The smell of a candle can bring back many memories, from your childhood all the way to the present day. If you enjoy making candles and always wondered how you could turn your passion into a profitable side hustle or even full-time job, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll explain to you why you should make candles to sell, as well as the basic process involved. From there, the creativity will bring you to wherever you want to go next. Establish your brand, promote your products, and you’ll be well on your way to providing for you and your family by making and selling candles.
The best part is that candle-making doesn’t take a lot of skill or capital to get started. With a few classes and tutorials, you’ll be making candles to turn a profit with your very own candle-making business. You can then easily sell your homemade candles online and earn enough profit to quit your full-time job and devote yourself completely to making and selling candles for a living.
Are you ready to burn the candle at both ends? Let’s get started.
There are many reasons why you might want to make candles to sell. Here are just a few benefits of starting, owning, and operating a candle-making business:
- Low-cost entry and overhead
- You can do it yourself or with your spouse
- Low stress working conditions
- Creative license to make whatever you want
- Little skill or training required
- Better work-life balance that many gig jobs offer
- Easily turn a hobby into a legit side hustle
Making candles to sell is just one of many gig economy jobs you can leverage to supplement your income or even replace your current income source. There is a huge market of consumers to cater to, from mass market all the way to prestige candle buyers that could pay a few hundred dollars for the right candle.
Candles come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from tea lights and birthday candles to insect-repelling and flameless. The process in creating a candle is relatively simple, but you can easily add your own flair to it for a unique product.
Here are the basic steps in the candle-making process:
- Fill the bottom pot of a double boiler with water.
- Add wax to the top double boiler pot and melt. This can take up to an hour, depending on what type of wax you’re using.
- Fragrances should be added at specific temperatures, which are often noted by the manufacturer. You can also add dye to the candle to achieve the color scheme you desire.
- Set the wick in your candle container. You may need to use a wick bar, which supports the wick in the center of the container as the hot wax is added.
- Allow the wax to cool slightly and then pour it into your container, making sure the wick is upright.
- Let the candle set for anywhere from 3 days to up to 2 weeks.
- Trim the wicks before you sell the candle for best results. You only need to remove about a quarter of an inch.
You can also take courses online to learn how to make candles, like this one from Udemy. The majority of candle consumers use their candles within a week of purchase, so staying relevant with trends can go a long way in boosting your income and helping you clear out your inventory.
The type of wax you use for your candle can make a huge difference for some buyers. Here are common waxes you’ll find for candle making:
Wax types can vary in terms of smell and quality. Keep this in mind as you create your own candles to sell.
Wicks are what help your candles give off such a wonderful scent. The four main types of wicks are:
- Eco: made from cotton and paper
- LX: biodegradable and produces less soot
- Hemp: non-toxic
- Wood: natural and known for a crackling noise
For many buyers, the wick can be as important as the candle itself. Research these types of wicks further to see which fit your business model.
The scent of a candle is one of the biggest selling points, along with physical appearance. Most candle makers add a certain blend of fragrance to achieve popular scents, such as vanilla, citrus, berries, apple, pumpkin, lavender, eucalyptus, etc.
Fragrance is often characterized by throw, which is divided into hot and cold. When a candle is burning, this is referred to as the hot throw. Candles that are sitting on your counter or mantle have a cold throw. Candles that give off a distinct scent in both cold and hot throw are most desirable.
Adding fragrance is a bit of an art, as too much fragrance can cause issues with burning properly and the wax actually sweating out the excess fragrance. Most fragrances must be added at a certain temperature and take a few minutes to mix completely. A fragrance load of about 6% is common, but 12% is possible as well.
Fragrances come in many scents, but there are three main sources of fragrance for candles.
Essential oils may come to mind first when thinking of fragrance. They are highly fragrant and often used for aromatherapy, but prices can be higher for this type of fragrance than the other common types. You typically have to add essential oils at a lower temperature, but they don’t have as strong a heat throw as other fragrances. The limited selection does restrict what you can do, but blending essential oils together can help combat this.
On the other end of the spectrum are fragrance oils. These are the most common types of fragrance you’ll find in candles, but they’re not the best if you’re concerned about harmful chemicals like phthalates and parabens. Fragrance oils come in a wide variety of scents and are more potent than essential oils.
