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Questions about going into business?


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Ok so I think I am going to officially go into the candle making business come the first of the year and I have a couple of questions and also want to make sure I am not forgetting something.

Ok as of right now I only have 10 scents so I was wondering is this to few to actually start out with? I do plan to test more but was hoping this would be ok to start out with.

Is it ok that I dont make pillars? I did try them, they were the first thing I did try, but they were a pain and to be honest they scare me alittle. I will have 2 different size jars (I am going to be getting a 3rd jar hopefully soon to start testing out) and also votives and melts. Do you think this is ok?

Right now the jars that I have are a 16oz and 4.5 oz jars and I will be getting a 9oz jar but not sure if I can get it before the new year. So I guess my question is should I have that jar tested before I "open" up. My thinking was yes because there is a really big difference in the two jars I already have, right?

Where do you guys get your wholesale accounts from and how did you guys get them? What I was thinking was salons, any kind of gift shop kind of place, home decor places, cafes. And I was thinking maybe go by those places and let the owner have one of my smaller candles to try out and then hopefully they will like it and want to sell my candles. Does this sound right? At first this is what I was thinking but then talking it over with DH I started to think that could get really expensive but he said in order to make money you need to spend it. So I thought I would ask you guys.

I am already in the mix about getting insurance, business license, and my tax ID but is there any thing else I need?

I am hopefully going to start doing some craft shows starting maybe around February or March, So I know I need to start testing some spring scents soon but is it ok or wise to try to get some wholesale accounts before I do any craft shows?

Well thanks for any information you wonderful ladies and gentlemen can give me, I greatly appreciate everything you guys have to offer.

Thanks

Antonia

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Here are my thoughts on some of your questions--

10 Scents are fine to start out with. You will be much better off limiting the choices to 10 scents than to offer 100 scents and have 80 or 90 oils get stale on you.

If you're not comfortable making pillars then you absolutely should not attempt to sell them. In my experience, jar candles far out sell pillars anyway.

I think you've already figured out most of the usual places people hit up to land wholesale accounts; but before you approach them, have you already determined what your wholesale policy will be? If not, you're not ready for wholesale.

Craft shows will be a good source of research for you. Sales at a show can help you discover what your best scents are and will also provide you with a good opportunity to engage in coversation with shoppers to get feedback on your products, and learn what customers are really looking for. The information you gain from craft shows should assist you in promoting and suggesting your top selling products to wholesale accounts.

There is a lot of competition out there and if you want to be seen as a legitimate business, it's important to create good marketing pieces, such as a brochure or business card that you leave behind. Image is everything.

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I do jar candles only too.I haven't tempted pillars and in this area they would not sell.MIGHT for my website??

I do 3 size jars and think that middle size jar is a wise decision to start with your other 2 sizes.The 10 size jar that I use doesn't sell but my 8 ounce JJ and my 16 ounce Country Jar do.The 10 ounce jar is seller for a wholesaler. I like it too but not a seller in this area or on-line. 8 ounce far surpass the other 2 jars.

For wholesale you are on the right track.I don't do that locally but do get wholesale accounts out of state.The stores in my area sell Yank** and other expensive brands. They don't go with the typical local candlemakers. I guess there are way way to many of us. Salons are a good idea. If they have room and want to work with candles.

Yes get into craft shows to start and might get local people.I have a couple from out of my area but they can stop at my house or we meet a certain place and they get candles when they get off work.After 5 years this year is the first time that has happened.

I have a Tax ID and insurance.The insurance is reasonable.I have it with Benchmark but it only covers about 6 states that they sell it to. I am afraid if I went to individual insurance companies it would not be afforddable or else they don't offer insurance to candlemakers.I know my cousin has a insurance company and just as soon not know I make candles. My car and house insurance are with him. Candles are touchy for some insurance companies and those who do offer it are expensive.

I have much more compettion than most candlemakers. I have 10 within 10 miles of me and probably many more. Those are the ones I know. 3 have shops that are opened and customers at craft shows ask me to open one. They also tell me about candles in other places and I need to get mine there.

Not sure where you live but Good Luck.Like sockmonkey said lots of competition and supplies are going up all the time. For out of state orders shipping is going up which is making those of us who wholesale and get on-line orders to be able to succeed.

LynnS

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I think you've already figured out most of the usual places people hit up to land wholesale accounts; but before you approach them, have you already determined what your wholesale policy will be? If not, you're not ready for wholesale.

There is a lot of competition out there and if you want to be seen as a legitimate business, it's important to create good marketing pieces, such as a brochure or business card that you leave behind. Image is everything.

Well I believe I have a policy for wholesale accounts. I know I dont sound to sure of my self but I am going back a forth in this.

How I have it right now is They have to buy a minimum of $150 at the wholesale price. I was thinking about making it $100 but that seems alittle low to me. Right now I was thinking they can pick any of my scents but once I start getting more I was set a limit on the amount of fragrances the can order, most likely 20 scents. And also for delivery is free if they are within reasonable distance, like 30 miles.

