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How to Start a Candle Making Business at Home: The Easy Way

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With the popularity of candles at an all-time high, it’s no surprise that many people have realized how profitable and rewarding a candle making business can be. I, like many people, would much rather buy my candles from small business where I know someone is taking the time to make sure my candles smell incredible and look just as good, rather than from a mass produced company.

Candle making has a low start up cost and you can usually make them using equipment you probably already have in your kitchen. Candles have become a must have item in homes everywhere and candle making can be an extremely lucrative business – if you know what you’re doing.

However, many people forget to consider the practical and legal side of the business, and instead only focus on the creative aspect. In order to make your business profitable and successful whilst still ensuring you are following legal and business guidelines, it is important to research and plan ahead.

how to start a candle making business

To help you get started, I’ve prepared a guide of how to start your candle making business. It is important that you focus on the creative aspect as well as business strategies. Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Plan Your Business

A clear and well thought out plan is essential for a successful business. There are several important things to consider including:

What will your start up costs be?

The start up costs for candle making can be very low compared to other businesses. Many candle makers run their businesses from their own homes and you likely already have many of the materials you need in your kitchen. Being aware of your start up costs will help you plan how much money you will need before you can begin selling.

Approximately how much will each candle cost to make?

This will help you to plan your costs per year. Your costs may change depending on the amount of sales you make. The more candles you make, the higher the potential is to save costs on your outgoings. This is because you can buy in bulk and save overall.

How much do you plan to sell each candle for? 

As candle making is a competitive market, you need to be able to justify the price. To sell at the highest price, you will need to ensure you are using quality ingredients and materials, that your candles are aesthetically pleasing and that you are using superior scents.

How much profit can a candle business make?

Calculating your potential profit can help you decide whether candle making will be a full time or part time business. Is there anything you can do to increase your profits?

How and where do you plan to sell the candles?

Some people choose to sell online, others choose to sell at craft markets and other events. Whichever option you choose requires forward planning, whether that’s designing a website or researching upcoming events in your area.

What will you name your business?

Your candle business name is the first thing potential customers will see. You should therefore make sure it represents your business and is attractive to customers. It might also be a good idea to register your business name. Make sure you check whether the domain is available too (like .COM or .CO).

Step 2: ‘The Legal Stuff’

This is the boring part. Although definitely not as fun as making candles, ‘the legal stuff’ is just as important to make sure your business is successful. To make sure you are following the rules and regulations, there are some steps you need to follow.

  1. You need to choose a legal structure (i.e. a sole proprietorship or an LLC).
  2. Register for state and federal taxes – To do this, you will also need to apply for an EIN.
  3. Buy business insurance – This will protect you and your business from a variety of situations, including protecting your assets and covering you in the event of an accident.
  4. Open a business account – This will help to keep all of your business finances in one place and makes it easier to file your taxes and do your business accounts.
  5. Look at the different permits and licenses you may need. Also look at the licensing requirements in your state.

Step 4: Choose Your Wax

The type of wax you choose will have a huge impact on the type of company you will become and the type of customers you will attract. Below is a quick lowdown of the most popular wax types:

  • Paraffin – This is the cheapest and most common wax, especially in mass-produced candles. It produces strong smelling candles and holds colour well. However, paraffin has recently gained a reputation for having several toxic chemicals in it Paraffin candles can release toxins in to your customers’ homes and are more difficult to clean than other wax types.
  • Soy – This is made from soybeans and is a renewable resource as well as being biodegradable. Soy candles don’t usually contain toxins and they burn more slowly than paraffin which creates a longer burning candle. However, you will need to add more essential oils to the candle to create a strong scent.
  • Beeswax – Although beeswax is the most expensive wax for making candles, beeswax candles are becoming increasingly popular. These candles are the most environmentally friendly and have the least toxins. They also burn for longer than paraffin and soy candles. However, they are not as easy to add fragrance too because of the natural honey smell. These makes it more difficult to create your own scents.

Step 5: Choose Your Scents

The most popular way to add fragrance to candles is by using essential oils. To get the strongest smelling candles, use 100% pure essential oils. These are completely natural and don’t release any toxins into the air – something that is becoming increasingly important to candle lovers.

Essential oils fall into three different categories, known as notes. These are top notes, middle notes and base notes. To get the strongest scents that last the longest, it is best to choose scents from each note and mix them together.

To set you business apart from others, experiment and blend scents together to make your own unique fragrances. If your candles smell unique, your customers are more likely to buy from you again.

