How to Start a Candle Business in 2024: 8-Step Guide

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    We all appreciate a home that smells delightful and feels cozy. Lighting candles is a fantastic way to achieve this ambiance. Candles are not only an affordable luxury, but they also serve as excellent gifts and bring a warm glow to any space.

    If you have a passion for wicks, soy blends, and crafting the ideal fragrance, then launching a candle business could be a great opportunity. Continue reading to discover how to start your own candle business.

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    How to Start a Candle Business in 8 Steps

    Starting a candle business involves considerable effort but can be extremely rewarding. Before getting carried away by enthusiasm, it’s important to carefully plan and prepare. To set your candle business up for success, ensure you have your financial, legal, and marketing elements well-organized.

    1. Master the craft of candle-making
    2. Define your brand
    3. Estimate your startup costs
    4. Write a business plan
    5. Make your business official
    6. Create your startup inventory
    7. Create your online store
    8. Develop your marketing strategy

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    1. Master the Craft of Candle-Making

    The initial step in starting a candle business is to become adept at the candle-making process. A helpful guideline to follow is the “84 Candle Rule” suggested by the Armatage Candle Company. 

    This rule involves creating 84 candles and giving most of them away. This approach allows you ample opportunity to master the candle-making process, experiment with different formulas, and gather valuable feedback from friends and family.

    As you progress in making more candles, you will also learn to:

    • Upgrade from a Candle-Making Kit: To increase your production capacity, you’ll need to invest in more professional equipment, such as a 4-lb pour pot or a Presto Pot. These tools can handle larger volumes than the typical kits designed for beginners.
    • Master the Craft: Focus on perfecting your candle-making skills before diving into the business side. This approach allows you to confirm your interest and develop expertise in creating high-quality candles.
    • Test Various Candle Features: With each batch you produce, experiment and evaluate different aspects of your candles, like scent, safety, burn time, and overall quality. Continuously refine your products based on this feedback until you perfect your formula.
    • Find Reliable Suppliers: As production grows, it becomes crucial to find dependable suppliers for your raw materials. Learn where to source supplies both locally and online, giving yourself time to compare prices and quality to get the best deals.
    • Experiment with Variety: Making 84 candles provides a broad canvas to try out different waxes, dyes, fragrances, and types of candles, such as pillar, container, or wax melts. This variety will not only enhance your skills but also help you build a diverse and appealing product catalog for your business.

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    2. Define Your Brand

    Before launching your candles into the market, it’s crucial to clearly define the who, what, and why of your brand. Consider these key questions:

    • Why are you starting this business? Reflect on the story behind your brand and the overarching vision that motivates you. What drives your passion for candle-making, and how does it align with your business goals?
    • What is your target market? Determine whether you aim to cater to the luxury market with high-end candles suitable for boutiques or if you plan to reach a broader audience with more economically priced options. This decision will influence your product design and marketing strategies.
    • Who is your ideal customer? Identify the specific demographics you want to target. For example, you might focus on high-end candles for young professionals aged 20 to 35 looking to enhance their home offices, or perhaps you see a niche market in campers aged 35 to 60 who need candles that not only smell good but also repel insects.
    • What makes your candles different? Pinpoint what sets your candles apart from others on the market. Consider aspects like non-toxic ingredients, exceptional fragrances, or support for a charitable cause. Clearly defining your unique selling proposition (USP) is vital to distinguish your brand from competitors and attract your target audience.

    Once you have a clear understanding of your brand’s core elements, you’ll find it easier to execute your vision. From choosing the types of candles you want to offer to branding your online store, having a well-defined brand identity is key to launching your business swiftly and effectively.

