When it comes to a small business side hustle, starting a candle business fits the bill. Start-up costs are low. The inventory can take up as much or as little room as you need. What’s more, it’s an easy business to launch and ramp up as demand increases.
All in all, a candle-making business makes a great at-home business. It’s the perfect “gift” for people to buy other people meaning you will have buyers year round, especially during the holidays. You can sell on Etsy, Shopify, or your own website.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Candle Business?
The investment is small when it comes to a candle-making business, though it can still be impactful.
“Common costs for making candles include equipment like double-boiler, pouring pots, and Mason jars. Plan to spend about $1,000 to start a small candle business from home,” writes Shopify.
Forrest at the blog Don’t Work Another Day says you can get away with spending less.
“The materials you’ll need to get started making candles will typically cost less than $100, making it an awesome opportunity for those with a little extra cash. You can opt to purchase your candle supplies together in a simple kit or separately for more control and customization,” writes Forrest.
The difference in prices has to do with what you can find at home and what you need to buy. Shopify’s shopping list includes a spatula, double boiler, and other items that you may already have. If you do, your startup costs will be lower.
Plan on spending $1,000, but with a little ingenuity, you can spend a lot less.
Is Candle Making Profitable?
Of course, the only way it’s worth spending any money is if you’re going to make money on the back end. This leads to the biggest question of them all, can you make money selling candles?
Lee of Upcycling Pro has tried out the candle-making business.
He says, “Candle-making businesses have profit margins of 100% or more and are easy to start as a home business. You will have lower business overheads and advertising costs, too, making your profit margin even higher, and it’s also not labor-intensive. Candles can be made quickly, making your business profitable fast.”
Forrest at Don’t Work Another Day says you can make more—as much as 300% return—depending on the price point of your candles.
Do I Need Insurance For My Candle Making Business?
If a candle-making business is going to be your side hustle, you’re going to need to take care of some of the legal questions too. For instance, do you need insurance?
The answer is a yes…and no.
“Do you legally HAVE to have it in the United States? No. But, it is definitely recommended that you get some liability insurance just in case,” writes the website Soy Candle Making Time. “Can you imagine going along in your business, building it up, things are going great, candles are flying out the door, the money is rolling in. Then, someone starts a fire in their home while using one of your candles….”
In other words, in most states, there are no legal requirements that you have insurance, but it’s safer for you and your business if you have some form of protection.
If you want more details on how insurance would protect you, How to Start an LLC can help. You can find information here.
Do I Need A Business License For My Candle Making Business?
This brings us to the next question, do you need a business license for your candle-making business? If you’re selling in local shops, at farmer’s markets, and on your own website, the answer is yes.
However, if you’re selling online, it gets a little more complicated. I looked into whether you need a business license for selling on online marketplaces like Etsy. You can read the entire write-up here.
Candle Makers Supplies
If you’re still on board with creating a candle-making business, then let’s look at the supplies that you’ll need.
According to Nerd Wallet, most candle makers require the following when they start:
- Wax (more on that in a moment);
- Containers (Mason Jars or something similar);
- Fragrances such as essential oils;
- Coloring agents;
- Shipping and packaging supplies.
Shopify says you might also want to invest in items like a double boiler, spatula, and thermometer.
While you might start with small orders, you’ll begin to buy in bulk as your business grows.
“You’ll want to start sourcing affordable supplies straight away so you can test for quality and find the right supplier for you,” writes Nerd Wallet. “Before you place any large orders, you should plan out how much inventory you will need and how you will manage it. Not only will doing so make finding suppliers easier, but you can begin to form a reliable inventory system.”
Types of Candles
The kind of wax you purchase will depend on the types of candles you want to make. There are two main candle wax types: paraffin and soy.
Paraffin Wax Candles
According to the website CandleWic, “Paraffin wax, also known as straight wax, is wax that doesn’t have any additives in it. The most commonly used and least-expensive candle wax, paraffin, can be used to make many types of candles, including pillars, containers, votives, tealights, tapers, and tarts.”
Paraffin wax is interesting because many nail salons and spas also use it because it’s soft and colorless.
According to Healthline, “[Paraffin wax is] often used in skin-softening salon and spa treatments on the hands, cuticles, and feet because it’s colorless, tasteless, and odorless. It can also be used to provide pain relief to sore joints and muscles.”
Soy Wax Candles
Soy candles are made of wax derived from soybeans. They are 100% natural.
According to Shopify, they are the hottest candle variety on the market today.
Paraffin Wax Candles vs. Soy Wax Candles
Aside from the market demand, there are pluses and minuses to both types of candles.
According to Don’t Work Another Day, the benefit of paraffin wax candles is that they are inexpensive to produce, and they can give off strong scents. However, paraffin wax candles also tend to produce more soot and have much shorter burning times.
Conversely, soy wax candles are all-natural. They burn longer and produce less soot, but they also are more expensive to produce and have a harder time releasing scents.
Other Candle Wax Types
There’s also beeswax, coconut wax, palm wax, and blends, which combine two or more different types of wax to create an optimal hybrid.
