Lots of people like making candles as a hobby, but some have gone a step further and wondered if they can turn it into a business as well.
But is selling homemade candles worth it?
Selling homemade candles can be a profitable venture because the candle market it thriving, there’s an average profit margin of 25-50% for new businesses, and there are multiple places you can sell them. You can sell a candle for $5-$20, and an average candle costs between $0.45-$1.00 to make.
Read on to find out why you should sell candles, how much you can make, all the ins and outs about pricing, and more!
Why Sell Homemade Candles?
Selling candles online can be a great way for the right type of person to earn some extra money – and potentially start a growing, thriving business!
One of the main reasons to consider selling candles is because the candle industry has been steadily growing.
That means there’s an added level of stability to be found – there’s a growing number of people wanting to buy candles!
And even if you don’t want to do it as a full-time business, it can be a great way to earn a bit of spending money around the holidays, since 35% of all candle sales happen during the Christmas season.
Plus, the average profit margin for a new candle business is around 25%-50%, which is far better than the 10% margin that’s considered the general average across all industries.
Not to mention, candle making is fun! You get to play around with different scents, colors, and sizes!
If you’re a crafty, business-savvy person, then this could be a great opportunity for you.
On the other hand, though, if business (or, more specifically, marketing) isn’t your strong suit, you might run into some difficulty.
That’s because the industry – especially the online industry – is oversaturated.
So, you’ll have to know how to make your product stand out from all the rest. Otherwise, your candle could get lost among the deliciously-scented yet indistinguishable waves of homemade wax lights.
Thankfully, though, startup costs are relatively low, which makes it all the easier to decide to give candle making a try.
Is Selling Homemade Candles Profitable?
Whether or not selling candles can be a profitable venture depends on a few key factors:
- How you price them
- How much they cost to make
- What they’re made of
- Who they’re marketed to
Let’s take a look at these important aspects.
How should you price them?
When trying to decide how to price your candles, the first thing you should know is exactly how much it cost you to make them.
You want to keep a record of two types of costs:
- Variable costs
- Fixed costs
Variable costs are expenses that you incur that change based on the type of candle you make, how big your batch is, what fragrances you use, etc.
Some things that would go in this category are:
- Cost of wax
- Cost of wicks
- Number and cost of jars
- Cost of fragrances (and how much of a fragrance bottle you used, if applicable)
- Cost of coloring/dyes (and how much you used of each)
Fixed costs are expenses that don’t change based on the candle batch you make.
These types of costs would include:
- Fees (if selling online)
- Your labor
Once you’ve written down all your expenses in each category, simply add the two together and you’ve got the total cost!
Once you know that, you have room to play around with a couple different pricing options without worrying about whether or not you’re losing money.
You should also factor in your target market and your competitor’s pricing – although you don’t necessarily have to beat out your competition in price, but it should be a reasonable comparison.
When it comes to your target market, you should price accordingly.
If you’re looking to sell affordable candles, and that’s your thing, you should probably aim for pricing in the $5-$8 range.
However, if you’re marketing “high end” candles, you could price them up to $22 or sometimes even more!
How much do they cost you to make?
The cost of candle making supplies can vary greatly depending on your target market (for example, “higher end” candles will probably require “nicer” glass jars, etc.).
Some of the supplies you’ll need to get started are:
- Pouring pot
- Fragrance oil
- Wick bars
There are a couple of kits online that include everything you’ll need to get started, but many say that they’re overpriced, and you can get the same things at your local store individually for half the price.
Whether or not it’s true, I’m not sure. But to give you an example of how much they cost, this popular one from Lonestar Candle Supply costs $80 and will only yield about 22 candles.
And of course, as mentioned above, you’ll want to account for any overhead costs you would need (including your labor).
But in general, a candle with a decent-sized batch (between 100-150 candles) would run you approximately $0.45-$1.00 per candle.
But that number would change based on your batch size, type/quality of jars and ingredients, etc.
What are they made of?
What your candles are made out of will also greatly impact the price, as certain types of wax are more sought-after or “high end.”
Here’s a list of the different types of wax:
- Wax blends
Some of these – like soy candles – are trendy because they’re all natural and they give a creamy finish to your candles.
Coconut oil candles are best for getting the most vibrant colors. Beeswax candles last longer due to their high melting point. And paraffin wax can throw fragrance the best.
So, ultimately, what type of wax you choose really depends on which aspects you value most (scent vs color), and what’s more popular in your target market.
Paraffin wax is usually the cheapest to go with, while something 100% natural – like soy, beeswax, or coconut – is more expensive and considered high end.
Who are they marketed to?
When considering who you’re marketing to, there are three general ranges:
- Mass market: $5-$8
- Mid-market: $9-$14
- High end: $15-$20+
Also note that you’re more than likely going to be marketing towards women, because 95% of people who purchase candles are women.
Also, consider what’s trending in your market (of course, not that you have to go with what’s trendy).
But if you notice that people in search of affordable candles care most about the scent, then that will affect the type of wax you buy (probably paraffin), and thus your costs, and thus the price of your candles overall.
Likewise, if you notice a common theme of all-natural beeswax in higher end candles, that should also play a part in determining how much they cost and how much you sell them for.
How much can you earn?
In general, you can expect to earn between a few dollars to over $20 per candle sale, depending on your costs and target market.
But it’s really important to stress that the candle market it oversaturated, so if you don’t nail your marketing and produce a great product, you probably won’t see a steady income stream.
Of course, that’s not to downplay the fact that it takes some time to build your brand and get a loyal client base.
Some people can earn over $1,000 a month by selling candles:
Some people have even built brands that bring in over a million dollars! I mean, it is a $2 billion industry, and Yankee Candle can’t be making all of it.
Of course, there are those who never make big bucks off of this side hustle, but even one or two candle sales a week that bring in $20 profit will earn you an extra $1,000 a year, which isn’t too bad for something you have fun doing anyway.
Where Should You Sell Your Candles?
This is a really important and seemingly underrated topic that I feel deserves attention.
There are two main places you can sell your candles: online and not online.
When you’re looking at online ideas, you could create your own website and sell your candles from there, banking on a budding social media presence and marketing expertise to drive sales.
While it might take more work, you get to have a lot of flexibility in developing a full-fledged brand, complete with your own, professional site.
Or, you could go on e-commerce sites like Etsy. This gives you a boost because people that shop on there are already looking for something artisan, unique, and handmade.
However, Etsy is overcrowded, and it would be difficult to stand out from the crowd there.
And honestly, that’s the case with most independent candle makers who try to start out solely on the oversaturated online market.
And it’s not just selling candles – things like bath bombs are in the same boat.
And of course, going into retail is a totally different ball game – it would take significantly more time, money, and effort.
But thankfully, there’s a middle ground that’s commonly overlooked and thus filled with untapped potential.
That’s local markets and events.
Setting up a booth at your local fair or farmer’s market is a great way to get in touch with people around you that are looking for something handcrafted and unique, but in person!
It’s far less saturated, and when used properly in conjunction with online marketing, it can be a great way to give your brand a head start while still bringing some money into your pocket.
In the end, selling homemade candles can definitely be worth it. The candle market is thriving, it’s a fun creative outlet, and it can be very profitable!
But on the other side of the coin, it’s easy to fall into the sea of thousands of candle makers online, so you’re going to want to put in some effort to make sure you can stand out.