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  1. 14 points
    we all get asked all the time how long new chandlers should wait before hanging out their shingle as a new business. Often heated debates ensue which may end with hurt feelings or bruised egos. Sometimes it appears established candle businesses are just protecting their turf to deter competition. Often the advice is meant to help a new business learn the ropes before making potentially devastating mistakes. As proud chandlers, we strive to uphold high standards so our potential customer base continues to trust our hand made wares. There’s nothing like bad word of mouth to spook customers back to traditional retail. We have all made mistakes along the way. Watching someone follow the same potholed path is painful. Everyone means well. If you are thinking of starting a candle business, ask yourself a few questions to see how far you realistically need to go before you’re really ready. how do your candles compare to the competition? We all like to think we make candles that are “better” than uber popular XYZ brand, but how do we truly measure up? How do our candles stand out in a sea of other people’s wares who hope to sell the same thing? It’s no secret that many of us have tweaked and tweaked and tweaked some more since we started. When I look back to the early candles I often shake my head. If I knew then what I know now, oh boy. Can you quickly and safely reforumlate with supply changes? Not long ago the soy world was turned upside down. Many soy makers dropped out of the market simply because it seemed impossible to make a nice, safe candle with soy waxes that no longer worked. Many of us wax hopped, and hopped again until we found something that was ok. All of that time and testing cost real money, not just to make testers, but in lost sales. When you make a living from candles, that disruption could have been bankrupting. Can you easily identify and troubleshoot when something is wrong, and fix it? How many times have you discovered your wax suddenly develops cavities or sink holes as it cools? Or develops cracks as it cures? Or the wax case is super dry? Or just plain burns different from the last batch of wax? What if your new wicks don’t burn the same as those from another supplier? The more experience you have, the easier it will be to identify potentially expensive problems and fix them without breaking a sweat. How does your product age? Vegetable waxes are not stable forever. Most veg waxes are just hydrogenated vegetable oil like what you find in your pantry. It has a shelf life like shortening. How will a candle you make today look, smell and burn in a year? Paraffin is inert, but not necessarily perfect, especially with some additives. Does temperature and humidity change the candle. Some soy waxes “grow” with time. Some dry out. How does the wicking need change as the candle cures? How good are you at business? Does it even interest you? If you dislike math, well, I hate to break it to you, but you’ll need to like it a bit more. In order to become profitable you’ll need to calculate your total costs, taxes, licenses, insurance, booth rental fees, etc. and price accordingly so you don’t end up with moths in your wallet. Have a goal and then you can plan to get there. Do you have the guts to price your product for success? The one mistake we all make is to underprice. If we don’t factor in enough profit our cash flow will suffer. Cash flow is vital to business stability. Figure out what you need to make in a year to cover your costs, then work backward to calculate how many candles you will need to sell to cover that nut. For sake of easy math, if my insurance, business fees for my state, web site, labels, simple equipment, etc. in my first year was $3,000 I will need to sell how many candles to break even? Let’s say my candles sell for $10, with a cost of goods sold of $3 per candle. I need to sell 3,000 / $7 or 429 candles before I break even, assuming everything goes right. To make $1000 profit to pay myself, I need to sell another 143. At that profit, what am I making per hour? Would you like to learn more about calculating your cost of goods sold in a future article? Or about streamlining operations to make your valuable time earn more?
  2. 9 points
    Apparently I'm in a sprinkles mood today. They both smell so good...
  3. 8 points
    Crap happens in 3's. Your done now.. Everything will be back to normal.
  4. 8 points
    I am not reading this post, I already have too many FOs. Just think of me as the see no evil monkey🙈
  5. 8 points
    I just made the switch to paperboard tubes lip balm instead of plastic!!!!!!
