Turn your candle passion into a profitable business! Here is how to start a candle business from the comfort of your home.
We all like our homes to smell nice, and one way to accomplish that is by lighting a candle. I don’t know about you, but I love how certain scents can elevate your mood and overall home aesthetic.
Don’t you love the autumn season candle scents like baked apple cinnamon? Or even the soft floral scents for the spring and summer? Seasonal scents can enhance your home or make your gathering feel more festive.
I love that candles can be more than just a product; they can make you feel a certain emotion, bring back a memory, and make the house smell great all at the same time.
If you are searching for a business to start and have a passion for scents and making people fall in love with all the delicious smells you can create with candles, then a candle business might just be for you!
Steps to Starting a Candle Business
You’ve decided to start a candle business and are thinking, now what? Where do you begin with your candle business? Good question! It can be overwhelming when starting something new, especially an entrepreneurial endeavor. But these 9 steps will help you on your way!
1. Create a Business Plan
As with any business, a business plan is the foundation for business success. It’ll help you define your goals and strategies and even your financial projections. (Outlining startup costs, etc.)
I’ve heard from many business owners that their business plan was key to the success of their business right from the start.
What Should Go in a Business Plan?
According to Shopify, you’ll want to include the following in your business plan.
- Include an executive summary
- Write a summary of your business, including who you are and what you plan to do
- Perform market analysis
- Decide the legal structure of your business
- Outline any team members and how they relate to the business
- List your products
- Define a marketing plan
- and more!
Need a free business plan template? We’ve got you covered! Go here to get your free business plan template.
2. Choose a Niche
The candle-making market is packed, but there’s still room for you! Why? Because you can bring something new to the candle market than anyone else can. And part of that ability will be by choosing a niche. This will help you in setting yourself apart from the rest of the market.
For example, soy candles, vegan candles, and beeswax candles are niches, luxury high-end candles can also be a niche, and so on.
What Defines Your Niche?
A niche is a specialty within a larger market. So, instead of just creating candles and marketing them to candle lovers, you are making a specific candle that will appeal to a specific kind of candle lover.
Why is a Niche Important?
Not only will it help you know what the needs and desires of your customers are better, but it’ll also help you make more sales because you’ll know how to market to that niche as well. You’ll know their pain points and how to solve the problem.
It can also help you find a hole in the market. For example, what if most people are simply making and marketing candles to anyone who wants a candle burning, but they are missing out on targeting the specific luxury candle niche where their current candles just aren’t of interest to that market?
If the candle markers who target no particular niche or target market were to switch their focus to buyers who want long-lasting, high-quality scents with high-end packing and provided just that to their customers, they would have more success in the long run because they would know exactly who their buyer is and what they’re looking for.
Need further advice on choosing a niche?
Check out this article about following your heart to find your niche.
3. Define Your Target Market
What is the difference between a niche and a target market, and do you really need to know what both are for a business to be successful? If you’re new to the business, these concepts may be confusing or may feel as though they overlap, but they are unique to the business.
Let’s use an example, as I think that can help answer this question better.
Say you want to niche yourself in the high-end candle market. You like the idea of selling your candles at a premium and marketing to customers who might be more willing to spend more on their candles. The niche is the high-end candle.
Your target market for the high-end candle would most likely be a buyer who is willing to invest in a premium, quality, high-end candle. They’d likely be more interested in high-quality ingredients, scents, and packaging as well.
So, the niche is the unique spot in the market, and the target market is the actual customers to who you’d be selling to.
It’s important to know your target market so that you know your target customer well, can market to them, and make exactly the kind of product that they are interested in.
Once you know your niche, I find understanding your target market to be less overwhelming and much easier to define.
4. Choose a Business Name
This can be such a fun part of the process, or it can be overwhelming; where to start, what happens if the name you love is taken, and so on!
Think about your niche and target market when coming up with a business name for your own candle business.
Let’s go with the high-end candle market again.
I might look into names like:
- Luxury Glow
- Elegant Embers
- Opulent Aromas
Once you come up with a name, you’ll want to check if the name is being used by someone else and it’s available to purchase as a domain name. You can do that with sites like GoDaddy or NameCheap. If the name is available, I’d also check social media platforms and see if the name is available there, as you’ll want to have a Facebook account and likely an Instagram account. Don’t forget Pinterest too!
If your name is available for purchase as a domain name, but it isn’t available on social media, you could think about how to edit the name on social media sot hat you can still use it.
An example would be if Luxury Glow is available for purchase but taken on social media, you could do Luxury Glow Candles on social media, if available.
Please note these names are just examples and may not be available. You’ll want to choose names that fit your niche and appeal to your target market and that are not already trademarked.
5. Check out The Legal Steps
While I can’t tell you the exact steps to making your business legal, as it varies from state to state and country to country, I can give you some general advice and details.
Decide on Your Business Entity
- Limited liability company (LLC)
- Sole proprietorships
- C corporation
- S corporations
I’d advise you to research the different business setups so you can decide which one would be best for you and your business venture. Talking to a lawyer or accountant can help you determine which business structure is best for your overall situation.
