There is more to starting a candle business than picking out some scents, choosing a name, and getting some pretty tins. While you don’t need a ton of start-up capital or buyers, it does demand some time, commitment, and hard work from you.
This article will help get you going in the right direction, and Aventive Studio can help you create an unforgettable candle brand that stands out from the crowd — including developing your brand strategy, packaging design, brand colors, website, and more.
Conduct Market Research
As you brainstorm how to start a candle business, it is important to have enough information about the potential market for your products. Here are some questions that you will want to ask:
- What is the general profit margin for handmade candles?
- How many people buy candles in a month, and what are their shopping preferences (online vs. physical stores)?
- Who are your main competitors, both within the local area and nationally? Which products do they offer, and at what prices?
- How much does it cost to buy supplies for making and selling candles? If you are not making candles yourself, how much does it cost to wholesale purchase them from a third party?
Questions like these will give you a better sense of whether or not there’s a demand for your product and help you get clarity on the most basic decisions.
For instance, if online research reveals that most customers prefer buying scented candles that come in glass containers, then creating an unscented line packaged in plastic containers won’t lead to favorable outcomes.
Knowing your target market is essential when starting any business — if you don’t know who will be buying from you or why they would want what you are selling, then your business is unlikely to grow very far past the startup phase.
As the examples above illustrate, failure can result even from misusing production resources — in other words, using precious funding on something that doesn’t match your customer base’s expectations or needs.
Aventive Studio’s wellness branding services include developing a brand strategy for your candle business, including your brand attributes, target profiles, customer journey, and more.
Define Your Niche, Including Your Scents and Packaging
Candles are one of the most versatile home decor products on the market today, and they serve a variety of purposes.
They are increasingly common in bathrooms and kitchens as sources of aromatherapy, and many people use them in their living rooms for ambiance. But there’s already a lot of competition in the market, which is why you need to find your niche before you can begin selling.
While it might be easy to think that “producing candles” is enough of a niche for your business, you need to define exactly what type of candles you sell so that they will stand out from other brands.
This could mean choosing an unusual scent or packaging or creating a certain type of candle — such as soy candles, which are more environmentally friendly than traditional paraffin candles and even last longer.
If you are looking for ideas on how to define your niche, take some time to research other candle businesses in your area and see what they offer. You may want something similar or perhaps you will want to do something completely different!
Take the opportunity to explore options like different scents or candle packaging design materials. This is also when you can decide on whether or not to make any claims about being “all-natural” or eco-friendly since both are hot topics among consumers who care about sustainability.
Determine Your Ingredients
After you have determined the types of candles you want to create, you need to shortlist your ingredients. While it is tempting to go with the cheapest ingredients available, this can backfire on you as customers are becoming increasingly conscious about the ingredients, with which their products are being made.
As a candle business, the quality of your ingredients will directly affect the quality and safety of your finished candle as it is bound to mix with the air they breathe. So, when choosing your ingredients, consider the following:
- Where do these materials come from?
- What are they made of?
- How healthy are they?
- How much will they cost?
Pick a Candle Business Name and Get Your License
When considering ideas for a name, keep in mind that it should be unique and easy to remember. You will want something that will stick in consumers’ minds and not get lost in the shuffle of other businesses – especially when choosing a domain for your website.
Next, you need to get your business registered by taking care of all necessary legal requirements so that you have a legitimate business. A good place to start is researching your local government websites to find out what kind of permits or licenses you need to operate legally.
In addition, you will also want to reach out to them about taxing requirements, insurance, and other policies.
You may have noticed that we skipped over starting with a business plan — there’s a good reason for this! When it comes to candle-making, it is best not to jump ahead without fully understanding the process and having some hands-on experience with making first.
So, before you draft your plan, make sure you have got your research down to the T. Then contact Aventive Studio to help you create a brand strategy that will help you make more sales and beat the competition.
Find a Manufacturer
If your candles are handmade, you can skip this step for now — until it’s time to hire help and grow your team of candle makers!
If you’re looking for a candle manufacturer, it’s always wise to get peer recommendations first. But if you don’t have connections, the internet is your friend. Once you have found some manufacturers, it is time to narrow down your choices.
Here are some things to consider:
- Is the manufacturer willing to help with your prototype? You might have a great idea for a candle, but if the manufacturer hasn’t seen it before they might not be able to make it without additional guidance. A good manufacturer will be willing to work with you on this step and offer advice on what techniques might work best for your style of candle.
- Do they offer samples? Some manufacturers offer sample kits that include small versions of their candles so you can see them in person before making an order decision (and also smell them if that’s important). If this is something that appeals to you, make sure whichever company you are considering has this option available!
- What are their ratings like? Many candle manufacturers will post their ratings online so that customers can see how well they perform in areas like occupational health and environmental standards. Check out each company’s website for more information on whether or not they have these publicly posted somewhere—or ask directly.
Make Sure Your Candles Are High-Quality
This is a no-brainer. The most important part of your new candle business is your product. Customers will not buy from you again if they receive a poor-quality product. Therefore, it is imperative that you make sure that the candles you are making are safe to use and of high quality.
Even if you are on a tight budget, make sure that you do not cut corners by using cheap ingredients. The same goes for packaging: avoid taking shortcuts here, because people are likely to your candles for gifting purposes and poor packaging can lead to disappointment and satisfaction.
We have outlined a detailed guide to packaging in this article to make things easier for you.
Develop a Candle Marketing Plan
Whether you like it or not, it is highly likely that marketing will be a big part of your candle business’s success.
While you will need to get creative and use the right channels, it’s crucial to remember that most people expect to find small businesses like yours online. Because of this, it is vital to build brand awareness through your online presence, even if you also have a brick-and-mortar store.
You should also focus on building an audience on social media. Not only will this help you target the right customers, but social media can also become a powerful tool for selling products online. The key is knowing which platforms are best for your business and how to get started.
Having a website, which highlights your brand story and includes information about where customers can buy your products, should also be a major part of your candle marketing plan.
Finally, using email marketing to establish a community in the market can help you attract new customers as well as keep the current ones coming back for more candles.
Create an Online Presence, But Don’t Ignore the Brick-and-Mortar Model
An online presence is essential in today’s market. Consumers expect to be able to buy a product whenever they want, and they expect to have access to that product no matter where they are.
Your candle website should be easy for customers to navigate as well as be connected with the top-performing social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to help you attract new customers.
However, don’t neglect the brick-and-mortar side of the business model just because you are focusing on e-commerce.
Candle buyers like to have as many of their senses engaged as possible when making a purchase. They want to be able to touch the candles, smell the scent, and experience the ambiance that the product can potentially create before they take it home.
Consider setting up a place for your business that customers can visit, especially if your business relies on selling candles at events like fairs or farmers’ markets. Having an offline point of contact along with an online one can really help you go a long way.
Invest in Branding
What makes your product unique? What separates it from the rest? You only get one shot at making a first impression, so don’t waste the opportunity on branding strategies, which lack creativity and don’t fully connect with your prospective buyers.
Your candle branding should be more than just decorative (logo, color scheme, and graphics): it should reflect who you are and capture the essence of your business. Remember, you are putting your name out there. And when you do that, you need to ensure that it is associated with good things!
That’s where Aventive Studio comes in! Our branding experts know the health and wellness industry’s best-kept branding secrets, and we will share them with you to help you grow your venture and sell more candles. Get in touch with us to kickstart your campaign.