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Container candles and hot summer days?


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I decided to start selling my candles this year at the farmers market - (I've really been lazy about it in the past because selling both candles and B&B requires registering twice. blah, lol) So feeling confident in my candles now and hoping to make some more money this summer.. I'm going for it. My only concern is that my booth, while shaded by my canopy, gets HOT. I live in Utah and an average summer day for us is anywhere between 85 -105 degrees; and is most often on the higher side of that. I've never had my candles outside for long periods of time, and never in the daytime/summer. I pour 8oz square masons and 7.5oz straight sided glass tumblers.

Anyone have any experience with setting up outside in the heat and having problems? I dont really know how to test this because my oven wont go lower than 170. I could pop a heater in a room and try to get it to 105 for 6-8 hours just to see what might happen (and I'll likely do this) but without the filtered sunlight added in I think my results would be skewed anyways. I'm anticipating that maybe there would be some sweating, or pulling away from the sides of the jar?

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I did one outdoor show in the Fall and never did another one again. Though the temp probably didn't get any warmer than 75 degrees, my candles melted and faded horribly even though I used UV Inhibitor. I had a canapy but didn't have sides on it. I will no longer do another outdoor show unless it is at night. In addition to the candles melting and fading, it got really windy a couple of times and everything got dusty.

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Set your Gazebo up in your back yard on a hot day to see what happens. The temp will be lower under the shade of the gazebo. See what happens to your candles re: sweating etc. Direct sun, of course will be disasterous. If your gazebo doesnt have walls, make something up that you can hang on the side the sun comes in. You can use pegs or clips to attach it and as the sun moves, you can move the 'wall'. Try to set up your tables, as far in from the edge as possible, that way your candles will be a bit safer and it gives people a break from the sun when they walk under your gazebo to look at your goodies.

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Somewhere between 65°F-80°F is about right. Extreme temps and soy candles do NOT get along. (Note I said soy and not parasoy.) The candles do not have to melt to be cosmetically affected by heat. If you read at your wax manufacturer's website, you will probably find their recommendation for storing temperatures. That's what you should go by. UV light fades candles if the protectant is not used in your mix. While the air temp might be quite pleasant at 80°F, a dark colored candle exposed to direct sunlight in a closed container can absorb a lot of heat and become much warmer than that. There are a lot of threads scattered over the forum (use the search tool) about ideas people have used to help keep their candles cool during hot spring & summer shows. Some folks switch to palm wax for the summer. Others don't even ship during the hot summer months. You will have to wait and test the environment with your own candles to see what you experience...

It's hard to think about hot weather right now... My toes don't remember EVER not being frozen! :undecided

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LOL I hear that Stella... I think my toes fell off somewhere near the 2nd hour of shoveling the snow this morning!

Thanks for the help and suggestions everyone - Its pretty darn cold here (plus we have a foot of snow and more on the way) so probably no outdoor testing for a good 2-3 months but I think I am going to crank the heat in our back bedroom - two or three space heaters and I can have July on Christmas going on in there I bet!

I do have walls on my tent and I can request to be under the trees, I get to pick my spot since I've been there for awhile, so that helps.. It just now occurred to me I will have shade all day, so its really just the heat I have to contend with now.

I think its back to the drawing board for me... :) UV additive.. Palm stearic.. parasoy... Man I hate to have to go through wick testing again but such is the life lol!! I've really been considering going natural with my candles as well and forgetting dye altogether so that might help as well. Thanks again!

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Welcome to our world. We are currently in summer here and temps are regularly between 90 - 110 and yes we definitely do have issues with the soy in these temps.

I guess I make it somewhat worse for myself as I blend soy with a soft non srystalising container palm which lowers the melt point even further than straight soy. Give an awesome burn, no wet spots and little if any frosting, but is absolute hell in hot temps.

We have found even with some indoor markets with no air conditioning that some of our jars will slightly melt on the top layer. This doesnt happen with all scents / colours, only some. Generally once returned to cooler temps they will set again, although I have had some that have remained with a very thin layer of liquid on the top. Quick blast with the heatgun and they are fixed.

We also do more glass glow palm in summer as it holds up really well in the heat. We do have walls for our gazebo and we move those as needed through the day.

