If you have always considered yourself creative and crafty and you are looking for a gig to earn an income, consider selling candles from home.
According to the National Candle Association, candles generate $2 billion in revenue in the USA each year alone. This means that there’s definitely money to be made here!
Learning how to make candles to sell and how to market yourself effectively is a way to turn candle selling into a part-time gig or a full-time venture, depending on your vision. Keep reading to find out just how to get started with this.
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How to make candles at home to sell
Before you can sell candles to make money, you must first learn how to make candles from scratch.
The process does not require extensive knowledge, training, or preparation to get started. However, it is important to follow the steps of making your candles as closely as possible to prevent burning wax or ruining your candles.
1. Purchase candle making supplies
You will need to purchase candle making supplies before you can get started. Research and compare different suppliers as well as specific products, melter, dyes, fragrances, and even wax types before settling on your decision.
- Wax melters
- Thermometers for monitoring the temperature of your candle wax
- Measuring equipment along with digital scales
- Candle wax dyes and colorants
- Fragrances – there are dozens of packs out there, but one of my favorites is this set of six fragrance oils with scents like coffee, apple cider and pumpkin pie
- Candle wax – soy candle wax tends to be more popular but you can also consider paraffin wax, depending on your preference and/or market
- Jars (mason jars of various sizes and shapes can be used, depending on the type of candles you intend to create)
- Labels for glass jars – these glossy white labels are perfect for packaging, although you may prefer these clear labels
- Caution and/or warning labels for individual candles
- Boxes and/or shipping materials
2. Measure your wax
Measure the wax required to fill the candle jar or container of your choice. If you have a candle jar that is 16 oz, you will need approximately 13-14 ounces of wax in addition to 1-2 ounces of fragrance, depending on the strength of the scent you desire.
Note: Remember that you will also likely be adding additional fragrances, which account for an additional 1-2 ounces in total.
3. Melt your candle wax
Melting your candle wax is the next step in the process of making your own candles from home. You may need a double boiler to melt your candle wax to prevent burning, depending on the type of wax you choose.
If you are melting soy wax, refer to the instructions from your specific wax brand, as many soy waxes have varying melting temperatures. For most paraffin waxes, you will need to heat your wax to 185 degrees Fahrenheit for it to begin melting.
4. Add the scent(s) of your choosing (optional)
Knowing how to make scented candles to sell is not much different than creating your own unscented candles. Once your wax reaches its melting point, you can begin adding fragrance(s) and other ingredients into your candle mixture.
Simply pour and stir the fragrance of your choice into the melted wax as it is still above the heat. Stir in the fragrance thoroughly and completely.
5. Add colorants and dye
If you are making colored candles or candles with a design, now is the time to add your dye(s) and colorants. Measure the dye needed based on instructions provided with the dye of your choice. Stir and fold in the colorant and dye into the melted wax until it is completely mixed together.
6. Add your wick
Prior to pouring your candles into their designated jars, you will need to attach the wick to the containers or jars you intend to use. If you are pouring multiple candles simultaneously, it is highly advisable to add your wicks to jars and containers beforehand to help save time.
7. Pour your candle wax
After you verify that your candle wick is secure, your jar is ready, and your wax is entirely melted and mixed with your dye and fragrance, pour your candle wax. Pouring the wax into your designated jars or containers should only require a few seconds.
8. Check your wick
It is important to double-check your candle wick to ensure that it is still in place properly and that it appears upright. A wick that is not visible after a candle has been poured will render the entire candle useless. If you are having trouble with placing your candle wicks and getting them to stay in place properly, there are a few tools available on the market to help with securing wicks with ease.
9. Give your candle time to cool
One of the most important aspects of candle selling and making candles is patience. Allow time for your candle to sit and cool, allowing it to set and harden. In most instances, you will need to wait at least a few hours to even up to 24 hours for your candle to cool and harden before you can use or sell it.
The amount of time you will need to let your candle set up depends on the size of the candle you have created as well as the type of wax and ingredients you have used.
10. Trim your wick before using
Once your candle has successfully hardened and set, it is time to trim the wick. Trim the wick of your new candle by at least .25 inches prior to lighting it or selling it to a customer.
It is best to use a professional wick trimmer to avoid damaging the wick or cutting it improperly prior to use.
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11. Add your labels
Add your logo label as well as any specific candle or scent label you have created for your candle’s jar or container. It is also important to remember to use a warning or fire label on your candle jar in at least one place to abide by regulations regarding candles in the US (and to avoid this accidentally becoming an illegal side hustle).
