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Advice for someone new to making candles?


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1 hour ago, mralmostco said:

Is there anything that you wish someone would have told you when you started making candles that you had to learn along the way?

 

Best piece of advice?

Pick one wax, one container, no color and master that before introducing new variables. I would have saved myself thousands of hours and $

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I am assuming your question is for someone who wants to get into candle business. 

 

Everyone should treat candle business like starting any other business.  We all need experience to become any business owner unless you have capital to hire the best in the industry who you can trust.  I am thinking at least minimum of 2 years experience.  That is if a person is one of the fast learner and learning from the best teacher.  One of the good thing about candle business is that it does not take a lot of investment capital to get into this business, but that does not mean that it is going to be easy.  It takes a lot time to learn about candle making and be experienced, doing marketing research, knowing regulations, come up with business plan & marketing plans, finding the best ingredients, setting up supply chains, etc.  Developing a good candle is not easy, but that is why it is so rewarding once you figure out how to make good candles and figure out how and where to sell your candles.

 

Advice I want to make to new candle makers, who wants to get into this business, would be to have patience, have a strong will to learn everything about candle making, and be ready to spent tons of hours for candle developing.  I see a lot of beginner saying that they have tried everything but nothing is working.  But if someone had tried everything, then there should be several that must have worked.  Real truth is that they only have tried little but think they have tried everything due to not knowing anything about candle making.  There could be millions of different combinations that can be made with all the different ingredients for scented container candle making.  Out of those millions of combinations, only little of those combinations would be good candles recipes.  Even if a person is using only one wax, there could be several hundreds if not thousands of different combination of candles that can be made, and only few will work.

 

Candle business is really great venture to start as part time business, but jumping into full time without any experience would be a really bad idea.

*You can buy a lot of almost brand new candle making equipment at discounted price because a lot of candle makers are shutting down within 6 months.

 

Be prepared to burn lots of candles including some famous name brand candles!  Probably less than 3% of candle makers will survive and come out on top.  Be the one that come out on top!

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1. consider supply chain issues

- do you have a local candle supply store? not crafts store- not a hobby lobby wax- but a real candle store. what about one within a 2-3h drive? depending on the wax available, it may be smart to stick with the offerings they have at least while you get comfortable following everyone's steps already listed above so you're not hemorrhaging money on shipping costs

- chasing exclusive blends/waxes availability has only worsened in the past few months - coconut, apricot, 'virgin' blends are selling out within 5 minutes of being posted and the freight cost for these and certain vessels, including just plain glass straight sided jars (clear and amber) are pushing everyone's patience. all over facebook groups people have tested "extensively" with these proprietary blends and now can't launch their shop because there's literally no wax or vessels for them to buy to fill orders. if you're new, i would suggest starting out with basic items you can get as locally as possible - yes, this could mean simple jelly jars until you master the wax and how it likes to be wicked. then move onto more complex multi-wick or different sized vessels. 

 

2. consistent testing

- as those above stated, pick one wax, one vessel and test it without any additives (color, dye, vybar, stearic, beeswax, SCENT, anything) using recommended wick guides as a starting point. 

- follow cure advice for your wax. if you are tempted to ask random people online if cure times matter, please do a test yourself with your own scents - another person's advice may have been tailored for their vessel, wick size, FO choice, or additives and serve to only confuse you. 

- pour half-full wickless tester jars, skewer and test. saves wax and lets you know how the convection will affect flame activity further down in the glass. 

- avoid the temptation to get a full melt pool within a few hours/however many inches your diameter is. it's not going to be good for the lower part of the jar/tin. there's still a ton of misinformation thrown around about this. 

- follow wax manufacturer guidelines for heating temp, temp to add FO (ignore flashpoint advice - people are misinformed), and pouring temp. some of my best candles ever were those i poured when i had just ordered supplies and followed what candlescience said to do. it was later when i was going through all the well-meaning advice on FB groups that i got really confused with low-temp methods, burning too soon without a cure, etc.  

 

- avoid tapered containers. it is not worth the wick headache in the beginning and i would consider these advanced. 

 

3. limit your fragrance oil selections

- choose highly rated, very reliable FOs to start with. whatever the top sellers are on the standard websites -- go with a 4oz bottle of those to get started. avoid the temptation to get a zillion 1oz samples of FOs because they will all wick differently and this is not conducive to establishing your baselines. a 1oz bottle won't be enough to test with - only get them as a reward for completing your testing with a standard scent that you may not love, but others do, and now you know what your well-wicked candle can do. then experiment with your other scents! 

 

4. wax blends

-if you don't want to stick with a standard 464 or 444 or coconut 83, consider blending your own but beware that including any of those standard blends -and more- can be tricky as everyone can attest that batch lots change slightly. so your formula of 25% 464 and 75% coco83 may work perfectly for those specific batches you used but each batch should be tested as you get them. I would, personally, advise against blending anything unless you're using the most 'pure' form of the wax, whether it be no-additive soy, coconut 1, refined beeswax (still unreliable but more predictable than most) and go from there. 

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There's a ton of great advice here already. Good stuff.

 

If you're into crafts and things like that then making candles can be fun with other people, nothing stressful, learn some stuff along the way, have a good time with friends and family.

 

But then you have the other side, if you're thinking of doing it as a business then you're entering a lion's den bigger than you could ever imagine. Of course, everyone's situation is different, if you really believe there is a market for what you want to offer and want to put your sanity on the line and spend a lot of time and money testing then by all means go for it. 

 

I despise making candles but I have no choice due to the work I'm involved in, if it was up to me personally I'd love to avoid them at all costs, the inconsistency in supplies is enough to drive even the most stable-minded people insane.

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All great advice so far...I would add:

*don’t think the you tube people know what they’re doing...(i was lucky and didn't watch you tube, things people are doing now because of learning on you tube are SCARY)

*not all Fragrance Oils will work in your wax/wick combination. (Keeps you from overbuying at the beginning which was my biggest problem)

* don’t think “the more the better” it really doesn’t work that way

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17 minutes ago, The Candle Nook said:

All great advice so far...I would add:

*don’t think the you tube people know what they’re doing...(i was lucky and didn't watch you tube, things people are doing now because of learning on you tube are SCARY)

*not all Fragrance Oils will work in your wax/wick combination. (Keeps you from overbuying at the beginning which was my biggest problem)

* don’t think “the more the better” it really doesn’t work that way

The FO advice on FB blows my mind! Whenever I read posts of people boasting they use the same wick for their gazillion fragrances I just can’t... and many use 12% or more.  Yikes.

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My advice is start with paraffin. The reason is that starting out it will take you a lot more tries before you get it right. If you are having to wait two weeks to see how you did that really stretches out the learning curve.

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1 hour ago, Forrest said:

My advice is start with paraffin. The reason is that starting out it will take you a lot more tries before you get it right. If you are having to wait two weeks to see how you did that really stretches out the learning curve.

Good point. The other option would be make a few more batches a couple weeks apart and continually test. 

Edited by SRez
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The best advice I could offer use this site to help you learn. Read old post, search for topics you have questions about, and ask questions. You are way ahead of the curve already. I would add to post pictures when you have questions about specific candles you have made, the more information you put in your question the better the responses will be.

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