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Trappeur

What do you think of this meeting?

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What are your thoughts of what transpired in a meeting of a customer of mine of a lengthy 2 hour discussion?

To give a brief understanding of the situation, this is the situation.

A couple months ago I got a new account of a very nice couple who live right down the road from me.  They ordered a dozen candles of each scent of 12 scents they chose. I made the order and delivered to them and they just loved everything I did and especially loved the scents they chose.  They have launched a website of which the candles are now on.  They have on their website all products that are being printed with their own brand of logo of which this site they are selling t shirts, banners, mugs, glasses and my candles of which I didn't label as they had a family member print out their own labels and they put on the candle jars...(no problem).  The candles just went up on their website just a couple weeks ago.  Now of course they bought wholesale from me.  Their goal that they are going to do is they want to wholesale to stores and 1 huge big name company which I also won't mention the name of is in the works and they wanted a lot of information from me that when you put all the questions they asked of me the bottom line is they were questions that when put together is "my formula for making a candle".  The questions they asked were these:

How much wax would it take to produce a large order of x amount of candles, what size wicks do I use for the style jar candle, where do I buy my wax from, wicks, oils,  etc, how many candles can I get out of a box of wax, how much oil goes into each candle, and the list goes on.  They asked me how much do I pay for my lids, wax and oils also.

They also have been wanting to come to my home to see how I produce my candles since we first met but that never happened.  I went to their home. I just had in the back of my mind these questions being asked were for a specific purpose of them possibly wanting to make the candles themselves.   I don't know, maybe I'm wrong in thinking this.   All the questions they asked of me, I didn't give any details but vague, vague enough that they would have to figure out the answers themselves.  I spent years testing for making a candle and I'm not about to give out any of this info especially to someone like I'm thinking this couple is wanting to make the candles either themselves or get a little production team or factory going    This is what I'm thinking. .  Anyone as we all know if they wanted to get into this field you go to the internet and find out everything, we all know that.

They wanted to know if they give me a big huge order how long it would take for me to make and also they wanted to know if I could afford to order all supplies saying if I had to order $5,000.00 of supplies just to get started.  My answer was no I couldn't layout that amount of money and I would need a deposit.  When I get huge orders from my established customers I always ask for what ever deposit I need and that has never been a problem.   So then the next comments made from them is they would like to order all my supplies of whatever I needed to help me and I wouldn't have to lay out any money.  Now of course if this were to happen, they would then know all my sources........I should have said they didn't need to order directly from the companies themselves but to just give me whatever I needed to get the order going a deposit made out to me exactly they way they placed their initial order with me and I would do all my own ordering as I do.  Can't believe I didn't say that.  As it was, when I went to their home, they told me they know where i get my jars from at a grocery store in town and they in fact went and bought a case of these jars as the jars were sitting right there.  Sooooooooo.....hmmmmmm.....I asked them if they were asking me all these questions to find out what my actual cost of supplies was in making a candle and they said no...hmmmm.   I came right out and said that I came down in my price of selling the candles to them since they wanted to make their own labels and now that they want to supply jars (that's just the beginning), I would think they are going to want a further reduced price.  I came right out and said I know they can get the jars where I get them from, but "I WAS IN BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY AND YES I TOLD THEM I DO MAKE MONEY ON THE JARS! AND EVERYTHING ELSE..."  So why start cutting me down further so they can possibly get the candles cheaper.  I'm thinking in my mind, they want to buy everything and just have me make the candles (just labor) even though they said they would not do that...so why would they be asking me all these questions and want to come to my house just to see how I make a candle just because it was very interesting.....  Do you think they would do all this out of the goodness of their heart just to help me and production move faster?   And would they do all this and still pay me my set price of what I sell the jars to them for?   They said they would still pay my price...or maybe I misunderstood them....In order for them to sell wholesale to stores as that is what they are developing, they need to buy them for the prices of what I pay and they need to sell to the stores for what I sell to them.  If I sell a candle to them for 7.00 they should b selling retail say 14.00 to 16.00 or whatever they want to.  They are in fact selling them for 22.00 (that is a triple markup)...kudos to them is what I say and if they can get that, good for them...but then too they are selling off a website and that doesn't even include the shipping charges they charge their customer, but that is none of my business.   Now they did tell me they have ordered from a few other companies wholesale recently cases of candles to compare the candles to mine...and what a pleasant surprise that they said my candles beat the other companies by far as for scent throw and authenticity.....Wow, what a feather in my cap that was hearing that....extra points for me there...ha ha   I actually smelled one they bought from a company up in Mass so they said, but it didn't have a label on it.  How that company could ship the same style jar as I do for 6.50 which included the shipping is unbelievable but that is what they said.   I really feel very uneasy about all the questions asked of me at our meeting and can't believe that they don't want to start up their own candle company as they said they are not doing this.   Bottom line is I'm not willing to have them order all supplies for me and know my sources, plain and simple.  I don't see any reason for that what so ever when they can just give me the deposit.  They even went so far as to say they would go and pickup my wax to save on shipping.  So who gains the extras on something like this?    I can't imagine they would do this out of the goodness of their heart when they wouldn't stand to gain anything from this.     Anyone have any suggestions as I'm thinking of sending an email to this.

