HandMade Candle Business

44 replies
My wife has just started a handmade candle business. They're every bit as nice and fragrant and quality as any commercially available candle. That being said...I wanted to get some input from the great minds here for ways to promote and market something like this. She has 4 sizes and about 70 scents. I googled online on promoting a candle business and got things like "put an ad in the newspaper" and "use ppc" - yeah...I'm guessing both would be a big waste of money.

Thanks a bunch!
#business #candle #handmade
  • Profile picture of the author twinkenterprises
    She could set up an online store at etsy or bonanza they bring some traffic to you. Maybe write articles about it for a blog and article marketing too. PPC really isn't a waste of money it gives you targeted traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author skatesurfsnow
    I think putting an ad in your local newspaper would be a great idea. Ever thought about giving out business cards or flyers/brochures to friends and family. Word of mouth travels faster than most people think.

    You could also try calling up a local candle store and try to work out a deal that would allow you to sell your wife's candles at their store.

    Anyways, good luck

    Jake
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    • Profile picture of the author jamiecoyne
      Thanks! I picked up a new color laser printer for $50! (I KNOW! )- and did a really nice trifold that we are distributing. Grass roots for sure...
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Advertise herself on Facebook. Have her own site made. Place classified ads in Gumtree and Craigslist. You try as many options as possible. Hand out flyers and also put some up. Hand out business cards. Email everyone she knows and ask them to tell everyone they know.
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  • Profile picture of the author joseph7384
    Create a wordpress blog and go to iwriter and have some articles written around this niche, from what I see you should be able to rank quite easily.

    I have already gathered a list of keywords for you that will give you the quickest rankings, if you want to go that route I'll PM them to you.
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    • Profile picture of the author sunnyc
      It's all about the packaging and marketing, Jaimie. Like Laurence suggested, she must showcase her products by creating a nice website with really good pictures and descriptions of the product, e.g. colors, scents, shapes/designs, etc.
      You can hire someone to do this for you, or you could register a domain name, get web hosting, purchase a theme from a place like Themeforest (no affiliation), they just have awesome themes that you can tweak to your specifications.

      a. come up with catchy names for the different color/scent/shape combos

      b. extol the benefits of the product, e.g. that it is handmade not mass produced (that always appeals to people since it is getting rare and denotes care), that it contains certain "special ingredient/s not found in commercial ones, etc.

      c. package, package, package (That is half the marketing right there!). The way you present the product is vital. If it looks cheap/tacky/poorly made, you can forget it right now, i tell ya.

      d. create awareness for your product (flyers (hire people to stand at busy corners where you have your target consumers and distribute the items (I would say women are more likely to purchase the candles than men, just sayin'), business cards, etc.

      e. never underestimate the power of free samples to draw people in.

      f. approach different shops/stores, especially the ones that carry specialty, organic, or similar products. Package yourself very well and someone is bound to bite, eventually.

      g. never underestimate the power of your local farmers market. I see things like homemade soaps and other items, and people seem to dig that stuff.

      h. go into partnership with other marketers to help you market the products for a cut of the profit.

      I. Advertise

      There you have it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Matt Morgan
        I would create an online store, even with wordpress and a shopping cart embedded there.

        Customers can see what candles they want from a gallery, and click the 'add to cart' button and order it.

        You will then have to ship them to their addresses.

        Partner up with JV partners who are in the home and beauty nice who might be interested in promoting your candles for an affiliate commission.
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      • Profile picture of the author jamiecoyne
        Originally Posted by sunnyc View Post

        It's all about the packaging and marketing, Jaimie. Like Laurence suggested, she must showcase her products by creating a nice website with really good pictures and descriptions of the product, e.g. colors, scents, shapes/designs, etc.
        You can hire someone to do this for you, or you could register a domain name, get web hosting, purchase a theme from a place like Themeforest (no affiliation), they just have awesome themes that you can tweak to your specifications.

        a. come up with catchy names for the different color/scent/shape combos

        b. extol the benefits of the product, e.g. that it is handmade not mass produced (that always appeals to people since it is getting rare and denotes care), that it contains certain "special ingredient/s not found in commercial ones, etc.

        c. package, package, package (That is half the marketing right there!). The way you present the product is vital. If it looks cheap/tacky/poorly made, you can forget it right now, i tell ya.

        d. create awareness for your product (flyers (hire people to stand at busy corners where you have your target consumers and distribute the items (I would say women are more likely to purchase the candles than men, just sayin'), business cards, etc.

        e. never underestimate the power of free samples to draw people in.

        f. approach different shops/stores, especially the ones that carry specialty, organic, or similar products. Package yourself very well and someone is bound to bite, eventually.

        g. never underestimate the power of your local farmers market. I see things like homemade soaps and other items, and people seem to dig that stuff.

        h. go into partnership with other marketers to help you market the products for a cut of the profit.

