When people hear about a new business their mind probably tries to compare it to a larger company such as Walmart or Amazon. However, as of December 2021, there are nearly thirty-three million small businesses in the United States. Based on those numbers, nearly 99% of businesses in the United States are considered to be small businesses. Many of which have fewer than five employees.
So where can you start a candle-making business, and do you need a storefront to do so?
You can start a candle-making business just about anywhere and you do not need a storefront to do so. The majority of candle businesses begin on a smaller scale allowing them to be made from a spare bedroom, home office, garage, etc.
What Do We Mean By Anywhere?
While the term anywhere may seem overused and vague in most situations it describes this one well. As long as you have a social media presence (a must nowadays), the necessary space, and materials you truly can make and sell your candles from anywhere.
Small businesses are known to have five employees or fewer, especially when they are just starting out. This number helps when it comes to considering a storefront. Most small businesses begin with one individual, typically the owner running it.
Candle businesses also do not typically require a storefront as customers know and understand fragrances and undertones quite well. Meaning that high-quality photos and well-written accurate product descriptions should be more than enough to provide your customers with a great idea of what they are buying.
Perhaps you have a friend, spouse, family member, etc. who helps you, then that makes it two people. That still does not seem to be enough of a reason to open a storefront. Especially if you can work and operate well in a room you already have at your home or theirs. This allows you more flexibility with your business.
What Do We Mean By Flexibility?
Having no direct storefront, until having one is deemed necessary, saves your candle business when it comes to overhead costs. These include items such as rent, electricity, water, and sewage to name a few. In a new business, being able to avoid these costs early on allows you to put more of your profits back into the business rather than paying extra bills.
However, if and once your business reaches a predetermined number a storefront or even a smaller warehouse may become a necessity moving forward. These numbers could mean once you reach five employees you will begin to look for spaces to expand since molds, candle ingredients, packing materials, and five separate stations will require more space than two workstations may.
Or you may wait until you hit an average of a hundred orders a week to expand because you know that you are consistently receiving orders and have a serious need for more space. The main reason a candle business would expand is for more workspace though, not for a storefront unless other products were being sold there as well.
There are well-known candle brands such as Yankee Candles who can do so, but they have tiny locations and hundreds of products offered. Something a small business, especially one that is just starting, would not be able to do. Candles just do not take up as much space unless you have hundreds of them or would also offer candle-making classes or allow customers to make their own candles.
What Materials Will You Need?
Materials have been mentioned a few times throughout this piece. So, it seems important that we touch on some of the equipment and materials your candle business will require. Quantities and quality will vary depending upon the different types of candles you make. The number of candles made in a day, their intricacy, and more.
Double broilers, candle molds (could be custom or a variety of different molds), mason jars, different types of wax, labels, different fragrances or essential oils, food coloring, bubble wrap, and boxes to name a few items. The list can be quite lengthy and items such as double broilers will need to be at each workstation.
Each type of candle will need areas to dry, especially those with more intricate designs or layers to them. Some candle makers even whip their wax so that they can pipe it onto a candle for a more decorative look. The possibilities are endless. But the more candles you offer the more space you will need to not only store them. But to make them.
What Do We Mean By Social Media Presence?
Another topic mentioned was having a social media presence and the importance of it. By this, we mean being active on social media and interacting with your customers regularly. As simple as this sounds it can become a whole job within itself, one was typically done by a social media manager if possible.
However, small business owners can do it themselves as well and there are resources to help them do so. Options include YouTube, Google courses, and LinkedIn Learning courses to name a few. It can just be time-consuming and difficult to find time to create, edit, plan, and schedule content for each platform. Thankfully a lot of content can be repurposed across multiple platforms, but it still takes time to do so.
Social media platforms that we recommend candle businesses to be on are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok if possible. These can vary depending on your target demographic since each platform tends to target different people. Facebook and Pinterest tend to draw in parents and the older generation. While Instagram and TikTok draw in millennials and those in their twenties and thirties.
If you can only be active on one platform though to begin, we recommend TikTok as it currently has the power to blow up small businesses overnight. There’s no recipe to follow or easy way to have a viral video but hundreds of videos go viral daily so if you are consistent and active with trends the odds can be in your favor.
Those are the reasons why we say that no you do not need a storefront to open a candle business and that you can indeed run one from anywhere. There is little to no need for the candles to be displayed if photos are high-quality and descriptions are written well. Plus, the tools needed to create the candles take up more space than candles do, which means that if anything a warehouse or office building would be a better investment for the company.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start my candle business? Do I need a lot of products to begin?
The best way to begin your business is to figure out your marketing plan and set up your social media accounts. Then you can order materials, experiment, figure out which ones to sell, and begin advertising them. No, you do not need many products to begin. You can start with one or two to begin and add more as you go. Or you can offer multiple types of candles and make batches of each as you receive orders for them.
Can one person truly do all of this work themselves?
While it does sound like a lot of work, because it is, one person is capable of doing it all themselves. It will be tiring at times, but it all comes down to scheduling and being organized. Setting aside one day a week to plan, create, edit, and schedule content (we know it sounds like a lot) can open up your schedule for the rest of the week. Allowing you time to focus on making candles, designing new ideas, ordering supplies, and networking with others.
What if I truly want to own a storefront? Is it feasible for a candle business to have one?
If you truly want a storefront for your candle business, then you can own one. It may not be possible early on due to the additional fees it would require, but once the business picks up it could be worked into the business’ budget. We would just recommend having it be a multipurpose space as mentioned earlier in the piece. Whether the storage area is used for making the candles sold, you offer candle-making classes or even sell items from other small businesses there. The intent is to ensure that the space is making more than it’s costing you.
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.