So you want to start selling candles?
If you’re a fellow crafter or more specifically, chandler, and you absolutely love making handmade candles and wax melts, it’s likely that the idea of selling your beautifully scented creations, has crossed your mind. Although candles are bought pretty much all year around, if the seasonal holidays are coming up, it’s definitely all the more reason to start doing your research on how you can start selling as a small business.
Once you get started, running your business is not as overwhelming as you might suspect. As long as you stay organised, pay careful attention to your accounts, make sure you’re abiding by specific candle making laws and of course do your research beforehand, your experience should soon be plain sailing.
How much stock should you have available?
When just starting out, it’s probably best you don’t have too much stock on hand. Simply because, at the very beginning, it’s extremely unlikely for you to be able to confidently know which candles and which scents will be popular. Remember, whilst you may absolutely adore the scent of strong, spicy hazelnut cappuccino and think it pairs perfectly with a rich brown coloured candle, your customers may not think that’s the case at all. Let your customers decide for you and after a decent time-period you’ll naturally know what sells best (and at what times of the year).
Since you are not going to have a large supply of ready-made products initially, it would be advisable to let your customers know that your candles and wax tarts will be made to order. Although it will take longer as it isn’t as simple as taking it “off the shelf”, don’t let this deter your customers. Instead, spin it around and take pride in taking time to produce bespoke freshly made candles with your high-quality supplies.
Find reliable suppliers
Ensure you have enough equipment and supplies on hand to fulfil orders at a moment’s notice. Find a supplier you trust, and be certain that you have everything you need to make anything you sell at any one time.
Pro Tip: Make sure you find a supplier you trust from the beginning – building trust can take time and will be difficult when you’re just starting out in the candle making industry, so make sure you contact your suppliers beforehand enquiring about wholesale prices, shipping & delivery and how often they receive stock. Have a good browse at what they offer – a good range of fragrance oils for example will in turn mean good news for you, as you too will be able to have an extensive range. One more thing – it may be worth ordering samples to test out quality.
Designate a work space
Running a business is a serious project, and, hopefully, you’ll experience “business boom” fairly quickly after setting up, with huge amounts of orders flying in on a daily basis. What you don’t want, after so much effort and hard work in building customer relationships and promotion, is to have problems fulfilling your orders.
You’ll definitely run into this issue if you’ve previously been making your wax melts and candles on the coffee table in your living room – it sounds ridiculous, I know, and will most likely be overlooked in the beginning, but please do take head fellow crafters!
In order to stay as productive as possible, designate an area of your home strictly for work – no kids, pets, friends or family allowed. Creating a designated area solely for work will really help with not only focussing on strictly work, but also with keeping things tidy and organised.
Make your product list
Devise a product list based on the items you already know how to make. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, offer something brand new that you haven’t yet practised creating – this could lead to disastrous consequences! Only introduce new products when you are 100% confident with the finished result. Of course, every chandler knows that no two candles are the same and the art of creating candles can take a very long time to perfect, but you’ll know what is worthy of being sold and what simply needs some more refining!
It’s a good idea to consider offering candle making accessories such as wax melt burners and candlesticks – products that don’t require as much time as your actual candles.
Time to make a website!
Now you’re ready to start selling – but how? Whilst you can start selling from a physical shop, it would be highly advisable to start your venture as an e-commerce business. For one, you won’t have near as much overhead costs and it will also bypass the issue of your made to order candles.
All you’ll have to do is find an e-commerce platform that meets your needs, and then get started with setting up your business online. If this is something that’s brand new for you, worry not – there are a wealth of online platforms and industry professionals who can help and it really is not as hard as it looks!
All things legal
There’s one very important part to all of this that I’ve purposely left out to save for a whole new blog that will be completely dedicated to this topic – and that is, the legal side of things.
From setting up your business for tax purposes to even selling your candles to your customers, there are some very specific things that you must be aware of. Whilst I understand you won’t become a tax expert or lawyer overnight, at the very least, as the business owner you should know the basics. So, for your convenience, I’ve put together a pretty comprehensive article which I’d urge you to have a look at – click here.
If there’s one thing to take from this article, take this - you certainly can have the business of your dreams by transforming a hobby you adore into a professional occupation – with the right guidance, research and preparation in all aspects of running a business from the products to legalities, your candle making business dream can very much become a reality!