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What is a Candle business?
Consumers in the UK spend nearly £1.9 billion a year on candles. The popularity of candles has exploded in recent years and is at an all-time high, with the average person buying approximately six candles per year. Candle popularity also seems to be on a steady upward trajectory, making this a great time to start a candle business.
Candles have become a must-have item in homes and businesses. There are many reasons why people purchase candles, such as:
- To act as decorative items around their homes.
- For fragrance purposes, e.g. to make their homes smell better.
- To make their homes feel cosier.
- To create ambience and atmosphere, e.g. for mood lighting and romantic settings.
- For events and celebrations, such as weddings and anniversaries.
- For ceremonial use in religious events, such as Hanukkah, Passover and Advent.
- For spiritual purposes, such as during meditation or prayer.
- For self-care purposes, such as to relax after work.
- For remembrance purposes, e.g. to remember a loved one or for baby loss awareness.
- As a gift, such as for Christmas or a birthday.
There are several different types of candles. These candles often retail at different prices, may be made with different materials and often appeal to different target audiences. When setting up your business, you will need to decide what type of candles you want to sell.
Candles can be made from different materials, specifically using different types of wax. The most common candle waxes are:
- Paraffin: This is the most common material for candles and is generally used in mass-produced candles. Paraffin is the cheapest material to use and often results in the strongest smelling, most vibrantly coloured candles. However, paraffin candles contain more toxic chemicals and often release harmful substances when burnt. They are also less environmentally friendly and can stain walls, ceilings and furniture.
- Beeswax: Beeswax candles are environmentally friendly, biodegradable and 100% natural. They are hypoallergenic and are recommended for people who experience asthma or allergies. Beeswax candles can help to remove dust and mould from your home and burn longer than other types of candles. However, beeswax is the most expensive type of candle, and you usually cannot add other fragrances, making them less appealing to people who want to buy different scented candles.
- Soy wax: Soy wax is made using soybean oil and is a more sustainable resource. Soy wax candles are biodegradable and contain significantly fewer toxins. Soy candles also last longer and don’t stain your home. However, the majority of soy candles contain some paraffin, and the soy needs to be chemically treated before use. Soy candles are also usually more expensive to produce and purchase.
- Palm wax: Palm wax candles are made using palm oil and burn efficiently, without releasing soot or toxins. Palm wax combines well with fragrances and essential oils and retains colours easily. However, palm oil is widely linked to deforestation and many consumers refuse to buy palm oil products for this reason.
When you are setting up a candle business, you also need to decide what size, shape and design of candles you want to sell.
Some of your options include:
- Tealights: These are small, circular candles that are usually placed into speciality tealight holders. They have a very short wick and a short burn time (usually 3-4 hours).
- Taper candles: These are the tall candles that are frequently used in candlesticks. They are long (usually 6-18 inches tall) and thin and are narrower at the top than at the bottom.
- Pillar candles: These are thick candles that can be a variety of shapes, sizes and heights, although they are most often shaped as columns, squares or rectangles. They are made from rigid wax so that they can stand alone, without a container.
- Votive candles: These are usually shorter and wider than other candles. They are often placed in glass containers to burn. Their burn time varies depending on the wax weight and wick size but usually averages 10-20 hours.
- Container candles: This is a candle that is poured into a container, usually glass or another heat and flame-safe material.
- Novelty candles: These are shaped, sculpted or carved into different shapes and designs.
- Flameless candles: These are made from real wax and look exactly like regular candles. They can be scented or unscented and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, they don’t use a real flame and instead use LED, battery or electricity. They have an adjustable light and flicker rate and are long-lasting and remove the risk of fire.
- Scented candles: Scented candles emit a large amount of fragrance when burning, and also emit aromas even if they are unlit. They can be scented with natural or synthetic fragrances, such as essential oils or aroma chemicals. You can choose from a huge range of fragrances.
- Fragrance-free candles: These candles do not contain fragrance and no fragrance materials or masking agents are used. They emit light and warmth without giving off a fragrance.