  6. 7 points
    Well delivered today another surprise Easter collection to a little country store account I have a couple miles from my hose and they loved them. As I was standing there a customer had 3 candles in her arms that she was buying. When she got to the front desk/checkout she saw the Easter collection that was just placed on the counter and bought 2 of them too..I feel so good to say that this customer said she comes to Georgia a few times a year and rents a cabin and always buys my candles as she said they burn so beautiful and she brings them back to her home in California. So she bought 5 candles and was thrilled. Here are pictures of this Easter collection. Had I thought quick enough I should have bought all the colored lids from Fillmore but I forgot to order them and had to do something else. The black lids which I use all the time and of which I have plenty of stock, well the black i didn't care for on these spring candles so I wound up using the 2 piece canning jar lids that come with the candles. They are the gold. So the jars are done with the gold lids and I put a gold stretch bow around the neck of the jars. Not bad looking....not my real choice but they are done and delivered. I did 4 scents: 1 in my blend of Pineapple Cilantro and marshmallow, another scent in Orange Cranberry Crumble, another scent in Monkey Farts and another one in Banana Nut Bread. Thanks for looking......................Trappeur THIS IS WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE THE CANDLES IN WITH THE COLORED LIDS BUT I FORGOT TO ORDER.. I BROUGHT THEM IN A BASKET FOR PRESENTATION BUT WOUND UP LEAVING THE BASKET THERE.
  7. 7 points
    I thought I would share pictures of my Easter labels for my apple orchard account. Every year I make up a small limited collection of Easter candles for the displays that they make up in the orchard store. I use the pint canning jar for this account with yellow and green lids from Fillmore. So this small collection I did I did in assorted labels as shown. They really work real nice together. Thanks for looking! Trappeur This yellow label I'm just doing in Apple Cider Donut. For this pink label I did a blend of Lilac from Flaming and Vanilla Voodoo from Candle Cocoon. For this green label I did in Lemon Cheesecake and Coconut Caramel from Flaming. Boy if you haven't tried this Coconut Caramel, you need to! It's awesome! For this green label I did in Pineapple Marshmallow Peeps. Its a blend of Pineapple Cilantro from Flaming and one of my Marshmallows For this label I did 1 scent in Fresh Rain from Fillmore and then another scent called Daffodil which is a blend I do using Daffodil from Flaming and Fresh Cut Grass from Flaming. Is a great combo blend!
  8. 7 points
    First - Butterfly Kisses - scented with blend of green apple essence, bontanical orchard & nectar, pink lilac & willow, and a touch of peppermint. Second - Honey, I'm Home - scented with a blend of wild mountain honey, Vermont honey apple, and a touch of french vanilla to mellow it out. Third - no name yet - scented with a blend pink lemonade, sea island grapefruit and pink sugar. the base is a pink with a red swirl, but I saved out too much red for the topping so the top is almost all red - the red is the true red set from Mad Micas. Every time I use it I'm impressed...
  9. 7 points
    Here’s a short video of how I replace a wick assembly in a tin during burn testing. The advantage of this method over swapping untabbed wick is the stability the tab provides all the way to the end of the burn. Untabbed wicks tend to lean pretty early in a test candle, which forces flame far out of center. A leaning wick makes for an inaccurate wick test.
  10. 7 points
    Hi Moonstar, Well, it sure is an on going battle and I have good days and bad, but I'm still alive and am determined I'm going to beat this. I'm so happy to have my happy pills. Trappeur PS: Thanks for asking.
  11. 7 points
    If I were them I'd rebrand as "Peak Chaos" and just use the drama as a marketing angle. "We may or may not be here tomorrow- Order now! Use promo code #impermanence" at checkout for free freight"
  12. 7 points
  13. 6 points
    I've continued to work on my sculpting and original candle making, and my latest piece here is a 2.39 ounce all natural beeswax Poison Apple? Just over 2.5" tall to the top of the stem, testing has been in the 10 hours range. After some more testing is complete I intend to add these to my etsy shop, along with a couple of my older original beeswax candles and various artworks.
  14. 6 points
    @Forrest and @bfroberts sing along with me... B.I.N.G.O. BINGO was his name-o.
  15. 6 points
    Let’s talk a second about Staying on Brand. When we first start out how many of us have it all figured out? Definitely not raising my hand on this one! I started with soap. Just soap. And a nice workshop full of odd sized wood with which I made molds. Lots and lots of molds. My first outing my soap was naked in displays. I chose to package and add a label with ingredients and scent at point of sale. Well that didn’t go so well. With any more than one person in line there was a bottle neck. As as I tried to figure out what packaging would work I noticed something. If I threw my soap on a table with soap from every other seller at that market I would not be able to pick mine out of the pile easily. If I couldn’t then how on earth would my customers? Likewise when having to select packaging for random sized soap things got expensive quick. And every mold used a different amount of soaping oil, fragrance, etc. shipping to the poor suckers who took a chance on me early on was chilling too since no two bars were quite the same dimensions. Then it hit hit me hard: Standardize! Standardize dimensions, swirls, decorations, etc. and choose those dimensions based on how many I needed to fit on market displays to sell the most along with how many could fit into the most flexible mailers so customers would easily predict their order size and shipping cost. Bingo! This notion carried on to candles. Having too many variations of size and shape created a testing and manufacturing nightmare. Too many sizes of the same scent took a load of shelf space and invariably someone wanted another size. When I cut down I sold MORE! Glorious sales and more profit from not having so many things to choose from. today, my customers can spot an imposter from across the way and remain very loyal, for which I am eternally grateful. How about you? Can your customers easily identify your items in a sea of others available?
