Candles are some of the world’s oldest gifts and tools. They’re never really out of style. If you want to learn how to start a candle business of your own, consider following this general outline so you don’t make any missteps.
Plan Your Candle Business
As with virtually any type of business, you’ll first need to figure out a business plan if you want to successfully make and sell candles for a living. This means answering several critical questions like:
- What types of candles are you to make?
- What are your startup and ongoing costs?
- Who do you plan to sell the candles to?
By answering all these questions, you’ll be able to plan out your financing and come up with a solid pricing scheme to ensure profitability in the long-term. It’ll also let you know if starting a candle business is a worthwhile idea in your current market. Study your market ahead of time and decide whether you think you’d be able to sell candles consistently.
Figure Out Your Finances
Next, take a deep dive into your financial situation. You may be wondering, how much does it cost to start a small business? Or maybe you’re thinking bigger? Either way, operating a candle business can be quite expensive. You can always use a personal finance tool to help organize your finances; but remember, you’ll need all kinds of startup materials like:
- wax, gel, and other base materials
- jars are containers for the candles
- oils for fragrances so you can differentiate candle products
- coloring agents and packaging supplies
- the shipping costs if you decide to provide shipping
You should also think about where your business will be set up. If it’s anywhere other than your home, you’ll need to rent some kind of business space. Then you have to consider your marketing budget.
Determine A Pricing Model For Your Candle Business
After getting a good handle on all your finances and boiling down your startup and ongoing costs, you can think about how you’ll charge for your candles.
A candle-making business will theoretically make most of its profits by selling candles directly to customers or through resellers (i.e. gift shops or other retail stores). You can do both, of course. Decide on who you’ll be selling candles to and figure out how much you’ll charge for your candles when calculating your total budget balance.
Decide On Your Business Model And Name
If it all looks good so far – you think your financial situation is tenable and you’ll be able to make a profit selling candles to either individuals or other companies – you can now decide on your business model and name. There are multiple forms your business can take. An LLC is one of the most common, as it limits your liability in the event your business is ever sued. But you can also make a corporation, a sole proprietorship, or something else.
You should also figure out your name at this point. Your candle business should have a fun, catchy, and informative name all at the same time. People should know what you do but also be able to remember your business without much effort. “Jan’s Candle Boutique” is a good example.
Register For Taxes And Get An EIN
You’ll also need to register your business for different state and federal taxes, which involves applying for an employer identification number. This can easily be done through the IRS main website.
Check For Necessary State Licenses
It’s also smart to apply for any necessary state licenses. Different states may have different licensing requirements based on the business and materials you use. It’s unlikely that a candle business will run into much bureaucratic pushback, but you should double-check just to be sure, especially if you need to use hazardous or potentially toxic materials (like certain types of synthetic gels).
Open A Business Bank Account
At this point, you can open up a business bank account. You should have a separate bank account from your personal funds, as this makes controlling your spending much easier. You can also apply for a business credit card, which can usually be done at a local branch in under 15 minutes. This allows you to apply for certain types of financing and benefit from other small business deals.
Furthermore, you should look into getting insurance for your business. This insurance can protect you in the event of a lawsuit or if something happens with one of your candles (like if a kid swallows a piece or something). It’s all about protecting your business if someone gets fussy.
You’ll also need workers’ compensation insurance if you decide to hire employees.
Get Your Space Up And Running
You’re almost there! The next step is to move into any office space you’ve rented or start manufacturing your candles at your home office. Depending on how much space you need and how many materials you purchased, this could easily take up to a week or more. Be sure not to tell people that you’re open for business while you’re still setting things up.
Market Your Candle Business
Now it’s time to market your business; after all, you won’t make much profit if people don’t know you’re selling candles! There are several ways you can do this effectively.
Market Online/Make A Website
Of course, it’s a good idea to make a website and focus at least some of your marketing efforts online in the digital age. While candles, and their target market, may not be the most digitally inclined, virtually everyone has an email address these days. You can use email address collections to send out newsletters, or you can spend money on online advertisements for visitors to certain websites.
Hand Out Business Cards
Physical business cards are a tried-and-true method of marketing. These are great if you have friends in other professions and they promise to hand out some of your business cards to their friends and associates. If you’re a member of social organizations like book clubs, you can hand out the business cards there, as well.
Post Flyers Around Town
A good old-fashioned flyer spree is a third excellent idea. This is especially useful if you want to advertise your candle store’s grand opening. Spread flyers around your town so people know to check out your business on opening day. Be sure to include some great art and maybe have a few samples ready to go, too.
Final Thoughts: How To Start A Candle Business
At this point, if you’ve used this guide, your candle business is ready to go. Craft those candles, take a deep breath, and sell!