12. Store your candles
Store your candles in a cool and dark location. Do not allow your candles to sit outdoors or in hot temperatures for extended periods of time.
Use bubble wrap as well as other packaging materials to keep your candles safe and protected while you store them away before selling them.
How to start a candle making business at home
Start a website for your candle business
Starting your own candle selling business is much easier once you have a website of your own. Learning how to start a candle business online opens new doors of opportunity and the ability to sell your candles with much greater profit margins.
You can choose to either sell your candles directly on your website or use your site to advertise your products but then make them available on another platform. While selling on sites like Etsy can be more straightforward initially, using your very own website to do this really isn’t that hard, especially with options like Shopify now available. This also eliminates the processing and service fees that you are charged when using alternative solutions, such as when selling candles on Etsy.
To launch your brand new site, I always recommend getting started with Bluehost. You can even lock in a reduced rate of less than $3 a month (that’s less than a cup of coffee!) if you sign up with Bluehost through our exclusive link. And for that price, not only will they host your website, but you’ll get a free domain name (which normally costs $24 per year).
They’re also super experienced in working with newbies, making it incredibly easy for you to set up your new site, even if you don’t have any tech experience!
Create a brand for your candle business
Branding your candle business is a key component to becoming successful and helping your brand of candles to stand out. Entering into the candle making industry can be extremely intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you are new to the market and new to making candles yourself.
Establishing a brand now doesn’t mean you’re locked into that for the entire life of your candle business. It does, however, give you an idea of the direction you want to go, the type of customers you want to market to and more.
Create your logo
Next, it’s important to create a logo for your candle business. In fact, this is going to be particularly important for candle selling as your logo will likely appear on the label that appears on your candle. This means that customers will see this much more frequently than they would for businesses where the logo only appears, say, on the website.
A good starting point can be to check out your main competitors and see what you like on their logos. This definitely doesn’t mean you should copy them, but identifying which elements appeal to you – and that likely appeal to their customers, who you’ll also be targeting – can put you on the right path.
You can always pay someone to create a logo for you if you want, with Fiverr having plenty of great logo designers at really competitive prices.
Alternatively, you could try doing it yourself. The best place to do that (for free!) is easily Canva, which has literally thousands of options for not only logos, but basically anything that needs to be designed.
Create an online presence using social media
Social media is one of the most effective marketing tools used today, by both individual entrepreneurs as well as Fortune 500 companies alike. Launch a social media presence for your candle-making business on various platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and even Snapchat, depending on the type of media you intend to create and share.
Select a URL or page name that is reflective of your candle-making business – and that, ideally, is similar to your website domain name to make it clear that there’s a linkage between all of them. You can even streamline all of your social media accounts by giving them the same name, URL, logo, and description.
It’s also good to include a link to your official website, gallery, Etsy shop, or eBay account within all of your candle company’s social media pages for optimization and SEO, or search engine optimization purposes.
Use hashtags and a social media calendar
Building your online presence requires more than setting up a page and uploading your candle company’s logo. For instance, use relevant hashtags that are popular among the candle community in addition to a complete social media calendar. Update your social media page(s) at least once a day to remain active and visible within the feeds of your current followers and customers.
These updates to your social media platform can include blog posts, promotions, as well as featured candles to help increase the engagement you receive online. Interact and engage with those who comment on your social media pages to boost engagement and to keep followers interested in your brand as well as your process of creating candles.
Create an effective marketing strategy
Succeeding in the candle-making business is not always simple or straightforward, especially if you are creating candles in a niche, yet fairly saturated market. This is why it’s important to create an effective marketing strategy with the use of both local and online marketing tactics. From traditional PPC (pay-per-click) marketing and SEO, or search engine optimization, to direct mailers and social media, there are many ways to market your candle business from home.
Create a marketing strategy that is reflective of your brand, budget, as well as your intended audience. When marketing your candles, consider what will help you to stand out amongst your competition. Choose a voice that resonates with the audience you want to appeal to and reach. Offer discounts and promotional codes that are most likely to appeal to the customers you are targeting, both locally as well as online.
Create an inventory system
Having a system in place to manage your candle inventory as well as your candle-making ingredients is a must for anyone entering the candle business, even if they are doing so locally and from home. Implement an inventory system manually or with the use of software that is most suitable for your business needs.
Using an inventory system is the best way to not only keep track of current inventory, but it is also a way for you to track the expenses of ingredients, fragrances, dyes, and wax over time.
Choose a shipping solution that is right for you
Not all candle-making businesses offer the same type of shipping services and solutions, which is why it is important to research your options. Compare shipping companies, both federal and private, to determine the lowest shipping costs available near you. Research shipping materials, boxes, and packaging materials that are not only cost-effective but also high-quality for your customers.