- Unscented candles: These often contain a product or chemicals that are designed to neutralise or mask the odour of the candle or the ingredients that were used to make the candle. The fragrances are masked so you cannot smell them.
Starting up a candle business can be extremely lucrative, particularly because they are usually a low-investment enterprise. There are very few equipment requirements, and you may even be able to use some equipment you already have in your home.
Someone who runs a candle business will likely make the candles themselves and sell them to consumers.
There are many different tasks and responsibilities involved with running a candle business, including:
- Preparing, mixing, heating and cooling the ingredients to make the candle wax.
- Choosing, mixing and adding the scents.
- Cutting and preparing the wicks.
- Choosing containers.
- Packaging your products.
- Ensuring your candles comply with all safety regulations and are not a fire risk.
- Marketing and advertising.
- Keeping up to date with new designs and fragrance trends.
- Preparing quotes, taking orders and handling payments and invoices.
- Selling the candles and arranging deliveries.
- Handling customer payments.
There are several different ways you can run a candle business and choose how to sell your candles, for example:
- Open a candle shop.
- Sell your candles through already existing shops and businesses.
- Set up a website and sell your candles online.
- Advertise and sell your candles on social media.
- Sell your candles through an existing website, such as ‘Etsy’ or ‘Not on the High Street’.
- Sell your candles at local events, such as craft fairs, market stalls and Christmas events.
There are certain skills and qualities that will make your candle business more likely to succeed. For example, a passion for candles, creativity, patience, knowledge or the willingness to learn about materials and scents and good marketing and advertising skills.
Types of Customers
In many cases, the typical customers who purchase candles from independent candle businesses are those who don’t want mass-produced items, those who are looking for more individual designs or scents and (depending on the materials and ingredients you use) those who are looking for a more environmentally friendly product that contains fewer toxins.
The candles you sell are likely to be listed at a higher price point compared to candles that can be bought in supermarkets or are mass-produced. This is because your materials and production costs are likely to be higher and you likely won’t be able to save money through mass production. However, your customers are likely to appreciate the time, effort, skill and high-quality materials that go into your candles.
The types of customers you are likely to attract can depend on multiple factors, such as:
- The materials you use (e.g. paraffin, soy wax or beeswax).
- The types of candles you make.
- Your price points.
- How and where you sell your candles.
- Your branding.
- Your advertising and marketing strategies.
Equipment You Will Need
Equipment is an essential purchase for a candle business. Your equipment needs can vary based on multiple factors, such as:
- The types of candles you are going to make.
- Whether you are going to add scents to your candles.
- How many candles you plan to make per day/week.
- Whether you are making container or non-container candles.
You may already have some of the equipment required to make your candles. However, if you are using your existing equipment, is important to make sure it is in good working condition.
Some of the equipment typically required for a candle-making business includes:
- A double boiler (a bain-marie): This is used to melt your wax without burning it.
- A heatproof container: If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a heatproof container over a large saucepan to melt the wax. A heatproof jug or pot is mostly recommended.
- A glue gun: To attach the wicks to the bottom of your containers.
- A measuring cup: To measure the amount of wax and fragrance oils you are using.
- A thermometer: To measure the temperature of your wax at different times and check your wax is heating and cooling correctly.
- Stirrers: Spatulas and wooden spoons are both effective stirrers. As you will be using your stirrers in high-temperature wax, ensure they are heatproof and won’t overheat or melt.
- Candle moulds: If you are making candles in different shapes and designs.
- A jug or pouring pot: To pour your wax into the moulds or containers.
- Wick holders or wick centring tools: These keep your wicks in place while you pour the wax and are waiting for it to cool and harden.
- A weighing scale: To ensure each candle contains the correct amount of each ingredient/ material.
- A wicking needle: To thread your wick through moulds.
- A candlewick trimmer: Once your wax has set and hardened, you may need to trim the wicks to ensure they are the optimum length for burning. Wick trimmers look like scissors, but with slanted, circular blades.
- A heat gun: This can be used to remove any irregularities on the surface of your candles, pre-heat containers and clean wax from your equipment.
- A wax scoop: To help you weigh and transfer your wax more efficiently.
