Are you looking for a simple idea to turn into a profitable business? Want to make money doing something enjoyable and creative?
If the answer’s yes, candle making could be the thing for you.
The candle making industry is booming. Global candle sales
are expected to reach over $9 billion by 2028. That’s a lot of candles!
Scented candles in particular saw a huge rise in popularity during the pandemic as more people spent time at home and wanted candles to provide a pleasant touch of fragrance, elegance and ambience.
This (literally) hot trend has continued to grow, and that’s why candle making is a top ecommerce business idea in 2022.
But the scented variety isn't the only best-selling candle in 2022. The market is filled with numerous candle types that people want. That’s why candle making makes so much sense; there’s a huge demand for you to supply! And better still, they’re easy enough to make at home with a little practice and perseverance.
To start your journey towards a successful candle making business, you’ll just need a little know-how, some basic materials and a solid ecommerce platform like ShopWired to sell your delightful creations on.
Why start a candle making business?
People love candles.
Whether it’s for making a room smell pleasant, some relaxing aromatherapy, or simply lighting up a dark room during a power cut, candles have lots of uses and people want them in their homes.
But beyond home use, candles continue to boom in commercial markets. Restaurants, spas and beauty parlours frequently buy candles and you'll see a plethora of different types on shelves in the retail stores and supermarkets.
But times have changed. People prefer to shop online these days for a faster and less stressful shopping experience. In fact, in the UK in 2020, 99% of UK buyers aged between 25 and 34 said they preferred shopping online over in-store shopping. This figure was 95% for ages 35 and 44, and 65% for shoppers aged over 65.
With candles being such a popular product, and with more people turning towards online shopping, setting up an online homemade candle business could be a smart move.
Here are some top reasons candle making is a good ecommerce business idea:
- Demand is huge- The candle market is huge and is projected to reach $9 billion by 2028. Become a master of the craft and you can supply the demand.
- Easy to get started- candle making is one of the easiest DIY businesses to set up. You don’t need expensive equipment or an industrial–sized warehouse. In fact, a kitchen, some cheap candle making supplies and basic equipment are enough to get you started!
- Highly profitable- Candles have high profit margins. It costs around £2 on average to make an eight-ounce candle and they can be sold for £15-20 each. Buying your ingredients and equipment in bulk can help reduce costs further. The cheaper your costs, the higher your profits.
- Ecommerce is the future- Ecommerce is the future of buying and selling. Setting up a candle ecommerce business is a good way to meet today’s customers where they prefer to shop.
There are also some personal benefits to starting a successful candle making business from home, these include:
- Do a job you enjoy- Doing a job you enjoy is rewarding, motivating and inspiring, especially when it’s a craft business like candle making.
- Build something that belongs to you- When you build an ecommerce store it belongs to you; your pride and joy.
- Be your own boss- Set your own hours, holidays and make important decisions without having to run them by the boss. The flexibility and freedom afforded by becoming an ecommerce owner is a primary motivator for many.
- Turn your creativity into money- Creative hobby or highly profitable business? Both. Candle making turns creativity into money. It’s good for the soul…and profits!
So, if you have a burning desire to build an ecommerce business plan with a popular product, keep reading to find out how you can start your own candle making business today.
Decide what type of candles to make
There are dozens of different candle types, so your first decision is deciding which type to make.
As the name suggests, container candles are formed by pouring melted wax into a container. The wax sets inside the container and the wick is lit from the open top.
You can buy dedicated candle making containers online, but it’s worth having a look at home first to see if you have anything lying around. Masonry jars or empty jam jars are perfect, just make sure they can withstand the heat.
Container candles are super-easy to make and are super-popular with customers. They’re stylish, portable, and tidy. And because the wax stays inside the container, there’s no hot wax drips or exposed flame to worry about.
Pillar candles are upright candles that stand up on their own. These candles aren’t housed within jars, instead, a mould is used to cast the form of the free-standing candle.
A stronger wax is required for pillar candles to help them stand upright. You can also add an additive like palm stearic acid to strengthen your existing wax and help the candle stand. Pillar candles also need to sit within a base plate to stop them from falling over.
Pillar candles lend well to decorations because their external surface is visible. You can add colour patterns, etching, texturing, and several other techniques to make unique designs.
Taper candles are long and slim candles that taper into a point at the top end. Taper candles are similar to pillar candles in that they’re (almost) free-standing. But they’re usually much taller and slimmer, meaning they’ll need a proper candle holder to support the base and stop them from toppling over.
