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How to start a candle business in 2024: an 8-step guide

How to start a candle business

This post was last updated on October 5, 2023.

You’ve probably heard the rumors.

The candle industry is thriving. Last year alone, the global candle industry hit $6.8 billion—and it's currently on track to reach $9.9 billion in annual revenue by 2028, according to a report by Vantage Market Research.

Whether you’re looking to take a personal hobby to the next level or dive head-first into a new business venture, you’ve come to the right place. This step-by-step guide for how to start a candle business will outline everything you need to know.

Why should you start a candle business?

There are a number of reasons why a candle business makes for a good eCommerce business idea. To name a few:

  • Low startup costs - Candle-making doesn’t require a lot of tools or equipment to start. You could essentially run to your local craft store with little startup capital and get started today (though later you might want to upgrade to premium materials). This isn’t generally the case when it comes to how much it costs to start a business. Consider candle dropshipping also.

  • Easy to learn - There are tons of free online resources, recipes, and tutorials to help you understand the craft of candle-making (including this handy resource hub by the National Candle Association). You can experiment with fragrances, containers, waxes, and wicks at your leisure and customize your candles however you’d like.

  • Better-than-average profit margins - What may cost you just a few dollars to make can typically be sold at a 25% to 50% markup, making operating expenses relatively affordable.

Black text on a light blue background that says "Launch your online store" with a clickable link button that says "Get Started"

How to start a candle business in 8 steps

01. Master the craft of candle-making

The first logical step is to get familiar with the process of creating a candle. One of our favorite types comes from the Armatage Candle Company, which encourages new business owners to heed the "84 Candle Rule"—that is, create 84 candles and give most of them away.

start a candle business

The 84 Candle Rule gives you ample time to get familiar with the candle-making process, test various formulas, and collect feedback from friends and family.

Moreover, as you create more and more candles, you’ll learn to:

  • Graduate from a candle-making kit. To scale production, you’ll eventually need to invest in more professional equipment, like a 4-lb pour pot or a Presto Pot, that can support a higher volume than a kit.

  • Master the craft. Rather than splitting your time between learning how to create candles and run a business, you can focus on perfecting (and confirming your interest) in candle-making first.

  • Test various aspects of your candles. With each batch you make, you can test aspects such as smell, safety, burn time, and more until you develop a formula that you like.

  • Find suppliers. As you increase production, you’ll need to learn how and where to purchase supplies, whether locally or online—and can afford the time to shop around.

  • Make a variety of candles. Making 84 candles gives you plenty of room to explore various wax types, dyes, fragrances, and candle types (e.g., pillar candles, container candles, wax melts, etc.) that you can offer as part of your catalog.

02. Define your brand

Before presenting your candles to the market, you must figure out the who, what, and why behind your brand. Ask yourself:

  • Why are you starting a business? - What is the story behind your brand, and the overall vision that keeps you motivated?

  • What is your target market - Are you looking to sell higher-end candles to be sold at luxury boutiques and stores? Or, are you looking to appeal to the masses and create candles that feature more economical packaging and containers?

  • Who is your ideal customer? - Perhaps you’re looking to sell high-end candles for working men and women aged 20 to 35 who want to spruce up their home offices. Or, perhaps your niche consists of avid campers aged 35 through 60 looking for a better-smelling, bug-repelling candle.

  • What makes your candles different? - Are your candles non-toxic? Are your scents extra delicious? Do you support a cause? It's important to establish your unique selling proposition (USP) in order to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can enjoy an easier time figuring out how to bring your vision to life. Between deciding the types of candles you want to offer and how to brand your online store, a clear brand identity can help you to get things off the ground faster.

At this point, make sure to tackle these basic steps:

  • Decide on a business name - A strong, memorable name is invaluable. Take the time to think of a candle business name that represents your products or brand mission, while ensuring that it’s able to grow with your brand. If you need some inspiration, try the Wix Business Name Generator for free.

candle business brand name

  • Create a logo - Design a logo that you can proudly sport on your product packaging, website, and marketing materials. The Wix Logo Maker can get your creative juices flowing, or find a professional designer on the Wix Marketplace.

  • Design your labels - Work with your designer to create labels for your candles that are reflective of your brand’s personality. Remember to observe candle label requirements and include essential information like your candle scent, product weight, and your company information.

03. Estimate your startup costs

When it comes to learning how to start a business, there are typically two types of startup costs that you’ll have to be aware of:

  • Production/manufacturing costs - These include the cost of manufacturing and packaging your products. Factor in equipment like your containers, waxes, wicks, fragrance oils, thermometers, and more.

  • Business/operating costs - These include any software subscriptions, shipping costs, small business insurance, and other bills you’ll have to pay to keep your business operations running smoothly.

Take the time to list out what items you’ll need to create your first 100 or so candles. At this stage, you’ll also want to get familiar with costs you should expect, both now and in the future.

For instance, you’ll need to budget money for any marketing or advertising that you plan to do around your products. You’ll also need to factor in taxes, plus recurring fees for any website software you want to use or partners (like 3PLs) that you want to team up with to scale and simplify operations.

04. Write a business plan

A business plan helps you plan out all aspects of your business and set yourself up for sustainable growth.

When developing your plan, it’s important to take your time and walk through the various opportunities and challenges confronting your business. Pinpoint your competitors, your differentiators, your distribution channels, and the resources at your disposal (among other things).

Most business plans will include the following sections:

  1. Executive summary

  2. Company name, description, and domain

  3. Ecommerce market analysis

  4. Products you’re selling and why

  5. Operations plan

  6. Marketing and advertising plan

  7. Financial plan

Learn more about creating a strong eCommerce business plan.

05. Make your business official

It's time to turn your business into a legal business entity and take care of other business-essential steps. Don't worry. This part is a lot less scary than it sounds.