 

Trappeur

 

Edited by Trappeur
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Wow,  i dont sell candles or melts for that matter.  Got into  it for a hobby but if I was to sell them and had someone asking me those questions  My first reaction would be to not want to do business with them personally.  I know candle making is a business and you shouldn't take thing to personally but asking those detailed questions along with having the jars and a supposed unlabeled candle that they supposedly bought that cheap just makes me think all they wanna do is cut out the middleman. 

 

As almost everyone on here know candle making is pretty much an art form.  It takes alot of time, patience, money and frustrations to get even one working candle.   Then to have someone that wants to see your operation on top of knowing were you get your supplies and all just shows that they  first of all are not good business people.  They just wanna be able to make a ton of money selling something they either can get unreasonably cheap or make a pretty knockoff of without having to do all the hard work that goes into it..

 

This is all my personal opinion but i feel they are just trying to duplicate what you have painstaking done over the years otherwise there would be no reason to ask just detailed questions let alone wanna see your candle making area.  In the end it really boils down to how much can you trust them.  As i would have it in the back of my mind are they selling purely your candles or are they producing cheap ones on top of what you make for them and selling them at the same price mixed in with the ones you made.

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Ohh Trapp I think all your  spidey senses are tingling....looks to me that they are desperately trying to copy your business!  Not to mention they are doing it in a sleazy conniving way.

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My first instinct is to just say, “No. thank you.” And let them figure it out. Shut that conversation down right away. 

 

No account is worth that. Not one. 

 

I have “fired” customers that tried to strong arm me. Some realized their folly and never challenged again. 

 

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Or.....

 

you could say to use the new fangled quantum wax, with #6 square braid wick and eBay fragrances. That’ll teach them. 

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51 minutes ago, TallTayl said:

Or.....

 

you could say to use the new fangled quantum wax, with #6 square braid wick and eBay fragrances. That’ll teach them

Yes please do that!!! Lets have a little fun with them!! .. Next thing they will be at your door waiting to see who you get parcels from.

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26 minutes ago, TallTayl said:

Or.....

 

you could say to use the new fangled quantum wax, with #6 square braid wick and eBay fragrances. That’ll teach them. 

lol, lol at TT.....sh......t   you know I did like what you said TT!   I felt at the time when I was answering their questions somewhat bad that a few little "white lies" I put in there......but geesh I thought in my mind they really had "b.....lls".... (pardon my french), for asking questions you just shouldn't be asking and thought the questions were almost like an invasion of my privacy to be quite honest.   I'm the type of person who will go to all ends to help someone like on here at this forum where we all do share things but these questions were just so unappropriate from a business point. 

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I hate it when people do that. Ask all those questions while trying to hide they are asking them, as if we are stupid and don't know they are trying to find out suppliers, formula, cost, etc. It pissed me off so much more then if someone just says "Hey where do you suggest for essential oils?' or something. FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHHHH.

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7 minutes ago, Sunday said:

Yes please do that!!! Lets have a little fun with them!! .. Next thing they will be at your door waiting to see who you get parcels from.

lol, lol  ........well Sunday, I'm in luck there because UPS and FedX drop things off at my horse barn as they are too lazy to drive down my driveway...

The more I think about this whole conversation the more mad I get....but it is funny......lol

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Do you have a written agreement with wholesale customers?

 

having that really helped with my WS accounts. Terms are spelled out (like pre-pay for custom, etc.), so my business runs the way I need it to, not the other way around. 

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Actually TT I don't have any written agreements with my accounts.   I know, I know from a business stand point that probably is not good business sense on my part, but things are so different in my area here in the mountains where I live where it is so laid back and so different from the big city (I'm not using this as an excuse) but in all actuality it's like a basic hand shook agreement, it really is.  That's not to say that I couldn't have a problem, because I could, but it is a good idea to have a written agreement and maybe one day I will. 

 

Trappeur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, TallTayl said:

Or.....

 

you could say to use the new fangled quantum wax, with #6 square braid wick and eBay fragrances. That’ll teach them. 

 

Sounds great in theory, but then we have to worry about inferior products being placed on the market; you know these people won’t be testing any products they make.

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Ohh Mr Dan there are always inferior products on the market ...there is no stopping that ...But I really don't think they will last if there are no repeat customers. I think quality is what sells ... 

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Sounds like they are trying to figure out your exact cost so they can work your price down when they start ordering huge wholesale orders for this big account. Like paying you $7 is fine for a few cases but when we start ordering hundreds of cases can we get her down to $5? 

