Candle making does not only have the benefit of constantly filling your house with wonderful fragrances, but it can make a good profit for anyone willing to treat it as a business and take the time to learn all they can about it. It certainly is not an easy job with all of the marketing and time it takes up, but it is a fun one that would be perfect for anyone looking for an alternative to the 9 to 5 predictable job.
Starting up your own candle-making enterprise can be very lucrative indeed. With the industry reaching nearly $5 billion by 2026 and having no shortage in demand for candles, it’s a safe bet to assume that starting up your own candle-making enterprise is an excellent choice of a business venture.
Candle-making is not a job that requires little thought and action to make a profit. On the contrary, it takes organizational skills, creativity, and a self-starter mentality. Without these three traits, the candle-making business will not get you very far.
Luckily, with a little bit of time and dedication, these traits kind of appear on their own. If you want to try this alternative job, then you will not have any trouble with finding motivation.
How Profitable is It to Sell Homemade Candles?
As you know, making homemade candles costs a bit of money. Aside from the waxes and fragrances, you will need to buy the supplies to cook and store them in. What a lot of people do not consider is the marketing and sales costs.
No matter what option you decide to use when selling your candles, there will be some kind of cost or fee. Whether that fee is rent for a building, flea market booth costs, or packaging and shipping costs, there is always a cost.
The Cost of Making and Selling Homemade Candles
People often think in terms of how much money can I make selling candles, however, they forget or at least don’t pay much attention to how much it will cost them first. Digging a little deeper into each part of selling candles, we are going to take a much closer look at the linguistics of making and selling your own candles. The first thing that you should know is the cost of all supplies and necessities that are involved in candle making.
Much of these costs are constant fees coming out of your business, which is why it is also important to consider the price you sell your candles for. Because before you know it, you can be in the negatives.
The supplies needed to make enough candles to sell are not at all hard to come by. You can find them easily online or even at your local department store. Wax, scents, candle molds, color chips, pouring pitchers, a double boiler, a thermometer, and wicks are all needed to be able to even start running a candle-making business.
The wax can come in all sorts of different materials, both natural and synthetic. And you can find hundreds of different scents or even mix your own.
It takes a surprising amount of time to make candles and sell them, especially if you are doing it all on your own. If you are working hard to make this a business instead of just a side gig, you will need to work around 5 hours a day, much like any normal job.
If you stick with it, you can make around $20k to $50k a year. But it all depends on how much time you put into perfecting your product and the marketing that you need to do in order to find some clientele.
Craft shows are another part of the candle-making business that can take up a lot of time. This is more of an optional kind of marketing plan, but you would be surprised by how many return customers you can find at a craft show.
Because of that, the hours you will need to spend in order to prepare enough for a craft show will be well worth it. The return customers alone will more than makeup for it in both supplies and your time spent.
Taxes are something not many people consider when they look into starting their own business, and it is not one of the added benefits of being your own boss. If you decide against hiring a tax advisor, then you will need to file your taxes yourself.
This can take up much of your time, especially if it is your first year at filing your own taxes for your own business. Only the bright side, any materials you buy for candle making are considered business expenses.
Packaging and Shipping
The packaging is something that you will need to consider because it will likely double the amount of time you spend making and preparing your candles for sale, and you need to buy the tags and warning labels for all of your products.
This also means you may need to hire a designer to create your tags to make them more appealing to the eye. Additionally, you will need to place every tag and warning label on every candle container. With some music, the task will fly by.
Shipping is something you only need to consider if you are planning to sell anything past your local area. The cost of shipping can get pretty pricey, especially for those overnight orders. Usually, you would charge the customer for that, so it is made up instantly in every sale.
You will need to print all of the shipping labels before you can box or ship anything, and make sure to pack the box with enough padding to get the products to the customers in good condition.
Marketing your product does not only take place in the locations that you sell them in. The internet and social media have made it so that marketing has never been easier. You can make a free Facebook group to spread the word for your brand.
You also have the option of buying advertisements so that they pop up on people’s browsers. This is one of the easiest routes to take in terms of marketing your business. It ensures the maximum spread of your brand.
There is even the option of the more traditional route; printing out flyers and setting up road signs can spread the word just as fast. Or you could choose to do all of the above. There is no such thing as too much marketing when it comes to building your own business.
The more people see your product, the more sales you will make. Once you have built a steady, loyal customer base, you could even think about expanding. Just take it one step at a time.
Creating your own website will come later on, once you have already created a name for yourself in the candle-making industry. This is unnecessary in the beginning because it will take so long to make your money back.