Taper candles look great in a set, and you’ll see them in places like restaurants and religious places of worship thanks to their elegant design.
Votive candles are small candles about two inches tall and one inch across. Small in stature but big in effect, Votive candles are commonly used for special events and religious ceremonies.
Votive candles sit in special votive candle holders which can be customised to increase the product’s appeal.
Tea light candles
Tea light candles are effectively smaller versions of votive candles. They sit inside a small metal casing and burn for about eight hours. The melted candle wax stays within the casing to leave no mess. Simply throw them away after use.
Tea light candles are popular in India, particularly during the celebrations of Diwali. So you could design and market your tea light candles with this in mind.
Scented candles are one of the most popular types of candle on the market and carry huge sales potential.
The scented candle market alone was worth $533.5 million in 2020 and is projected to grow by 3.3% (CAGR) a year from 2021 to 2028. Whether it’s freshening up your home or indulging in some aromatherapy, scented candles have multiple uses and are sure to make a hot product for your ecommerce store.
Soy candles are on trend at the moment because they offer a natural alternative to paraffin wax.
Paraffin is made up of hydrocarbons and releases toxic chemicals when burned. However, soy candles are 100% natural and burn clean without harsh chemicals. They also last much longer and still come in all the classic candle varieties like pillar, votive, tapered and container.
What will you choose to make?
Instead of being a ‘generalist’, try to niche down on one or two candle types to begin with. You’ll become an expert at your chosen candle type and can target a more specific audience. By keeping your target audience in mind, you can optimise your store and other content so they find you online.
Identify your target market
People buy different candles for different reasons. To succeed with your candle making business, you’ll need to understand who wants to buy your specific candles and why.
Here are six ways you can segment your target market to gain a better understanding of your potential customers.
1. By intended use
Intended uses include:
- Relieving stress
- Home Décor
Knowing how your candles will be used is crucial for gaining an understanding of the types of people who will buy them.
2. By scent
There are hundreds of scents to choose from these days and buyers might want different scents for different reasons. For example, scents like Vanilla and Ginger evoke feelings of warmth and cosiness, whereas Lemon and Jasmine evoke feelings of summertime and freshness.
There’s also been a conscious shift towards scents made with 100% natural ingredients in recent years, so this is an important thing to consider when making your own scented candles.
3. Type of wax
Paraffin has been the most popular wax for decades, but because it is petroleum-derived and emits toxic gases when burned, people are now turning towards natural alternatives like animal wax and plant wax. Soy wax for candle making has boomed recently with soy being a plant-based wax that is vegan too. Beeswax candles are also very popular.
4. Candle style
Many people buy candles for their decorative looks, so candle style is an important consideration for your target market research. Whether it’s a pillar candle to set the mood in a restaurant or a container candle to sit proudly on the living room table, understanding why people want them will help you create stylish and desirable candles.
We’ve already covered the most popular types of candles above, but these should be considered during your target market research.
5. Age and gender
Age and gender are important factors for target market segmentation and will influence how you market your candles to potential buyers.
In general, men tend to prefer bolder and darker colours for packaging and prefer candle containers/holders that are made of solid materials like metal or wood. Men also have a tendency to prefer more earthy and ‘masculine’ scents with woody and spicy base notes. On the other hand, women tend to prefer more sleek and elegant packaging and candle holders/containers made from materials like frosted glass and ceramics. Women also tend to prefer brighter and crisper fragrances such as rose, lemongrass and jasmine.
It's also important to consider age. Older people may prefer to go to a store and touch and smell the candle in person before buying it. On the other hand, younger people are more likely to shop online and use customer reviews to make a purchasing decision. So, if you’re selling online via an ecommerce store, you might want to angle your marketing towards a younger audience.
6. Candle price
How much a customer is willing to pay is another important factor to consider when researching your target market.
The price you sell for will depend on the materials you use, the time and effort you put into making them, your overall brand and the intended use. Remember, you might also implement trade pricing if you’re selling to b2b wholesalers rather than individual customers. Generally, candle prices range anywhere from £5 to over £100 for luxury candles.
**The above categories for identifying your target audience will overlap, so use these as a guide to start building a better picture of who your ideal customers are.
Get the materials
The materials for candle making are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. You can get your business up and running in days.
Let’s take a look at what materials you’ll need.
The most common wax types are paraffin, gel wax, beeswax, soy wax and palm wax. Some of these are synthetic while others are natural. Some businesses are picky over the wax type they use, so bear this in mind if your business wishes to promote certain values or cater to a more eco-conscious target audience.