    Here are some essential steps to follow as you move forward:

    • Decide on a Business Name: Choose a name that is strong and memorable. It should reflect your products or brand mission and have the potential to grow with your brand. Take your time to brainstorm a name that resonates with your target audience and stands out in the market.
    • Create a Logo: Design a logo that embodies your brand and can be used consistently across your product packaging, website, and marketing materials. Your logo is a crucial part of your brand identity, so ensure it aligns well with your overall aesthetic and message.
    • Design Your Labels: Collaborate with a designer to create labels that capture your brand’s personality and appeal to your target market. Make sure your labels comply with any regulatory requirements and include essential information such as the candle scent, product weight, and company details. Effective labels not only communicate important product information but also enhance the visual appeal of your candles, making them more attractive to consumers.

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    3. Estimate Your Startup Costs

    When you’re learning how to start a business, it’s essential to understand the two main types of startup costs you’ll encounter:

    1. Production/Manufacturing Costs: These are the expenses related to producing your products. For a candle business, this includes the cost of materials such as containers, waxes, wicks, fragrance oils, and equipment like thermometers. Consider all elements involved in manufacturing and packaging your candles.
    2. Business/Operating Costs: These costs are associated with running your business day to day. They can include software subscriptions, shipping fees, small business insurance, and other operational expenses necessary to keep your business functioning smoothly.

    Start by listing all the items and resources you’ll need to produce your first batch of candles, perhaps aiming for the first 100 units. At this initial stage, it’s also crucial to become acquainted with both current and future costs:

    • Marketing and Advertising: Budget for any promotions or advertising campaigns you plan to launch to increase product visibility.
    • Taxes: Prepare for tax obligations that will arise from your business activities.
    • Recurring Fees: If you plan to scale operations or simplify certain processes, account for ongoing expenses such as website maintenance, software subscriptions, or partnerships with third-party logistics providers (3PLs).

    Understanding these costs upfront will help you budget effectively and plan for the financial health of your business.

    4. Write a Business Plan

    Crafting a business plan allows you to methodically outline your venture, setting the stage for enduring growth. 

    Take ample time to develop this plan, exploring various prospects and hurdles. Identify competitors, pinpoint what sets you apart, scrutinize your distribution networks, and assess available resources. These steps are vital.

    Most business plans cover these sections:

    • Executive summary
    • Company name, description, and domain
    • E-commerce market analysis
    • Products you’re selling and why
    • Operations plan
    • Marketing and advertising plan
    • Financial plan

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    5. Make Your Business Official

    Time to legally establish your business and tackle other essential steps. No stress—this part is way simpler than it seems!

    Register With Your State

    It’s crucial to consider your location. Starting a business in Massachusetts differs significantly from starting one in California. First, register your business name through your state and local governments. The simplest way to find out where to register is by searching “register a business in [your state].”

    You’ll find many links to companies offering registration services for a fee. But you can skip the fee by registering directly on your state’s website. You’ll likely need to pay a nominal filing fee, which varies by state. 

    For setting up your business entity properly and ensuring smooth registration, consider contacting an LLC registration service. They can guide you through the terms and conditions and handle the registration process so you don’t have to. For LLC registration, you might explore services from the companies mentioned below.

    Tailor Brands – Best LLC Service Overall

    Tailor brands

    Tailor Brands offers an easy-to-use online platform for entrepreneurs to swiftly register their businesses. Their service includes a straightforward, step-by-step process that guides users through the legal requirements and necessary paperwork to establish their business as a separate legal entity.

    With Tailor Brands, users can secure a tax ID number, register for any required licenses and permits, and access a range of resources to ensure their business is primed for success. 

    >> Get Started With Tailor Brands >>

    ZenBusiness – Best for New Business

    ZenBusiness stands out as one of our top registration services due to its speedy business filing options and affordable incorporation costs. Their customer service is readily available throughout the process to assist with questions, though they can’t provide legal advice.

    Starting a business can seem easy compared to maintaining one, so ZenBusiness offers tools to simplify management. The company can assist with tax documents or act as a registered agent, easing your administrative burden.

    >> Get Started With ZenBusiness >>

    Northwest Registered Agent – Best for Transparency

    Northwest Registered Agent logo

    Northwest Registered Agent is celebrated for its transparency and commitment to treating customers like real people. 