        I. Advertise

        There you have it.
        --------
        Thanks Sunny... Of course I totally agree with you on marketing and packaging. Thank you for your reply. I have a website that I threw together. It's not fancy - but it does show the product and the scents and people can order - and I had a friend shoot some photos. We sampled about 300 oils (scents) and narrowed things down to about 75 or so. My wife and I came up with some sames and I went online and got a guy to come up with some accompanying photoart to kinda go with the names in addition to the candle. (In fact in those small graphics- the candle is actually the same candle- just rendered in different colors. I could easily dump all the pages created into a template and the site would be more contemporary than my html.

        The packaging is simple and has a small boutique feel to it- and looks professional- not shoddy or cheap at all.

        I'm not going to leave a stone unturned when it comes to marketing and promotion.

        Thanks again.
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      • Profile picture of the author fatafat
        Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

        Advertise herself on Facebook. Have her own site made. Place classified ads in Gumtree and Craigslist. You try as many options as possible. Hand out flyers and also put some up. Hand out business cards. Email everyone she knows and ask them to tell everyone they know.
        Originally Posted by joseph7384 View Post

        Create a wordpress blog and go to iwriter and have some articles written around this niche, from what I see you should be able to rank quite easily.

        I have already gathered a list of keywords for you that will give you the quickest rankings, if you want to go that route I'll PM them to you.
        Originally Posted by sunnyc View Post

        It's all about the packaging and marketing, Jaimie. Like Laurence suggested, she must showcase her products by creating a nice website with really good pictures and descriptions of the product, e.g. colors, scents, shapes/designs, etc.
        You can hire someone to do this for you, or you could register a domain name, get web hosting, purchase a theme from a place like Themeforest (no affiliation), they just have awesome themes that you can tweak to your specifications.

        a. come up with catchy names for the different color/scent/shape combos

        b. extol the benefits of the product, e.g. that it is handmade not mass produced (that always appeals to people since it is getting rare and denotes care), that it contains certain "special ingredient/s not found in commercial ones, etc.

        c. package, package, package (That is half the marketing right there!). The way you present the product is vital. If it looks cheap/tacky/poorly made, you can forget it right now, i tell ya.

        d. create awareness for your product (flyers (hire people to stand at busy corners where you have your target consumers and distribute the items (I would say women are more likely to purchase the candles than men, just sayin'), business cards, etc.

        e. never underestimate the power of free samples to draw people in.

        f. approach different shops/stores, especially the ones that carry specialty, organic, or similar products. Package yourself very well and someone is bound to bite, eventually.

        g. never underestimate the power of your local farmers market. I see things like homemade soaps and other items, and people seem to dig that stuff.

        h. go into partnership with other marketers to help you market the products for a cut of the profit.

        I. Advertise

        There you have it.
        Some really valuable advice on this forum, i have to say WF rocks!!
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    • Profile picture of the author jamiecoyne
      Joe, that would be awesome...thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author Beatinest
    Trade shows. Whatever style of candle she is making, target that kind of trade show. I have a friend of mine who just recently died (sudden heart attack). He was a multi millionaire from his candle business (half a million bucks in his pocket after taxes EVERY quarter). He started in his moms basement a long time ago and struggled until he started going to trade shows.

    After he started hitting trade shows his business exploded and he was able to hire sales people etc. to get his products distributed all over the planet.

    Keep in mind he was the first to make this kind of candle and he had a lot of copycats after. He also spent a lot of money on lawyers fighting people to uphold his patent.

    After the economy flopped in the states his business took a huge hit but he was still able to keep on going, just not as strong. He had some tax problems too which took a toll on him. Sadly, the extreme stress of keeping up his business is what gave him his heart attack. A sad catch 22.
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    • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
      Originally Posted by Beatinest View Post

      Trade shows. Whatever style of candle she is making, target that kind of trade show.
      Lots of great advice in this thread but Beat's is the best. My brother in law quickly grew a local jewelry manufacture to over 1M by adding trade shows and craft fairs. A friend also pays his way to Pensic each year by selling food and drink at the festival.

