Whether you’re a long-time hobbyist or thinking about getting into the field for the first time, you may be wondering whether you can sell your homemade candles for a profit. This was a question I asked myself a few years ago when I first started making candles. I’m pleased to tell you that not only could I make a profit, but you can too!
With a marginal investment, you can turn your homemade candles into a viable business. Online retail sites make it easy to sell your candles to customers all over the world.
Follow these three steps to turn a profit from candle-making:
- Make Quality Products
- Label and Package Your Candles Appropriately
- Select a Site to Sell Your Homemade Candles
In this article, I am mainly going to focus on the viability of selling your candles for profit. Make sure you consult appropriate resources for legal advice if you have questions about setting up your own business.
Step One: Make a Quality Product
Not only is it a great way to spend your time, but it can also be a great way to earn money. The most important thing to remember when selling candles for profit is that you must deliver value to your customers in the form of a high-quality product.
Design Your Candle
The first step in making a quality product is doing market research to figure out which candles are currently in high demand. One way to do this is to see what kind of candles are receiving the highest reviews on shopping platforms like Amazon. You can also peek at what is being offered by traditional candle manufacturers.
This will be constantly changing, but as you look at the landing pages of Yankee Candle or Harlem Candle Company you will start to see trends of what is being offered season to season. Since these are large companies with huge marketing departments, you can be sure that these offerings reflect current public tastes.
For instance, tree-scented candles (pine, cedar, spruce) might be popular during winter seasons while wellness candles and citrus aromas might be flying off the shelves in the summer. Once you figure out what is popular from season to season, you will be able to incorporate these preferences into your design, which will bolster demand for your product.
Choose Quality Materials
The greatest thing about the candle making business is that the cost of the ingredients and equipment needed to make your candles is low. With the low cost of sales for candle making enterprises, don’t be afraid to invest in high quality materials for your candles.
When I started out selling my own candles, I often used paraffin wax in my products. As a wax, paraffin has two great things going for it—it is both inexpensive and carries aroma well. Not only was the cost of paraffin wax low, but I needed less fragrant oils to achieve powerful smelling scented candles.
But while it has positive points, paraffin also has drawbacks. Since it is derived from petroleum, it isn’t considered environmentally sustainable unlike plant-based waxes, which are sustainable because the crops that are used to make them regenerate year after year. Additionally, paraffin fumes can be somewhat toxic.
When I made the switch to using soy wax in most of my candles, I did so because it is clean-burning and sustainably derived from plants. Soy wax creates hardly any soot at all, making it the perfect choice for home use.
Using plant-based waxes like soy will increase your cost of sales slightly
The difference in price between soy and paraffin candle wax is about $5 per 10-pound unit, making soy wax 10-15% more expensive than paraffin wax.
Trust me, though, customers are more than willing to pay a premium for environmentally sustainable, soot-free candles. Make sure you highlight these advantages to your customers when selling your candles, so they will be willing to pay the differential between your high-quality candles and cheaper ones.
The same goes for your wicks, your containers, and your fragrances. Before you sell candles, research the pros and cons of your alternatives for each of these items. High quality ingredients make high quality products, and high-quality products receive fantastic reviews. Great reviews will drive both sales and profits of your candle-making enterprise.
Conduct a Burn Test
Next, you need to make sure that the candle you designed with your high-quality ingredients is viable. To do this, make sure you conduct burn tests on all the candles you design for sale. Burn tests are crucial to making sure that the product not only delivers the effect you want it to; but that it’s also safe. Conduct an independent burn test for each new combination of ingredients you use.
Follow these steps to conduct a proper burn test.
- Set the test candle on a flat surface away from combustible materials.
- Burn candles at room temperature for four hours.
- Extinguish and let the candle cool completely
- Repeat burn test in four-hour increments until candle reaches end of life.
Note: that according to your candle’s design, it can take days for proper burn testing. The time invested is worth it; because burn tests make sure your profits are protected by reducing quality control issues.
Step Two: Label and Package Your Candles to Sell
The biggest difference between making candles as a business versus making them as a hobby; is the fact that you will need to professionally package and label your products. While consumers often want to buy something that is homemade; they do not necessarily want to buy it if it looks homemade.
Fortunately, it is easier than ever to professionally label and package your candles.
Unlike labels for other consumer products, the labels on your candles must stand up to repeated exposure to heat. Additionally, there are warnings you should include on labels about the danger of the products themselves. According to the National Candle Association; there are three warnings that should be placed on every candle for sale:
- Burn within Sight
- Keep away from Combustibles
- Keep away from Children
It is also a good idea to download the pictogram versions of these warnings for free here and incorporate them on your labels for customers who cannot read English. You can order candle labels pre-printed or blank sheets you can print yourself at Sheet Labels and other online retailers.
Packages are not as crucial as labels are for selling your candles, but they are important. At a minimum, they should protect the integrity of your candle through delivery to your customers. Many candle containers are made from glass or other breakable materials; so keep that in mind when you are choosing the proper packaging materials for your candles for sale.
You also may want to duplicate the warning labels on the package for extra emphasis on the procedures to keep your customers safe.
Step 3: Select a Site to Sell your Candles for Profit
Now that you have made, tested, and properly labeled and packaged your candle, it’s time to select an online retailer where you can sell your candles for a profit.
Etsy is an online marketplace that allows you to sell your homemade goods, including candles. With an annual revenue of well over $1 billion, many consider it the top platform for the selling of homemade crafts and goods.
Getting approved to sell on Etsy isn’t difficult; but the fees can be daunting. Etsy charges a listing fee of $.20 for each product, a 5% transaction fee for each transaction, as well as a payment processing fee of 3% plus $.25. Keep these fees in mind when deciding whether Etsy is right for you.
Shopify is another online marketplace to sell your candles for profit. Since Shopify has easily navigable SEO and other tools geared towards helping you make the most of your enterprise. Included with Shopify are the ability to conduct targeted social media campaigns, and it also has 24/7 dedicated customer support through multiple channels
Shopify’s Basic plan costs $29 monthly, plus 2.9%+$.30 per transaction. This makes Shopify’s fees significantly cheaper, but you may not get the exposure you do on a larger platform like Etsy.
Amazon Handmade is another marketplace where you can sell your candles for profit. It costs $39.99 monthly plus selling fees to be listed on Amazon Handmade, but these fees can be waived for approved sellers after the first month. With Amazon Handmade, you can leverage the power and prestige of the largest online retailer in the world to sell your candles for profit.
Do I need a business license to sell candles?
You may need a license depending on where you live. Be sure to know the requirements specific to your area. You may also need to create a business entity, such as an LLC, which will determine your tax structure and help protect your personal income.
Do I need business liability insurance to sell candles for profit?
You may not be legally required to maintain liability insurance for your candle selling enterprise; but insurance can protect your assets should something go wrong. Check rates for insurance before deciding not to get it, because it may be cheaper than you think.
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.