Step 6: Gather Your Ingredients and Materials

Organizing your materials in advance can save you time and keep your business organized – ultimately making your life easier. Below, is a list of the things I use for candle making but you can always tweak it to better fit you.

  • Containers – The type of container or jar you use for your candles is very important. It represents the aesthetic of your company and makes it recognizable to your customers. More attractive candle containers are also more likely to entice new customers to buy from you, as many people use candles as decorative items.
  • Wax flakes or pellets in your chosen material
  • Essential Oils – You can choose whether to use 100% pure essential oils or other fragrance oils.
  • Wicks – Choose a type of wick and stick to it as this will be a representation of your brand. The most popular wicks are wooden and cotton.
  • A glue gun or something similar to attach the wicks.
  • Heatproof container – A jug or pot depending on how you plan to melt the wax.
  • Stirrer – A wooden spoon or something similar works fine.
  • Measuring cup – To measure the wax.

Step 7: Experiment

Before selling your candles, have some fun and experiment. Try different scents, different looks, different labels and different  packaging until you create the candles that best represent you and your business.

Make sure that your candles stand out from others and that they’re good enough to generate good reviews, recommendations and repeat custom.

Step 8: Sell, Sell Sell!

You should already know exactly how and where you plan to sell you candles (if you followed the steps)! How you proceed from here will change depending on whether you are selling on a website, via social media or at in-person events.

All of these ways of selling can result in a successful candle making business. For those of you who are even more ambitious, a combination of these selling approaches can result in even more sales. So if you have your own website, you can still advertise on social media and attend local events and sell your candles there.

The important point here is to plan well and be organized. Wait until your website is fully functional before advertising online and make sure you have enough candles prepared before attending a market or event.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Candle Making Business?

The costs for starting your candle making business can vary, so today, I will aim to give you a rough estimate of costs you can expect. The first thing you will need to invest in is your materials.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Candle Making Business

These will include; jars, wax, wicks, essential oils, and packaging supplies. To have enough materials to begin, expect to pay up to $200. This amount will change depending on how many candles you initially plan to make. 

When making the candles, you will be able to use many of the materials you already have in your home kitchen, such as a glue gun, scissors, and a measuring cup.

Other costs that may be associated with starting up your business depends on how you plan to sell your candles. If you decide to start your own candle selling website, you will need to factor in the cost of developing and designing the site.

If you plan to sell through an already existing site, you may have to pay advertising or membership costs. Some candle makers prefer to sell their candles at markets, events and festivals. If this is something you are interested in, bare in mind that you’ll have to pay for a booth or stall, the cost of which can vary massively.

Is Candle Making Profitable?

Many small business owners want to make enough money to focus on their business full time. To figure out how much money you can make from your candle making business, you first need to calculate the cost of making the candle.

You then need to decide how much you are going to charge for each candle and how many candles you can realistically make and sell per week. For example, if it costs $5 to make a candle and you plan to sell them for $15, that’s a profit of $10. If you plan to make and sell 30 candles per week, your profit will be $300 per week.

How do I Make My Candle Business Stand Out?

Candle making has grown in popularity so much in recent years that it can feel impossible to make your business stand out from the crowd and become successful. There are a number of tips you can follow to make your candles stand out.

  1. Focus on your fragrance – One of the main reasons people spend so much money on candles is to make their homes smell great. If you can create beautiful and original scents, your candles will stand out from the thousands of others available to buy.
  2. Honor customer loyalty – Offer discounts to returning customers and those who recommend your business to others. Recommendations and word of mouth is a great way to increase your sales.
  3. Market an individual product – You don’t want your candles to look and smell like every other candle on the market. You could focus on designing your jars or packaging in an individual way or focus on individual and original scents.
  4. Brand name –  Think of a brand name that is interesting and memorable.
  5. Market your business successfully – To make your business successful, you need to make sure people know about it. Advertising online and via social media can help to raise awareness of your brand. Post attractive photographs of your candles and make sure the descriptions are interesting and engaging.

Do I Need Insurance to Sell Candles?

Although legally, you are not required to have insurance to sell candles getting liability insurance is usually recommended. Insurance can be expensive, especially if your candle business isn’t very profitable but the consequences of not having insurance could be serious. 

If you sell a candle to someone and a fire starts in their home, they may choose to sue you. If the candle is the cause of the fire, you would be completely liable for any damages or injuries that were caused by the fire.

Even if it is ruled that the fire is not your fault, you would still have to pay your legal fees – which can quickly add up.  As a minimum, make sure you put warning labels on your candles.

Insurance can also protect you if your materials are damaged in some way or if your stock is stolen or lost.