      Good luck.
      --Jack
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      • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
        Well maybe but I wouldn't think for this forum, were not about trade shows. Were about Internet Marketing.
        Originally Posted by jacktackett View Post

        Lots of great advice in this thread but Beat's is the best. My brother in law quickly grew a local jewelry manufacture to over 1M by adding trade shows and craft fairs. A friend also pays his way to Pensic each year by selling food and drink at the festival.

        Good luck.
        --Jack
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    • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
      Originally Posted by Beatinest View Post

      Trade shows. Whatever style of candle she is making, target that kind of trade show. I have a friend of mine who just recently died (sudden heart attack). He was a multi millionaire from his candle business (half a million bucks in his pocket after taxes EVERY quarter). He started in his moms basement a long time ago and struggled until he started going to trade shows.

      After he started hitting trade shows his business exploded and he was able to hire sales people etc. to get his products distributed all over the planet.

      Keep in mind he was the first to make this kind of candle and he had a lot of copycats after. He also spent a lot of money on lawyers fighting people to uphold his patent.

      After the economy flopped in the states his business took a huge hit but he was still able to keep on going, just not as strong. He had some tax problems too which took a toll on him. Sadly, the extreme stress of keeping up his business is what gave him his heart attack. A sad catch 22.
      what kind of candle did he come up with?
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      • Profile picture of the author berlin john
        ONLINE MARETING WILL HELP THEM IN ORDER TO DEVELOP THE BUSINESS....BEST OF LUCK
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  • Profile picture of the author owais211
    Banned
    A great idea!
    She could try out with social media marketing targeting specific groups who may be interested on the product.
    Additional,i also agree with some warrior here that an online store can work a great deal.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Alan
      My wife and I were going to get into that about 8 years ago. We even went ahead and bought a lot of the materials and equipment. We ended up making some for fun, but never did anything with it because we determined it was such a crowded market.

      If it is something you want to do I’d suggest it is more suitable for an offline business with a physical location. Of course you could use Facebook and other local marketing techniques to get people to come into your store. If you live anywhere there are tourists you might be able to make a go of it. Homemade soaps are a good companion business to go along with it.
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    • Profile picture of the author crpnourkqlbq
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    I built a website several years ago, I mean several times 3 lol. The biggest thing that made it successful is the teaching aspect of it.

    Don't let her think in terms of promoting those candles. Let her think of it as a trade school where she teaches, and then a gift shop on the side, yeah wait till I'm finished before yah start barking at me!

    Now we need a blog or TWO. One will do though. A blog with a membership site and an online store. We need some videos on there promoting her what she does what she has to offer.

    The blog needs to be very interactive because the more interactive you are with your following the more successful you will be.

    Now she needs to open that membership site and put free on it. Start with the basics.

    Later she can start with intermediates and advanced and open a paid section.

    Don't roll too fast as it will only make you trip.

    Something like that if you have really good content will be picked up by the serps for sure and propelled, also youtube videos should be a hit as well.

    Not going to tell you how to promote though since you can go to the wso's and find youtube programs and such and not going to point to any of mine.

    I will point you to a man that built a site with his dad in a niche similar and is very successful and someone you should follow. We all should. this is a very wise man and I listen to him all the time.

    View Profile: DustonMcGroarty

    I hope that helps you and know it doesn't answer your question completely but if you follow that link I think you will get all the answers you want.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Alan
      Very good suggestions. If he has gotten to the point where he has calculated his breakeven point per-unit he is going to find he simply can’t sell candles at a profit on the Internet if he is going to be competitive with what is already out there. So selling to people that are interested making candles is certainly a more viable option.


      Originally Posted by hustlinsmoke View Post

      I built a website several years ago, I mean several times 3 lol. The biggest thing that made it successful is the teaching aspect of it.

      Don't let her think in terms of promoting those candles. Let her think of it as a trade school where she teaches, and then a gift shop on the side, yeah wait till I'm finished before yah start barking at me!

      Now we need a blog or TWO. One will do though. A blog with a membership site and an online store. We need some videos on there promoting her what she does what she has to offer.

      The blog needs to be very interactive because the more interactive you are with your following the more successful you will be.

      Now she needs to open that membership site and put free on it. Start with the basics.

