With the current focus on home-based businesses only growing in our Internet age, you have the opportunity to jump onto that creative train and start creating your own homemade candles. But where do you start? What do you have to do first?
How to Start a Candle Making Business
- Create your business plan.
- Know the legal requirements of your candle labels.
- Receive the proper licensure.
- Seek out your selling location.
- Create your inventory.
- If necessary, hire your staff.
- Market your product.
While you may find that there are many steps to starting your business; it doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these steps to make your business creation much easier, and you too can start selling your candles to your favored customers!
- Create your business plan; The first step in creating your candle making business is always starting your business plan. This plan can help you make every decision you need to make prior to having to make them—which means your candle business will be up and running in no time.
Your business plan, as mentioned, would include all the choices and decisions you will have to make in your business, including:
- Management setup and operations; While you may find this something obvious. It’s very important to explain how your business is set up; especially if you decide to hire staff down the road. Write out what you expect your day-to-day operations to look like and who is in charge of what decisions. It’ll be easier to enforce down the road if it is set in stone from the beginning.
- Financials; You will need to know how you’re going to get your capital for your first candle. Whether it’s personal funds, friends or family, or getting a loan, it doesn’t matter—you have to put together this information. Bank loans will not even be an option without a business plan.
- Insurance; This depends on your legal structure, but it doesn’t matter whether you’re working out of your home or have your own building—the appropriate insurance is necessary just in case you face some sort of mishap while making your candles.
- Legal structure; Your legal structure is what will inform your local and state governments how you should be taxed. If you are registering as a “doing business as”; as limited liability company, or as a partnership. It doesn’t matter—you still need to make this decision. For online, home-based candle companies, your best option is a limited liability company. It would separate your business funds from your personal funds; Along with helping to mitigate your personal liability if something goes wrong.
- Business name; Choose a name that will stand out, but pick something that represents you. Create a list of ideas, gain inspiration from generators, use writing or word concepts, talk to your family, and make sure you get feedback before you decide. You should also find out if the name is available for business registration before making your final decision.
- Mission statement; Why do you want to create your candle making business? Outline it here.
It doesn’t matter if you are setting up your business online or in a physical store—having a business plan is key and will help you move forward smoothly.
- Know the legal requirements of your candle labels; Candles are meant to be flammable. It’s important to know what requirements go into keeping your customers safe. ASTM International has published certain guidelines for your candles, and they need to be followed, so you have complete compliance.
Most of the standards set out are about your candles’ labelling. Your candles should always include a measurement of how much wax is within. And they should be labeled using the Imperial standard of measurement.
They should also have fire safety warnings placed directly on the candle, completely unobstructed. The word “WARNING” should be written in large bold letters. They should also have a pictogram or drawing of a fire safety warning or text explaining how to properly use the candle.
Your candle should also have a label that includes your company name, weight of your candle, type of wax, logo, scent, and contact information. Not only is this good branding. It means you can be contacted if something goes wrong with your candle.
Your containers should be checked for their durability. If they are not up to standard, you could be fined.
- Receive the proper licensure; Whether you’re selling online or whether you’re putting your candles on physical shelves, you will still need the proper licensure for your business. You should get your general business license before you even set up your shop; you will also need to have your Federal Employer’s Identification Number for tax purposes.
It does not matter whether you are selling in a shop or not, you will need that general business license. There are certain websites like Etsy who state that this is not required. But in order to keep yourself legally safe, it is best to receive a general business license.
You will also need your seller’s permit before you start selling your items. This means your local government can take tax from your sales. You may also need a home occupation permit if you are selling within your home—check with your insurance company to find out more.
- Seek out your selling location; Whether it’s online or not, you still need to find your selling location! For those who are looking to sell online, you should focus on marketing and setting up your online presence. People want something easy to follow and find. Creating your own website with Shopify; or creating a storefront on Etsy is ideal.
If you are working with an existing shop and selling your candles in a booth, make sure you create an agreement with the shop owner.
Owning your own candle shop isn’t out of the question, but you will need to make sure your building is up to code—meaning it follows all the zoning, building, and health code regulations.
- Create your inventory; Creating your inventory is the fun part. Before you can start selling, you’re going to need some inventory to show off. This may sound like an easy task, but this is also the point where you need to consider your target demographic. Candle sales can be a saturated market, so you need to decide what niche you’re planning on filling. Define what you want, what you stand for, and what kind of customer you intend to serve.
This is also the point where you need to research your product extensively. Know what you want to sell, know how you’re going to make them, and make conscious decisions about what you use to make these candles.
What do you need to make your candles, though? You have many decisions to make as there are many options on the market.
- Wax; Your most important item, this choice can make or break your candle company. Because there are so many choices, research your possibilities before making a decision. For example, beeswax is very popular, but it can also be the most expensive. The oldest type of candle wax dates back thousands of years, it can come in many forms and has a very light natural scent. Beeswax hardens very firmly, making it a great additive to pillar candles. Natural waxes like palm wax or soy wax are both great options for an all-natural candle making company. Palm wax is firm and can be used with another softer wax, while soy wax is much more affordable and a great alternative to beeswax. The last option is paraffin wax, but be cautious—many discerning candle customers may shy away from this, as it is not a natural wax. Created from the crude oil refinement process, it is not environmentally friendly and can actually produce toxic fumes. There is not a “best” type of wax, but there is a best type of wax for you—and you have to decide which represents your candle company the best.