Will will most likely not do any markets through Jan and Feb anyway as its just too hot, so those months will be used to concentrate on building the wholesale side of the business as well as getting ready to ramp up again in March.

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Well.. I heated our back bedroom up to 110* (that was a JOY. Took 6 hours!) and opened up the curtains so the sun was streaming in (it may only be 25* out there but the sun is bright!).

I set 8 candles on a table with the sun on them and the heater by them, and sure enough after another 4 hours some of my candles started sweating, a few got wet spots or pulled away from the sides of the jar, and some were completely un affected. None of them melted, but they were slightly soft to the touch. I think my best bet is to have them at the earlier shows (May-June) and keep them in coolers under the table for the July-Sept shows with a sign out explaining why the soy candles are not on display during this time period.

I was thinking about printing off a 8x11 sign for each scent (I'm only doing 15 this year) and putting it on display in the shelf where my candles would normally be, that way I dont have to change my displays around... and my husband suggested getting some 3oz tumblers and pouring one out in every scent, without a wick, so people can smell them. I can set that in front of the sign.. and if they want to hold a candle I can pull it out of the cooler for them. Thats the best solution I can come up with at this point. I dont want to back out completely, because I know alot of my soap customers will readily buy my candles and have been asking for years.. what do you guys think? Tacky to have the signs or just might work?

Hopefully this pic shows up... I threw it together in about 5 minutes, I would polish off my real ones a bit more but this is basically what I was thinking.

15367_383435525077_511570077_10412770_5751420_n.jpg

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I've used the signs for outdoor shows also; they have worked out really well.

The 8 1/2 x 11 was a little too large so I dropped down to a 5 X 8. Lucked out and got some Lucite holders at Goodwill for 25 cents each, too. I also make clamshells and keep one of each aroma out at all times. If they start getting soft I will rotate them during the event with those that I keep stored in a cooler. Because I make the clamshells with Pillar blend they tend to hold their shape a bit more. I use them for the scent samplers.

Good luck - sounds like it's all coming together.

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Here's a thought: So if I am the customer and I buy one of your candles on that hot summer day, how are you going to package it for me so it doesn't melt while I am browsing for the next hour or two, etc.?

I offer to hold it at my booth til they are done shopping. And I also caution them that the jar needs to remain upright. And if they are making more stops on the way home to take it indoors with them because it gets much hotter sitting in a closed car.

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Here's a thought: So if I am the customer and I buy one of your candles on that hot summer day, how are you going to package it for me so it doesn't melt while I am browsing for the next hour or two, etc.?

I can offer to store it for them.. but its a small local farmers market, most people browse for an hour or less. And to be honest, this may sound harsh but once its out of my hands, its out of my hands. I will warn each and every person to keep it cool and take it straight home but I cant control what they do with it once they leave my booth

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I sell at outdoor farmers markets in the South and have found that any temps above 85 degrees will begin to harm my soy candles (GB 464). I use dye, so the damage from heat to my candles is clearly noticable. I always take a thermometer with me and it is always hotter under my tent than the air temperature. Radiant heat from the ground really seems to increase the heat under the tent. I use the cooler method as well, but in extreme heat, this does not always help. Too much ice in the cooler will change the appearance of candles and if it is too warm outside, then rotating usually does not help much either. I have found that if I do not put my candles on the table, people tend to just walk by. Once the temps are consistantly above 85 degrees, I just do not sell during those months at the farmers markets. For me, it is not worth the damage to my product. I also place a fan on my table to help circulate the air, but I think you will have to just experiment with different options and then see what works best for you.

Good Luck!!

Mama Turtle

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I think the sign idea is excellent, and I like your example.

I also agree that having an 8x10 for each scent is probably too much. How about one large sign explaining that all the candles aren't displayed because of the heat issue and then a smaller one for each scent.

The important thing is to test in the marketplace - try different things, talk to your customers and adjust according to what works.

Michael Masterson has written some good books on finances and business. One is Ready, Fire, Aim. It doesn't apply directly to most of us selling a few candles as a sideline, but there he teaches some good principles. One point he makes is that the prime objective of a beginning business is to make sales and you need to test your ideas in the marketplace as quickly and as inexpensively as you can.

I hope you sell out every time.

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