Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit burning inside of you? Do you love scents, making a place feel like home, and getting creative? How would you feel about combining all of those things?
Sounds pretty dreamy, right? You can make your dreams come true by starting a candle business.
Candles are something that never goes out of style. They bring peace and joy into peoples’ homes and always seem to make the best gifts.
So why don’t you turn your interest in making candles into an opportunity to make money?
If you’re hesitant about jumping into this business opportunity because you don’t know how to launch a candle business, you are in luck.
We are here to share with you all you need to know about starting a candle business. So read on to find out how you can turn this interest into a profit.
The Easy Parts of Starting a Candle Business
Some parts of the process are easier than others. If you are a candle lover, picking the right kind of candles to make and where to sell them might be the most fun and straightforward part of the whole process.
Deciding What Type of Candle To Make/Sell
When laypeople think about candles, they typically group them all into the same “candle” category. While they are all part of the same family, numerous different kinds exist.
And the best way to get your candle business off the ground is to choose one type of candle to focus on–at least at first. Once you’ve mastered this one, you can consider adding other types to your store.
Here are the most popular types of candles to choose from:
- Unscented soy candles. This type of candle has grown massively in popularity over the last few years as people have become more particular about what types of goods they are consuming. Soy candles are made from a soy wax base derived from soybeans. Thus, they are sustainable, which is a big draw.
- Unscented vegan candles. This is another type of candle that is very popular right now, as more and more people switch to products and foods that are free of any animal-derived ingredients. Unlike other basic candles that have beeswax, vegan candles have no animal products in them.
- Scented candles. Many people purchase candles as decorative pieces in their homes, but there is also a huge market for people who buy candles based simply on their smells. Scented candles are probably the most popular kind of candle and come in an extensive range of scents that offers something for everyone. Scents can be added to any candle-making base.
- Decorative candles. There is a big market for candles that people never burn but rather use simply as home decor and beautiful pieces. If you want to get creative with your artistic side, this may be the right type of candle for you to get into making and selling.
Find A Place To Sell Your Candles
When it comes to selling your candles, you have many options of where to try and put them up for sale.
Some people find great success simply by word of mouth. It happens as easily as someone going over to a friend’s house and seeing a candle they love. They ask where it’s from and then buy one for themselves.
Others find a lot of success selling via social media. People loving seeing the candles in action and other peoples’ reactions to them. You can also showcase your branding and personality.
You can also reach out to local shops and boutiques with complementary products and see if they’d like to stock your candles. You can share a percentage of the profits with the shop to have your candles sold there.
But the best way to sell your candles is by having your own online shop. If this sounds intimidating to you–we have the perfect solution: Shopify.
This online platform was created for this exact purpose: to give entrepreneurs a way to sell their products without all the fuss and overhead of a physical store.
Shopify has all the tools you need to create an eCommerce website that features all the tools you need to get customers, help drive your sales, and keep the day-to-day operations of your candle business running smoothly.
The Difficult Parts of Starting a Candle Business
As much as starting a candle business may sound like fun (and it is!), some parts of it may not be as fun as the actual candle-making itself.
However, these parts are necessary to make your business a success, so let’s discuss one of the most important things you need to do to set up a successful business: creating a business plan.
A business plan can be as daunting if you go in blindly. To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, here is an outline of what you need to do to create your business plan:
Come up with a business name. Have fun with this, and come up with something catchy that is easy for customers to remember. You may want to it be a name that people know is related to candles when they hear it. Once you create a name that you like, check on your secretary of state’s website to make sure that another business isn’t already using the name. You also want to do an online search to see if the name has been trademarked elsewhere. If your name is free to use, it is a good idea to secure a domain name and social media handles as soon as possible.
Create a business structure. Now we are starting to get into the nitty-gritty of the business. You need to choose the right type of business entity. While this may not seem like a big decision from the beginning, it is important. The most common business entities are limited liability companies (LLC), corporations, sole proprietorships, and general partnerships. Do your research to learn the differences between these and what will work best for you. Start here with our thorough guide to business structures and how to choose the right one for your company.
Write out a fully thought out business plan. Business plans generally include the following:
- Executive summary of the overall business
- General description of the company
- Organizational structure
- Market research and competitor analysis
- Description of your products
- How you plan to market and sell your products
- Financial projections and funding plans
You can use your business plan to dive into your business, make informed decisions, and secure funding.
We highly recommend using business plan software to help you with this step. If you only need to create up to three business plans, Enloop is an excellent free business plan software. You can use it for free for seven days with no credit card required, which is plenty of time to get yours done.
Enloop’s templates include financial analysis, generates bank-ready financial statements and forecasts, charts and tables, formatting, and more. You enter the information and Enloop puts it all together for you.
Step 1: Develop your pitch
Have you ever heard of the term “elevator pitch”? It is a short description of your company that sparks interest in people. It needs to be short and sweet–quick enough to explain to someone on a short elevator ride, hence its name.