      Later she can start with intermediates and advanced and open a paid section.

      Don't roll too fast as it will only make you trip.

      Something like that if you have really good content will be picked up by the serps for sure and propelled, also youtube videos should be a hit as well.

      Not going to tell you how to promote though since you can go to the wso's and find youtube programs and such and not going to point to any of mine.

      I will point you to a man that built a site with his dad in a niche similar and is very successful and someone you should follow. We all should. this is a very wise man and I listen to him all the time.

      View Profile: DustonMcGroarty

      I hope that helps you and know it doesn't answer your question completely but if you follow that link I think you will get all the answers you want.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
    A very, very well-done site that shows off the candles and the reason to buy them over just driving to Yankee Candle, along with Product Listing Ads in Google, can be both simple and totally effective.

    I've seen it done. I also recommend Shopify for the store. Online shoppers can't smell these candles, so product photos will be key. Get them professionally photographed.

    For a good example, check out All Natural Soy Candles By Diamond Candles
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  • Profile picture of the author ReferralCandy
    ^agreed. Professional photos make a HUGE difference, by the way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Rosmer
    There's lots of good advice in some of the posts.

    Here's the thing to know about marketing. It isn't about PPC or Facebook or newspaper ads or direct mail, etc. Any of those can work and any of them can fail. The first thing you need to identify is who are the people most interested in these or most likely to be interested in these? In other words who is already buying scented candles? Targeting is the first most important part of marketing, if you pay for advertising of any type that's targeting the wrong kind of people you're going to fail either by not getting sales or not enough sales to justify the costs of the ads.

    Then you need to figure out what people are really buying when they buy your products (hint, they aren't buying scented candles, they might be buying a calming feeling or ambiance, etc.) and why they are buying them. This will help you to formulate an attractive offer. If you have a great targeted offer to present to a target rich market in high density then it doesn't matter nearly so much whether you reach them by Facebook or newspaper or in a gift shop or at a home candle party so long as the message gets through to them.

    The lowest hanging fruit for her will be her personal network of connections but she's still got to figure out how to package it right so it's attractive. Here's a thought, do an exchange with spas, offer to help them with email or online marketing in trade for them selling her candles to their clients and including the candles in their emails as a new special offer. By you assisting them it's a win-win (I'd probably give them a percentage regardless) and because you're doing the marketing for the spa you can ensure there's great presentation of your wife's candles in there. You might even get the spas to buy them for use there. This raises another option, go to a massage therapist convention or something and promote the candles to the therapists to use in their massages (they often do this anyway so it's just a matter of convincing them to use yours instead of someone else's and i doubt they are that loyal). You might even convince the therapists to sell the candles to their clients if the clients like the candles. Through something like this you can also offer a discount on a massage to anyone who buys a candle to help the therapists who are in your network and create a win-win.

    These are of course just front end channels and haven't addressed the question of what the compelling offer is. Once she gets going she'll also need to pay attention to repeat business and maximizing each client, which is a whole other strategy.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamiecoyne
    I wanted to show you a picture...I just went and took this. This is the large candle. Ignore the paper plate I put it on! ...

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/xfplnl2jjc...2014.47.56.jpg
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    • Profile picture of the author jgsketch
      Sunny Had some really good points. It's a crowded market, so you need a unique product or great marketing.

      My wife and I did the same thing about 8 years ago. The business lasted for about 2 years before we threw the towel in. I was working a full time job and could not get her to do some of the marketing that was needed. We also had nothing that was too unique. At the time hand poured home made candles were popular, but everyone and their brother were getting into the scene. We switched to Soy too late and missed that market as well.

      We did the trade craft shows, but unless they are run properly, you will find 10 other candle makers there. So we had to be different in what we offered. So we sold little gift packages instead of single piece candles just at the craft shows. We usually broke even and but got our business name and samples out into the local market.

      I went door to door trying to get our candles in local shops. This was hard. I did get some traction by giving away a free sample package to store owners. They seemed to like this and we landed a couple of deals.

      With so much competition, you really need to have clean packaging and a clean professional website and pictures.

      Stick with Soy or other alternatives waxes. Basic petroleum wax has been on it's way out the door amongst your consumer base for a while now. You can still get away with it in large retail stores. That consumer base is slightly different.

      Look into promoting on CandleFind.com. It's a candle company review site. They have the only forum with actual candle users. They get a ton of traffic and rank high for most candle terms.

