Determining Your Product Line
Determining Your Product Line
Every candle maker has struggled with the difficult decision on deciding how many different candles and accessories to offer in his or her product line. In fact, research by the National Candle Association suggests that larger U.S. candle manufacturers will typically offer between 1,000 and 2,000 varieties in their candle lines. If you have ever wrestled with this decision in your operation or if your business is currently growing, this article may be just for you.
We have all been there at some point – customers asking for more and more types of new scents while you have a few on the shelf that haven’t sold since you started making candles (but luckily you used UV absorber and they are still sellable). Although having a wide assortment of fragrances is a great way to attract and maintain customers, there is a threshold that every candle maker hits where they spend more time juggling fragrances and less time doing what they enjoy – creating new and unique candles.
There are other options available besides juggling 100’s of fragrances. One option is to break out of the container philosophy and branch into other types of candles. By offering more styles of candles that use your current fragrances, you can attract new customers with minimal equipment investment. Some other options are freestanding pillar candles, votives, tea lights, tapers, novelty molded candles, and floating candles just to name a few. Often there are times where one type of wax can do multiple types of products.
Candle makers are finding value in adding other types of products that compliment candles as well. Candleholders, accessories, and other scented pleasures are a great way to bundle products and share common themes. Gift baskets with assorted themes work great in creating extra value to your customers. A mixture of same-scent candles, lotions, and soaps can create exciting baskets. By offering attractive, well made gift certificates, you can please your current customers and gain others. Just be sure to create your gift certificate in such a fashion that somebody would be proud to give as a gift.
Another excellent and easy way to build a new customer base is to offer hand poured soaps. Melt and pour soaps are actually very easy to produce and easily mesh into your current product line. The best part about soap is that often times you can use the same scent as your current candles and soap does not require nearly as much fragrance per pound as candles require. Just be sure to verify the scent you are using is “skin safe”. In the event you happen to be at a festival or craft show with multiple candle makers, soap can be a great way to differentiate your booth from the rest of the vendors who may not offer more than one or two types of candles.
Candle makers are finding the power of branding their candles as well. Branding your candles works for you in many ways. Although many experts argue the true meaning of the term “brand”, the basic benefits of a branded candle can easily be boiled down to the term “recognition”. Once your customers start to recognize your logo or name, they start to attribute that recognition to certain qualities that your candles possess. Keep in mind, this can work for, or against you, depending on your candle and the way it burns. Some brands are known for their excellent burn, some for their low price, and some for their creativity. You can create multiple brands that target each of these consumers as opposed to trying the “one candle fits all” approach. With careful monitoring of your brands, you can add and remove an entire line of candles quite easily based on the profit each brand produces. You can also remove the brand and liquidate slow moving candles at reduced prices without harming your existing price structure.