Starting a wax melt and candle business is easy. All you need to do is buy your ingredients, make the products, post on social media and the orders will come in, right?
The home fragrance industry is very competitive, with new people starting out everyday, why is this? Well, it’s a low-barrier-to-entry business. What do I mean by this? It basically means that anyone can do it with not a huge amount of money, the raw materials needed to make these products are low cost and you don’t need any qualifications.
So how do you break through in this ever-saturating market?
It takes a lot of time, effort and persistence. You need to be relentless with your marketing, you need to think of yourself as a marketing and sales person first and wax melt/candle maker second. If you can get into this mindset and be good at it then you’re on to a winner.
In this article we cover 4 things you need to be able to grow your wax melt and candle business, so let’s get into it!
1. A good product
This might sound obvious, and it is, you need to make sure the candles and wax melts you’re making are as good as they possibly can be, these are the things you should cover:
- Rigorous product testing using different wax and fragrance oil combinations to make sure your products have the best scent throw possible and last a long time.
- Use quality packaging and make sure all labels are stuck on straight with no bubbles and creases. These need to look incredible.
- Give some to your friends and family for honest feedback - make sure they’re honest though and not just telling you what they think you want to hear! Whilst your friends and family are testing them, get them to send you photos as you can use these to help market your products
- Record all of your tests for all of your scents in a spreadsheet so you know what did and didn’t work. This will then become your bible for creating products.
Once you’ve nailed your product and are confident that it couldn’t be any better, you are now ready to think about branding your business and moving onto the next steps.
2. Good branding
The first thing to say about branding is it is much more than just a logo, a brand is how your business is seen, what people think of when they encounter your business, how you interact with customers, how your products are represented, there’s a lot to it, but for the purpose of this article we will keep it simple.
- When designing the logo for your wax melt and candle business it’s important to make sure it’s:
- Clean and crisp so people can see what it is at a quick glance.
- Easily recognisable and doesn’t blend in with other logos.
Easy to know what you do.
Develop your tone-of-voice. You might want to have a professional and corporate tone, or you might want to be more friendly and down to Earth. Whichever you choose make sure you stick with it to ensure your tone remains consistent across everything you do. Think about the difference between Yankee Candle and Lush. Yankee is more corporate and matter-of-fact, whereas Lush is aimed at a younger audience and their tone-of-voice reflects that.
Create a colour pallet, something to compliment your brand. You will then use this colour pallet for all forms of marketing, make sure you don’t introduce other colours just stick to what you’ve decided on. This will ensure you have a more consistent brand as you grow.
So you now have a fantastic product and you’ve produced a brand you’re happy with. You now need to work on the pricing of your wax melts and candles, which leads us on to...
This is the area where so many people new to wax melt and candle making fall short. You need to make sure you have enough margin in your products so you can reinvest into marketing and growing your business, if you don’t have margin you’ll never do this.
Too many people try to compete on price. Don’t. It’s a race to the bottom.
If you’ve completed the product testing section in this article and you have a product you are very happy with and have received excellent feedback on then charge what you are worth, not what other people are charging.
They might get more orders than you initially, but they will never be able to grow their business as there’s not enough profit to pay their own salaries let alone reinvest.
‘What price should I sell my wax melts and candles for?’
A question which is often asked. The most basic rule is that you should sell your candles and wax melts for AT LEAST 4 times the amount they cost you to make, including your time, it’s important you calculate this too.
Here’s an example calculation for you.
- Say you want to earn £30 per hour.
- You can make 30 candles in 1 hour.
- The raw materials and packaging to make the candle costs £3.
- Therefore your total cost to make the candle is £4 (£1 time and £3 materials).
- You need to charge at least £16 for this candle.
In that example you should hopefully be able to make a lot more than 30 candles in 1 hour, but this is a good example of how to price your products.
‘Why do I need that much margin?’
There are a number of things to consider here:
- If you want to sell wholesale then your retailers need a nice margin too, so you will have to reduce your cost to make it attractive for you and your retailer.
- You need to pay yourself and eventually any employees.
- You need to understand how much it costs you to acquire a customer (marketing).
- At some point you will become VAT registered, so that’s 20% gone straight away.
Without a good margin you will not be able to scale your business, it’s as simple as that.
So, you have a great product, a great brand, you have plenty of margin in your products so now you need to get customers. This is where you need to be absolutely relentless in your marketing and reach as many people as you can every single day.
If you don’t market your products, no one will see them and buy them. You need to be a marketer first and a candle maker second.
To begin with it’s likely you won’t have much budget to spend on paid advertising, which is fine, there are other things you can do, such as:
Get your friends/family to review your products and take photos which you can repurpose and use on social media.
Run competitions to build a list of interested people, once the competition is over contact everyone who didn’t win to offer them your products with a slight discount to encourage them to buy.
Third-party selling platforms. Sell on eBay, Amazon and Etsy. They will take a chunk of your margin but it’s a great way to pick up customers. When packing their orders leave them a note with a discount code for their next order through your website.
Have stalls at trade fairs, festivals, Christmas markets etc (Covid-19 permitting of course). Meet as many people as you can, those that don’t buy make sure they leave with a leaflet or free sample encouraging them to visit your website.
- Post on every social media channel as often as you can with great photos of your products, customer reviews and stories. Don’t sell, just talk about your products. People love seeing faces behind the brands so don’t be afraid to do this.
There’s lots of things which can be done, you just need to be creative and persistent.
Once you’ve started to sell some products and have some profit tucked away, that’s when you can invest in social media marketing to seriously grow your wax melt and candle business.
You should start off small, have a couple of small campaigns targeting people who are similar to your existing customer base, this is called a lookalike audience within Facebook ads. This will then bring first time visitors to your website who have never heard of your brand before, it’s unlikely they’ll buy straight away but at least you know they’re interested.
You then create a retargeting campaign in Facebook, this will then target the people who visited your website but didn’t make a purchase and remind them to come back and complete their purchase. I’m sure you’ve been on a website and then gone onto Facebook to find that brand (or others similar) have followed you over! This is retargeting and it works very well.
When you have these basic campaigns set up you will start to get orders coming in at which point you can slowly start to scale.
Ideally you want to start on a budget of around £30-£50 per day on Facebook ads to start seeing a return.
So, in order to grow your wax melt and candle business you need to make sure you have:
- A good product
- Great branding
- Margin in your products
- Excellent marketing
If you cover these 4 points you have laid the perfect foundations to seriously scale up and grow your home fragrance business.
If you have any questions or would like further advice, please leave them in the comments below :)