Consider how you will offer to ship your candles to your customers online. Will you include the total cost of shipping in the candle price itself, providing you the opportunity to advertise free shipping? Do you intend to offer discounts on shipping for bulk orders or for orders over a specific amount? Calculate your profit margins with the shipping costs of each individual candle you have for sale.
Track finances and revenue at all times
Whenever you are starting your own business or you begin selling products on your own, it is imperative to keep track of your financial records at all times. Keep track of your gross income, net income, as well as the expenses you have in order to maintain your candle business. While you can use a manual system for this, it’s going to be much easier and reduce the chance of errors if you automate the tracking of your finances. This will be particularly important when determining the amount of taxes you owe to the IRS (or your own local tax authority if you’re not in the US) each quarter.
Spend time learning about the tax codes in the US to determine whether or not you should begin selling candles as a sole proprietor or by forming your very own S-corp or LLC. It is advisable to put earnings aside for quarterly taxes to avoid owing additional money to the IRS after filing your annual tax return.
You should also consider hiring an accountant or tax advisor to help you with this. While that does involve some costs, the peace of mind can make it more than worthwhile, not to mention that they may find deductions for you that cancel out what you’re paying for their fees.
Best selling candle scents
Did you know that it is estimated that approximately 75 to 80 percent of all candles sold throughout the US are scented, according to the National Candle Association? This is why, when you begin selling candles from home, it’s a good idea to learn how to make scented candles to sell, as these are likely to be your best sellers.
It’s also highly recommended to research best selling candle fragrances for your target market, as well as top selling candle scents overall for the type of candles you make.
Because not all audiences are likely to have the same draw and interest in similar scents, conduct market research before settling on starting scents that are right for your candle-making business.
- Vanilla: This one should come as no surprise. Vanilla, vanilla cream, and vanilla bean fragrances have always been a top seller for most candle makers and candle brands.
- Driftwood and birch: For the nature lover and for those who love a woodsy scent, driftwood and birch are a must. Combining driftwood and birch scents with fragrances such as juniper is another way to add layers and complexity to the scent of your candles.
- Citrus: If you are creating candles that provide energy or that give off invigorating scents, incorporate cirrus into your candle scents.
- Cotton and fresh linen: A classic, but a timeless one at that. Cotton and fresh linen scents are top sellers year-round, as they provide a fresh, clean, and crisp scent that is familiar to just about everyone.
- Teakwood: Another nature-centric scent, teakwood is a top seller for candle makers as well as for wax makers. Teakwood scents are often referred to as “woodsy” and in some cases, even “masculine”, but they provide a warm scent that is truly easy to get lost in, especially during the colder months of the year.
- Berries and cherries: If you love the smell of berries and fresh fruit, consider opting for peony, cherry, berry, and other floral elements to add to your candles. Other companies have already proven this to be one of the most popular fragrances, with the best selling Diptyque candle being their Baies version, which is a combination of berry and blackcurrant. Similarly, the Woodwick blackberry candle is the best selling Woodwick candle scent on Amazon, so clearly there’s a pattern here.
- Apple: This is another fruity fragrance that has proven to be a winner with candle customers. In fact, the Macintosh candle, with its own apple scent, is one of the best selling Yankee Candle scents, so is definitely a good option for you to introduce into your own product line.
- Pumpkin and spice: As the fall months begin to arrive, consider implementing a few spices and pumpkin scents into your candles. Pumpkin and spice candles are top sellers throughout the fall and winter months, which can help attract new customers as you spread the word about your new candle selling business. Testing different scents and ingredients can also help you to create your own unique combination that is sure to be a winner among customers.
- Lavender: If you love floral candles but do not want to go overboard in the scent department, lilac and lavender scents are the way to go. Lavender scented candles are extremely popular year-round and do not require a special season or holiday in order to sell successfully.
- Birthday cake: Birthday cake scented candles are great for those who are selling birthday-specific candles or for those who are targeting families and younger audiences. Get creative with your candle scents and ingredients to keep your fragrances fresh and your customers coming back for more.
Tips for selling candles from home
Selling candles from home doesn’t require a marketing degree or decades of experience in the candle industry. To get started with candle selling from home, use the following tips along the way.
Research your top competition
Spend time researching your top competition, both locally as well as online, before you begin marketing and selling your candles from home. Learn how your top competition sells their candles as well as the type of candles they are currently offering.
