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I have been running my candle business since 2015, and I have done it all. Literally!
I sell my handmade candles on Etsy, Amazon, Walmart, and I have a brick-and-mortar location.
So, it's safe to say I know a thing or two on how to start a candle business from home. If you're interested in how to start a candle business from home, then keep on reading.
Why you may want to start a candle business
Facts and Factors reported that by 2026 there will be 13.7 million candle consumers compared to the 8.9 million in 2020. Candle sales are only going up from here.
Candle making is also a great way to create something that is totally unique to you. It can be so rewarding to see people enjoy a product that you created with your own hands.
There are many candle makers that even make a living selling handmade candles (including me)!
Benefits of starting a candle business
Perfect your candle making
Well, it's pretty obvious that the first step to starting a candle business is to make candles.
Candle making is a science, and it can take months to create a safe candle worth selling.
Emphasis on SAFE. If you are starting a candle business you need to keep in mind that you will be creating thousands of candles that people light in their homes.
Candlescience.com was my go to for learning how to properly wick a candle to ensure a safe and even burn.
There are tons of wax and wick combinations, and it can be overwhelming. Candle science has an education hub with loads of helpful information, and their wick guide will give you great suggestions on which wick to use for a candle project.
Get your friends and family involved to get feedback on your candles. Give away some samples to people who will give you honest feedback in return.
Here is a basic list of materials needed to start making candles
- Wax (2-3 types)
- Pour pitcher (2)
- Wicks (variety)
- Digital thermometer
- Digital scale
- Fragrance oil
- Candle dye
- Rubber spatula
- Heat safe surface
- Wick stickers
- Wick holders
- Double boiler or melter
If you want to test out candle making before you jump into buying all these materials you can purchase a kit. Here is one that has everything you need including different size vessels to test out.
I also made a collection of candle making materials and packaging supplies on my Amazon Storefront.
How much does it cost to make candles?
There are so many candle materials on the market that you can quickly overspend on supplies. Fragrances add up quick!
You don't want to start your business off on the wrong foot.
Make a budget
If you are wondering how much to set aside for candle making that really is up to you, but I will say $300-$500 is a good starting point. Make a spreadsheet of what you are buying so you can keep track of spending.
It's also a good idea to go ahead and open up a business checking account. Yes, even if you haven't sold any candles yet.
It will make your life a whole lot easier during tax time because all of your transactions will be on one account.
Many big banks like to charge fees for business accounts. We love free things over here, so here are some free business banks you can check out.
Free business checking
Free business checking
Free business checking
Do some Google searches to see if you have any candle suppliers in your area. Candle materials can be HEAVY; meaning shipping can cost a pretty penny.
Let's save our coins and shop locally. I save so much on shipping since I buy almost all my supplies locally.
Pick a Candle Niche
I have taught over 500 students how to start a candle business from home. Many people can get stumped when it comes to picking out a candle niche.
When I first started making candles I didn't have a niche; I just made candles. I thought a good candle would just sell.
WRONG! It is very hard to sell JUST a candle online.
Think of it this way, people can't smell through the screen so you will need a way to pique their interest.
Honestly, for me, scent comes second when I am creating a new candle line.
A niche is a specialized segment of a larger category. So, Instead of saying I sell candles, you can say I sell dessert candles, or book-themed candles, or fantasy-themed candles.
There are so many niches to choose from. Take time to figure out what you like, but also, it's important to research if there is an audience looking for the product you are selling.
SEO (search engine optimization)
This is where learning SEO comes into play. This is so important yet many candle makers don't know what SEO is or why they should use it.
SEO is how people will find your product organically. Nobody cares that you have a vanilla amber candle, but they may be super interested if they see a candle themed after their favorite book that happens to smell like vanilla amber.
Is it making sense now?
You can use tools like Etsyhunt.com to see what buyers are searching for so it makes it a lot easier to create a product that you know is going to sell.
Etsy also has a very informative resource called the Etsy Seller Handbook. Read up on the handbook to get information on how to get your products ranked high on the platform.
If you are still wondering how SEO works, I have a whole blog post about finding a niche here.
Here is a video with even more info on how to start a candle business from home
candle business insurance
"Do I really need candle insurance?"
I get this question a lot from new candle sellers, and the answer is yes.
By this point, you have done so much work to get your new business up and running, and you are putting yourself and business at risk by not having candle insurance.
There is a lot of misinformation about what insurance policy you need exactly. There are different types of polices, and to sell candles online you definitely need product liability insurance. I have seen many candle makers make the mistake of getting general liability insurance instead of product liability insurance.
Differences between general and product liability insurance
General liability insurance protects your company if your business causes injury or damage to someone or their property.
Ex. You are selling at an in person event, and a customer trips on a cord in your booth and hurts themselves.
Product liability insurance covers your business from claims that a product you created caused bodily injury or property damage to someone else.
Ex. A candle you made and sold to a customer in person or online malfunctioned and caught on fire.
You can see by the example that general liability insurance isn't very useful to an online only seller. It is very hard to find an insurance company that offers product liability insurance to candle businesses so I will save you the hassle and give you a couple of excellent options.
https://indiebusinessnetwork.com/- This is the company that I have used for years. You can get your product and general liability insurance for your handmade candles and bath and body products. Just note that you will have to become a member of Indie Business Network in order to gain access to the insurance. I pay a total of around $525 a year for my policies and membership.
https://www.soapguildinsurance.com/- This is a very popular option amongst makers. Just like the previous company mention, you must be a member to access the insurance policies.
Etsy vs. shopify
I know we have covered quite a bit of information, but now, let's talk about where to list candles online to sell.
At the time of writing this, there are 87 million active users on Etsy. I recommend all new sellers to start selling on Etsy for this reason. You can use those fancy keywords that you found on etsyhunt.com, and attract Etsy buyers on the platform.
Of course, keywords alone aren't going to get sales. Make sure to also have a great product, nice photos, and a cohesive brand.
It is also wise to take a look at the other competitors in your niche. Study them so you can find out what works. It's never cool to copy, but I like to see how I can make my products and listings better or different to stand out from the competition.
The cons with Etsy is that there are many sellers on the platform so if you want your own personalized site you can open a Shopify store.
Starting a new online platform can be overwhelming. I recommend to just choose one of these options to start with. Once you get comfortable on the platform then you can hop on both.
How to get customers
Earlier, we talked about using SEO to get some organic traffic on Etsy, but let's talk about some other ways to get buyers to your products.
The first obvious thing you can do is start utilizing social media to attract buyers. Over the years, I have learned that the best content is the non-salesy type.
Show buyers your process and share your story. This type of content gets way more engagement compared to just photos of your product.
Start collecting emails so you can target your customers directly. With social media we are very dependent on the algorithm showing our content, but with email marketing you don't have to worry about that. You can reach your customers whenever you launch a product or have a sale.
I recommend checking out Mailchimp. They make is super easy to create great looking emails. They also have features that allow you to make attractive landing pages.
I hope this post helped you get more information on how to start a candle business from home. I'm not going to lie, it is not a get-rich-quick type of business (nothing really is).
It takes a lot of patience and dedication, but I am so glad that I decided to take the leap.
If you are interested in learning more about how to start a candle business then make sure to sign up for the Monthly Flame Newsletter! I send out valuable information every month.