- A pipette: For measuring and transferring fragrance oils.
- Wax flakes or pellets: Choose wax flakes or pellets in your chosen material (e.g. paraffin, soy wax or beeswax).
- Essential oils for fragrance: Essential oils fall into three different categories, known as notes. These are top notes, middle notes and base notes. To get the strongest scents that last the longest, it is best to choose scents from each note and mix them together. 100% pure essential oils result in the strongest scents.
- Containers: If you are making container candles, you will need to choose containers that match your branding and your business aesthetic. This makes your candles easily recognisable to your customers. Many people use candles as decorative items, so ensure your containers are attractive. Glass jars, mason jars and clay holders are the most common candle containers.
- Wicks: You can choose cotton wicks or wooden wicks. You could also choose wicks that crackle, to give the illusion of a real fire.
- Resin powder: To add colour to your wax.
Packaging and Delivery
If you sell your candles online or offer a delivery option, you will need to ensure they are packaged correctly to make sure the candles aren’t damaged during transit. Even if you sell your candles in a shop or another in-person location, they will likely still need to be packaged correctly, as candles and candle containers can be fragile. Ensure your packaging is sustainable and environmentally friendly and it is designed to match the aesthetic of your business.
- Custom boxes: These will be shaped and sized to match your candles and reduce any movement during transit. The boxes can be adorned with your business logo and any decoration that matches your branding.
- Packaging tissue paper, packing peanuts, Styrofoam inserts or paper bubble wrap: These items keep the contents of the packages securely in place and reduce the likelihood of any damage occurring. Most consumers of small businesses prefer eco-friendly packaging so keep this in mind when planning your packaging. For example, paper bubble wrap is similar to traditional bubble wrap but is more environmentally friendly, as it is made from recyclable paper.
- Twine or ribbon: Twine or ribbon can be used to tie around your boxes or packaging to keep them more secure and make them more aesthetically pleasing.
- Labels: Your labels should contain your business name and logo and information about your product (e.g. product name and fragrance). The label should also contain any safety information and allergen information.
- Pallets: These can be used for bulk orders, e.g. if you sell a large number of candles to a business or a wedding venue.
- Packaging tape: To secure your packaging and prevent any items from falling out or being tampered with.
- Cards and delivery notes: Small business consumers appreciate personal touches such as a card or delivery note. These could also feature your business logo and information and a discount code to encourage repeat business.
- A website: A website is useful for advertising your business. It should contain your contact information, photos of your candles, product descriptions, the areas and locations you offer delivery to and your customer reviews. Your website will likely feature an option to order online and may have other information about your business, e.g. if you will be selling your candles at a local craft fair. Design your website to include your business logo and to reflect your branding.
- A CCTV system: This can protect your business from potential break-ins and theft. A CCTV system can cost between £300 and £5,000 depending on the specification of the equipment, how many cameras you require, and the installation costs.
- A till and Point of Sale (POS) system: This will be necessary if you do any in-person sales of your candles, e.g. in a shop or at a market.
- Business cards: Business cards can be used for advertisement purposes and handed out to customers and potential customers. The business cards should include your business name, logo and contact information.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): This could include latex gloves, aprons and hairnets to protect your clothing and skin from the hot wax.
- A fully stocked first aid kit: Even if you don’t hire any staff, a first aid kit is a necessity, as you will be working with hot wax and other potentially dangerous equipment.
- Display shelves: These are used for storing your candles. You can build shelves on the wall or choose a free-standing shelving unit.
- A computer or laptop: To advertise your business, keep track of your orders and manage your business website.
- A printer: For printing out customer receipts, invoices and customer addresses for delivery purposes.
When starting up a candle business, one of the first (and most important) considerations you will need to make are your start-up costs and running costs. This can help you to determine your initial investment requirements, your price points and how many candles you will need to sell before you begin turning a profit.
There are many different costs associated with setting up and running a candle business. Some of these costs will be one-off initial costs that you will need to pay when you are setting up your business. Other costs will be ongoing costs you will need to pay regularly, usually weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.
