customer to be able to return your products within 14 days. This needs to be displayed on your website. (Check the legal requirements for your country). If you wish you can also display your CLP information on your website.
Having your candle business insured is very important. It doesn’t matter where you sell your products, you should always have insurance. You should also have public and product liability. If something goes wrong with your products you need to have this to protect your business.
You must do your research to determine all the legal requirements you need to fulfil to get your candle business running.
How to market your candle business and grow your business
The first thing you want to think about is who your ideal customer is. You need to determine what type of people are going to be purchasing your candles. Once you have an idea of who your target customers are, then you can figure out how to get your product to them. For example, if you make wedding-themed candles as gifts to the bride and groom. That means that your ideal customers are brides and maybe grooms and bridesmaids. Always remember that your candles are going to be put in somebody’s home, so you want to design them in a way that it matches as a home decor piece.
A good place to market your candle business is on social media. Instagram for example is a good place to start. When you are designing your Instagram feed, always bear in mind who your ideal customers are and try to design your feed based on what you know about your target customers. With our example, you can post a picture of a candle with a bride to be. Something that a bride would like to see while she is planning her wedding. It could also be pictured with a very beautiful flower bouquet. You need to be creative on this one, so think of how you can bring value to your target customers using pictures so they can be engaged with your brand.
Now you want to think about how people can find your social media pages. The best way to drive traffic to your webpage or your social media pages is by using paid ads. Facebook and Instagram offer paid ads so that you can put your business directly in front of your target audience. It’s a great idea to make that you are utilising hashtags. On Instagram, you are allowed to post 30 hashtags on a single post. Make sure you include words that relate to the things that your target audience will be interested in. For our wedding-themed hypothetical business, this would be words like wedding, bride, wedding decor, wife, bridesmaid, home decor, etc.
Social media influencers are also key in growing your candle business. This however can be tricky because you need to make sure that their social media following is real people following them. You also need to make sure that you are putting your time and money into an influencer whose audience is also your target market. When you find an influencer whose brand aligns with yours, then this can be a very worthy investment for your candle business. Make sure that what they charge you for a post is equal to the value you will receive in return.
Local Facebook groups are a great way to market your candle business. Joining a local Facebook group and creating a giveaway so that your community knows about your business is a great way to market your candle business. This will surely give you some experience of selling your products before you launch out in a big way.
Having the strategy to create candles designed and created based on various holiday seasons can bring huge sales. Creating red, pink or soft coloured floral scented candles for Valentine’s Day for example can be a good way to sell more in the Valentine period. The same goes for making candles with scents, patterns and colours that emulate the Christmas, New year, Easter seasons and so on.
Once there has been enough progress made with honing your skills and acquiring more knowledge in candle making, you can expand your business and reach by offering candle making classes! This can be a great way to gain more income.
How to make soy candles at home to sell.
Soy is a natural wax that is derived from soybean oil. It’s a great wax to use for your candle business because it is versatile and affordable. It is considered a clean-burning wax which means that it is not going to emit chemicals that are harmful into the air like paraffin and is 90% less likely to soot than paraffin. Soy is water-soluble so it’s great if you make a mess you just need soap and water to clean up after you. Some features to look for when choosing a soy wax include high fragrance load (around 10% or higher), good glass adhesion and a strong cold and hot throw.
You might find several types of soy wax in the market and you may be wondering what the best type of soy is for your container. You should make this decision by yourself so you know what fits your preference for the candle business that you are starting. Some soy is 100% soy while some are blended with other vegetable waxes. You must keep notes of everything that you do while testing.
The first step here is choosing your container because soy burns at a high temperature. So you need a container that can withstand a lot of heat. Glass, ceramic or metal makes a suitable container for your soy candles. The next thing to consider is the shape of the glass. Choosing a shape that easily topples over is not a good idea because it may cause a fire or easily cause a spill.
The next step is to pick your wick. Before you pick your wick make sure that you have narrowed it into your container to make sure that you pick the best wick size for you. A wider wick will give you a larger flame and a wider melt pool. The melt pool is really important in burning your candles because it ensures that your candle will be able to burn to the edge of your container. If your wick is too small you won’t be able to achieve a full melt pool.
To start making your soy candles, you get your wax filter ready. Get your pot half-filled with water on low heat. Measure about two pounds of soy wax and pour it into a pitcher that will be placed inside the pot of water. You want to make sure that the wax is melted completely without overheating it.
Soy needs to stay under 200 degrees Fahrenheit otherwise it can become discoloured. You can also heat soy wax in the microwave in a glass container but it may be harder to monitor the temperature in a microwave. So using a double boiler (pot and pitcher) is the easiest way to go.
The fragrance is the most exciting part. It’s important to note that if you’re looking for fragrances you should look for fragrances that are specifically formulated for candle making. Make sure they do not have ingredients that are flammable like alcohol, dipropylene or glycol. These can be very dangerous and may not blend well with your soy wax anyway. We also need a fragrance that can withstand a lot of heat because soy wax burns at a very high temperature. The candle needs to get very hot before it can release the fragrance oil.
A flashpoint tells us how much temperature is required for a fragrance to evaporate. Most fragrance oils have a higher flashpoint of about 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can find some that are lower. It is advisable to stick to the higher flashpoints as a beginner. These will hold up better in your wax because they are dense oils that will be able to give a strong scent.
Once you have selected the fragrance of your choice, to determine how much fragrance you should use check the details provided by the manufacturer of your wax to find out what they recommend. All soy wax has a maximum fragrance load capacity, which means it can hold a lot of fragrance oil in it. This is usually around 10-12% but that doesn’t mean you should start by adding that much, so a good ratio is about 6%. Six per cent will give you 1oz. of fragrance per 1lb. soy wax. To match your preferences make sure you test to figure out what you like and how well your fragrance will perform on soy wax.
Once your wax has reached the proper mixing temperature, remove the pitcher from the pot before putting in your fragrance oil. Pour your fragrance oil and then stir continuously for about 2 mins. Stirring too fast can incorporate a lot of air into the wax and that can cause issues like catering or sinkholes in your wax and may pose some problems on how it burns later on.
Once you’re done mixing, you need to let it cool down to avoid porosity.
Once you’re done mixing you need to let it cool down to its proper pore temperature. Sometimes the best temperature for this can vary so you need to test beforehand. But it’s a great idea to start with what the manufacturer recommends.
While your wax is cooling you need to put the wick into each container. You can use a wick sticker to adhere your wick to the container, but there are several other ways that you can attach your wick to your container. You can use a glue dot, a glue gun although you need to be careful with this one because some glue can melt at higher temperatures.
Now it’s time to pour your wax into the container. Pour your wax slowly into the container and leave about a half to a quarter inch room at the top of each container. Do not overfill your candles or they will overflow as they’re melting. Pouring too quickly will give you lots of air bubbles which can cause sinkholes and other cratering issues.
The last thing you need to do is make sure that all of your wicks are centred and secured. Then set your candles aside and allow them to cool completely for at least 24 hours without touching them. Make sure they’re in a nice temperature-controlled room if not that could alter the cooling process of the candles. You can let your candles cool for another 3 to 5 days, this is called curing soy candles. Some candle makers cure them for two weeks and some don’t at all, but this is good if you want all the chemicals to fully bond.
We hope this article gives all the information you need on how to set up a profitable candle making business, how to make candles at home to sell and all the legal and technical requirements for you to start a successful candle business. We wish you the very best!.