Apply For a Sale Tax Permit
Depending on where you live, how much you sell, and where you plan on selling, you may need to collect sales tax on your products. Each state has different rules and regulations, so be sure you understand these before getting started.
Resale Permit to Become Tax Exempt
According to the site Candle Science, you’ll want to apply for a resale permit to become tax-exempt.
A resale permit, also known as a resale certificate or a reseller’s permit, is issued by your state’s taxing authority which will allow a business to make purchases of goods for resale without paying a sales tax. Essentially it’s a way for businesses to show that they are purchasing items to resell them rather than consume them.
Reach Out to Business Professionals
Setting up your business is the best and ideal time to get a lawyer, accountant, and other professionals that can help you in setting up your business correctly right from the start. They can help you in setting up your business licenses and get all the legalities of your business as new business owners correct right away.
I advise getting familiar with the small business section of the IRS.
Set Up Your Bank Account
You’ll want to decide if you need a business bank account for your candle business or if you’re keeping your personal and business monies together. If you’re incorporating your business, you must have a separate business account. I advise speaking with an accountant about this topic so that you’re in compliance with your state’s laws and regulations.
6. Decide Where to Sell
Will you sell your candles on your independent website with Shopify or an online marketplace platform like Etsy or Amazon?
Will you sell primarily online, or will you sell in boutique stores or craft fairs and markets?
You could even do a mixture of both, such as selling on Etsy while selling on your website and doing craft fairs here and there.
If you’re interested in craft fairs, I’d recommend going to Google and typing in “craft fairs near me,” and it should offer up a nice variety of fairs.
7. Make and Test Your Candles
Now the fun begins! You’ve put in all the hard and often boring work of the business setup; time to enjoy playing around with the actual candle-making!
It’s time to make and test your candles.
You’ll want to choose scents, the kind of wax you’ll use, like paraffin wax candles, the wicks you want to use, and the packaging for your candles.
According to Shopify, these are the materials you’ll need when making candles:
- Wax – common waxes to use are paraffin wax, beeswax, and soy wax.
- Wicks – they are often paper, wood, cotton, or even zinc.
- Scented oils – the candles get their scents from the essential oils or fragrance oils added during the candle-making process.
- Candlemaker tools – you’ll want to purchase things like a spatula, double boiler, thermometer, heat-proof containers, and popsicle sticks or pencils, which will be used to stabilize the wick in the pouring process.
- Jars – you’ll need something to pour your candle wax into. Look around online and find them in bulk.
Here is a convenient list of all the candle-making supplies you’ll need.
Choosing the Scent
This is where your creativity can shine!
You can choose single-note fragrances, such as lavender, bergamot, and rosemary, or pre-blended fragrance oils, like vanilla lavender, citrus burst, and summer breeze.
You can even make your combinations! Think of an herbal garden and use rosemary, basil, and sage oils.
Test the Candles
Test your scents in your kitchen or give them out to friends and family to try. Ask them to note how well they burned, how long they burned, how was the scent, did it last long, carry well, and so on.
You could even have a candle-burning party at your house!
8. Set Up Your Workspace
Choose if you’ll rent out a space or simply use your kitchen. Will you use your countertops or dining room table, or will you purchase furniture and protective gear just for your candle business?
Will you devote a section of your kitchen to the candle business so that you don’t have to put away your pots and equipment every time? Or, as mentioned before, would renting a space specifically for your business be a better idea?
9. Start Selling
Now that you’ve gone through all the steps necessary for a successful business, the best part begins – selling your candles!
Tips for marketing your candle business:
- Advertise offline
- Set up social media accounts and begin posting
- Do SEO on your website (search engine optimization)
- Set up a Pinterest account and create beautiful pins linked back to your site
- Word of mouth is great in the beginning; tell your friends and family about your candles
- Join business and even candle-based FB groups
- Go to local markets to sell
Let your enthusiasm for your candles spread to those around you.
Share about your new business with your friends and family and those you naturally speak to out in the world. Have business cards on hand, maybe scent cards or samples, and hand them out. Nothing is too big or too small when you’re in business for yourself!
Candle Business Wrap-Up
Now that you’ve read this article, it’s time to dive in and get the work done so you can get your unique candles out into the world!
Some parting advice would be that you keep up on market trends, popular scents, and candle designs, any new waxes or wicks on the market, new candle jars, and the like. Being cutting-edge will set you apart from other candle makers.
Staying on top of new social media platforms or even marketplaces to sell your candles could also prove important in your business as well. Don’t be afraid to try something new when it comes to marketing your business.
And let your creativity run wild! Try scent mixes you may not think would go well, as you just never know when you’ll settle on a new scent that will take off in your market!
Though starting a business can be a bit overwhelming if you take it one step at a time, you’ll get there in no time flat, and before you know it, you’ll be selling out of your fantastic candles!
If you’re ready to start your candle-making business, here are the supplies you’ll need to begin.
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