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Wholesaling candles is a great way to expand a brand's reach. I've been wholesaling my handmade candles since 2018. If you have always wanted to get your products on the shelves of retailers around the world, then keep on reading my tips on how to wholesale candles.
Benefits of wholesaling candles
What is wholesale?
Wholesaling your candles means you will have to sell them to another retailer for at least 50% off of the retail price.
So if you're only making half the amount per candle then why on earth would you want to wholesale?
Well, just imagine if you have a candle that wholesales for $10 and someone ordered 500 of that candle. That is a $5000 order! It's very unlikely that a regular retail customer would ever spend that kind of money on an order.
Imagine if that wholesale client comes back for more candles regularly? Now imagine that you have 50 clients that place the same order. Are you seeing the big picture? Wholesale is an amazing way to scale a business.
How to price candles for wholesale
The most difficult part about wholesale is making sure that the business is profitable. It is very important to check product costs before beginning wholesale. If the product is not priced correctly then you could be losing money. Here are some things to consider before beginning wholesale.
Pricing your products
Before you even land your first wholesale client you need to think about pricing your items correctly. A common formula that you can follow is cost x 4 = retail price. So if your candle cost $3 to make then the minimum you should sell it for is $12 retail. This means that the wholesale price would be $6, and you would make $3 from each candle.
A $3 profit doesn't seem like a huge margin when you apply this formula. That is why it is important to really think about pricing before wholesaling.
Take a look at the competition to see how their candles are priced. $12 is on the cheap side if you compare to a company like Bath and Body Works. They price their candles at $25-ish.
So, even if your cost to make a candle is $3 you don't necessarily have to charge 4x. Candle consumers are used to paying around $25 for a high quality candle. If you can create a product that is similar to the others on the market then you can definitely charge more than 4X the cost.
The pricing formula will evolve over the years as your business grows because you have to account for any space you are renting, people you are paying, and other costs. As your business grows, think about how to cut costs so that you continue to increase your profit margins.
How to cut costs
Once I started wholesaling my candles I knew I wanted to increase my margins. That meant I needed to find places where I could cut costs without compromising the quality of my candles.
I started looking at where I was sourcing my materials. I realized that I was buying a lot of fragrance oils online. For me, this was unnecessary because I had local candle suppliers that I could shop with.
I began only using fragrances from these local suppliers. This has saved me tons of money in shipping!
I also took a look at all of the packaging materials I was using. When looking for cost-saving alternatives, I was able to find cheaper boxes. For years, I was so stuck on ordering paper from the same supplier. I never thought to look for better prices.
I was able to find a better quality label paper for 60% less!
You can find the sticker paper and other packaging materials over on my Amazon Storefront.
Amazon Packaging materials for candle businesses
Your process needs to be efficient
I have learned that I need to make sure my candle-making process makes sense for growth.
I sell candles that look like desserts so making them takes a bit more time compared to single-pour container candles.
Even though I am capable of creating intricate designs I intentionally make my candle-making process as simple as possible. If I am going to scale my business I don't have time to add crazy details to each candle.
I also like to keep in mind that as the business grows I will have to teach new people how to make my candles.
Every time I release a new product I like to ask myself if this product is scalable. If it is not I do not offer it to wholesale clients. I reserve more complicated designs for my retail customers as limited runs.
You can also invest in tools and equipment to make your candle-making process more efficient. A large wax melter allows me to make more candles in a day. An E-Z wick setter is great for employees to uniformly wick the candle containers. If you want to lay out more containers at once you can invest in a larger table space. I also use a program called Craftybase to store my inventory data and recipes.
So even though you are making less profit per candle refining your processes can save you a ton of time and money.
Packing wholesale orders
Remember, you need to be extra conscious about cost when dealing with wholesale orders. Packing and shipping can be a challenge when wholesaling candles.
The order needs to arrive safely, but you don't want to spend a ton on shipping supplies. Also, the bigger and heavier the package, the more you pay for shipping. Here are some packaging tricks I have learned.
I like to purchase candle containers that come case packed with cardboard dividers. Save the boxes and dividers. When you get a wholesale order you can reuse these boxes. I cushion the candles with packing peanuts.
TIP*- Save any packing materials you receive in packages. Reuse these materials for your candle shipments.
What you want to try to avoid is packing each candle in an individual box. If you do this you are going to have to raise your prices a bit to accommodate for shipping this way.
Individually boxing candles means more money will be spent on packaging materials. It will also cost more to ship since the boxes will be taking up more volume compared to case packed candles.
Most people shopping for candles in a retail shop want to smell them. Make sure that the packaging allows this.
If the candles are packaged in nice, pretty boxes, and sealed with tape or a sticker the retailer just may remove all of that packaging anyway so the customers and smell it on the shelf. Again, unnecessary packaging will lead to smaller profit margins.
As an extra touch, I like to give new clients a full-size candle to try for themselves.
Retailers also like to receive promotional materials that they can put on the shelf to draw attention to the products.
Vistaprint has table tents that are inexpensive, and can be customized with a brand's unique selling points.
Something as simple as a barcode can also sway a retailer to purchase from you vs. someone else selling a similar item.
As a store owner, if something comes in without a barcode I have to spend quite a bit of time printing and sticking a barcode to the items so we can scan them at the register. Small things like this can increase the number of sales in the store meaning you can get repeat orders.
Here is where I purchase barcodes for my candles: https://barcodelove.eu/us
A barcode can make your brand seem so much more professional as well.
How to get your first wholesale clients
Using marketplaces like Faire.com can expose your brand to hundreds of new retailers.
I have a seller account for my candles, and I have a buyer account for my brick-and-mortar gift shop. Faire offers great perks for buyers and sellers.
Finding retailers outside of Faire can be time-consuming. So far, I haven't done any heavy promoting for my Faire website. I have nearly 50 wholesale clients on the site, and majority of those clients have found me organically though search!
If you are a brand wanting to join Faire Wholesale sign up with my referral link down below!
In person sales
If there's a store in your area that you want to pitch your products to, here are a few tips:
Schedule a meeting. As a shop owner, I can be working on many things throughout the day.
I have had people come in unannounced pitching a service or item, and sometimes that can throw me off when I am trying to get things done by a certain time.
If you are going to come into a store, try to make it quick. Do a quick introduction, and have a sample of the product with information that you can leave behind. Nobody wants to be put on the spot to buy a product. Set up a meeting or follow up via email to give the store owner more time to research your company and product.
Pitch your items with confidence. Know the product's unique selling points (USPs). Study the vibe of the retail store and give them incentive on why your product would be a good fit for the store. Be ready to answer any questions about the products and how they are made.
Here are some terms you should know before speaking with potential clients.
- Line-sheet- A simple document that lists all of your products along with the wholesale pricing.
- NET terms- The amount of time before the retailer needs to pay for the products. Usually, this is 30 or 60 days after they receive the order.
- Lead time- The amount of time it takes to prepare the order.
Hopefully, this post gave you some insight on how to wholesale candles. If you are interested in learning more about how to start a candle business, then check out this article.
If you are wanting to hear about my experience selling my candles through Faire.com you can watch a video I made on the topic.