TallTayl Posted April 11, 2019 Share Posted April 11, 2019 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? 12 5 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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