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"you should give lessons" or "teach me..."


Bella Luna
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Alright, I dug through past topics, but I thought I'd bring this up again and see how you business owners handle this.

I've been making candles for about a year. In that time I've invested probably about $300 to $400 in supplies and equipment. It's not a ton but it's a lot to me at the moment. I've spent countless hours reading up on techniques and problems and how to improve my candles, looking at pictures of what I want to produce, and testing.

I'm seriously considering turning my hobby into a part-time business. I mentioned this to some close friends of mine and instantly they tell me what a great idea it is and how they would totally buy my candles and how much they love them, and.... then they ask me to teach them or tell me that I should give lessons.

Now, they are close friends so I don't want to offend them, but there is *no way in hell* that I am going to start giving lessons or teach them the things that have taken me hours and days and months to learn. Not to mention I don't know if they expect to use my supplies or not, but all this stuff costs money! It's taken me a couple hundred dollars just to get to the point where I can make some pillar candles and color them and scent them how I like.

So, I'm interested in hearing how other people handle this? If I do help them at all should I just teach them to make votives and have them order their own supplies?

I mean, I'm not trying to be terribly exclusive about what I do... but. I mean, I'm trying to sell candles! Not teach others how to make them so they can market them too...

Help!

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I had the same problem so I know where you are coming from. A friend of mine wanted me to teach her after I acknowledged I wanted to sell at our synagogue, well she started talking about selling them at our synagogue once I taught her how to make them. I was upset and offended at first but I decided to show her the ropes anyway. I was making candles for Hannukah and so she bought her own supplies and decided that is what she would give everyone for Hannukah gifts. LOL, Well after spending 6 hours on her feet making votives she realized it isn't as easy as it looks, this was 3 years ago and she still has all of her supplies left as she never once attempted to make candles again. She really liked making them but she did not like the labor, lol.

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I've been getting this lately too.

I have alot of family members who think just because I make candles that I either have to a.) Keep them stocked continually for free or b.) tell them all my secrets so they can make their own after "a" didn't pan out! :D

They are so persisitent! One actually wants to be a partner in the biz, provided I buy everything and do most of the work! LOL :o Gotta love it!

I just smile and start mentioning cost. Sheezus, I should let them look at the tax nightmare they have to deal with....being a small biz....and that alone would send them running in the other direction! :wink2:

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I suppose you could just tell them that you have only been doing it for a year and you are not qualified to teach.

I share most everything with my "close" friends, so if it were me, I would say come on over, lets play in the wax!. (and have, many times) Makes candle making a lot more fun. I know my "close" friends pretty well, and have no reservations about it whatsoever. In actuality what it has done has given them all more respect for what I do and everything that goes into making a good product.....and has been very helpful having them sing my praises. There are lots of ways to look at things, and if you lose the fear, life is a lot more fun! JMO

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I had one lady ask if I did homeschooling lessons. I thought it would make an interesting science project to view for kids, personally.

I think you could do it in such a way that you didn't give away any trade secrets. Just set it up to have most things in unmarked containers beforehand. Have the wax sitting in a double boiler when they get there so they don't see which kind you use. Pre-wick your containers. Preweigh your FO so they don't see the original bottle.

And then charge what you think it would be worth to see it (like one of those "continuing education" classes at the community college).

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I have given soapmaking classes, and also sell some soaping supplies. If my candles ever work out, I would consider doing the same with candles. I do not give a huge long class: what they get from me are the basics, and that is what I tell them. I'm sure you could give a basic candle class, selling them the supplies at full retail. Show them how to make a basic candle, show them what to look for in their testing (many many peope haven't got a CLUE as to how a candle should behave), give a little talk about safety and INSURANCE and LIABILITY and all the really fun things, and let it go from there.

Many many people, myself included, just love to make things themselves. I would never buy a kit from Wal-Mart, but I would buy a kit or take a class from a smaller business whose candles I like the look of. Many people take lots of classes just for the fun ot it, and if you offered a class in votives, and a class in container candles, etc., I'm sure you would get repeat business.

I would never give out formulas or supplier names, these are all things that are available on the internet anyway, as are candle-making instructions. But by offering basic classes to people who just have some time and money of their hands, I'm sure you could make it worth your while. As for the lazy ones who just want to pick your brains, you could make up an "extra-boring, full of legalities and fine-print" class just for them.

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