Are you looking for a creative and exciting new business idea? Why not start a homemade candle business? Candle making is a fun and rewarding hobby, and with the proper planning and execution, it can also be a successful small business with you as the business owner! According to Allied Market Research, the global home decor market is worth an incredible $616.6 billion and is expected to grow leaps and bounds by 2027. This hobby can earn you serious money in the home decor market!
You'll need to consider a few things before starting your candle business, such as what type of candles you want to make, your target market, and how you plan to sell your candles (online, in retail stores, etc.). It's important to be familiar with the basics of starting a candle-making business, from choosing a name to creating a product line. You should also get start learning about digital marketing strategies that you can use to reach your target audience and sell online. Consider this your step-by-step guide to starting your own candle business!
Making Candles at Home
Candle-making is a great business idea for several reasons. First, it's a relatively low-cost startup. You can get started with just a few hundred dollars and some basic supplies. Additionally, there's a growing demand for candles, especially eco-friendly and soy candles. Candle making is a fun and creative hobby that can be turned into a profitable business. And last but not least, there are plenty of opportunities to sell candles online and in retail stores. In fact, ecommerce is the fastest growing sales channel in the home decor industry, with online sales expected to reach $143 billion by 2028.
The first step to starting a candle business is to create a product line. If you're new to candle making, start by experimenting with different fragrances, wicks, dyes, and waxes at home. Once you've got a handle on the basics, you can start thinking about scaling up your operation.
There are two main types of candle wax: paraffin and soy. Paraffin wax is the most common type of candle wax, and it's also the cheapest. Soy wax is more expensive, but it's a renewable resource, and some people prefer its clean-burning properties. Beeswax is another alternative, although it's even more expensive than soy wax. The benefits of beeswax candles are that they're non-toxic and have a longer burn time than other types of candles. All of these types of wax come in wax melts, small buttons of wax that you melt together to form the candle.
There are several types of wicks. The most common are made from cotton or linen and are coated with beeswax or paraffin. These types of wicks work well with both soy and paraffin waxes. You'll also need to choose your wicks carefully, as different wick types work better with different types of wax.
Once you've decided on your wax and wick, it's time to start thinking about fragrances. According to the National Candle Association, the fragrance is by far the most important characteristic impacting candle purchases today, with three-fourths of candle buyers saying it is "extremely important" or "very important" in their selection of a candle. Consider doing some research on aromatherapy. The candle-making industry uses aromatherapy in many of its products, and for a good reason!
Candle fragrances can be made from essential oils, fragrance oils, or a blend of both. Essential oils are natural and have therapeutic benefits but are also more expensive. Fragrance oils are synthetic but less expensive and easier to work with. You'll need to experiment to see what type of fragrances work best with your wax and wicks.
Containers for your candles are another essential aspect to consider. There are many ways to contain a candle; find what works best for your brand. Mason jars are a trendy option right now, though they can be expensive in terms of cost and associated shipping. Try to find options you can buy in bulk to cut expenses. Consider using plastic to offset the cost.
Branding Your Candle Business
The first step in branding your candle business is choosing a business name. This can be anything you want, but try to choose something that reflects the type of candles you make or the vibe you're going for. Are you making decorative candles, or are they focused on aromatherapy? Your business name should align with your product. Once you've chosen a name, you'll need to create a logo to tell your brand story. You can hire a graphic designer to do this for you or use one of the many logo design tools available online. We love Canva for small business designs - they offer a free or paid plan, and you can even add a team to your plan down the line when you've expanded your business.
Branding is vital for a few reasons. Branding helps you create a cohesive look for your product line. Imagine your favorite brands and companies' logos and branding. They likely use the same scheme or theme with their branding. Often color stories come into play with branding. Keep things consistent with your branding; it makes it easier for customers to remember your candle business. Branding allows you to create a story and voice for your business. Customers want to know who they're buying from, what you stand for, and what your products mean to you.
Candle Business Business Plan
The next step in starting your candle business is to create a business plan. This doesn't have to be fancy - it can be a simple document outlining your business goals, strategies, and costs. Your business plan should include:
Your business name, logo, and tagline
A description of your products and target market
Your marketing strategy
Your eCommerce platform (if you're selling online)
Your retail partners (if you're selling in stores)
Your estimated startup costs and ongoing expenses
Your profit margins
You will also need to figure out your business structure. Are you a sole proprietor? An LLC, limited liability company? Incorporated? Each has different tax implications and legal protections, so choosing the right one for your business is important. You can speak with an attorney or accountant to help you decide which structure is best for you.
Candle Business Pricing Strategy
Pricing your candles can seem tricky at first, but there are a few things you can keep in mind to help you come up with a pricing strategy. The first is your target market. Who are you selling to? Are you selling budget-friendly candles or luxury candles? This will help you determine your price point.