    The service is upfront about its pricing and depends on excellent, accessible customer support to ensure things are done correctly on the first try. Moreover, they prioritize the security of your private information.

    >> Get Started With Northwest >>

    Get a Federal Tax ID

    File for a Federal Tax ID (or EIN) number, essential for opening a business bank account, obtaining a business loan, hiring employees, and more. Luckily, the application process is free and only takes a few minutes.

    Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

    After securing your EIN, the final step to legalize your business is applying for a business license. This license includes your seller’s permit, enabling you to collect state sales tax on transactions.

    Conduct another online search to locate the relevant website for your state (e.g., search “register for a business license in [insert your state]”). Follow the application steps provided by your state. Remember, some states might only need a general business license, while others could require additional local or county-based permits.

    Apply for Insurance

    Candles indeed pose a fire risk, and accidents can occur, making insurance a crucial step in establishing your business. Insurance safeguards your business and provides protection for you and your family too.

    At the very least, opt for an insurance policy that includes general liability coverage. This type of insurance is fundamental and covers claims of third-party property damage or injuries.

    Plenty of online resources can help you understand small business insurance. Invest time in research, seek advice from a professional, and select a small business insurance provider that offers the necessary coverage within your budget. 

    Get a Business Bank Account

    For taxes and bookkeeping, it’s wise to keep your business finances separate from your personal ones. Each bank or credit union offers different fees, transaction limits, and minimum balance requirements for business accounts. So, take your time to explore various local or online banks to find one that suits your needs.

    Note: to open a business account, most financial institutions will ask for a copy of your business formation documents (which you got when registering your business), any licenses or permits, and either your EIN or your social security number.

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    6. Create Your Startup Inventory

    Start building your initial product offerings by focusing on a fragrance lineup that aligns with your business ethos and objectives. Launch a select few fragrances initially, covering various categories. Every couple of months, introduce a new fragrance and gather feedback from your customers.

    This strategy keeps your customers engaged and looking forward to new fragrances or product lines. Begin with a handful of fragrances that span different categories, such as:

    • Floral
    • Woody
    • Fresh
    • Exotic
    • Citrusy 
    • Fruity
    • Sweet
    • Spicy

    7. Create Your Online Store

    Now for the exciting part: building a business website to take orders for your candles. It’s essential to choose a robust eCommerce platform at this stage. Wix’s eCommerce website builder, for example, offers a comprehensive array of features, including built-in catalog and inventory management, along with marketing tools that will prove valuable down the line.

    All Wix websites are designed with SEO, reliability, security, and performance as core features. This means you won’t have to worry about your site going down during a traffic spike. Plus, you can be confident that your site is mobile-friendly and fortified with top-notch security measures. As you build out your pages, make sure to focus on the following best practices: 

    • Showcase high-quality product photos – Use a mix of studio and lifestyle images, showing your candles from multiple angles. Follow these product photography tips to capture shots that are both appealing and informative.
    • Provide detailed product descriptions – For each candle, include specifics like size options, fragrance, estimated burn times, and any essential warnings or usage tips. The more details you provide, the less likely customers will return items due to them not matching the description.
    • Ensure products are easy to find – Your website should be user-friendly. A good guideline is that all products should be reachable within three clicks. Utilize breadcrumbs, clear menus, and features like “related products” to enhance product discovery on your site.
    • Offer a variety of payment options – When setting up a payment provider, consider that different customers have different preferences. Some might opt for credit cards, while others might prefer PayPal or buy-now-pay-later services like Affirm.

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    8. Develop your marketing strategy

    You’ve put in significant effort up to this point. Now, it’s time to craft an eCommerce marketing strategy to promote your store. As a Wix merchant, you’ll have access to tools for business email marketing, social media marketing, blogging, and more.

    Starting with social media is a wise move. Rather than adopting a scattergun approach, focus on one or two platforms initially. Experiment with different types of content, like videos and live streams, and monitor audience reactions.