The typical costs associated with a candle business are:
Your equipment is an important purchase, as without it you will not be able to run your business. You can keep your start-up costs relatively low by purchasing less equipment initially and expanding your equipment as your business grows. The more candles you make and the more detail or decoration you add, the more equipment you will require. You can expect to spend between £100 and £1,000 on equipment for your candle business.
Materials and stock
These will be ongoing costs associated with your candle business. Materials and stock include the things you will use to make your candles, such as wax, essential oils, wicks, containers and packaging. The amount of materials you require (and the associated costs) depends on how many candles you are making per month, the types of candles you are making and the materials you use (e.g. paraffin candles are the cheapest to make and beeswax candles are the most expensive). Try and keep your materials costs as low as possible to maximise your profits, e.g. by buying in bulk and shopping around. To maximise your profits, your material costs should be no more than 30%-40% of the cost of your candles. For example, if you sell each candle for £10, no more than £3-£4 (per candle) should be spent on materials.
Maintaining, repairing and replacing equipment
Repairs, maintenance and replacements are ongoing costs you will need to factor into your budget. Cleaning and maintaining equipment (particularly if hot wax drips onto it) and ensuring your equipment is used correctly can extend its life, but repairs and replacements are still inevitable, as using unsafe equipment could be dangerous, particularly as you will be handling hot materials.
As you will be selling a potentially high-risk product (candles are frequently connected to burns and house fires), there are several licences you will need to apply for and regularly renew when setting up and running your business. Expect to pay between £100 and £300 per year for licensing.
Your business website
A business website is an essential advertising tool (particularly if you run an online business) as it allows potential customers to find your candles online and view pictures, descriptions and additional information. You should ensure your website is attractive to customers and use search engine optimisation (SEO) so that your website ranks highly on search engines, such as Google. Your website will need regular monitoring, updating and upgrading. You also need to make sure your website is secure, particularly if you will be collecting any customer information or banking details. You may choose to set up and run your website yourself or hire someone to do this for you. You can expect to pay between £20 and £100 for someone to set up your website.
Advertising and marketing
To ensure your candle business attracts customers and generates an income, you will need to spend money on branding, advertising and marketing. It is recommended that you spend between 1%-3% of your annual turnover on marketing. For example, if your annual turnover is £50,000, it is recommended you spend between £500 and £1,500 per year on marketing. You may need to invest more money in advertising and marketing when you initially set up your business, in order to attract customers. You could also advertise on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.
When creating your brand identity, consider how you want your business to be perceived by potential customers. Consider the types of candles you are selling and your typical customer base when creating your brand. Branding includes creating your business’s visual identity, your business name and logo, your candle design and aesthetic, your packaging and your website. You could hire a professional to help you with branding or do some or all of the work yourself. Branding can cost between £500 and £10,000.
These are the day-to-day costs associated with running a candle business. Some running costs are paid monthly, and others are paid quarterly or annually. Even if you run your business from your home, you will likely still have running costs, as you may see an increase in your utility bills (such as electricity). Delivery (for online orders) and the set-up costs associated with selling at events can also be included in your running costs. Keep your running costs as low as possible to help maximise your profits.
Platform costs are the costs associated with selling your candles on an online platform, e.g. ‘Etsy’ or ‘Not on the High Street’.
You may be charged:
- Listing fees.
- Transaction fees.
- Advertising and promotional fees.
- Payment processing fees.
- Regulatory operating fees.
- Currency conversion fees.
There are several types of insurance you may require for a candle business. There are also some additional insurance options you may choose to give your business extra protection. The cost of your insurance can vary depending on your insurance provider and the level of coverage you choose.
The most popular coverage options for a candle business are:
- Public Liability Insurance.
- Product Liability Insurance.
- Contents Insurance.
- Goods In Transit Insurance.
- Business Equipment Cover.
Typical Pricing for Customers
Once you have calculated the typical costs associated with setting up and running your candle business, particularly the ongoing costs of the materials, you can determine your pricing.
Your pricing policy will usually be determined by several factors such as:
- Your target market.
- The type of wax you use.
- The design of your candles.
