There’s something decadent about lighting a candle and having it release its beautiful scent in your home. Within minutes you can be transformed to a tropical island with the smell of coconut, or a wintery wonderland with the glorious undertones of cinnamon or cloves.
Whatever your aromatic preference, there’s no denying Australians love a good scented candle. And judging by the number of online stores and market stall holders, it seems to be a pretty popular choice for a home-based or maker business too.
So if you’ve decided to turn your passion for scented candles into a thriving business, we’ve put together some handy hints to get you on your way.
Check the legalities
First and foremost, source all necessary information and documentation for setting up a business in your state. Tostart with, you’ll need to:
- Contact your local council to find out if you need any permits
- Speak with your accountant to find out the best structure for your business
- Visit the Australian Business Register to get your Australian Business Number (ABN).
- Speak to an insurance provider to find out what cover you need, especially if you plan to sell at markets.
While these may seem rather boring and tiresome things to do, if you want to make sure you have a successful and profitable business they’re a necessary part of the process.
Know your product
With more than 2,000 different varieties of candle and about 10,000 scents available, it’s safe to say you’ll need to narrow down your product range. Whether it’s the simplicity of votives or the elegance of pillars, you need a clear understanding of what type of candle you want to produce and the costs involved with their production.
If you’re trying to save on startup costs in the early days, you may want to look at dipped candles rather than hand-pouring them into decorative jars. If you’re heart is set on making jar candles, can you get people to donate their empty jam jars? When you know your product, you can work out an accurate cost to produce.
Master your craft
If you’ve decided to make candle making your profession then hopefully you’ve been experimenting at home for a while. If you’re going to sell your products on the general market they need to be of a high quality in their production and presentation. If the only candle making you’ve done is on the weekend, you’re probably not ready to have your own market stall just yet.
You’ll want to take the time to really understand how your raw materials work together, such as adding the right amount of scent to work with the wax you’re using in the jars you’re filling. Successful artisans often take a long time perfecting the right formula for their products. It took Amanda from Mangalo Body and Bath nearly a year to come up with hers.
And don’t worry about all the test batches you’re making. They’ll make perfect gifts for family, friends and school teachers.
Consider your labels
This is a really important step in your business journey, especially for such a visual business as candles. It’s a given that your candles need to be of the highest standard. But just as important are your branding and labelling. Most candles today are used as display items, which means they’re placed in highly visible areas of the house. And while you want your brand to stand out in a busy market, they also needs to blend into a person’s home. Otherwise your customer will just peel off the label and they may not remember who you are when it’s time to buy another one.
When designing your candle labels, look at successful brands for inspiration and then read our article on creating a candle to remember. Finally, choose a template that shows your personality. If you’re working with a graphic artist or brand specialist, take the time to really think about how your labels will look on your products.
Invest in a quality website
If you’re serious about launching a candle brand, spend some time and money investing in a quality website to sell your products. You can get started with an e-commerce platform such as Shopify for a small fee, and you won’t need to worry about the technical aspects of hosting, security and site speed. As your business grows you can look to other providers such as WordPress that will give you greater control of your online store.
Whatever platform you choose, a website is an obvious choice to build your brand and your business. Firstly, it gives customers the opportunity to purchase your products at their convenience (rather than needing to wait for market days). Secondly, not everyone uses social media, but almost everyone uses the world wide web for pre-purchase research. And thirdly, it gives you an opportunity to tell your story and connect with your customers through your content and blogs – two powerful tools to get you found by Google. This small investment in the beginning of your business journey, can pay for itself several times over in the course of your business life.
Make time for marketing
The fun part of any business is doing what you love – in this case, making candles. But there are other aspects to running your own business you need to familiarise yourself with, and one of them is your marketing. In between buying supplies, making candles and selling them to family and friends, you need to spend time planning how you’ll get your product in front of people. And you shouldn’t rely on social media as your only marketing platform. If you’ve taken the time and invested in a website, you’ll want to start seeing some quick returns on that investment, preferably with little outlay. You can pick up some handy tips from our article 7 Steps to Marketing Success on a Shoestring
So now your ready to let the world know you’re in the candle making business. Make sure you keep up with the latest trends in colours, shapes and scents. And if you need some other ideas, check out our Meet the Maker series where we interview successful candle makers.