Ask yourself the following questions when you are researching your competition and learning more about the candle industry:
- What type of candles are my top competitors selling?
- What candles and/or fragrances are selling best?
- Do my competitors target a specific audience or range of demographics?
- How do members of my local community view my top competition?
- How can I set my candle making business apart from those who are currently selling candles in my area or region successfully?
Familiarize yourself with the process
The more familiar you become with the process of how to make candles to sell as well as marketing and selling them, the easier it will feel once you make the decision to move forward with your candle selling venture. Learn everything there is to know about the process of pouring candles, sourcing materials, and even choosing fragrances along with other natural ingredients and oils.
When you are well-informed of the process of making candles, sourcing ingredients, and ensuring quality, you will feel confident once you begin selling your inventory. Doing this will also likely help you make the actual candles faster which, in turn, can also lead to higher earnings.
Research and source ingredients
Spend time researching and sourcing ingredients for your candles, especially if your intention involves building a trustworthy business and brand. Discover which oils, fragrances, and ingredients provide relief for various ailments, and which ones may lead to irritations. Learn what companies source their ingredients naturally and organically.
Research what scents and fragrances can be combined with additional ingredients for therapeutic benefits, if you intend to create aromatherapy candles or oils for your customers. Deep-diving into the culture and community of candle lovers is one of the best ways to gain knowledge while also discovering new resources that can help you to get started on your own candle selling adventure.
Select scents and fragrances for your targeted audience
Once you have an understanding of ingredients, dyes, and wax types, you can begin choosing which scents and ingredients you will use in your own candle-making. Before shopping around for the scents you want to feature, consider the audience you intend to target as well as the date you plan to begin selling your homemade candles.
- Are you targeting locals in your area, or are you planning to sell your candles online?
- Are you launching your candle business during a holiday or during a busy shopping time of the year? If so, how can you capitalize on the various scents and fragrances that are most likely to sell during your launch period?
- What scents are most popular in your area? What scents tend to sell to the audience or demographics you are targeting? How can you use this data to your own advantage?
- Who are you targeting? Men, women, teenagers? What age range, location, and even income range do you intend to target with your candles, and why? How can you improve your scents and fragrances to appeal to the target demographics you are trying to reach?
Research competitor platforms
Selling candles from home may seem straightforward, but the process can vary quite a bit based on where you have located as well as any other competition you have near you or in your local area. If your local area is saturated with homemade candle sellers, you may be better off creating a website and an online presence to maximize your reach and ability to generate sales.
Research the websites as well as the online platforms of local competitors as well as online competitors selling the same or similar candles as you. Compare their pricing to learn more about the profit margins of those in your area of expertise as well as those in your specific niche.
Choose where to sell candles
In order to sell candles to make money, you will need to choose where you intend to sell candles. Some candle makers sell their candles via third-party websites, such as a way to make money on Etsy and eBay. Others sell their homemade candles at craft fairs and local events. It is also possible to get started with candle selling from home on your own website and eCommerce shop online.
FYI: Check out our article on how to start your own website to see just how you can launch your new site in less than 20 minutes – even with no tech experience!
Choose the platform that is right for you based on the types of candles you are creating, where you are currently located, as well as the target audience and demographics you intend to reach. If you want to reach locals in your area, a craft show along with social media can help you to get started. On the other hand, if you are interested in fleshing out your brand and selling nationally, or even internationally, you may want to think bigger and launch your own website.
Create a thriving online presence
Once you have established your candle business with your own website and social media, create a thriving online presence. Social media marketing can help you to maximize your reach and ability to sell candles significantly faster than without the use of social media whatsoever. Use a social media calendar and post regularly to keep your audience genuinely interested in your product releases and updates.
For example, you could use social media to promote new recipes you have concocted for your candles and to showcase specialty candles and promotions. Promote deals and discounts using graphics and high-quality photography for eye-catching results that generate additional leads and sales.
Build a community
Building a sense of community among followers and customers goes a long way for any business or brand, especially one that involves making candles to sell. Interact with users on your social media pages, ask questions, and also ask for input from your followers.
When your followers feel as if their opinions and input matter, they are much more likely to purchase from you and refer your candles to friends and family of their own.
Offer something unique
In order to succeed and thrive as a candle-making business, you must set yourself apart. This is why, while direct selling candle companies do have their benefits, learning how to make candles to sell lets you offer a more unique product that can stand out.
So make sure you ask yourself the following questions before launching your next promotion or sharing your next planned social media update:
- Are my competitors doing the same type of marketing as I am with their own candle-making business? How can I help to differentiate my business from theirs?
