How To Start A Candle Business From Home [Startup Academy Featuring Erica Boucher]
Welcome to Startup Academy by Online Labels. We're talking to industry professionals to get the inside scoop on starting home-based businesses.
In this episode, Erica Boucher of Memory Box Candle Co. shares her tips for starting an online candle business. Continue reading to hear directly from Erica.
Starting a business can be really daunting, but if you have a plan in place, it can make it just a little bit easier. Today, I'll be sharing 10 steps you can take to start your own candle business. These steps don't necessarily have to take place in the order I list them in, it's just more or less to give you a guideline on how to get started.
No legal matters such as business registration or licensing/insurance will be discussed in this article. For those topics, reach out to a legal professional in your area.
Step 1: Determine Your Interest
I know this is kind of a silly prompt, but you have to ask yourself if candle making is something you're passionate about. Because this business will revolve around making many, many, many candles, you have to make sure that you actually like the process.
If you've never made candles before, I highly recommend you go onto some popular candle making websites such as CandleScience.com or TheFlamingCandle.com. It can be a wonderful creative process, but there is a lot of math and science involved in it.
Try one of their starter kits so you can understand how candles are made. If you actually like to make candles, then you can move on to building a business.
Step 2: Pick Your Wax & Container
One of the most important decisions that you can make for your business is choosing the type of wax that you want to use for your candles. Some of the most popular ones are soy, paraffin, and coconut wax.
Suppliers offer blends of these waxes as well. For instance, there's a lot of para-soy waxes which are a blend of paraffin and soy wax.
You will also need to choose the type of containers you want to use with your candles. Many suppliers offer a wide range of different jars you can choose from. I would recommend to go on some candle making websites and just look around and see what kind of jars catch your eye.
Step 3: Choose A Business Name
This is a very important step because it is going to represent your brand as a whole. You want to make something that's unique and memorable.
You also want to make sure the name you pick isn't already taken. Do a quick social media search and make sure it's available. One of the most disappointing things could be creating everything about your company only to realise the name is already being used.
Learn more naming your business.
Step 4: Find A Sales Platform
You can either do an online platform such as Etsy, make your own website, or sell in person at local craft fairs and farmer's markets. There's also the option of going into retail (either by way of wholesaling or doing consignment).
You can sell anywhere you want to and you don't have to just stick with one.
Step 5: Create Candle Labels
This is my favourite part of the candle making process so far. I love being able to design and create my own labels from home. I have been using Online Labels since pretty much the beginning of my candle business. This company makes it really easy because I'm able to order all of my blank candle labels online, design it through their Maestro Label Designer software, and print it out right at home.
I've gotten a few different sizes from Online Labels that fit perfectly on all of my candle products. So luckily I'm able to use them on both sizes of my jars and to label my wax tarts.
I really love the design software. I have been telling everybody in my candle community to use it because it is so much better than other label design platforms out there. One of my favourite aspects to Maestro Label Designer, hands down, is that you are able to use your own fonts.
This is a really important part in the candle making label process – you don't want to be using the same fonts as everybody else. You want to find fonts that represent your brand – those are really what is going to make you stand out.
With this design software, I've been able to customise everything and I absolutely love it. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my products, so I want to make everything look as cohesive as possible.
I purchased round stickers from Online Labels to go on the bottom of my candles. I designed a candle warning label (and wax melt warning label) that was customised to my brand and included my social media.
I highly recommend you go onto Online Labels and purchase their labels so you can get the activation code in order to start designing on Maestro Label Designer. It is hands down the best software that I've used so far.
Step 6: Make Business Cards
Yes, in 2020 I would still highly recommend you have business cards for your company. You would be surprised how many people want to know if you have a business card when you're out and about and the conversation of your business comes up. Instead of fumbling around for a pen and paper, you can just have everything on a business card and it looks a lot more professional.
Again, I used Maestro Label Designer to design my business cards. I was able to design the front and the back so it would be cohesive with my brand. Being able to use Maestro Label Designer for more than just labels, like designing my own business card, was a huge plus.
Step 7: Determine Your Pricing
This is really important. You have to know how much it costs to make one of your candles, so you know how to price them. You have to know how much the wholesale price is going to be and as well as the retail price.
A good equation would be to multiply your cost by two (that's your wholesale price), then multiply that by two to get your retail price.
You don't have to use that exact formula, but it should give you an idea of how much you should be charging for your candles. You can also use this product pricing guide.
I also recommend you go on Etsy and find candles that look similar to the ones you're making. See how much those products are selling for and that'll give you a little bit more of an idea of what you should be charging. I have seen way too many candle makers under-charging for their candles but that doesn't have to be you.
Another thing to keep in mind though is that brand is everything. If somebody has built up their brand and its perceived value, they can charge a lot more for it.
Step 8: Take Product Photos
You have to make sure your product photography looks professional. This was really hard for me in the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing.
I eventually went to my local craft store and looked for any props I could use to look a little bit more styled. I'm not even using a fancy photography camera or DSLR to take my photos, I'm just using my iPhone 8+ alongside some photography lights. Just be sure to edit your photos when you're done.
Whether you're taking the photos or you hire someone else to take them, make sure they look as professional as possible. For more tips, review our product photography tutorial.
Step 9: Promote Your Candle Products
Tell anybody and everybody about your candle brand. Marketing is going to be a huge part of your business so I highly recommend you take the time to learn all the different things you can do to try and get as much as exposure to your candles as possible.
I highly recommend you use online social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to showcase your products. You can upload your photography, talk about your background, tell them about your brand, and make them feel more connected to you as a person and you as a brand. Then they'll be more inclined to visit your online store and purchase from you.
If you're going to vend at local events such as craft fairs and farmer's markets, you can use social media to promote it. Let people know you're going to be there so they can come and check out your candles. Find out how to start selling at markets.
Step 10: Have Patience
Whether you're looking to have some side income coming in or if you're looking to turn your passion into a full-time business, you have to implement patience during this process. It can be extremely exciting and really rewarding, but you have to give yourself time to understand the process. These pieces can be complicated and overwhelming at times, so don't forget to stop and take a breath as you navigate everything.
You can also check out more entrepreneurship stories by following our Startup Academy video series.