- The size and shape of your candles (larger candles will be more expensive).
- The fragrances you use.
- Your selling platform.
- Your running costs and overhead costs.
- Whether you operate in a niche (e.g. individualised scents or unusual shapes or designs).
- Whether you are selling to individual customers, businesses or wholesale.
- Any postage costs.
- The perceived value of your products.
To calculate your pricing, a general rule that many businesses follow is to ensure you have at least a 30% markup percentage for your candles, based on your costs (including the costs of your time). However, if you are selling mid-market or high-end products, your target market will usually pay higher prices. In this situation, you can likely charge 3-4 times your total costs for each candle. For example, if the total cost of making one candle is £5, you will likely charge between £15 and £20.
Safely Running a Candle Business
Implementing safety practices in your candle business is an important responsibility. Candles are a potentially dangerous, high-liability product. Safety practices help to protect the health, safety and well-being of you and your customers.
Some ways you can safely run your candle business are:
Ensure all chemicals are stored safely
All chemicals should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. They should be kept upright to prevent spillages and be protected from contamination.
Regardless of where you sell your candles, craft insurance can help to protect you and your business. If a customer becomes injured or an incident, such as a fire, occurs, business insurance can help protect you and your business from being held liable and from heavy fines.
Properly maintain and set up equipment
Ensuring equipment is properly maintained, correctly set up and stable and safe to use can help to protect you from accident or injury, particularly as you will be handling hot wax and chemicals. You should also perform regular equipment inspections to ensure your equipment’s safety and help extend the lifespan of your equipment.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Because you will be handling chemicals and hot substances, PPE can help to protect you from exposure to harmful substances and potential burns. Recommended PPE includes gloves, arm protectors, protective eyewear, a face mask and a hair covering.
Comply with fire regulations
Even if you run your business out of your home and have no employees, you should still comply with fire safety regulations. This can help to ensure the safety of you, your home and your neighbours.
Some regulations you can implement include:
- Perform a fire risk assessment.
- Comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
- Implement any necessary fire safety measures.
- Install fire alarms and smoke alarms.
Conduct risk assessments
Although risk assessments are only a legal requirement for businesses with more than five employees, they can help to ensure the safety of you and your customers. Risk assessments can help you to identify any potential hazards and risks in your business and how these can be reduced or eliminated.
As part of your risk assessment, you should:
- Identify hazards.
- Determine who could be at risk.
- Evaluate any potential risks.
- Implement relevant safety measures.
- Record the results of the risk assessment.
- Review the risk assessment regularly.
Keep clear and accurate records
If your business receives an inspection, up-to-date records of your business’s cleaning schedules, risk assessments, health and safety policies, allergen information and hazards will likely be requested. Keeping such records not only helps to protect your business and improve the likelihood of you receiving a higher score, but it also ensures procedures are followed at all times.
Complying with all legal requirements is essential when setting up and running your candle business. Some legal guidelines you should be aware of are:
Comply with the General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) 2005
The GPSR ensures the safety of consumer goods and lays down a framework for assessing product safety. As part of these regulations, you should undertake and document a risk assessment that assesses the risks and risk categories associated with the candles you sell.
Comply with the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulations
These regulations standardise the warnings that need to be on products such as candles. Your labels should include:
- Your product name.
- A list of ingredients and allergen information.
- Hazard pictograms.
- Signal words (e.g. warning).
- Hazard and precautionary statements.
- Company address and phone number.
Comply with the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals Regulations
If your candles contain any chemicals, you must correctly label them to tell your customers which chemicals may be potentially hazardous, how they could harm them and how to store and handle them safely.
Implement Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
If you create custom blends and create your own fragrances, you must ensure that each fragrance has its own SDS, which can then be used to create a CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging) label.
Comply with e-Commerce Regulations
If you have a website advertising your candle business or selling your candles, you must comply with the Electronic Commerce Regulations. These regulations state how you communicate with your website users. Under these regulations, you must clearly display your terms and conditions, display clear pricing information and delivery charges and identify who sends any business communications. You must also ensure email privacy and comply with laws on distance selling.