- Wicks; Because they are what make your candle burn, this is the next most important item to decide. Certain wicks work better with certain candle waxes, so when you decide on your candle wax, make sure you find out which wick works best with it. Wood wicks work great with natural waxes, while zinc core wicks work in any sort of candle. Paper core wicks are best for large container candles, as they can burn hot. Make sure your wick burns consistently and creates an even melting pool. You should also make sure to either use glue dots or let a little wax harden in the bottom of your container to adhere your wick’s metal base to the container.
- Containers and Molds; Regardless of how you create your candles, you should make sure they are compliant with standards. They should be durable and attractive to your candle customer.
- Fragrances. You have two options when it comes to fragrances: the all-natural essential oil or the synthetic fragrance oil. If you want to create a natural candle, you should stick with essential oils, but their fragrance can be weaker than that of a fragrance oil. Essential oils do allow candles to have a longer shelf life, but fragrance oils are much cheaper.
- Dyes. While not necessary, you may want to color your candles. You can use hard dyes or liquid dyes for this. Not that you can’t use food coloring—those are meant to dissolve in water, not oil.
In addition to those supplies, you will also need a way to make them. Thermometers, scales, spoons, pouring equipment, wax clips, a heat source, a double boiler, etc. are all important to have before you consider even making your first candle.
No matter what you do, you should keep your product consistent. People will continue to come back to you if they know what to expect out of your candles. Not sure how to make your first candle? The best way to do so is this:
- Gather your ingredients, including all your supplies and your equipment.
- Protect your workspace by putting down newspaper.
- Decide on the candle you’re planning on making, including the type of wax, colorant, container, wick, and fragrance.
- Allow your wax to heat up in your double boiler.
- Place your wick with your glue dot on the bottom of your container.
- Mix in your fragrance and colorant.
- Place it in your container.
- Allow wax to cool completely before clipping wick.
- If necessary, hire your staff.
For some smaller home-based businesses, hiring a staff may not be necessary, but if you’re thinking about expanding someday, make sure this is included in your business plan. It’s important information for you to know in the future, and you’ll be happy you included a growth plan moving forward.
- Market your product; If you want people to buy your candles, they’re going to need to know about them! Start talking about your products and why you’re creating them for people, and you can start bringing in your customers.
This is also the time to create your cohesive branding. You should make sure your logo, colors, website, Etsy shop, social media, etc. all have the same branding. Colors, fonts, logos, messaging should all be the same to create a professional vibe.
When you’re creating your inventory, make sure you start considering your target demographic and the market. Here, you can start to implement it—find out where that target is shopping or scrolling, and tap into it.
Selling online is a great tool for marketing as it becomes a one-stop shop. Whether you’re using a personal website or a site like Etsy, always make sure you include a link to your shop in whatever you post. This also means you need to keep your website and shop up to date with your latest news and products. Showcase your product, don’t just sell it.
You can market your business for free on social media apps. Consider starting one or two social media pages targeted to your chosen demographic, and create a content schedule to make sure you are always on their front page. Don’t overload your customers, either—if they see you too much, it’ll just mean they block out your posts or unfollow you all together.
Starting your candle making business doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you know where to start, it can be a breeze—create your business plan, and you too can have an easy route from idea to selling your first candle. While there are pros and cons to starting your business, you have complete control over your candle business—your hours are flexible, it’s simple to start, the profit margin is high, and you have so much room to grow.
How do I register the name for my candle making business?
It’s easy to register your name for your business—but it is dependent on your physical location and your business structure. The best way to find out how to do it in your state is by visiting the Small Business Administration website.
Is it safe to make candles out of my home?
Yes, it is safe to make candles out of your home. If you intend to do so as a candle making business, you should first check with your insurance company to make sure it is within the range of your insurance policy. Next, make sure your space is prepared—lay down newspaper or a covering to protect tables or countertops from hot wax. You should always monitor the heat of your wax and use the proper equipment, like scales and thermometers.
What is the start-up cost for a candle making business?
For your small online business, costs can be about $1,500 for your inventory, your way to sell your items (a website or a third-party website like Etsy) and your marketing. If you decide you want to do a physical storefront, you may have up to $31,000 of an investment, including monthly costs of rent, payroll, and inventory. Make sure you have enough capital to create enough inventory to start selling. You may also need to set aside money for business fees—like creating your limited liability company, getting your business licenses, getting insurance, and paying for your website and point of sale system.
Looking to start your own candle making business, check out my startup documents here
Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.
Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Candle Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online candle business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a candle business owner at a craft fair, farmers market, retail location or anywhere else I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive. That’s why I created Candle Business Boss: I want to help candle business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.