- What sets my business apart from the rest? Do I offer premium ingredients, oils, and fragrances that are difficult to find anywhere else? Do I provide discounts and a rewards program that no other local candle company offers? How can I market my business to stand out from the rest in such a highly competitive industry?
- How can I offer something unique that is unforgettable for my customers? What type of candle and what level of service is most likely to keep my customers interested and coming back for more in the future?
Is candle making profitable?
Yes, candle making is profitable with adequate planning, research, and a well-executed market strategy, especially when you consider that candles generate $2 billion in revenue in the US each year alone. Not only is there a wide customer base but the cost to enter this industry is relatively low.
In particular, candle selling is profitable once you begin purchasing supplies in bulk and increasing your profit margins, especially as you begin to garner followers and loyal supporters.
And like any business, your candle making business is going to be as profitable as possible if you implement proper financial and inventory management in addition to an understanding of the target market you intend to reach.
How much money do you make selling candles?
The amount of profit you earn selling candles will depend on your investment as well as your profit margin(s), with earnings for new candle businesses easily able to reach $1,000 a month. Typically, the standard profit margin for a candle is anywhere between 50% and 80%.
However, for homemade and boutique candles, you can expect to markup your candles anywhere from 100% to more than 400%, depending on the ingredients and time put into each candle you create.
Can I make a living selling candles?
Yes, it is possible to make a living selling candles once you have established a reputation and built a reputable online brand. While it may take some time to build your new candle business up to making a full time income, it’s definitely doable with the right strategy.
That is, making candles to sell does not have to be a side gig, and can be transformed into a part-time job or even a full-time business if you have a consumer base and marketing skills.
Is it worth starting a candle business?
If you are looking to earn cash quickly with little to no investment, candle selling may not be right for you. However, if you are committed to the craft of making your own candles and enjoy the process, plus are looking into making money over the long term, it may be worth it to look into selling candles from home.
Overall, like anything, the value of starting a candle business is subjective, and will depend on your love for scents and candle making as well as your ability to create and sell candles on a set schedule.
You may also be interested in:
- 13 Steps to Successfully Start a Lipstick Business
- 11 Simple Steps to Start a Popcorn Business
- 11 Steps to Start Your Paint and Sip Business
Is it hard to start a candle business?
Starting a candle business is not difficult, but will require creativity, inventory, and an understanding of the candle making and candle marketing processes. Start up costs are also quite low, which helps when you’re not yet generating an income from this.
Once you understand the licensing, restrictions, taxes, and other legalities involved in candle selling in your area, not to mention how to make candles to sell, you can get started immediately, even if you have little to no experience in the industry yourself.
How much money do you need to start a candle business?
The initial investment in a candle business is the steepest, so expect to spend around $1,000 to get started. After you have all of your starting equipment, investing in additional wax and scents is much more affordable and allows for greater profit margins.
When getting started, you will need to have on hand (with approximate prices for these items)::
- A wax melter ($75-$100)
- Thermometers ($10-$20)
- A scale ($5-$10)
- Molds ($10-$25 per mold)
- Dye ($2-$3 per 100 grams of dye on average)
- Fragrances ($3-$5)
- Wicks ($20-$35 for a starter kit)
- Wax ($2-$5 per pound of wax)
- Jars ($.50-$2.00 per jar depending on your size and quantity).
- Additionally, you will likely require labels ($.25-.50 per sheet of the label) and packing equipment.
Do you need FDA approval to sell candles?
You do not need FDA approval to begin selling candles from home. However, it is imperative to abide by the current U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations for candles, candle making, and candle selling.
This includes that you are required to place a fire alert symbol and a label that includes a fire warning (with the word WARNING) on each jar of the candles you produce and sell.
Do you need a business license to sell candles?
You do not need a business license to begin selling candles from home or marketing candles online. However, it is important to remember that you will need to file taxes as a sole proprietor or you will need an EIN, or a Federal Employer’s Identification Number to keep track of your candle shop’s income and gross revenue.
What is the target market for candles?
The target market for candles includes those who enjoy scents for relaxation purposes, homemakers, and those who are crafty and creative around the house. Because candles are a beloved item worldwide, the candle-making industry is extremely broad and provides plenty of candle business opportunities to get started, even in a saturated and highly competitive market.
Whether you choose to go the route of selling candles on Etsy or if you choose to sell candles directly from your own website, there is no shortage of opportunities for those interested in the candle-making and candle selling business. With the right vision and dedication to the craft of crafting candles, maximize your reach and ability to generate an income right from the comfort of your own home.
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About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been seen in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio. Find out more.