  16. 6 points
    Headed out the door to deliver candles as a surprise to the owner of the shop in town. I took a few pictures. A couple inside and then ran outside and stuck them in my flowers I have to plant. I really like how they came out with the silver zinc lid. I'll be wholesaling these to her for either 9.00 or 9.50 a jar. I'll think about it on my drive into town. I set them up in a basket of which I have burlap and lace in it to hold the candles with a glitzy floral/vine to give the whole look a somewhat springy look. Trappeur
  17. 6 points
    Another caution. If she is that allergic to soy, how would you partition your soy production from other waxes? Does she need completely separate equipment (melters, pour pots, stirring sticks, etc.)? A wise woman taught me early on not to cater to the fringes,
  18. 6 points
    My new western store account candle.
  19. 6 points
    Holy smokes, figuring out etsy fees is like some magical black hole. I knew things went up, but I misread by how much. the current fee structure is: 5% of total purchase including shipping 3% + .25 if you use etsy to pay. (This is similar to paypL or credit card transaction fees) So a little exercise... someone ordered a single item priced at $3.55 from my shop. Here’s a breakdown of the transaction. It takes 4 line items for them to calculate their cut. item price: 3.55 shipping: 3.78 total transaction: $7.33 1) the listing fee. $.20 2) payment processing transaction for the sale: $.48. this is the financial transaction of 3% + $.25. Should be $.47. (I read something about their skimming of creative rounding to the tune of millions recently.) 3) “transaction” fee of $.18 on the sale this is 5% 4) “transaction” fee on shipping: $.19 this is also 5% total fees: $1.05 COGS: .50 shipping packaging, etc. $.40 total costs $1.95 profit: $1.60 After I pay myself for the time to process there’s no profit. Transactions take a certain amount of time to complete. From printing the order, picking and packaging it’s easily 10-15 minutes. If something needs to be made to order, that figure climbs fast. Let’s just be generous and say it took me 10 minutes total. I will pay myself $15 per hour, so $.25 per minute, x 10= 2.50 in order processing time. This equals a loss. Let’s take a $10 candle item that fits under first class limits in the US item price: 10 shipping: $4.55 total transaction: $14.55 1) the listing fee. $.20 2) payment processing transaction for the sale: $.69. This is the financial transaction of 3% + $.25. 3) “transaction” fee of $.50 on the sale - this is 5% 4) “transaction” fee on shipping: $.23 this is also 5% total fees: $1.62 COGS: $3 generous estimate for a cheap jar, wax, FO, label, wick. shipping packaging, etc. $1.00 total costs $5.62 profit: $4.38 the same 10 minutes worth of labor adds $2.50, so profit drops to $1.88. Yikes. A business needs cash flow to survive. I still will need to pay fixed expenses like insurance, along with transactional sales & use taxes and income tax. Without extreme volume sales and essentially automatic robotic order processing there’s no way a small business can be viable using the typical pricing model of 3x cost to price for retail and 2x for wholesale.
  20. 6 points
    This irritates the dickens out of me too. A ceramic supply company is the best price per item, but charges outrageously high freight (priced at retail UPS ublished rates). They then ship in regional rate boxes or envelopes. A recent order charged me $24 in shipping for a couple of lbs of stuff. Showed up in a $7 mailer. Will never use them again no matter what.