The next thing to consider is your costs. How much does it cost you to make one candle? You'll need to factor in the cost of wax, wicks, fragrance, packaging, and labels. Once you've determined your costs, you can start considering profit margins. A good rule of thumb is to triple your costs, and add an hourly wage for yourself, when setting retail prices (so if it costs you $0.50 to make one candle, you would sell it for $0.50 x three + 15 = $16.50). However, this will vary depending on your target market and pricing strategy.
Depending on where you live, you may need to get a business license or permit to sell candles. This is usually a simple process - you can contact your city or county clerk's office to find out the requirements in your area.
Getting insurance for your candle business is also a good idea, especially if you're selling online or in stores. This will protect you in case of any accidents or issues with your candles. You can contact your local insurance agent to find out what type of coverage is available for small businesses in your area.
If you're selling online, you'll need to factor in shipping costs when pricing your candles. We recommend using a shipping calculator like ShippingEasy to get an idea of how much it will cost to ship your candles. You can also use this tool to compare shipping rates from different carriers and find the best option for your business.
Finally, you'll need to pay taxes on your candle sales. This includes federal, state, and local taxes. The amount you'll owe will vary depending on the type of products you sell, where you sell them, and how much revenue your business brings in. We recommend talking to an accountant or tax advisor to better understand the taxes you'll need to pay for your candle business.
Creating an Online Store
Now that you've got a product line and a brand, it's time to start selling! These days, the easiest way to sell online is to create an eCommerce store using a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce. These online ecommerce stores offer premade templates making setting up and starting more effortless than ever.
Shopify is great for small businesses because it's easy to use, built-in features for payments (credit cards), shipping, marketing, and more. It's excellent for beginners in the ecommerce industry. You can start selling immediately with Shopify - just create an account, choose a template, add your products, and promote your store!
If you're unfamiliar with coding or website design, we recommend sticking with Shopify. WooCommerce offers a bit more flexibility than Shopify, but it's also a bit more complicated to set up. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, so you'll need to create a WordPress website first for a domain name and then install the WooCommerce plugin.
If you're not ready to invest in an eCommerce platform or build your own website yet, that's okay too! There are plenty of other ways to sell online. You can list your products on marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon Handmade. These platforms are great because they already have a huge customer base. Etsy allows you to set up your own shop and customize it to match your brand. Amazon Handmade is a bit more restrictive - you'll need to apply and be accepted to sell on the platform.
You can also sell in person at local craft fairs, craft shows, farmers' markets, or boutiques. This can be a great way to start because it doesn't require any upfront investment other than some business cards or signage with your branding. It's also a great way to meet potential customers and get feedback about your products.
Selling wholesale is another option for selling your candles. You'll need to create a wholesale price list and reach out to retailers that you think would be interested in carrying your products. These can be brick-and-mortar stores or online retailers. Wholesale retailers will likely place orders with you regularly, which can be a great way to establish consistent income for your candle business.
Market Research for Candle Businesses
Before you start selling your candles, doing market research is essential. This will help you understand the demand for your products, your target audience, what price point to sell at, and where to sell your candles.
There are a few ways that you can go about conducting market research. You can start by searching online for candle businesses or eCommerce businesses. Look at their website design, branding, product line, prices, and social media presence. Take note of what you like and don't like about each business. This will give you a good idea of what's already out there and how you can make your business stand out.
You can also directly reach out to potential customers and ask them about their candle preferences. This can be done through surveys or interviews. You can create a survey using Google Forms or SurveyMonkey and then share it with your social media followers, email list, or even post it on Craigslist. You can also reach out to people you know personally and ask them about their thoughts on candle businesses.
Finally, you can look at industry reports to get an idea of the overall candle market. This can be helpful in understanding things like the size of the market, growth trends, average prices, etc. Industry reports can be found for free on websites like Statista or IBISWorld.
Marketing Plan for Candle Businesses
Now that you've got a few ideas of how and where to sell your candles, it's time to start marketing your business. Marketing is essential to promote your brand awareness and attract people to buy from you.
There are many ways to market a candle business. You can use social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook to reach potential customers. Creating social media accounts for your business is free. You can use them to post photos and videos of your products, announce sales or discounts, and give potential customers a behind-the-scenes look at your candle business. Consider running giveaways on your social media to build your customer base. Have people tag friends, share your post, comment or like to enter your contest.
Using digital marketing strategies like SEO or Google AdWords can also help get your candle business in front of potential customers. You can use keyword research to find out what people are searching for when they're looking for candles. Then, you can create content on your website or blog that targets those keywords. For example, if you sell soy candles, you could write a blog post titled "The Benefits of Soy Candles" and include information about why soy candles are better than other types of candles.
You can also use Google AdWords to run ads for your candle business. This is a paid marketing strategy, but it can effectively reach potential customers who are already interested in buying candles.
If you're selling candles in person, you can also do a few things to market your business offline. One option is to participate in local craft fairs or farmers' markets. This is a great way to meet potential customers and get feedback on your products. Another option is to sell your candles through retailers like boutiques or gift shops. This can be a great way to reach new customers, but it's important to make sure you're pricing your candles correctly, so you still make a profit.