Comply with other website regulations
On your website, you must state your name, geographical address, email address, VAT number and your British Candlemakers Federation (BCG) membership information (if applicable). If you sell your candles online, you are entering into a legal contract with your customers and must offer a 14-day return period.
Regulations on food imitation candles
If any of your candles could be considered as food imitation items, for example, they are shaped like food or contain food scents, such as birthday cake or Christmas cookie, these are heavily regulated to limit the risk of people confusing them with food and eating them. If a candle can be confused with food, it is prohibited under the Food Imitations (Safety) Regulations 1989. Ensure you add features to your candles that make them less similar to real food and contact Trading Standards for more information or to clarify whether a particular candle is acceptable to sell.
Regulations for insect-repellent candles
These types of candles have become increasingly popular, particularly during the Summer, and may contain products such as citronella. If you market your candle as an insect repellent, you must register with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Comply with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988)
Any original designs are given copyright in line with this Act. This means you cannot use other people’s designs on your candles. If you create your own designs, you should also protect them by registering your designs with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
Comply with retail legislation
There are several pieces of legislation you need to follow when selling goods to consumers. You must ensure your products are described correctly and that pricing is displayed visibly. You must also ensure your products are of good quality and are fit for the intended purpose.
Dispose of waste appropriately
Some of your business’s waste, such as wax, essential oils and chemicals, will be classed as hazardous waste. This waste must be disposed of by a registered, authorised waste carrier. Contact your local environmental health department for more details.
Comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA)
You must comply with both pieces of legislation when storing or sharing personal information, such as your customers’ personal information, contact details and banking information. You must also apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence. If you process or store personal information such as personal details and banking information, you will need to apply for a licence with the Information Commissioner’s Office and renew your registration every year.
Comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013
RIDDOR states that you must report all injuries, diseases and dangerous events that occur in your business. Reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using an appropriate recording document. These regulations apply to any incidents that involve you or that your customers report to you.
Register your business
You must register your business with HMRC before you begin operating. You can register as a sole trader or as a limited company. You will need to register your business name and any other relevant information.
Register for self-assessment tax
This allows you to calculate and pay your own taxes each year. You will need to track your finances every month and submit any expenses as part of your tax assessment.
Positives of Owning a Candle Business
There are some great positives to starting up a candle business. For example:
Low start-up costs
Although some candle-making materials are more expensive than others, a candle-making business is generally an extremely low-investment enterprise. You can initially use equipment that you already have in your home and buy more equipment and materials as your business grows. You will likely not need to rent premises or hire any employees which can reduce your start-up costs. Low initial investment requirements will mean you won’t require any outside investment and can begin turning a profit earlier.
You can choose how and where to sell
A candle business has many options for marketing and selling and you can choose the sales process that most appeals to you. You could set up your own website, sell through a third-party website, sell at craft fairs and other events or set up your own shop – the options are endless. You will have the option to sell online or in person and can even change your sales process as your business or personal life changes.
Minimal skills or experience required
Candle making is an easy skill to learn and even if you have no experience, you can learn how to make candles quickly and easily. Candle making is an accessible industry that requires no training or qualifications, meaning that anyone can set up a candle business.
Work from home
You can set up and run your business and make all your candles from home. Many people now aspire to work from home and if you own a candle business, you will have the flexibility to order your stock, create your products, advertise, manage your orders and handle deliveries, all from the comfort of your own home.
You can be creative
As the business owner, you will have the freedom to be as creative as you choose. You can personalise your candles, create your own scents and shape and design your candles in any way you want, which can set your business apart from your competitors. Candle making is great for artistic people who enjoy being creative.
Choose your own schedule and workload
As a business owner, you can choose the hours you work and how many orders you want to accept each week and month. You can run your business around your family life, e.g. by working when it is convenient for you and your family. You can close your orders if you want to take time off and, if your workload becomes too much, you can hire additional staff to reduce your working hours.
It can be rewarding
Doing something you love and are passionate about can be extremely rewarding. If you love candle making or being creative and have fun when making candles, it is less likely to feel like work. Doing what you love for a profit is extremely rewarding.