And could be a back up if you won't come down on the price, to know your process so they can set up their own operation. 

I would say no. Selling wholesale for retail is a different ball game from selling wholesale for wholesale.  A small one person set up cannot make money that way, even selling thousands every month.

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I would have simply told them that the information they were requesting was proprietary information and you were not willing or at liberty to discuss, then I would have said, thank you, have a nice day. 

End. of. discussion. 

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Don’t do it- don’t answer a single question ....they are up to no good 

 

I would simply tell them if they can afford to buy your supplies they can afford to give you a deposit for their order- plain and simple 

your product and sources are none of their business and you won’t share that information -period 

If they don’t want to do business with you then oh well- any information you give them other than the wax type of candle your selling will bite you in the ass 

 

Those are not normal inquiry questions at all 

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8 hours ago, Sunday said:

Ohh Trapp I think all your  spidey senses are tingling....looks to me that they are desperately trying to copy your business!  Not to mention they are doing it in a sleazy conniving way.

I'm not so sure I agree. I've become a cynical 60 year old man and getting more cynical all the time. It just seems to me that they would have at least taken the tour of Trapp's facility if they were really interested in starting their own candle company. 

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This is definitely strange and I would 100% not give them certain details and say your process and/or particular raw materials are proprietary. 

 

In my day job, I work in the food industry as a co-manufacturer and some of our customers do request "open book pricing" where we do share our costs and profit margins but they are far and few between. We also have a customer who is a nut roasting company, so they make plain roasted almond/cashew/peanut butter, we process it with other flavors & ingredients and dispense it into retail jars for them. In that case, they give us the nut butters at no cost and we only charge them for the additional flavors, jar, labor, etc. I would say those instances could carry over into a candle business. In any case, these would all be established businesses whose business relationship together is clearly defined up front and no confusion, shadiness, etc. 

 

You have worked very hard to perfect your craft and you shouldn't be bullied into giving away your trade secrets. Best of luck with this - I hope it works out however is best for you!

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1 hour ago, Quentin said:

I'm not so sure I agree. I've become a cynical 60 year old man and getting more cynical all the time. It just seems to me that they would have at least taken the tour of Trapp's facility if they were really interested in starting their own candle company. 

 

10 hours ago, Trappeur said:

They also have been wanting to come to my home to see how I produce my candles since we first met but that never happened.  I went to their home. I just had in the back of my mind these questions being asked were for a specific purpose

I suspect Trapps is a smart girl and was on to them pretty quick...she did not encourage them to come to come to her place although it looks like that was the plan.  

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That is definitely not right of them to do that. I am pretty new and people are already asking me to have a class and teach them. Said they don't want to sell. Just want to make for themselves so they don't have to buy from me.  Ridiculous. So here is where I have fun lol Told several negative views and shut them up. Said wax is $80-$140 a box shipped usually. Fragrances are very expensive and shipping is high unless you get a deal. Testing never ends lol at this point is when it gets shut down except for one more question lol how in the world do YOU afford it? I said I pray a lot. But how? I repeat and they are confused lol I'm not giving my secrets out lol also from great advice on this board I am renaming 95 percent of my scents. I hope it sells because peoplr are used to popular scents. I want to be different. My husband had to keep helping me name things lol most he loves but I am pretty corny lol like for Sweet Pea I am naming it Popeye's child, lol only thing I can think of. For Love Spell it is Bedazzle, , Cool Water is Waterfall. Jack Frost is Putting On the Mintz lol told you I'm weird.

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@ShelleyF Great names!  I wish I was that creative as I prefer to change the names of the oil used as well.  But then I forget to write the original fo down.  Now what oil did I use to make "Cabin in the Woods"?  lol

GoldieMN

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9 hours ago, TallTayl said:

Or.....

 

you could say to use the new fangled quantum wax, with #6 square braid wick and eBay fragrances. That’ll teach them. 

hysterical!

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1 minute ago, GoldieMN said:

@ShelleyF Great names!  I wish I was that creative as I prefer to change the names of the oil used as well.  But then I forget to write the original fo down.  Now what oil did I use to make "Cabin in the Woods"?  lol

GoldieMN

Thank you. I thought I was corny lol Be Thankful I am calling Just Desserts lol because it is all desserts. I spend a lot of time thinking of stuff lol

 

 

 

 

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I've had a few friends assume that candle making is simply---melt the wax, add the oil, pop in a wick, done.  A few of them are trying to copy our scents, jars, etc and asking us all of these questions as well.  None of them know that each candle involves months of trial and error and testing, testing, testing.  Whenever they ask me these specific questions, I tend to say--if you want to try your hand at candlemaking, there are plenty of websites that offer starter kit.  Heck, I'll even direct them here if they are serious--but I'm not planning on giving years of work away for nothing just because someone thinks this craft is easy.

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