You’ll have to experiment to learn how each wax behaves and casts into its respective mould. Also, remember that wax comes as a solid, so you’ll need to consider its measurements when melted down. As a general rule of thumb, one pound of paraffin will make 20 ounces of liquid wax when melted. One pound of soy wax will make 18 ounces of liquid wax. One pound of beeswax will make 16 ounces of liquid wax.
Using scented oils can take your candles to new heights. As with waxes, scented oils can be natural or factory-made, so if you want to be an eco-friendly business opt for natural oils.
Three to four drops of 100% concentrated scented oil should be enough for a medium-sized candle.
Your mould is what shapes your candle. These days there’s plenty of silicone moulds of all shapes and sizes available online. You can also buy a candle making kit containing everything you need.
If you want something more unique to make your candles burn brighter than the competition, you could contact a mould casting company to get your own moulds made.
These days, wicks are more than just a piece of wood. Choose the wrong wick and you could experience problems with your candles like tunnelling, excess soot, drowning wick, a poor scent throw or a combination of all of them.
There are plenty of wick options available on the market today, so you’ll need to pay attention and choose the correct wick for your chosen candle type.
You can find a useful chart here to help you determine the correct sized wick.
Heat and thermometer
You’ll need a reliable heat source to make candles. If you’re operating from home, a hot plate or conventional oven with a gas or electric hob will do the trick.
Make sure to have a thermometer close by to keep an eye on the wax’s temperature as it begins to melt. Different waxes will have different melting points, so getting this right is crucial for producing good quality candles. You can now buy wax melting pots designed specifically for candle making that include a thermometer attached to the lid’s underside. These are available on popular online marketplaces like Amazon.
Your candle design may be created by the moulding process alone, but you can embellish your candles with some extra decorative features to make them stand out above the rest. It could become your unique selling point.
Learn how to make candles and keep practicing
Here comes the fun part.
You’ve decided what candles to make. You’ve got all the necessary ingredients and equipment. Now it’s time to start making your delightful creations.
Focus on mastering the basics and you’ll see improvements as you become more experienced There are plenty of candle making courses online for you to follow.
Here’s a brief outline of the candle-making process to help you. You can find more detailed guides on candle making online.
Cut your chosen wax up into smaller chunks
Depending on how your candle wax arrived, you’ll probably need to cut it up into smaller chunks to help it melt easily.
Melt the wax down into a liquid
Melt the wax chunks inside a double boiler for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add colour or scents
If you’re making scented candles or want to add some colour, add a few drops and gently stir them in. Remember, less is more, so start with less and gradually increase to avoid ruining the candle wax mixture.
Insert the wick into your mould and pour in the melted wax
Now that your wax is melted and ready to go, it’s time to pour it into a mould and add the wick. If everything goes right, this is the magic part where your candle comes to life!
To keep it in place, the wick needs to be stuck to the bottom of your container or mould. You can do this with a bit of glue or a small drop of melted wax. To help you keep the wick central when you pour the melted wax mixture in, lie a pencil or lollipop stick across the top of your chosen container or mould and tie your wick around it (see image above). This way, when you pour the mixture you can keep the wick steadily in place without making a mess or burning yourself.
Let the wax cool down and set
Let your wax cool for about 24 hours if possible. Some types will set quicker than this, but a whole day will make sure the candle has got a solid structure.
If you’re making a container candle or similar, the wax simply stays in the mould and your job is done! If you’re making a free-standing candle, you’ll need to gently remove the candle from the mould to reveal the finished product. In either case, remember to trim the excess wick down to about ¼ inch to avoid the flame being too big when the candle is lit.
Practice makes perfect... You won’t become a candle connoisseur overnight, so it’s important to keep honing your craft until you feel confident in your skills.
Like we said earlier, niching down on one or two candle types will help you become a master of that candle type and provide quality products to your target audience. Once you’ve mastered your chosen type, you can start experimenting with new types and designs.
The candle making process isn’t difficult to get started with, but it can be tricky to master. That’s why it’s important to persevere. If your first attempts go slightly wrong, keep the flicker of hope going and keep trying.
Choose a solid ecommerce platform like ShopWired to sell your candles
Once you're up and running with your homemade candle business, you’ll need somewhere to sell them. Many people opt to sell their candles on marketplaces like Etsy and Ebay, but these tend to take larger cuts of the profit. An ecommerce platform that lets you build your own store from scratch is a better solution.
ShopWired is the top-rated ecommerce platform in the UK and provides everything you need to build, launch, and grow an ecommerce business with speed and confidence. You won’t need to hire a team of expensive web designers and developers ever again!