Easily gain exposure
The rise of social media makes it easier than ever for you to gain exposure, particularly if you are able to take good photographs and videos or are tech-savvy. Gaining exposure online is an easy and effective way to grow your business and increase your profits.
It can be lucrative
As your business grows and you complete more orders, you will see your profits grow. As your business becomes more popular, you can increase your pricing and even hire more staff to help you complete more orders. Candle making has a high income potential and your profit margins are likely to be high. You can also expand your business by opening a shop or selling more products online, giving you unlimited income potential.
If your customers like your products, they are likely to order from you again. This means you could get a lot of repeat business and customer recommendations. If your candles are well branded and are displayed in your customers’ homes or other places, this can also encourage custom from new consumers, particularly if your candles look attractive or smell appealing.
Increased business at certain times of the year
People often buy candles at certain times of the year, such as Autumn as the weather changes and they want to make their homes feel cosier, or in the lead up to special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas, when they are frequently given as presents. You are likely to see increased business at these times of the year, which can be extremely beneficial for your annual profits.
Be your own boss
You can make all key decisions yourself and steer your business in whichever direction you choose. You can choose how involved you want to be, the type of creations you want to make, and whether you hire employees. You can make the best decisions for you and your business.
Design your dream business
As the business owner, you can create your dream business, from the type of candles you want to make, the materials you want to work with, your business’s brand and aesthetic and your selling avenue. Creating your dream business can be very rewarding.
The candle industry in the UK continues to be highly successful and is constantly growing. This means there are plenty of opportunities for new businesses, particularly because more and more people are choosing to buy from small businesses rather than buying mass-produced products. There are different industries and niches, different design options and constant demand. This should make it relatively easy to get your business off the ground and to maintain or grow your business.
Negatives of Owning a Candle Business
Although owning a candle business can be rewarding in many ways, there are some negative aspects of this type of business that you should be aware of. These can include:
Business can be inconsistent
It can be difficult to plan your finances, predict your profits and order the correct amount of materials and stock when you cannot predict the number of sales you will make. There could be certain times of the year when you have few or no orders, which can have a significant impact on your overall profits.
Although the majority of customers leave honest reviews, some customers are difficult to please and will leave a negative review because of the smallest complaint (even if it is something outside of your control), e.g. if there was a delay in the postage. Sometimes a fake customer also leaves a fake review, which can be extremely difficult to disprove and remove. Negative reviews can be extremely damaging to your business, particularly if your business is new or you’ve had relatively few orders.
It can be competitive
Not only are you competing with other small candle businesses, but you are also competing with supermarket products and mass-produced candles. Having lots of competition can make it more difficult for your business to succeed.
You may think making candles is easy and isn’t physically demanding; however, you shouldn’t underestimate the physical strain on your fingers, hands and wrists. Candle making involves a lot of repetitive movements such as stirring, and can involve holding heavy equipment. If you are doing this daily, you may begin to experience pain or strain.
It can be stressful
Not only is there a lot of pressure to create the perfect product every time, but as the business owner, you will face the additional pressure of being responsible for your business’s success. You will have a lot of important responsibilities, such as ensuring health and safety.
High risk of your business failing
Starting up your own business can be risky. Many new businesses fail which could result in you losing money or getting into debt. Your business could fail for several reasons, such as high local competition, an ineffective business plan or if the UK encounters another recession or a period of financial difficulty.
As you are self-employed, you won’t receive benefits such as pension contributions. You will also be responsible for doing your own taxes and organising your National Insurance contributions. You will also have a lack of job security.
Perfecting your products can be time-consuming
Before you begin selling your candles, you will need to ensure your products are perfected, particularly if you will be mixing and adding your own fragrances. This can be time-consuming and can include a lot of practice and failed attempts. Not only can this take a lot of time, but it can also include a lot of wasted products.
A candle business has potential risks which you could be liable for. If there is an issue with your product that results in a customer being burnt, a fire starting or property being damaged, this could result in prosecution and your business suffering as a result. The possibility of this can be extremely stressful.