  21. 6 points
    3 full years of shows and I am still evolving. Not as much as I did in the past, it is slowing down some as I have figured many things out. BUT always exploring slightly. The biggest thing I changed last year was changing my name from Milo's Candles (Milo was our dog) to 716 Candle Co. (716 is the area code of Buffalo, NY) Which made me update the entire Branding. It was an amazing exercise that really made me rethink of everything. When I do something I like to think I am not trying to make this for 1, but rather 1000. Meaning how easily can I scale what I am doing, with out increasing my labor costs too much. I hope the time and cost of making 1 vs 10 vs 100 is no proportional equal. Meaning If 1 takes me 1 minute, I hope 10 takes my 7 minutes and 100 takes me 50 minutes. Like @TallTaylI use to have 3 different sized tins of my candles I would take to shows. (Small, Medium, and Large) I wanted to try and accommodate EVERYONE. Well smalls quickly went away. Then I realized no one was really buying larges. So I started to bring double/triple the Medium size, and then ran a promotion when you buy 3. I started selling WAY more all of a sudden. I just got through my 4th xmas and I finally feel like I have things somewhat in order. I am not content, but feel good. I use to do 40+ shows a year, and I think this year I will do about 15-20. AND probably make about the same amount of money and profit as when I was doing 40. Dropped a few shows from last year, trying some new ones this year. I do like to look back at some of my early pictures and ways I was doing stuff. Makes me laugh. And I hope in another 3-4 years I look at at how I am doing things now and laugh again. I think the biggest single piece of advice is to never be content. Always look and try to improve. Whether it is with your process or your product.
  22. 6 points
    I might do it for like $100 a slice LOL. Looks like a butt load of work.
  23. 6 points
    My personal pet peeve, fine, ONE of my pet peeves is when people who just joined a forum and start asking what our favorite, best, cheapest, etc. source for so and so is. A**HOLE, at least contribute SOMETHING first. Grease the wheel SOME. oy.
  24. 6 points
    I started to ignore them online a good while ago and now in person if someone asks me rude questions like where do you get so and so I say something like "I have various sources for all my ingredients." if they persist I say "I grind the bones and under moonlight I pray to the Goddesses for good customers."
  25. 6 points
    Unless you’re in the business of selling necessities, you undoubtedly rely on your buyers’ emotions to keep your doors open. A follow up to finding your ideal customer (https://www.craftserver.com/topic/114149-who-is-your-ideal-customer/) is how to make that ideal customer feel fabulous so they absolutely HAVE to buy your products. When a product strikes that emotional cord, your relatioship with the customer changes in your favor. Delighted customers stop looking at the price tag so closely, allowing you to increase your margins which increases your business’ financial health. Cash flow is king! One type of customer feels fabulous buying something at a high end department store. Price tag does not matter since the product is worth it to them emotionally. Take a look at Diptyque candles for a sec. https://www.diptyqueparis.com/collection34/index/home/ they describe their scents as legendary. Who doesn’t want to be legendary? the average 7-8 oz candles start at retail prices of $80. Pretty jars. Juicy descriptions. Or closer to home, Jo Malone. Their basic jars start in the $70 range. https://www.jomalone.com/products/3560/for-the-home/home-candles Or Tom Ford. https://www.tomford.com/private-blend-oud-wood-candle/T55J.html?cgid=3-555-626&dwvar_T55J_color=OC#start=3 square jars that start at near$100 Not quite your cuppa? Then how about Capri blue? https://www.capri-blue.com/products/candles/volcano-blue-signature-jar/ $30 retail is slightly higher price point than many here are comfortable with, but means a simpler, well paved road into profitable wholesale that actually makes the transaction worth while. people covet those products, while often you and I get stuck feeling worried about asking a dollar or two more for a “fancy” jar. Just thinking out loud, how nice would it be to sell one candle for $100 versus 10+ for the same money? What ever would we do with all that extra TIME (and money)?
  26. 6 points
    I thought it would be interesting in knowing how long it took you to get started in business selling candles or soap/bath items. I've posted a few questions here pertaining to this subject. 1. How long did it take you after realizing you wanted to make a business out of it to actually sell wholesale or retail? Was it a good choice for you? 2. You spend lots of dollars? 3. Do you sell wholesale? 4. How do you get your business meaning how do you secure accounts? 5. Is this a full time job or do it for the fun.? Do you have a job besides this? 6. Do you do craft shows? 7. Do you sell on Etsy or Amazon? 8. Do you have employees? 9. Do you have a storefront? 10. Do you print your own labels? 11. Where do you create your products ....in the kitchen or have a certain area area in your home or separate workshop? 12. What advice can you give to someone who wants to make a business out of this? Do you do all your own testings and what is the projected time you could tell someone they could be ready to sell? Can a person really know all about this subject and expect to start up in a month or 2? What are the pros and cons? Trappeur
  27. 6 points
    The worst thing about trying other waxes is you learn something. The best thing is you learn something.