      I wish you luck. It's a hard road ahead.
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  • Profile picture of the author Khemosabi
    Jamie, you have gotten a ton of great advice here! I just wanted to add a few ideas, take em' or leave em'.

    I had a restaurant on a rural highway. Lot's of tourists during the summer. One of the locals used to sell her candles, sugar scrubs, lotions, and soaps in my place. What made her stand out is:

    1. She was local. Don't panic here! Local people have friends all over the world! Word of mouth is amazing. The tourists made it even more "viral".

    2. Her products were original. What I mean by this is, she would even place pressed flowers in soaps and candles... you get the idea? No two were alike...

    3. She was easy to contact. That didn't mean her products had to be there the next day, quite the opposite actually, she would make them wait. She wanted her products to be "worth waiting for". Her buyers knew they were getting something she made just for them. She also had easy to order items, but she included "make your own scent" kind of features.

    Her items weren't just in my little rural restaurant. She was all over the two bigger cities, and in two big cities (Portland and Salem).. she got there from word of mouth, and using the above advise to market herself.

    It can happen! I wish you and your wife lots of luck!

    ~ Theresa
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  • Profile picture of the author Victor Edson
    Look for distributors. They're the shops around town where you can deliver several candles a week, and they'll sell them to their foot traffic.

    Trade shows were mentioned earlier, and I hope you thought it was a good idea! Get out there and target people who wanna buy a candle, and more importantly the people who will sell your candles for you.

    We have a big Candle Factory in town, and her candles are sold in stores all over the state. Why search for 1 sale when you could search for 10 sales per week? That's how she got started, in the basement.. getting in stores. When she opened a storefront next to the interstate.. everyone already knew and loved her brand! Within 3 years she had to build a newer, much bigger building just to handle all the people.

    Plus her candles are awesome.
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  • Profile picture of the author seonutshell
    First of all crazy join date! And only 20 or so posts wow! Anyway, facebook is a really good way to go, but first set up a store on wordpress or ebay, and start a fanpage. If she shares it to her freinds, and ten they share it to help her out, and then those friends share it, its a good way to go viral.
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  • Profile picture of the author martbost
    Try putting an ad in American Classifieds. They are national and I think the last quarter page ad I did was around $250, but the response was massive. It would probably work well for you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
      Originally Posted by martbost View Post

      Try putting an ad in American Classifieds.
      Searching "American Classifieds" on Google, it's not at all clear where you advertised. What's their site?
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      • Profile picture of the author jamiecoyne
        lots of good stuff here. THANKS!
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Alan
        They have those free (to users) newspaper like classified ads you will find all over the country. In my area it is called the Thrifty Nickel in other areas I think they use other names.
        TNOL.com : The Nation's Online Classifieds


        Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post

        Searching "American Classifieds" on Google, it's not at all clear where you advertised. What's their site?
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  • Profile picture of the author mominternet
    Something that may work to get local customers is if you have a radio station that has a "trading" spot where folks call in selling their items. You may be able to place an ad there, people tend to be listening closely to find things they may buy.

    Here is what you can do if you do not have a site up but want folks to start buying:
    1. Set up an eBay account.
    2. Set up an auction or two.
    3. Create an about Me page.
    4. Register a domain.
    5. Create a subdomain name and redirect them to your about Me page on eBay here is an example of ours eBay View About Me for ventaselect

    Remembering your domain name is a lot easier for your clients or for ads that will be placed over the radio...then later you can set up a website with wordpress using woocommerce and when you create a nav button for auctions you use the link you created to direct your customers to your auctions. *Tip when yo are starting out also redirect your main domain to the eBay about Me page till you set up your website should someone only remember your domain name.

    Be sure to pm me your sales site I enjoy scented candles they make great gifts too.

    Wish you the best,
    Ann (Mom Internet)
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Motley
    I have a literal candle factory in the garage. The wife uses them so much that its cheaper to just make them, and I went all out, buying molds, digital turkey fryers..etc. I had a lot of people asking me for them so I started selling them to whoever wanted.

    What i learned is that there are a hell of a lot of people that make candles and many of them have been doing it for a long time are are at the 'artisian' level of candle making. So if you're just pouring wax into a mold or a mason jar, cut your losses now because you probably won't do much

    You need to have a 'catch'..something that sets you apart from everyone else.