In your pitch, you need to establish the “who.” This means identifying your customer. Who they are, what their interests are, what they search for, where they shop, where they live, and more.
Next, you need to establish the “what.” This forces you to think about the value that your product brings to people. How will people benefit from buying your product? Why would they want to buy it?
Step 2: Define your target market
Your target market is where you fit into the larger candle marketplace (because it is massive). This step is a very important one to take in your business.
Here are the different types of markets:
Handmade candles tend to be more expensive and are often available online direct to consumer. These candles are usually more creative than mass– or mid-market candles and can be found on sites like Etsy and individual shop websites. As the candlemaker sets their own prices, they can be anywhere from $10 to $100.
This type of market includes candles such as those you find at Bed Bath and Beyond and the brand Yankee Candle. It is defined as selling your candles at an affordable price in lots of retail stores. The scents in this type of market tend to be more traditional and widely loved because they are produced and sold in large quantities. The price point for these candles is also less, typically under $10.
Like the mass-market candles, ones in the mid-market also appeal to a wide range of people. This level of candle is usually found at stores like Target and TJ Maxx. These scents tend to be more unique and are priced around $15.
These are luxury-level candles found at stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and upscale boutiques. Premium packaging, scents, and stories are central to this type of market. The price range for these candles is $20 and up.
To help you decide which market you want to target, think about who your ideal customer is. Where they will go to buy your candles and how much do they feel comfortable spending on a candle?
Determining this will help you sort out the details of where to source your candle-making materials and what you want your branding and packaging to look like.
Step 3: Build your brand
This part of the process can be very fun, as you get to decide on things such as your logo, color scheme, and brand identity. It is crucial to building an audience and is particularly important for a candle business.
This is an industry that has blown up over the last few years, so you need to take the time to figure out what sets your candle business apart from others.
Here are the things to consider with building your brand:
Choose your scents
Most people buy candles for their scent. The only ones who may not are those who are in the decorative candle market. Even then, they may want the candles to smell good should they choose to burn them rather than just have them serve as decoration.
Thus, the scent is crucial, and you need to choose scents that will make your brand stand out. Get creative and sophisticated with your choices. Pick things that people won’t find anywhere else and that make them feel a certain way or trigger feelings of nostalgia.
There are many scents to choose from and you can even create a custom blend. Go nuts here and find scents you really love and can build a brand around.
Create your brand story and website
Your brand story is what gives your candle business personality. Rather than just being a product that people can buy, your brand needs a narrative that connects to your customers. Branding is everything from your business’s name and slogan to your logo, colors, and images.
One of the best ways to share your brand is via a Shopify website. You can use Shopify to buy and register your domain and get your site up and running.
The domain name gives your business a level of credibility and proves to customers that you are in it for the long haul.
Some of the features you’ll enjoy with your Shopify website are:
- Choosing from 70+ professional website themes
- Your own domain name
- Ability to brand and customize your store
- Ability to shop from a mobile phone or tablet (mobile responsive)
- Full blogging platform
- Free SSL certificate
- Flexible shipping rates
You can try Shopify for free for 14 days to see if it’s the right fit for you. If it feels like the right choice for your candle business, you can choose from these three pricing plans:
Basic Shopify. $29 per month. This is the best option for new ecommerce businesses that primarily sell online.
Shopify. $79 per month. This is the best option for growing businesses that sell both online and in-person.
Advanced Shopify. $299 per month. This is the best option for scaling businesses that need advanced reporting.
Step 4: Create a budget
This is an important part of your business plan that allows you to figure out the costs involved in your business.
The budget should include:
- Cost of equipment
- Cost of supplies
- Overhead costs
You also want to work into your budget paying yourself to make a profit on your business.
The easiest way to start a budget is to create it for the first two months of your business. Once you make it through that, you can reassess and rework the budget to better fit your needs once you’ve learned more about what it’s like to actually have your candle business in action.
Step 5: Establish a marketing plan
How will you sell your candles? The marketing plan is a crucial part of the business process.
Many people choose to sell their candles online, as it is the most lucrative and cost-effective. Not to mention it allows people from all over the world to have access to your products.
Here are some of the top ways to market your candles online:
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
If you’d rather sell your candles in person, then establish a marketing plan that aligns with this mode of selling. Again, focus on your target audience and how you will appeal to them at different shops.
Step 6: Get permits and licenses
Before you get to the best part of your candle business, you want to make sure you have all the necessary permits and licenses to run your candle business.
What you need for this often depends on where you establish your business and what type of business you choose to set up.
Be sure to check out your local and state requirements for permits and licenses for small businesses. Here is a helpful checklist that the IRS has created for starting a small business.
Step 7: Start making candles
Now that you’ve got the more complex and technical parts of your candle business out of the way, it is time for you to tap into your creativity and start making candles.
With the type of candle chosen, your target audience determined, and your branding sorted, you can now make candles that bring customers the happiness they’re after.