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and Selling Candles (Part 3)
One of the unique features of manufacturing candles is that there really is not a right or wrong way to make candles, provided the end result is a safe burning candle with a consumer-accepted appearance. If you look at candles such as those with a mottled look or "primitive" look, they were considered imperfect many years ago. This look is now one which many companies strive to achieve.
As was discussed in the last edition your two main cost components are generally wax and the fragrance. The other components are equally critical when producing the candle, but the cost of these materials is not as extensive as the primary ones.
As you may have already learned, not all waxes are created the same. When sampling waxes or starting production of candles, it is imperative that you keep notes on all aspects of the process including precise measurements of the components you are adding (we recommend that you measure all components by weight because measuring by volume can really be misleading), the temperature of the room, the relative humidity in the room, the temperature of the mold and/or container and the pouring temperatures. (We strongly recommend that you purchase an accurate thermometer and periodically check it for accuracy.) The room temperature should be maintained as consistent as possible. If that is not realistically possible, you may have to adjust procedures to take into account for the seasonal changes. Some of the changes generally occur during the first frost or in early spring when the humidity begins to develop. The more variables you are able to control the more consistent results you will be able to achieve.
Selecting your wax should be based on how consistent the wax performs. You will want to determine if your supplier consistently purchases from the same source so you know you'll be starting with the same material every time. Also, you will want to consider if your supplier is going to maintain sufficient inventories of the wax, how long they have been in business, and what the cost of the wax will be.
It is very important that additives are measured as accurately as possible. Once again, if possible, everything should be measured by weight and not teaspoons or tablespoons. This will ensure consistency in the finished product.
One key component of your candle--and in most instances what sells the candle--is the fragrance. The trend in fragrances has been to continually add fresh, new and "exciting" scents. Traditionally, the fragrances such as vanilla, strawberry and seasonal fragrances such as hollyberry and bayberry where big sellers. These fragrances still are a big part of the market, but the growth of candles has been with new images such as garden path, tropical paradise and cucumber melon.
It is also imperative to try to market your candles based on the season. This helps develop a year-round market. For example, in the Spring, the fragrances such as lavender, sunflower and gardenia can be popular. When Summer approaches, the fragrances such as watermelon, mango and guava become popular. In the Fall, fragrances such as pumpkin spice, oatmeal and vanilla hazelnut are appealing. Then, the Christmas/Winter is the popular time for fragrances such as sugar cookie, Christmas essence and bayberry.
While it may seem like common sense, the keys for a successful candle company are to 1) make a quality product both in terms of safety and appearance, 2) sell at a competitive price, 3) develop new products and/or fragrances, 4) develop a solid reputation for your company and 5) know your marketplace and limitations.
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