Building a website is expensive and very time-consuming. But when you do build up enough clientele to need one, they can be extremely handy. They make your business look more professional and help the process of selling your product go more smoothly.
Where You Sell Them
There is a vast amount of options when it comes to where and how you will sell your product. Online stores, such as your own website or Etsy are good options for those that want to sell nationally or internationally.
Online sale platforms usually charge a fee for selling your product through their site, but you also do not need to worry about running your own website either. So, it is really all up to your preferences on where you want to put your money and time into.
Selling your product in a store can be expensive. This is generally for those that already have a really good thing going for them, and they have built their business up to a point that they can afford their own building.
This is a huge milestone to get to in your journey as a business owner, and it is an exciting one. But it is not cheap. The cost of a building and utilities for that building can easily reach more than what you make in profits in the early days of selling your candles.
Some alternative options for selling your homemade candles are also an option. For starters, school fundraisers are a great way to find customers that are local to your business. Finding locals that are loyal to your brand is a great way to spread your brand name to surrounding towns and cities.
The same thing goes for your local businesses, craft fairs, and even the local flea market. Some places may charge a fee, but it is likely to be on the smaller side of the scale.
There are downsides to selling your candles online and in flea markets. The issue with selling your products online is that everyone is doing it. It might be good, to begin with, but as the buyers’ market for candles gets overcrowded with similar products, you will be forced to lower your prices.
When it comes to flea markets, in order to sell there, you will need to make a very large inventory and have it readily available for sales that you might not even make.
Earning a Profit
Earning a profit from your homemade candle business is the end goal. After you look at all of the previously mentioned costs and responsibilities to the business, it is easy to see why in the beginning, profits might be very low. The key is to start off small.
Only buy the supplies needed to make the candles and a small amount of the ingredients to make some free samples and your first small batch. Once you sell those, then you will have a better understanding of the process.
You do not want to dive in headfirst and make enough candles to sell to your entire town. Because at that point, you will be hundreds of dollars in with no customer base to buy them. Starting off small will give you the chance to build a customer base without gambling away too much money. By only starting with the necessities, you will be ensuring none of your hard-earned cash goes to waste.
A good way to start earning profit is to go to your local specialty shops and businesses and ask to set up a table. If they allow you to sell your homemade candles on consignment, not only will you be earning profit with each sale you make, but you will be increasing your chances of the locals spreading your brand name by word of mouth. This is one of the best ways to increase customer base and, ultimately, sales. With increased sales comes increased profits.
Making the Candles
The first thing you will need to do is decide on the type of wax, wicks, and fragrances you will be making your candles with. Once you know what you will be using, you will need to prepare the containers by placing the wicks in the centers.
To easily do this, you can use a glue gun to glue them to the jar. Next, you will need to measure out the amount of wax you will need so that you can know how much fragrance oil to mix in it.
Generally, per pound of wax will need about an ounce of fragrance oils. This can sometimes change due to the materials the wax is made from and the strength of the oils you are using.
Usually, though, the measurements stay at around this. If you overdo it on the fragrance oils, the oils have less of a chance to bind to the wax. When you cure the candles, the fragrance oils will leak out of the wax, and the candles will look like they have condensation.
Before you add the oils, you need to heat your wax using the double boiler method to around 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the recommended temperature for most waxes so that the fragrance oils have a better chance of mixing into the wax.
Once you mix the fragrance oils into your wax you can begin to pour the wax into the jars. It is best to pour the wax into the jars at a lower temperature such as 120 degrees Fahrenheit so that you can avoid any denting as it cools.
When the candles cool, the wax shrinks. This is how you get sinkholes at the surface of the candles. If you do get sinkholes in your candles, you can fix them by heating the top layer of the candle with a heat gun or a blow dryer.
This will allow the wax to fill in that hole and allow the wax to cure smoothly across the surface. Heat guns are more ideal, as a blow dryer will take much longer to heat the wax to its melting temperature.
Once all of your candles have been made and allowed to cure completely in their jars, you can add the warning labels and tags. This part of the process may be time-consuming in the beginning because you will want them to be neat and bubble-free.
If you take the extra time to ensure they are neat, it will help your product appear more professional. This is also the time when you package any small wax melts or tealight candles you made along the way.
Make Safety a Priority While Making Candles
Safety should be your first priority. With one little mess, you could burn your house to the ground. As you know, the wax is flammable. So, if you were to even stir it too vigorously while it is over the burner, you could start a fire.
This is why it is important to always use a double boiler. A double boiler will keep your wax from having any direct contact with the heat of the stove. It will heat indirectly and more evenly while avoiding any accidental fires.