All of the waxes above can be more difficult to work with, so you may want to start with paraffin or soy wax and then work your way up.
Running Your Candle Making Business At Home
Odds are you’re running your candle-making business out of your home, at least to start. That may also play a part in what type of wax you choose.
That’s because paraffin wax and soy wax do not operate the same. They have different pouring temperatures, set times, and more.
How Hot Should I Heat Soy Wax? / How Should I Heat Paraffin Wax?
The heating of both soy and paraffin wax will rely on the manufacturer’s instructions.
In the case of soy wax, the website Bramble Berry offers a good rule of thumb.
“Do not heat the wax directly in a pan and do not exceed 200 degrees F for soy, or it will yellow,” writes Bramble Berry.
Lone Star Candle Supply says paraffin wax will depend on what type of wax you’re working with, but heating ranges from 150 degrees F to 190 degrees F.
What Happens If You Overheat Soy Wax? / What Happens If You Overheat Paraffin Wax?
If you happen to overheat your soy wax, NZ Candle Supplies has found a trick to bring it back.
“I managed to recover the overheated soy wax by adding 50 grams of shea butter per kg to the soy wax. This returned the soy wax to the required creamy finish. If the temperature fluctuations are too much for me to manage, I add some shea butter to my final, top pour to avoid any issues,” writes the NZ Candle Supplies.
If you overheat paraffin wax, your best bet is to start over.
“Overheating can also cause discoloration—along with cracking, poor fragrance throw, poor glass adhesion, frosting, and rough tops—ultimately creating a weakened product,” writes the website Power Blanket.
What Is The Best Temperature To Pour Soy Wax? / What Is The Best Temperature To Pour Paraffin Wax?
Once your wax is heated, it’s time to pour.
According to New Direction Aromatics, “Soy products will tend to fat bloom if processed outside of strict cooling conditions. Typically, a good room temperature range is 70 to 80 degrees F, and humidity in the neighborhood of 35 to 50%. Then the pour temperature would be 150 to 170 degrees F. The container temperature should also be the same range as the room temperature. If the container is below 70 degrees F, then you will tend to get wetting issues. If it is hotter, then you will get more of the fat bloom.”
Candle Science says the best temperature to pour paraffin wax is around 170 degrees.
How Long Does It Take For Soy Wax To Set? / How Long Does It Take For Paraffin Wax To Set?
According to The Spruce Crafts, it takes soy wax approximately a week to set and paraffin wax anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to set.
No matter what type of wax you use, Lone Star Candle Supply says do not refrigerate the candles or put them in water to speed up the setting process.
While you can’t make the process go faster, The Spruce Crafts says you can do a few things during production to make the setting go smoothly.
“Make sure to add your fragrance oil at the right temperature. Follow your wax manufacturer’s directions—or for a good starting point, we recommend 180 degrees F,” writes The Spruce Crafts. “Be sure to stir. Amazing how many people just don’t stir enough. Stir the fragrance oil into the wax for at least a full minute—two to be safe.”
Scented Candle Business
You may also want to add scents to your candles. According to Pure Integrity, their top-selling candle scents are:
- Vanilla Soy
- Almond Vanilla
- Sandalwood Amber
- Mineral Springs
Top sellers change with the seasons, so you can also explore seasonal scents like peppermint for winter and pumpkin pie for the fall.
If you need an idea for other top-selling scents, check out Amazon’s bestsellers list here.
If you’re working with scents, you might want to start with the top-selling scents and work from there.
How Do I Get The Fragrance To Smell Stronger?
Sometimes you’ll add fragrance to a candle, and it simply won’t smell strong enough. In that instance, Candle Science has a list of things to make the scent stronger, including adding fragrance at 185 degrees F and weighing your oils instead of using a measuring spoon or cup.
You can find all the tips and tricks here.
How Do I Sell Homemade Candles?
When it comes to selling your homemade candles, it’s all what you make of it. You can create your own website and start advertising on Facebook Marketplace, or you can sell to your local shops and boutiques. It’s really up to you.
Sell Candles Online
Another option is that you sell your candles on an online marketplace like Etsy or Shopify. The benefit of a marketplace like Etsy is that you don’t have to create a website; you list your items and then fulfill orders.
Is it Hard to Sell Candles on Etsy?
According to Candle Science, new retailers may find Etsy is the easiest way to go.
“Etsy is a solid platform for new indie candle and soap businesses to get their feet wet with selling online. The ease of setup is hard to beat,” writes Candle Science.
If you like the idea of Etsy, Millennial Boss has an entire tutorial on How to Sell on Etsy here.
How Do I Make My Candle Business Stand Out?
While it may not be hard to sell candles on Etsy, you should note that the competition is fierce. You need to find a way to stand out.
The YouTube Channel, The Selfmade Candle Co., says you don’t want to be selling the same thing as everyone else, don’t just reproduce what you’ve already seen on the market.
Another suggestion, play up your unique selling point. That’s the thing that you think makes your candles better than anyone else’s on the market.
No matter what direction you go with your candle-making business, you will quickly be on your way to a profitable side hustle with a little hard work and some trial and error.
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