    If you're doing container candles, then you need to do funky containers, because anyone can buy a bulk of glass candle containers from containers-r-us.com. What I did was looked around on ebay and found bail wire fruit jars. Many people collect them for various things and at the time I could buy them for about $1 ea. They easily sell for 3-4 bucks by themselves. I poured candles in them and by the time everything was all said and done, i had about $1.75 in a candle that i could sell all day long for $8 and not even break a sweat about it. Some wanted the candle, some wanted the jar, some wanted both. Your local salvation army is also a good source for funky little containers to pour candles in.

    For pillar candles, I used to make 'surprise' candles. I bought various kinds of polished stones. They were nothing of real value, just really neat looking stones and then went to the flea market to a jeweler and bought a batch of semi-precious stones. Nothing high end, stuff like turqoise, topaz..etc. When pouring into the mold i'd drop a couple of the nothing stones and 1 semi precious (usually toward the end of the pour) so that as the candle burned down, the stones would be revealed. The catch was that I marketed these as GoldMine candles, pointing out that they had semi-precious stones in them

    The semi precious stones are usually really cheap because most people don't want to buy them. I bought the entire batch that i used for $70, was able to make 30 candles and sell them for $15 each and they moved pretty quick

    The point is if your wife is just starting out and not necessarily skilled as an expert candle maker, then she needs a 'hook' to make her candles worth buying over the other guy who is making a seriously good looking candle because they have been doing it for years
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  • Profile picture of the author Ecommerce Guru
    Here's my suggestion.

    1) Pick a charity you like. Kids charity, breast cancer something like that. Donate 10% to that charity and use that as your advertising hook.

    2) Put them on etsy for some instant sales.

    3) Start an eCrater online store, it's free.

    You need a marketing hook and the charity will really help. Etsy is the obvious choice for handmade goods, but you will have some fees. Build the eCrater store in the background. They are very professional but not well advertised, you have to do that yourself.

    Once you get popular enough you can drive most of your traffic to your eCrater store where you will have no fees.
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  • Profile picture of the author 622im
    I had a similar business last year (though not candles). While I ultimately decided to pursue other things, I did pretty well while I did it.

    I built a website, linked to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I listed the items for sale on Etsy and used their paid promotion tools.

    I used SocialAdr for my Twitter account and gained some followers that way. I don't have tons of friends on Facebook, but I asked them to "like" my newly created Facebook page, and got about 40 likes. I built up my Pinterest page to about 2k followers, then posted all of my items on there as well. The items I was selling were $12-20 each, but only cost me $1.50-3.25 in materials, so I could afford to give them away.

    Here's where I really took off, though. I gave away two of my items free every month, one on Twitter and one on Facebook. I posted a photo on Facebook saying I would give this item away for free to a random person who liked my page. I then posted the photo to my followers on Pinterest, made sure I noted that the item was to be given away on Facebook and to like me in the comments, and watched my Facebook page grow. Basically, I used each social media platform to promote the other, if that makes sense. I asked my Facebook users to retweet something on Twitter to get a chance at another free item, and gave one to a Twitter user. I asked my Facebook and Twitter followers to follow me on Pinterest as well. Always make sure you announce who the lucky winner was, just so people know it's not a scam and you really followed through with giving the item away.

    I know I can always go back and pursue this again if I wanted to, but between my day job and some other things I'm working on, I've decided to let it go for now to go after some easier money. But it works.
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  • Profile picture of the author eClicker
    Hi,
    I had a hand made candle business years ago also. It's a hard business to break into because of the cheap imports and other competition. Etsy is one of the best sites to showcase her work. You can set-up a "Yahoo" store but candles are a product that sell best when people can see, touch and smell them.

    I had very good luck with home party sales. Have others sell for her, go to local shops and negotiate to have them carry her product. Consider teaming up with a wedding shop, spa, florist, and gift shops.

    Also offer a monthly subscription gift service where you send a different scent to the recipient each month for a flat one-time fee. This is a popular candle gift service offered online.

    Market her candles as different and special than others. For example soy candles, hand made and smokeless.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    Yep, candle biz is very competitive. There will be lots of consolidation between major manufacturers over the next few years, due to cheaper imports, especially in the cheap to mid price mainstream stuff. You must go very high end and custom, something foreign makers find tough to do.