While you are making candles, all of your focus should be on it. Never leave wax unattended because it could boil over and cause a fire, or one of your children could decide they want to touch it, leading to second or third-degree burns and a hospital trip.
Staying with the wax that is boiling hot and a fire hazard should be of the utmost importance to you. That leads me to the next safety precaution.
Keep any children in the area away from the hot wax. If they are old enough to understand just how much damage it can do, then it is fine to let them help under strict supervision. But for the sake of their safety and your sanity, just keep them out of the room while you work.
It is also a good idea to work in a well-ventilated area. If you are working in your kitchen, turn on the overhead fan or open a window. It might smell good, but fresh air is better for you.
While working with high temperatures and melted wax, be sure to wear your protective gear. You do not have to go crazy with a hazmat suit or anything, just clear glasses to protect your eyes, heat-resistant gloves, and a long sleeve shirt.
When you get burnt with hot wax, it takes a moment for your body to register it. By the time you realize you have been burnt it could be to the point when a hospital visit is necessary. With protective gear, it will be avoided.
While you are working with flammable material such as wax, you will need to have the right fire extinguisher nearby. A dry chemical fire extinguisher that is rated for ABC-type fires is the best possible type of fire extinguisher you could use for such material.
Wax is oily, and when water is thrown on oil, it spreads; the same thing goes for a wax fire. The fire extinguisher will be a lifesaver in an emergency such as this. And be sure to read the instruction manual for the wax.
What Would It Take to Make a Profit?
Depending on the size of the containers you are using, the material of the wax, and the quality of the fragrance, making a profit does not have to be difficult. For example, if you sell 100 16oz candles for $18 in a month, you will make roughly $1800.
Granted, you will need to subtract the material costs out of that but depending on the companies you buy them from it should only cost you a few hundred dollars. Standley Handcrafted does a great job of breaking it down to basics.
If you stick to this business venture and actually take it seriously, you have a good chance of making a full-time income off of selling your own candles. You can make a good $50k a year just working on your own.
If you were to bring in a friend and start paying them as an employee, you could easily double that. Candle-making is not an easy job by any means, but it can be a very fruitful one in the end. You just need to stick with it until you get there.
If you are looking into starting a candle-making business, make sure to research all of your options for your materials. If you decide on making one type of candle, look at all of the company’s prices and compare them before making a decision on who to go with.
You might be able to find the same materials you need at a much more reasonable price than you found previously. Always do your research because you could save hundreds on wax alone.
The same thing goes for your candles jars and molds. There are companies that specialize in high-end candle jars and decorations. They charge outrageous prices where you could find a design only slightly simpler for much cheaper.
You will be buying these products in bulk once you make a name for yourself. If you can find the bulk retailers that offer your materials at the prices that you need, jump, and do not lose them. They can save you thousands within a year.
That number might seem steep, but once you get comfortable with this business and start growing your brand, you will be making thousands in a month. The cost of materials should go up only because you are buying in larger quantities, not because you are buying more expensive materials. Remember, it is a balancing game, and you want to come out on top.
Candle-making can be a very profitable job. With little investment at the very beginning when you are just starting out, you can easily grow your business with the right marketing techniques and materials. Candles can be made out of all sorts of different materials.
If you choose to use more natural materials, it might be harder to work with. Natural materials tend to have their own smell, so you would need to find that perfect balance between the oils and the wax.
On the bright side, more natural materials tend to run at a higher price because they burn cleaner. This means less soot and unhealthy chemicals for the customers to breathe in. Additionally, it decreases your footprint on the environment.
So, using healthier materials for your homemade candles will not only fetch you a larger profit, but it will keep the environment safer and keep your customers healthy. But this also means the wax will cost you more.
It is all really a balancing game. You will need to figure out that perfect balance in prices for your products to be able to back the money you spent on materials as well as a little bit of profit. Because it just is not worth it if you are not making any money.
If your product is clean, it will fetch you a large profit. The longer you stick with the candle-making business, the better your chances are at building a career out of it.
If a career is not what you wanted out of it, then do not make it one. You can only sell a limited number of candles every month. This will ensure you get the extra money you need every month while you avoid the added responsibility of running a business on top of the life you already have.
You can make it a career, or you cannot. Either option is perfectly acceptable, and they will both work in your favor splendidly.
The main takeaway is that in order to make a profit out of the candle-making business, you will need to dedicate your time to learning the skill and all the knowledge that comes along with it.
To master the trade, you will need to live and breathe candle-making for some time until you get it down. It is not an easy job. It can be mentally taxing, but the payoff is worth it in the end. The benefits far outweigh the negatives in this case, both literally and metaphorically.