Candles are inexpensive and easy to make. Nearly anyone who can combine simple ingredients can make candles to use in their home or office. From a business standpoint, learning how to make candles is a skill that can be transformed into a viable income stream. Homemade candles have become an essential home décor item—a market expected to reach $838 billion by 2027, according to Allied Market Research.
Interested in selling candles? This post will brief you on how to make homemade candles and start a candle business. Even if you’re not the DIY type, you can still get into this business and make money as a candle entrepreneur. Let’s jump in!
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Why sell homemade candles?
An essential home décor item, homemade candles are great for adding a warm and welcoming touch to a room. Consumers also buy candles to rekindle memories, as well as for relaxation and sleep aromatherapy, according to the National Candle Association. A quick glimpse at the global candle market size tells us that people’s interest in candles is not only strong but runs the gamut:
In addition to their popularity, candles provide business owners with a range of other benefits, like:
- Low cost entry. While some varieties of homemade candles are pricier than others, most candlemakers can create their wares with very little initial cash. You don’t have to pay for special storage like you would with some items (such as food), and the materials for making candles are relatively cheap.
- Customizable product. With so many different materials and scents, it’s easy to personalize your candles and differentiate yourself from the competition. Plus, once you get the hang of the basic recipe, you’ll be creating diverse varieties of this hot product on the fly.
- Easy to sell anywhere. You can sell your homemade candles almost anywhere, from online selling sites to your own online store. Renting a stall at the local crafts fair? Homemade candles travel well, so you can sell them both offline and online.
How to start an online candle business in 6 steps
1. Pick your candles
When making your candle business strategy, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what type of candles you’re going to sell. Some options include:
- Paraffin wax. Simple and inexpensive, paraffin wax has no special additives in it and can be used to create a wide variety of candles, from votives and tealights to pillars and tarts.
- Soy candles. Soy candles are some of the most popular on the market today. The vegetable-based wax comes from a renewable source, making the candles more eco-friendly. Soy candles also burn cleaner for longer, offering better value.
- Scented candles. Scented candles come in a variety of different wax types and sizes. The most significant feature of these kinds of candles is their scent, often created via essential oils and perfumed ingredients.
- Vegan candles. Free from beeswax, vegan candles use modified formulas with plant-based ingredients like soy wax. With these candles, you can target a growing segment of consumers concerned with the animal byproducts companies use for candle manufacturing.
- Decorative candles. Featuring unique shapes, colors, and patterns, decorative candles focus on aesthetics over scent or performance. People buying these candles may never burn them, but use them purely for decorative purposes—their unique designs can add something special to a space in an office or home.
2. Define your target market
Your target market are the audience groups you want to reach with your marketing efforts. There may be several types of consumers interested in buying your products. However, in the candle industry, target markets usually fall into the following categories:
- Mass market. Mass-market candles may not feature special ingredients or components, but they can still look and smell good. If you want to reach customers with a smaller budget, this is the market for you. Manufacturing typically costs between $7 and $10 per candle.
- Mid-market. With a broad taste, mid-market consumers typically shop for candles with varying scents, like grapefruit, basil, or rose water. Though not the most expensive candles, mid-market varieties are more costly to produce than mass-market alternatives.
- Prestige. These are a new and quickly growing segment of the candle industry. The average prestige buyer can spend between $20 and $80 on a candle, though luxury candles like those made by Cire Trudon sell for as high as $325. Prestige buyers are attracted to premium packaging, fragrances, and brands that tell good stories.
Decide on which audience group you’ll target. Have you invested in premium packaging and high-end fragrances? Then prestige may be the best route. Want to keep manufacturing costs low and still make a decent profit? Mid-market candles may be your calling.
3. Make some candles
With your candle type and target audience in mind, you can begin making your candles.
The easiest path is to get someone to help you with this process. For instance, there are private label manufacturers that can make candles according to your needs, such as Silver Dollar Candle Co. This way, you can focus on your brand while the manufacturer takes care of the production.
However, if you want to make your candles entirely at home, this is possible too. Just keep in mind it may be harder to scale your production process this way.
To make your candles:
- Source your materials. You’ll need a specific kind of wax (such as soy), wicks, containers for your candles, fragrances and essential oils, spatulas, super glue, and anything you may want to use to brand your candles, like printed labels or custom-made jar labels.
- Measure and prep your wax. Using the instructions on your wax pellets of flakes, measure the exact amount required to make each candle in a measuring cup. Melt the wax slowly in a microwave, stirring every thirty seconds or so to ensure your wax doesn’t burn. You’ll also need to check the temperature to add oils for the fragrance of your candles. For fragrance to mix well, your wax should be around 185 degrees Fahrenheit—a meat thermometer will help you check the temperature.