  28. 6 points
    So after a 15 year hiatus, I wanted nothing more than to start up again. Well, my best advice is, don't quit your day job. After seeing 8 clients today (the snow yesterday forced everyone into wanting a session today). Trouble is, I ran into an old friend last week (The American Soy Guy) who owns a florist business who said, "I'm having a Valentine's Day gig - bring your stuff". Okay, so I'm in pretty good shape with 25 well-tested fragrances so I"ll bite. And also, he has his eye on a new building where there would be room for my retail rise from the ashes. Sweet. Do I have Valentine stuff ready to roll? Not really, but I can gimp. My name to fame which I have yet to post pics is that I use old fruit crate labels and unlicensed vintage stuff for my labels instead of my logo. That's what set me apart from the rest eons ago. I never liked "Yankee" screaming in my kitchen so I made or free-licensed awesome fruit or laxative labels ("Fig" the natural laxative!) So I use Word to lay out my designs, usually 12 per page. Go to the printer. They're awesome. "Yeah, I remember you." Cool. Print these up in color. I got the 2 year-old grandson with me which is more information than I can reasonably print here. Pour like crazy all last weekend. 120 jars of varying sizes because that's what the florist friend is looking for. Unfortunately, not all 25 scents are tested in all sizes, so the gimp continues. Enter stage left my new-found desire for eco-friendly lids. The kraft paper lids look awesome but only with kraft labels. Trouble is, I printed some on my own printer and the Professional Printer's kraft paper doesn't match. The kraft paper lids now look like Sunshine. The grandson is left to watch Netflix cartoons and eat grapes out of the refrigerator Saturday morning. All's well. More clients with serious demands on Monday. I'm pouring in between sessions out in the "candle shed" - a 20x20 that requires a gas mask. It leaves red marks on my face and my clients ask if I've been crying. Yes, sort of, but it's because I care. Fast forward to tonight at 10:30. Last client at 7:00. Topping off the last three fragrances. Cleaning another 100 jars like crazy and applying safety stickers. At 10:30 I realize I can't find the Victorian Valentine's day vintage post card labels I THOUGHT the printer had printed last week. Can't find the thumb drive I gave to the printer. Searching frantically through the car and all coat pockets. Now also looking for cigarettes. The ones I quit 10 months ago. I have no Valentine's labels for my very demanding, very gay, extremely creative friend who I promised a great mini candle-show. I also have secured two other small wholesale accounts I sold to years ago who I thought I could peddle new designs to tomorrow over coffee in the morning. This is not going to happen even though I rescheduled 4 difficult clients. Printed out the Valentine's day labels in black and white, cut them out, and taped them to the tops of the jars which I"ve packed up so when I get the color labels printed, I will know which fragrance gets which label. Also included are beautiful displays of fake red roses, silver dishes, some fancy potpourri . . . you get the picture. My plan is to hit the printer's as early as possible, beg and plead to get the color Valentine labels printed, cut out and applied to the candles, and set up my display at my florist friend's place, drive back to my house, see three clients, drive back to the florist's, see how the Valentine's day gig is going (a local winery who has advertised in both newspaper and radio will be there), and reschedule the other two wholesale account meetings. A hot mess I could not have orchestrated better myself. Hoping you all have a better day pending.
  29. 5 points
    For those of you that take Square or have Square websites read this: I just happened to open up my spam file of my biz email account and found 2 emails from 'Square' stating they refunded a customer on 2 seperate dates. I ran my cursor over the sender to see what the addy was for the email and it wasn't from Square. I also double checked my Square dashboard for those dates to see if there are any activity. None. So I was sure they were scammers out to entice me to open up the emails. If you get any of these check your Square dashboard. If you know you have not had any refunds then delete the fake emails. Do not open them up. Don't know if they contain a virus or are simply trying to get information but I didn't want to find out the hard way. So just a heads up. Anytime an email looks suspicious to you double check with the company first. '
  30. 5 points
    You could have a removable hang tag around the container. This could have your fragrance name and your messages to the customer as well. Then you could include a box or not depending on how much you want to spend on packaging. The hang tag is an affordable alternative that could add just the right look to your product.