Planning Your Candle Business
If you are thinking of starting up a candle business, an effective and well-designed business plan is essential. A business plan can help you to focus on the specific steps that will help your business succeed, plan your short-term and long-term goals, determine your financial needs and help your business to grow.
Ensure your business plan contains information such as:
- Your company information.
- Your business description.
- The services you will provide.
- Your branding, marketing and advertising plan.
- The structure of your business.
- The operational plan for your business.
- The financial plan for your business.
Some of the factors you should consider when creating your business plan are:
Decide the types of candles you will make
This is one of the most important decisions you will need to make when setting up your business.
Some of the decisions you need to make include:
- What type of wax will you use?
- What scents will you offer and how will you create those scents?
- Will your candles be in containers?
- What shapes and sizes will your candles be?
- Will you add colour to your candles?
- How will your candles be designed?
- What types of wicks will you choose?
- What will the aesthetic of your candles be?
Ensure you research your target audience before making any decisions and experiment to create the perfect candles that match your brand.
Determine how and where you plan to sell your candles
This is a key consideration and can have a significant impact on the types of customers you attract and the success of your business. Will you sell your candles online or in person? Will you sell through third-party websites or shops? Will you attend craft fairs and other events? Whichever option you choose requires forward thinking, particularly before you begin branding and advertising. You can even use a combination of different selling approaches in order to increase your sales.
Create a brand
Designing your brand is a great way to help you stand out from your competition. Your brand helps you to build an audience, focus your marketing and advertising and create better products. Some ways you can create your brand are by focusing on the design elements of your candles, creating attractive fragrances, focusing on your business’s visual identity and creating a brand story. Your business name and logo are also part of your branding so ensure you focus on this when creating your business plan.
Analyse your competition
Your competition can include other small candle businesses, mass-produced candle businesses (such as Yankee Candle) and brands that sell candles alongside other products, such as The White Company. You may also be competing with supermarkets and other shops that sell a variety of candle brands. When you analyse your competition, look at what they do well and what you think they could improve. You could also consider if there are any candle niches that could be profitable.
Determine your marketing and advertising strategy
Your marketing and advertising plan should detail what your brand is, how you plan to promote your business and your business’s unique selling points (USPs). As part of your marketing strategy, consider the most effective way to reach your target audience and attract potential customers. Create an advertising plan that is specific to how and where you plan to sell your candles, for example, advertise with flyers in your local area and on local Facebook groups before you attend a craft fair.
Calculate your start-up costs and running costs
Consult the list above to calculate your approximate start-up costs and running costs. Determining your approximate costs enables you to calculate your initial investment and what your monthly or annual running costs will be. Creating a budget is a key part of your business plan. You should calculate how much each candle will cost to make and determine any ways you can decrease your costs. Once you have determined your approximate costs, you can then calculate your pricing policy and determine your profit forecast.
Determine your pricing policy and sales strategy
How much will you charge for each candle? What will your profit margins be? Will you offer any discounts to repeat customers or to customers who are buying multiple candles? You should also create a sales strategy to help you maximise your sales and target your customers successfully.
Determine your sales forecast
How many candles can you realistically make each week and month? What are your weekly, monthly and annual sales forecasts? You can also analyse the sales forecasts of other candle businesses and look at how sales vary throughout the year to estimate the demand for your product. As your business grows, your sales forecast may change.
Create a strategy for growth
This is your business’s plan for overcoming any future challenges and realising your sales goals and your goals for expansion. For example:
- Develop your candles and introduce new products.
- Penetrate the market to increase your market share.
- Target a new audience.
Identify your business goals
Determining your business goals is an essential part of creating your business plan. Your business objectives highlight the targets and goals of your candle business and help you to create a one-year, three-year, and five-year business plan.
Your business objectives should be SMART:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Achievable
- R = Realistic
- T = Time-bound
Check you have complied with all legal requirements
Consult the list of legal requirements above to check you have complied with all requirements and regulations and that all your paperwork is accurate. Failure to comply with legal requirements could have a detrimental effect on your business or could result in a fine, the forced closure of your business or, in serious cases, prosecution.