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Candle makers are artisans who pay critical attention to the sensory aesthetics of their product line and pragmatic business people adept at enticing buyers through smart marketing strategies.

What are the costs involved in opening a candle making business?

Depending on local zoning laws, you will probably be able to start your business at home, using your own kitchen heat source and utensils. A starters’ kit of products can be purchased online at many sites including Candle Science and Candle Chem. Your candle ingredients shouldn’t cost more than a couple hundred dollars to start. This includes:

Paraffin, gel, soy, beeswax or other wax
Jars, tins or other containers (but keep in mind that you won’t need containers if you’re solely marketing pillar candles)
Essential oils for fragrance
Coloring agents
Packaging supplies
Shipping costs of raw products in and finished products out

Other start up costs will include web development, which can cost zero to a couple hundred dollars, depending on your skills in the area, and at least a reasonably good camera. If you plan to exhibit your products at various shows and festivals, a booth can cost $100 a day and you’ll have gasoline and related travel costs.

You should also first talk with an insurance agent. Since there’s some potential for fire accidents, it’s important that you make sure your operation is insured for fire and also that you have a fire extinguisher on your premises. You should also have an initial discussion with a lawyers to see what your local requirements are for licenses or permits.

What are the ongoing expenses for a candle making business?

The business revolves mostly around the various forms of wax, your containers and color and fragrance additives. Once you’ve started small and proven your business model will work, you can buy these products at lower per-unit costs in bulk. For instance, wax can be found for as little as a dollar a pound when bought in 25-lb quantities. Wicks can be bought by the 100-ft. spool. Containers, including glass jars, mason jars and tins, can also be found in bulk quantities.

Who is the target market?

Your end customer is anyone who wants candles. Some individuals have pragmatic needs such as for illumination in the event of power blackout while others are looking for more of a sensory experience. Other great customers include churches that use candles for decoration of prayer offerings, or retailers who want to add a dramatic effect to their showrooms.

You might also appeal to resellers who can buy your merchandise in bulk. These will include store owners in your local area or beyond. You might meet such customers at arts and crafts trade shows.

If you like meeting your customers face to face in a venue where they can fully experience the aesthetics of your products, consider renting booths in arts and crafts shows, flea markets, festivals and fairs and related environments. Entrepreneur Magazine has this informative article about selling at arts and crafts shows.

How does a candle making business make money?

Candle making businesses sell to candles either directly to consumers, or indirectly through resellers, such as boutiques, gift shops and other arts and crafts retail venues. Candle making is a very general field, so create differentiation through the kinds of candles you sell (pillar, floating, votive, tea, etc.), or through the quality of your offering. Experiment with scents, colors and molds to create something with a unique appeal and worthy of premium pricing.


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