  31. 5 points
    It is not easy. You will never have it figured out. When I started I said I am only making candles in glass beer bottles. I went to a gift shop and she asked. Can you do tins? Sure I said, and she kept buying more. Then i discovered how to use beer cans. But they were so boring. can't see the light through the can, I was not interested, until people kept asking for them. Now half if not more is in beer cans. Scents get added and removed as they sell and don't sell. Never wanted to do Melts, now I do. Interact with people at shows, listen to what they ask for. Listen to what they like and want. You will find things that sell and things people want. Need to accommodate. Husband is right to a degree, make some stuff and go from there. See what others are doing at the shows that are similar to you. See what their pricing is, look at how they display. Look at other displays and see what they sell, how they sell and display. Some people stand in front some people stand behind. Make some money at the shows and re-invest.
  32. 5 points
    True. I didn't think of that. I feel better already...LOL
  33. 5 points
    I'm trying to find someone that can replicate this bakery roll into an identical soap product. (outside sprinkles not necessary) Could be a wholesale venture!
  34. 5 points
    I feel we may have hyjacked the original post by ,talltayl, which I thought was excellent but here goes! I appreciate your views. Everyone has their own opinion and ways of doing things for sure and that makes it interesting. It’s true we can’t assume everyone is working as hard as we do. But really that does not matter cause their lack of work does not keep me from working hard. If I have a talent and worked hard to get there I’d rather share it. I’m not afraid of someone stealing or copying my methods. I look at it like this, two people make a cake using the same recipe, both cakes turn out completely differently. Im just not guarded I guess. I personally gain more when I give. I do believe it’s possible for someone to sell after a few short months, heck we all learn differently, how can you be sure that person did not do the work? I wish I was that person, but I love the process and journey too much and I love knowledge more! There are some amazing people here loads of wisdom, generous. At the same time I’ve also noticed a level of anger, and candle snobbery in this forum that I never anticipated, why, I just don’t get it. In the end, maybe forums are not my cup of tea! peace🌸
  35. 5 points
    I used to be so helpful on the forums... Then, one day I realized that some folks just did not want to do their homework at all . I think they love the idea of quitting their job to stay home and make candles / BB products and get rich, if only it was that easy right ? It just baffles my mind 😖
  36. 5 points
    Here’s another from a different angle in a jar.
  37. 5 points
    I am having such good luck with my odor eliminator candles with securing new accounts as people are loving them. Just this past week 1 account was a groomer and 1 a veterinarian and now another veterinarian. I'm going to be busy busy busy as spring approaches. One thing that these accounts love besides doing all private labels is designing an easel plaque that they sit right besides the new products as I bring them in. I don't charge the accounts for this. It is just something that I have made for them as a thankyou and they are loving it. Here are 2 pictures of 2 different accounts and what they they look like. I have them made up in a 8x10 size. The easel/plaque is what their labels look like on the candles. I think it's a great way to introduce a new product into the clinics/groomers. Thanks for looking. Trappeur.....
  38. 5 points
    I call my blends luxury or premier wax.I agree less is more and I love the Soy-Loco idea! That was funny.
  39. 5 points
    They have the best Classic Lavender and Oatmeal, Milk & Honey FOs ever. I have never found any that compare and I have tried a lot. They do have some great FOs. They were originally Tony's/Southern Garden Scents and are now Pure Fragrance Oils. Since they are on the west coast now I rarely order from them. I still order their Fresh Waterfall as it is one of the best clean water scents I have ever found and is a component for a water scent blend I make. Another one I still buy is their Burberry for Men. I love this scent and use it in a men's soap I make. Their Patchouli Passion is good also. Its a Moonworks original. They also carry several other Moonworks FOs that are really good. I would not hesitate to try out any of their oils. I have always been curious about their Green Cactus scent but never got around to trying it. Always on the lookout for a fresh clean spa green scent that is unique and that may fit the bill.
  40. 5 points
    The only way to make money at events like this is to be able to attract customers, and pump them through quickly. Money on small items is made by selling volume - lots and lots and lots of volume. Height, color and being blatantly obvious are the three biggest keys. A low table sign will not be seen in crowded venues-people are in the way. People are always in The way of tables. Anything below waist height is totally invisible. Raise tables using pvc pipe or something to make them feel less cafeteria or dinner table and more “look at this and buy me now”. When setting up look objectively from different points of entry. Can you see your space? Is it inviting? Does it draw you in like a tractor beam? All craft fair spaces tend to look the same in a crowd. What makes yours different enough to get attention? When you visit a craft show, which other merchants seem to always have a crowd and why? The psychological feeling of “looking down” onto products on a table play a big part too. Try to figure out how to add significant height to the displays to really be in their faces. People love to buy “top shelf” stuff. They also like the iKea and Lush displays that look abundant. As you grow, think about building custom displays and ditching flat tables. Bakers racks are a good start for height and added focal interest.