    Do your homework, candle making comes with enormous liability. YOU are introducing FIRE into peoples' homes. The chemistry is complicated w/ various ingredients and amount of fragrance. Putting in flowers and objects causes candles to burn unevenly and can make them collapse down a side, creates a very unstable candle and jacks up the risk of fire tremendously.

    Make SURE you have commercial liability insurance. It is a must. Do burn tests on your candles before you sell them, for every different variety candle you sell.

    Does anyone have luck selling individual candles on ebay, amazon, etsy etcc? Can you make a buck or two when considering shipping/handling/packaging?

    Thanks.
    Signature

    In a moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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  • Profile picture of the author Rhia
    I'm finding this thread very interesting. Not candle related and not trying to hijack your thread, but my cousin has been making soap for years and other then giving it away or selling to just a few friends she really needs to get started selling, plus she could use the income.

    So I am looking at the responses here to see how I can help her along and to get started.

    Rhia
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      How about forming a few strategic alliances on the local level?

      Find real estate agents, remodeling contractors (kitchen, bathroom, etc.), carpet cleaners, water damage restoration companies, etc. and see if they would be interested in giving their clients a free candle or sample pack of candles as a customer appreciation gift at the completion of each transaction.

      Package your candles in boxes so you can include and insert that explains that it's a thank you gift from XYZ company for choosing to do business with them. Then include an irresistible offer to entice them to reorder (50% off their first order, free shipping on their first order, or both, etc.) Attach some type of distinct coupon code for each alliance so you can track the results.

      Just make sure to track your customer acquisition costs and lifetime value to see if each alliance should be continued.

      Say you give 30 candles/sample packs to a bathroom remodeling contractor to start and your total cost on those is $150. Now let's say since these 30 people actually got to sample your product for free and your offer on your insert is so irresistible that 6 of those 30 prospects convert into customers. You would need to make future profits of an average of $25/customer to be back to even. After that, you're making money on each of their purchases. And you'll likely get some word of mouth benefit along the way.

      If your numbers won't work when you give the samples away, see if you could get your alliance companies to buy the samples at cost.

      Once you start acquiring some customers, get creative in making offers that keep them coming back.
      • Offer a candle of the month club
      • Offer special holiday gift packs
      • Offer them free merchandise or steep discounts if they refer their friends
      • Offer them a steep discount on a gift pack they can give to their kid's teachers (My wife always gives small Christmas and end of year gifts to our kids' teachers). Put a special coupon code in those teacher gifts so you know when they reorder that it's one of those teachers. Then you could put together a special fundraising campaign for that teacher's school so they can raise money for field trips, school supplies, etc.

      You could even target local schools (or other civic organizations) with the fundraising idea from the start.

      On your website, you could have a prominent form that allows them to enter the email addresses of their friends. Their friends get an offer of a free candle as recommended by their friend by simply paying $3 shipping (or whatever it is). Give the referrer 2% off their next purchase for each friend they refer (maximum of 50% - a potential of 25 referrals per customer).

      Just keep an eye on your metrics and get creative.
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      "You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
      ~ Zig Ziglar
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  • Profile picture of the author dml8131
    My wife is a scented candle fanatic... but she would never buy from an online source. Why? She's the type where she needs to hold the candle, physically inspect the candle and see if she likes the scent.

    just my $0.02 on the topic.

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Moneymaker2012
    First of all I want to ask you that Do you think if you get orders online, can you complete the orders? as you mentioned your wife makes them at home so how many candles can she make in a day???
    Why don't you target your local area, then go for the whole city and then further.
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  • Profile picture of the author arkina
    Make a facebook and twitter page. Get your real friends to like and follow so that others see it and like and follow as well. Go to flea markets and craft fairs and have your business card with the website on it. Once you have a decent amount of FB and Twitter followers do a contest and give away from free candles for "liking and sharing." Put the craft fairs you are going to in "events." Start a Pintrest account with beautiful pictures of the candles. Ask local stores (mom and pop type shops) if they would like to carry the candles- tag them with your website.
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  • Profile picture of the author stackman
    I would think your chances are better offline in gift shops than online where there is so much competition.

    I would ordinarily recommend Etsy as an excellent way to market your product but I just did a search on Etsy for "homemade candles" and got over 4500 results. I know you know that your products are better than most, but unless you can convince potential customers of that, you're simply part of the crowd. You might also try Shopify.com.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nisip
    Banned
    This is a good example of a succesfull offline business that can become a success online as well
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