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How much to charge?


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I made two 11oz tureens with Vanilla Champagne and I inked them. I intend to give them to the owner of the gallery that carries my photography to see if she would like to carry them. In this case they have to be considered as both a candle and a work of art. I calculated all my cost and came up with $3.50. I could probably get that down below $3.00 with some effort. Now comes the hard part, I have no idea how long it will take me to make the candles or to ink the tureens.

The second problem is the unknown upfront cost. I’ll need warning labels, hang tags, and gold elastic cord. Plus I may need a presto pot and some way to hold the wick in place during cooling. Not to mention all the testing that will be required to get my wicking right. Calculating these cost depends on the volume, which I expect to be low. And then there is insurance I’ll need to get.

Lastly there is the question of why am I doing this. I want to make a profit, but I’m not in it for the money. I have two main goals. First I enjoy inking the tureens, and I want to get better at it. The second reason is I want to make high end candles. I have spent two years learning to make candles and I intend to make the best candles I am capable of making. All candles will be aged two months and supplies will be limited. Aging is probably unnecessary as most people use these candles for decoration and don’t burn them, but I’m going to do it anyway.

All this rambling made me realize I’m asking the wrong question. The better question is how much would people pay for these candles for?

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1 hour ago, MilosCandles said:

This is forever the question.  Sounds like you need to make a few more of them to see how long it takes you.  You may need to keep the 2 ideas separate rather than trying to combine them.

I’m pretty sure that if I was making an average of a case per week after a month I get could my time for inking down to five minutes; but I don’t want to do that. I want to take my time and make sure each one is unique and beautiful, I don’t think that the candles will ever sell for enough to pay me for my time. I have to factor in that part of my payment is that I get to make more candles. Another part is knowing that people are enjoying something that I made. So really what I need is to set the price so that they don’t sell too fast and they don’t sell too slow; that’s the price I’m looking for.

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I had the same attitude when I 1st started.  You are willing to sacrifice your time to just make a sale.  I tried to cater to 100% of the people.  Pick Ups, drop offs, custom items.  I look at my time MUCH differently now.  I no longer can cater to 100% of the people.  A $15 candle sale is not worth 2 hours of my time.  It is not worth 1 hour of my time.

 

Every now and then I make an exception and I find that it just bites me in the ass.  

 

Basically what I am saying is be sure to value your time and do not sell yourself short.  Time IS money.  Time spent working is time away from family and friends.

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4 hours ago, MilosCandles said:

 

Every now and then I make an exception and I find that it just bites me in the ass.  

Every single time. Amen!

 

What would you have to pay someone else to ink them?  I learned to think that way when I shattered my knee.  I could not do anything, yet orders still had to be made. What I was charging did not really cover my costs...

 

Not to mention, underpricing leaves you vulnerable to tumultuous market conditions. Fragrances, waxes and glass costs along with shipping are always going to eat your margins.  If you build in enough margin you can weather a lot of storms.

 

Looking at very simple brands, like PF candles, a 9 oz amber jar with an avery type label sells for a pretty penny. Be like PF.

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I certainly want to get paid, the thing is I'm not going to increase production to match sales. I'll make however many candles I want to and if that's too many I'll slow down. If it is too few I won't worry about it. I'll be selling them wholesale so I don't have to worry about all the messy stuff. I think I can work a deal with my retailer to adjust the price so that sales will approximately match production. I was thinking about $14.50 wholesale, that would cover my cost and give me $10 for my time. If she agrees to carry them I'll go up or down on the price depending on how they sell. Or maybe I'll get lucky and she won't want to carry them.

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Factor also For sales tax and income tax, business registration, losses, and a whole host of other things I’m forgetting at the moment.

I am abruptly reminded of all of the costs as I look at my taxes at the end of the year.The costs are always grossly higher than initially planned for.

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@Forrest, From a consumer point of view, and coming from a family of artists, you are so correct when you initially said you were basically pricing art. Price high. Sky high. Your candles are beautiful, and they are being sold in a gallery. I don't think a retail price of $30 is out of the question. Heck, depending on your area and the other pieces in the gallery, maybe $50 wouldn't be out of the question.

Absolutley, TT and Milo know their stuff and their experience speaks volumes. I say factor in everything's they have said, and then adjust up in accordance with your gallery's client demographic. That is my .02! 😉

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This is hand painted? Price higher. It’s not like you are slapping a label on.

you can market it as scented art etc and you should def create a marketing story for these.

Products sell with higher price points when you have a compelling story line. Also agreed larger candle more money.

Also. Let’s say you wanted to wholesale these. Wholesale it’s fifty per cent of retail price. So you have to cover for your original art

your time, product costs

 

 

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