  41. 5 points
    I had a plan, it seemed simple enough. I was going to pick a few FOs, maybe three fall/Christmas FOs and four other FOs. I would get my wicking right on those and then make enough to meet my needs for a year and put them aside to cure for 4-10 months. Well I just finished wick testing six candles and I have 13 more that will be ready for testing on Saturday. It will take two weeks to test those and by then the rewicked candles from the first batch will be ready. Then there is the bag of unopened sample size FO that cries out to me every time I open the cabinet to get the wax out. They are begging to be put into wax, and I know they will be the best FOs ever if I will just give them a chance. And what about the stacks of half burned tins that have been sitting for so long, getting stronger every day, will they ever get their chance? How can they when I’m always burning test candles? Did I mention I have a burn test this weekend to collect data on the difference between 6006 and 4630? Oh and I’m going to have to retest a couple of LX wicks because my test data on them is anomalous. Throw in the irregular batch of 6006 that I received and I am clearly becoming a candidate for spontaneous human combustion.
  42. 5 points
    1. How long did it take you after realizing you wanted to make a business out of it to actually sell wholesale or retail? For candles about 3 years from making/testing to selling. For soaps, about 18 months - probably could have done so much earlier with the soaps as soapmaking was a much easier learning curve for me, but I kept thinking I was missing something because candles took so long for me to master. Was it a good choice for you? Yes, very much so 2. You spend lots of dollars? Yes, hundreds if not thousands of start up costs 3. Do you sell wholesale? I used to have several wholesale accounts, but it just became such a hassle with my customers trying to always circumvent the T&C's of the contract, or wanting to change things when contracts came up for renegotiation that I quit wholesaling and have been much happier since. 4. How do you get your business meaning how do you secure accounts? - n/a 5. Is this a full time job or do it for the fun.? Do you have a job besides this? This is very much a business for me, and yes I also do it for fun, and I also work a full time job outside of my craft business 6. Do you do craft shows? Yes 7. Do you sell on Etsy or Amazon? no 8. Do you have employees? Not paid employees, but my family helps out much more than any paid employee ever could 9. Do you have a storefront? No, I have a website, and social media 10. Do you print your own labels? half/half. Some I print at home some I have outsourced by a print shop 11. Where do you create your products ....in the kitchen or have a certain area area in your home or separate workshop? For legal purposes I have a separate area in my home that gets inspected anytime the city/county/state feels necessary 12. What advice can you give to someone who wants to make a business out of this? Do your research and learn as much as you can about the craft you are creating. Do you do all your own testings and what is the projected time you could tell someone they could be ready to sell? This is too subjective for an easy answer Can a person really know all about this subject and expect to start up in a month or 2? In my opinion, no. Not in a month. Maybe 6-8 months, or longer, everyone learns at different rates, but I have been doing this for 20+ years, and I still don't know EVERYTHING there is to know about this subject What are the pros and cons? Another question that is too subjective for a quick/easy answer.
  43. 5 points
    1. I started out in my mom's booth at an indoor flea market. I had been making candles for years as a hobby, so it made sense to get serious when I went on maternity leave and needed to supplement my income. Within the first 2 years I was approached for wholesale and consignment, 2 of the 3 customers I'm still with currently. The 3rd lady was a bit shifty, so I got out before things got worse. 2. My initial startup was $200 back in '96 ... An acquaintance had a soapmaking business, sometimes dabbling in candles . She decided not to pursue and offered everything to me for a song. 3. Yes 4. Word of mouth 5. Full time 6. I do fall / Christmas festivals 7. I had an Etsy shop for a minute, just didn't have the time to focus on it. I'm currently looking into getting a website and only doing 3 shows per year...I'm getting older & tired 8. I'm a one woman show most of the time, occasionally my daughters & hubby helps out with wicking , heavy lifting and show setups..again,getting older. 9. I did for a year w/ my mother-in-law. It was in our local Arts District...unfortunately, there wasn't enough foot traffic to keep us going so I came back home. 10. I do all of my own printing. Who knew that my graphic arts background would come in handy ? 11. I started in the kitchen & dining area, now I rule the basement of our home...still not enough room during busy season , but I make it work. 12. My advice- Ask yourself..."Am I disciplined enough to be my own boss ?", " Can I handle the demands of this business ?", " How will this affect my family's current lifestyle ?" Do as much research as possible and then do some more. Realize that this is a HUGE investment of time, hard work and money, NOT a get rich overnight job like the internet portrays at times. 13. I do a 3-step testing method, meaning that I have a list of things that I look for during the process. I then pass that particular candle on to each of my daughters with the list to have them do their own seperate tests,we compare notes at the end. I wouldn't suggest anyone start selling in under a year or two without any experience, it's too risky. There's way too much to learn and too much bad information on the internet to sort through. I personally did all of my research before the computer age...by hands on training and hitting the books.