- Customize the mixture. While the wax is melting, prepare your custom jar, gluing one end of your wick to the bottom of the container. You can wrap the wick around a stick and balance it on top of the jar to keep it straight. Pour in your wax (with the scent already added), filling around three-quarters of the jar. You can also add wax dyes if you want a specific color.
- Finish your candle. Allow the wax to cool and top up with the remaining mixture if necessary. Snip off excess wick once the candle is firm and add any remaining decorations, like bits of orange peel or flower petals. And that’s it—your candle is ready to burn.
4. Build your online store
Once that’s all sorted out, your next step is to create an online store.
Building an online store seems like a daunting task compared to selling your candles on marketplaces like Etsy. But these selling websites cut deep into your profits and stop you from expressing your brand freely. Your online store not only acts as a digital home for your brand, it also helps you become more profitable with time.
There are many ecommerce platforms you could build on, but Shopify is the simplest way to start. For a small $29 monthly fee, you get a beautiful storefront, built-in hosting, cart abandonment recovery, SSL certifications, and other beginner-friendly sales and marketing tools.
Shopify also has a free trial that gives you some time to play around before you commit to a plan. And when you’re ready, it gives you the option to buy your website domain and link it to your Shopify store via its domain registration platform.
5. Create a brand identity
Developing a brand identity is the most direct way to influence how consumers feel about your candle business.
Start by capturing high-quality product images. Make sure the shape, texture, color, and label of your candles are clearly visible in your photographs. Feeling creative? Stage an image of a candle in your home so people can envision it in theirs. You can hire a Shopify Expert to take your photos or capture high-quality images with your smartphone.
Next, come up with a brand story. This is a narrative that shapes and communicates your brand to people. Brand stories for candle brands are typically honest, captivating, and human. Your story should make people feel something that drives them to explore further.
Take Lightscapes’ story as an example. Its founder spent close to two decades working in marketing and product development roles at wine and candle companies. On the job, she learned the importance of fragrance and how ingredients can influence the quality of a candle. This patchwork of experience and her desire to let scents create lasting memories inspired her to open a candle business.
To find your story, ask yourself:
- Why did I get into the candle-making business?
- Who am I targeting and what impact do I want to have on them?
- What kind of reputation do I want to have in the market?
6. Market your candle business
Competition for attention in the candle industry is high, so it’s critical that you come up with ways to get more eyeballs on your products. For one thing, candles were made for social selling, so channels like Snapchat and Instagram are going to be key for you. You can also tap into other digital channels to drive traffic to your Shopify website and specific product pages.
Consider some of the channels and tips below:
- Pinterest. Home décor is a popular category on Pinterest, which is one of the largest platforms people use to find products and brands. So it’s wise for candle business owners to consider Pinterest when creating their digital marketing strategy.
- Instagram. Many candle brands found great success curating a beautiful feed on Instagram. Stage photos of your candles to show off to people, and build a sizable following. You can also use Instagram to offer a behind-the-scenes peek at how you make your candles.
- Giveaways and contests. As part of your social media marketing efforts, you can use some of your products as prizes in a series of giveaways. Not only can these promotions help you build brand awareness, but you also have the opportunity to show how well your candles work.
- Push holiday promotions and sales. Candles make an excellent gift for loved ones. That’s why demand always surges around holidays, Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving, in particular. Get creative with colors, shapes, and seasonal motifs.
Let scents fuel your business
You made it this far, which means you now have a great grasp on how to make money selling candles online. With the knowledge and tools to help you make and sell your homemade candles, you can work toward creating an income stream with a trending item people just love to buy.
Have ideas on how to run a candle business for beginners? Share your advice and tips in the comments section below.
How to sell candles FAQ
Is candle making profitable?
A candle-making business can be highly profitable. It has a low startup cost, doesn’t require much equipment or technical knowledge, and you can make candles at home. Candles are also easy to promote online, lowering your marketing costs and increasing margins. Plus, with the candle making industry anticipated to reach $13.72 billion by 2026, expect an influx of customers visiting your store to buy their favorite candles.
How much does it cost to start a candle business?
The capital required to start a candle-making business is relatively small compared to what it costs to launch other businesses. The equipment you’ll need to start making candles will make up the majority of your expense. Plan to spend around $1,000, which should get you all the supplies you need, plus essentials like Mason jars, pouring pots, and a double boiler.
How do I start a candle business from home?
- Choose your candle type.
- Identify your target audience.
- Make candles to sell.
- Build your online store.
- Develop a brand identity.
- Market your candle business.