For a small monthly fee, you’ll gain access to an intuitive no-code website builder complete with multiple themes and design elements to help you build the perfect store for your brand. And if you hit any bumps in the road, ShopWired’s A+ support team will get you back on track right away (it’s why we are rated 4.9/5 stars on Tripadvisor.)
ShopWired also makes transactions easy by providing customers with plenty of payment gateways and ways to pay. And that goes for B2B sales too with payment gateways like Biller allowing businesses to make wholesale ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ purchases.
You can see some examples of stores built with ShopWired here.
Build a social media presence and start a blog to boost SEO
Building an online store is a great step towards becoming a profitable business. But being active on social media and running your own blog could help drive extra traffic and boost awareness of your brand.
From written content and videos to hashtags and contests, there are plenty of fun ways you can market your candles on social media.
The content you choose to make will depend on the types of candles you’re making and the types of people buying them. For example, if you’re making sleek and stylish container candles that are on trend, making short video content on platforms like Facebook and TikTok could be a good way to show off your delightful creations in a form that people enjoy consuming.
Influencer marketing is another lucrative prospect with social media platforms. Getting an influencer with thousands of existing followers to promote your candles opens you up to a new audience and can be cheaper than other customer acquisition strategies. Whether it’s product placements or product demonstrations, getting an influencer on board should be a key objective.
The social platforms you use will depend on your audience. Some of the most common social platforms for ecommerce marketing are:
It might be a good idea to look at your competitors to see what social channels they’re using. But remember, what works for one brand might not work for you, so look at your Google Analytics to gain a better understanding of where your traffic comes from.
Producing a well-written and SEO-optimised blog will keep your customers and prospects in the know and more likely to engage with your future offerings and services. By uploading regular blog posts, you’ll not only boost your search engine visibility, but you’ll also show customers you’re an active brand that cares about sharing with the community.
ShopWired’s blog creator tool makes it easy to create, format, and upload your own blog posts. You can also add important SEO elements such as header tags, a meta description, keywords and URLs. This means next time someone searches for something candle-related, they might find one of your blog posts that will lead them to your store.
Some good tips for running a successful blog include:
- Post regularly and create a schedule.
- Find exciting and interesting ways to talk about your products.
- Conduct keyword research to find topics with good potential.
- Talk about current trends and events like Christmas etc.
- Include high-res, detailed images of your products.
- Link to your store and other important pages.
You can find out more here on how to write and manage a successful blog on your ShopWired website.
Hopefully, this article has given you the advice and confidence to start your own candle making business. By following the advice above, you’ll be profiting from your own handmade creations in no time. All you’ll need are some DIY skills, some brand development and an ecommerce platform like ShopWired to sell them on.
Is candle making a good business idea?
Yes! Candle making is cheap and easy to get into. With a solid ecommerce platform like ShopWired and a business plan in place, you can turn your creations into a profitable business venture.
How do you price candles?
There are a few different things that go into your pricing. Firstly, you'll need to work out how much profit you want to make after your expenses have been laid out. Then you’ll need to work out how much your target audience can afford to spend. If you’re new to the industry, take a look at competitors, how much do they sell candles for? Can you better this? Whatever the case, a profit margin between 25%-40% is good for a new ecommerce business.
How do you price wholesale candles?
If you’re selling in bulk, you might want to include wholesale pricing to attract repeat customers to your online store. As a rule of thumb, keep your wholesale prices 50% lower than your retail prices. I.e– if you sell one scented floating candle for £12, the wholesale price will be £6 per candle. ShopWired includes the option to add trade accounts to simplify the wholesale process.
Where can I sell homemade candles?
Most people these days search online when they want something. That’s why an online ecommerce store like ShopWired is the best place to sell your candles in 2022. With plenty of themes to choose from and live support teams on hand, you can craft the perfect store for selling your candles. And you’ll be able to optimise the store for search engines to help you reach a wider audience.
Do you need insurance to sell candles?
Finding an insurance provider that offers Craft insurance with public and private liability is important for safeguarding your business in the case of any unfortunate events.
Why choose ShopWired for your online candle making business?
ShopWired is the number one rated ecommerce platform in the UK and is used by thousands of businesses. With online candle sales booming, a solid ecommerce platform like ShopWired is the vital addition you need to turn your passion into money.
Some of ShopWired’s valued customers include EDF Energy, Superdrug, Lloyds Bank and Marks and Spencer. You can take a look at some successful ecommerce websites built with ShopWired here.