    Pro tip: When discussing your products online, steer clear of subjective terms like “amazing” or “best.” Instead, concentrate on your purpose and narrative, demonstrating the superiority of your products.

    Here are other marketing tactics to consider:

    • Create a newsletter: Regularly update your customers and recommend new products to keep them engaged.
    • Start a blog: This can boost your SEO efforts and attract organic traffic to your site.
    • Run ad campaigns: Use retargeting to bring previous visitors back and reach new audiences.
    • Incentivize referrals: Offer rewards to customers who refer friends to your website.
    • Leverage user-generated content: Display customer reviews and photos on your site as social proof.
    • Run contests and giveaways: These can spark interest and attract more visitors to your store.
    • Participate in local events: Showcase your products at craft shows or local markets to connect with customers face-to-face.

    Why Start a Candle Business?

    Candles have become a staple in decor, with the industry projected to surpass $10 billion in global sales by 2032, as noted by Expert Market Research.

    Recently, the commercial demand for candles has surged, particularly in spas and massage parlors where scented candles are used for aromatherapy and in restaurants that create a soft, ambient atmosphere for diners.

    According to the National Candle Association, consumers purchase candles not only as home decor but also for relaxation and stress relief. A quick glance at Google Trends confirms a steady global interest in homemade candles.

    While candles serve various purposes worldwide, the bulk of searches for homemade candles are from North America, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa, providing valuable insights for candlemakers targeting these markets.

    Beyond their popularity, candles offer several advantages to business owners, including:

    • Low-cost entry. Granted, some homemade candle varieties require pricier materials than others, but in general, candlemakers can create their wares with very little cash upfront.
    • Easy to sell anywhere.Looking to sell your home decor items at craft fairs and local markets? Homemade candles are great for this as they travel well, allowing you to sell them online and offline.
    • Scalable craft to learn. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY expert or just starting out in crafting, the basic recipe for candles is straightforward and easy to follow. As illustrated in our handy infographic below, the formula is quite simple.
    • Easy to customize. With so many types of candles, it’s easy to personalize your products and differentiate yourself from direct competitors.

    From the perspective of a DIY business, mastering candle-making can evolve into a lucrative income source. Before we delve into how you can create your own homemade candles, let’s explore the popular types that are capturing the attention of shoppers.

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    Types of Homemade Candles

    A major perk of crafting candles for your business is the sheer variety available—there’s almost certainly a type of candle that will attract any potential customer.

    Not sure where to begin? Here are some of the top types of homemade candles you might consider when exploring opportunities for your candle business.

    Soy Candles

    Soy candles, made from soy wax, a material derived from soybeans are both eco-friendly and renewable. Unlike traditional paraffin-based candles, soy candles burn cleaner and longer, offering customers better value with a longer-lasting burn.

    Scented or Aromatherapy Candles

    Among the most popular, scented, or aromatherapy candles come in a vast array of fragrances tailored to enhance home environments or mask everyday odors. Aromatherapy candles go a step further by incorporating essential oils with specific benefits, like lavender for relaxation, aimed at improving physical or mental well-being.

    Vegan Candles

    With growing consumer awareness around ethical products, vegan candles cater to those avoiding animal-derived ingredients. Traditional candles may use beeswax, but vegan alternatives employ plant-based waxes like soy, along with synthetic or natural fragrance oils, ensuring no animal products are used.

    Decorative Candles

    These candles are often more about aesthetics than aroma or wellness benefits. Available in a multitude of colors, shapes, and sizes, decorative candles are crafted to enhance the decor with their intricate designs and sometimes elaborate accessories, serving as a focal point in any room.

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    How to Start a Candle Business – FAQs

    Bottom Line

    If you’re eager to elevate your candle business, following the steps outlined above can merge your passion for candles with a robust execution plan. The ultimate reward could be a profitable and creatively fulfilling candle business that thrives for years to come.

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