Yes defiantly I will be give out business cards and also for the wholesale account I was planing on leaving a post card with the candle. My DH is very good with the marketing, he sale advertising for AT&T, he very good at it and really knows what works best for each business, so I bounce all my ideas off him.

Thanks for both you guys help. And yes supplies are going up but I am still hopeful I will be able to do something with this. I am a stay at home mom and really I dont need the money I just want to have something that is mine, KWIM? I dont think I will ever have a actual store of my own, after reading on here and realizing how much work would have to go into it with all the long hours. I just dont think I can do that with 2 kids and hopefully a 3 maybe next year, I havent made up my mind yet.

Well again thanks so much.

Antonia

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At this time, with the economy in the shape it's in, I think $100 minimum looks better than $150 to a small business owner who is being very cautious with spending right now. I think you need to give yourself an edge over the next candlemaker, and if someone else is charging $250 minimum, you could be a shoe-in at $100.

But, if you need to get $150 to make the minimum profit you require, then that's what you should do.

What will you charge for re-orders? Some wholesalers don't have minimums on reorders, but others may require $50, or $75 (half of what the minimum opening order amount is). Will it be worth it to you to drive up to 60 miles round trip to deliver a $50 order? Be careful on the free delivery offer. A lot of people have gotten burned on that before.

Another thing to consider in allowing scent selection is how much trouble will it be for you if a customer orders two of 8 scents and 1 each of the remaining two scents you offer. It's common to require a minimum quantity per scent, usually between two to six.

Will you be able to offer any type of display? Sometimes a display can be key in landing an account.

What about credit cards--are you looking into options for that? If you're doing wholesale, businesses will expect to pay by credit card.

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At this time, with the economy in the shape it's in, I think $100 minimum looks better than $150 to a small business owner who is being very cautious with spending right now. I think you need to give yourself an edge over the next candlemaker, and if someone else is charging $250 minimum, you could be a shoe-in at $100.

But, if you need to get $150 to make the minimum profit you require, then that's what you should do.

What will you charge for re-orders? Some wholesalers don't have minimums on reorders, but others may require $50, or $75 (half of what the minimum opening order amount is). Will it be worth it to you to drive up to 60 miles round trip to deliver a $50 order? Be careful on the free delivery offer. A lot of people have gotten burned on that before.

Another thing to consider in allowing scent selection is how much trouble will it be for you if a customer orders two of 8 scents and 1 each of the remaining two scents you offer. It's common to require a minimum quantity per scent, usually between two to six.

Will you be able to offer any type of display? Sometimes a display can be key in landing an account.

What about credit cards--are you looking into options for that? If you're doing wholesale, businesses will expect to pay by credit card.

Wow all great info that I didnt even consider.

Ok for reorder I am not sure, but I think I am going to go with the $75 and maybe only free delivery for the first order unless it is within 15 miles. Does this sound ok?

Putting a minimum on the scent order is a good idea, because I hate to pour just one candle. Maybe a minimum of 2 on the bigger jars and maybe 4 on the smaller jars (they only hold about 4 oz). Is this even ok to do, having a different minimum for different size jars?

Displays I know nothing about, dont even know where you get some from. So I should probably look into that so I could atleast offer it to them.

About credit cards cant they just pay through paypal with there card? I know there are fees but wouldnt this just make it simple to do. Or is it better to get something else for credit cards? And if so what because I have no idea about those either.

Thanks so much for your help. I am glad I asked now and not after I tried to get some accounts.

Antonia

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Here are some examples of displays. I'm sure you can google and find plenty more. If you or your husband are handy with tools you might even consider making them yourself, or seek out a local woodworker to recreate some of the ones you see here. Don't sweat it if you don't think it's something you can do. Displays aren't a necessity, but a nicety.

I've bought from Green Oak Antiques before and their stuff is really sturdy and a good value for the money, and you don't see it everywhere, so that's a plus.

http://greenoakantiques.com/workshopcupboards.htm

(Retail prices shown--you can buy them cheaper)

http://www.sawdustcityllc.com/Catalog.pdf

(See Page #3)

http://www.specwood.com/shelfdisplays.htm

$170

Regarding the jar sizes, having different minimums for different sizes is fine. As an example, for packing purposes, Yankee requires that you order in multiples of 6 for both the large and medium jars (but they let you mix and match scents), but you have to order in multiples of 3 of the same scent for the small jars.

To pay through Paypal, won't they have to open a Paypal account?

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I'm actually dropping down to 10 scents from 30. I want to focus on expansion of products, rather than scents. The more different things I offer, the more people will be likely to buy. When you go into a store, do you buy $100 worth of milk, or just what you would use? If there was cheese next to the milk - would you get the cheese since it's there?

Variety of items so far has been better off than scents. When I add new products to the line, I sell more than I do when I add new scents. People can only have so many candles that are useful. After that, adding things like reeds, incense, etc. they spend more overall IME.

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