Finally, natural fragrance oils are a blend of essential oils and aromatic isolates. There are no phthalates or parabens. However, you will get an excellent scent throw. Natural fragrance oils can be harder to find in some cases, but they are more cost-effective than essential oils and cleaner than fragrance oils.
Determining a price for your candles can be one of the most difficult aspects. However, looking at what other businesses are charging can be a way to gain a benchmark. These prices may also play into your business strategy, which could include undercutting your competition while still providing a valuable product for your customers.
Many candle makers mark their candles up anywhere from 100-400%. That means a candle that might take $5 to make could sell for $20. Other businesses work off a scale of 3 times the cost of materials, which would put a $5 candle at about $15. No matter how you price your candles, listen to the feedback you’re getting from customers and adjust if you feel the need.
Candles can be sold at the following:
- Online store you create, such as Shopify
- Farmer’s market
- Social media
- Local craft fair
Investing your time on a weekend at a farmer’s market might seem like you’re just working harder, but gaining a few loyal clients here and there at events like that could help to support your candle-making business long term.
The entry-level cost of a candle-making setup typically runs anywhere from $100 to $1,000. You can buy a lot of things second-hand and/or on Amazon, but if you plan on spending time with this business idea, it might be a good idea to get new equipment you can depend on.
Candle making often requires the following:
- Pouring pitcher
- Double boiler
- Candle containers/jars/etc.
- Scented fragrances
- Dyes and colorants
- Digital scale
- Shipping materials
- Professional wick trimmer
- Wax bar
You’ll also need a dedicated work space for making your candles. A kitchen might be handy at first for using your double boiler setup, but long-term, you should find another solution. Mixing your food preparation area with candle making doesn’t always work out well.
Your candle brand says as much about your products as the scents you use for the candles themselves. Start your brand by choosing a name, creating a logo, and defining your target audience. Most candle buyers are women, but that’s not to say there aren’t men out there who buy candles as well.
To create your logo, you might want to hire a package designer. They can be found on sites like 99 Designs or other freelance graphic design websites. You’ll also want to choose a domain name, create a website, and open up a few social media accounts, especially on Instagram.
Many candle-making businesses achieve a high rate of successful marketing with Instagram especially. Pictures of your amazing candles will do more to sell your product than nearly any other marketing strategy. After all, we purchase candles with our eyes as much as our noses.
With that said, you should have an eye-catching website to boost your sales as well. You may even start a blog to show your expertise in the field. Any time you go to a farmer’s market or craft fair, you should create a memorable experience so customers know who they’re purchasing from.
Most products have certain rules to abide by, candles especially. In order to legally sell your candles, you will need to package and label them correctly.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires certain CLP regulations, which refer to the classification, labeling, and packaging of a product. You’ll need to include the following in order for your labeling to be consistent with these standards:
- “Warning” or “Danger” to indicate hazardous nature of candle
- Name, phone number, and address of your candle company
- Ingredients and known allergens
- Product name, scent, and type
“Type” typically refers to either wax melt or candle.
As you come up with your name and form your candle-making business, don’t forget to build your business right by completing the following:
- Create a business plan
- Determine your business’s legal structure
- Obtain necessary sales tax licenses and permits, as well as any pertinent business licenses
- Register for tax forms and obtain an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the IRS
- Retain a general insurance policy
- Open a business banking account
- Invest in software for inventory and finances, such as Quickbooks, Zero, Sage, Zoho Inventory, and/or Orderhive
- Resource funding such as personal loans, business loans, grants, and crowdfunding.
Getting your candle-making business off the ground takes a bit of effort, but it can be incredibly rewarding once profits start coming in.
It is best to purchase your materials in bulk. Keep an eye on sales as well.
Yes, you can legally sell candles you’ve made, as long as you have the right labeling. Ensure you’re following safety standards to prevent any adverse legal action.
Fragrances vary from season to season, but popular scents year-round include vanilla and lavender. You can also search for popular brands online to see what scents they are promoting.
Adding the option to subscribe for monthly candles can be a great way to add value to your candle-making business. You can also broaden your scope of products by adding things like bath bombs, shower discs, etc.
Making candles to sell can be a rewarding side hustle that can easily turn into a full-time income with the right amount of time, effort, and materials. We hope this article has helped inspire you to make a few candles of your own and see what you can offer with your own candle-making business. You never know what path that candle might illuminate.