Article by Pat McTigue
The first thing most people wonder when they get good at making candles is how to make money with your candle making craft. The truth is, people love candles, candles are a consumable item so people will always buy more, and customers are always looking for a unique twist on the average candle.
So the first thing to remember is that your candle making craft must be something that catches the eye of the consumer. Yankee and Old Virginia Candle Companies have cornered the market on the run of the mill, ready made candle in a jar with fragrance. Unless you have a factory, 50+ employees, and a research department, you probably aren’t going to break into this market. This doesn’t mean you can’t turn a significant profit, only that you have to be creative. For example, in Lynchburg, Virginia, corporate home of Old Virginia Candle Company, there is an artisan who makes enough money with her candle making craft that she advertises on television and receives orders from all over the country. Her specialty is a technique in which she makes large scented candles in a mold and while the wax is still pliable, she shaves into the candle creating unique curled wax along the candle’s sides. This is the type of eye you must have in your own candle making craft.
Another issue that you must look at as you begin is accepting a smaller markup to begin your business. Do not expect to be able to price yourself into the market with your candle making craft at rates that rival the bigger more established companies. But also, don’t sell yourself short. This seems like a tricky high wire act, but it’s really not. Just like when you were coming up with the proper wax and wicks to use, do your research. Go to the local Walmart and find out what poorly made corporate candles sell for. Then stop at the mall and see what Yankee sells a candle similar to yours for. Your candle making craft should sell somewhere squarely in between. After you’ve found the range in which others are selling their work, sit down and figure out the wholesale cost for the candles that you intend to sell. Stay as far away from the low end of the price research as you feel comfortable with. Remember, you do not want your candles to be compared to Walmart prices, because they will look cheap and people will associate that with poor production.
Finally, to make a profit with your candle making craft, you must determine where you are going to sell your candles. It’s probably best to begin selling to friends and family first and let the word spread. Another option is a local farmer’s market. Also, check out the local consignment shops in your area. The internet is another good way, but keep a couple of things in mind. First, there are some free sites like Etsy where you can sell for free, but this will limit your exposure. If you pay for your own site, this will add cost to the candles in the form of web development and promotion. You must decide if it is worth it to do either. You can make a profit with your candles, just remember these tips and plan accordingly.
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