  44. 5 points
    I have bought 63 fragrance oils from NG through the years, but have never tried Lemon Poppyseed. I have had good success with most of their oils in soy 444. If you like their Lemon Poppyseed, I say stick with it. But if you really want to try Fragrance Buddy's Lemon Pound cake, wait until they have a 20-25% off sale. The next one is probably Memorial day.I think they have at least 3 sales a year, plus free shipping over $100 and that's before the discount is applied. FB has the best sales of any supplier in my book. Their Spiced Apples & Peaches is a good bakery scent too and a popular fragrance with my customers. Pumpkin Cupcake is a good pumpkin and $10 a pound right now. I bought 4 bottle of it last time it was that price.
  45. 4 points
    Consistency, shelf stability and overall performance top the list IMO.
  46. 4 points
    Has this happened to you too? Your hobby CAN remain a fun thing to do. Not everything needs to become a business or hustle. https://www.manrepeller.com/2019/02/trap-of-turning-hobbies-into-hustles.html?fbclid=IwAR0YLyw639q8M2hfoHfu57B5GwneZPaQA0wKj2DN5cnrgRT_4OLDsRzIXIk#
  47. 4 points
    Just a heads up she could be fishing - people will do this to try and find out what your using as close as they can to try and replicate your product not saying she is but be careful what info you give her - if she is that sensitive to soy and “other” additives seems to me she would just play it safe and not burn candles 🤷‍♀️ Its totally up to you if you want to learn a new wax and cater to her, I would run for the hills on this one myself - but maybe unscented paraffin or beeswax would be her alternative - fragrances have so many different chemicals and components I would tend to not want to risk her having a “reaction” and coming back in you ... and most coconut have soy blended in so it would have to be a straight coco candle if your wanting to go down that road
  48. 4 points
    More often than not, when I price out an item, I have doubts as to whether anyone would pay that price for my product. I can't figure out where that feeling comes from, but it shadows me wherever I go. I don't know how most of you price your goods, but I'm using the old "keystone" system which I think may be an outdated model in the age of e-commerce. Figuring the cost, doubling it for wholesale, then doubling that for retail doesn't seem to make sense anymore. Do any of you have any thoughts on this that you would be willing to share? I'm the manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer. It seems to me that keystone pricing is just not the smart way to go. At first glance, it appears that I'm going to make a huge markup! Woo Hoo, I'm rich! In reality, I think I'm pricing myself out of the market.
  49. 4 points
    Someone was kind enough to send me a bit of the new Ultra Wax coconut to play with. Made a quick 9oz jar with a scent I am super familiar with and a drop of color. Well, take a look. Poured wickless to start to save a bit of headache. I can stick a tabbed assembly in later. The top sank down, so I heat gunned smooth. This is always the first test with a new wax: how well does it handle the heat gun? It’s inevitable a heat gun will be used at some point. Many waxes fail miserably here. This one is not super heat gun friendly. The frosting has already begun an hour after the pour. But that hat is not the exciting part. Look at the frost color and pattern: This looks identical to coconut 92 with 10% USA. Identical. It’s why I dumped USA in coconut waxes. I already know this will burn poorly. That much USA requires a giant wick and even then hot throw is lousy at best. Even the big guys are having trouble formulating a good, stable coconut wax. It’s not super easy to accomplish. Soldier on folks.
  50. 4 points
    Am I the only person here that has used multiple FOs that are difficult to mix and absolutely positively require adding at a high temp? I cannot believe I am the only person to ever encounter this phenom. All this recent business about adding FO at low temp is lunacy to me.
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