Register with your state

It is important to take where you live into account. Learning how to start a business in Massachusetts is very different from learning how to start a business in California, for example. Register your business name through your state and local governments. The easiest way to find where to register is by googling "register a business in [insert your state]."

The search results will contain several links for companies offering to register your business for you (for a fee). However, you can avoid the service fee by registering directly through your state's website. You’ll typically have to pay a small filing fee, which varies by state.

Get a federal tax ID

File for a Federal Tax ID (or EIN) number, which is required to open a business bank account, obtain a business loan, hire employees, and more. Fortunately, the application process is free and only takes a few minutes.

Apply for business licenses and permits

Once you have your EIN, you can complete the last step in making your business legal: apply for a business license. A business license includes your seller's permit and allows you to collect state sales tax on your transactions.

Perform another internet search to find the appropriate website for your state (i.e., google "register for a business license in [insert your state]"). Complete the application steps outlined by your state. Note that some states only require a general business license while others have additional local or county-based requirements.

Apply for insurance

Unfortunately, the reality is that candles are a fire hazard, and accidents can happen. Therefore, applying for insurance is one of the most critical steps in creating your business. Insurance not only protects your business, but it protects you and your family as well.

At a minimum, you'll want an insurance policy that provides general liability coverage. General liability is the most straightforward and covers third-party property damage or injury claims.

There are a lot of online resources about small business insurance. Do some research, consult a professional, and find a small business insurance company that provides the coverage you need and fits your budget.

Get a business bank account

For taxes and bookkeeping, it’s a good idea to keep your business income and expenses separate from your personal finances.

Each bank or credit union has different fees, transaction limits, and balance minimums for business accounts. So take some time to shop around for a local or online bank that will work for you.

Note: to open a business account, most financial institutions require a copy of your business formation documents (obtained when you registered your business), licenses/permits, and either your EIN or your social security number.

06. Create your startup inventory

Build your first products to list for sale. Start with a fragrance lineup that best fits your business and your purpose, and then every couple of months, launch a new fragrance and get feedback from your buyers.

This can help to keep your customers engaged and excited about new fragrances or product lines.

A good place to start is by launching a handful of fragrances, spanning a range of different categories, such as:

  • Floral

  • Woody

  • Fresh

  • Exotic

  • Citrusy

  • Fruity

  • Sweet

  • Spicy

For example, Renee Candle Co. offers several distinct scents within these categories: Unwind, Noir, Tropix, Spiced, Lush and Cozy.

07. Create your online store

Here comes the fun part. Build a business website where you can collect orders for your candles.

candle company coal and canary

At this stage, it’s crucial to pick a reliable eCommerce platform. A platform like Wix’s eCommerce website builder offers a wide range of features and capabilities, including built-in catalog management, inventory management, and marketing tools that will be useful in the future.

All Wix websites are also built with SEO, reliability, security, and performance in mind. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about your site crashing when there’s a surge in traffic. And you can rest assured that your site is mobile-friendly and backed by the best security measures.

Thanks to these capabilities, you can focus most of your attention on designing the best, user-friendly site experience.

First, pick a layout design that best suits your brand. Most website builders provide several pre-made templates to help get you started. For example, Wix eCommerce includes more than 500 professionally designed online store templates, which can be further customized.

Start a candle business with website templates

Build out your pages and pay special attention to the following best practices:

  • Use high-quality product photos - Offer a range of studio and lifestyle shots, and photos that show your candles at various angles. Heed these product photography tips in order to take pictures that are both compelling and informative.

  • Include detailed product descriptions - For each candle, clearly state the available size(s), fragrance, approximate burn times, and appropriate warnings or usage tips. The more detail you can include, the better for mitigating returns due to “item not as described.”

  • Make sure your products are easy to find - Ensure that your site is easy to navigate. As a general rule of thumb, all of your products should be accessible within three clicks. Leverage breadcrumbs, menus, and features like “related products” to encourage product discovery on your site.

  • Offer multiple payment options - When connecting a payment provider to your store, keep in mind that some customers may want to pay with a credit card while others may prefer PayPal or buy-now-pay-later services like Affirm. Reduce friction at checkout by offering a variety of payment options. Wix Payments can make this possible on any Wix store—or you can choose from 50+ other payment options.

08. Develop your marketing strategy

You've done a lot of work up to this point. Now it's time to create an eCommerce marketing strategy and figure out how to spread the word about your store. As a Wix merchant, you can automatically access tools for business email marketing, social media marketing, blogging, and more.

Social media is a great place to start promoting your product, though you’ll want to avoid taking the spray-and-pray approach. Engage with social channels one or two at a time (there’s no need to create accounts everywhere just for the heck of it). Experiment with various types of posts—like videos and livestreams—and observe how people respond.

Pro tip: When talking about your product online, avoid subjective buzzwords like “amazing” or “best.” Instead, focus on your purpose and your story, and aim to demonstrate how your products are superior.

Other marketing tactics worth trying:

  • Create a newsletter to regularly engage with customers and recommend products

  • Start a blog as part of a larger SEO strategy, and to attract organic traffic to your site

  • Run ad campaigns that retarget your site visitors and/or help you get in front of new audiences

  • Incentivize customers to refer a friend to your website by offering special rewards

  • Collect user-generated content and social proof to display on your site

  • Run contests and giveaways to generate interest in your products

  • Participate in craft shows or other local events where you can demonstrate your products in person

Time to launch

So, you've laid the groundwork for your business, stocked up on supplies (plus equipment), built an amazing eCommerce website, and created your initial inventory. Now it’s time to put it all together and launch your candle business.

Remember to never stop being curious, even after you’ve opened the (virtual) doors of your business. Analyze your business regularly. Talk to your customers. Optimize and pivot as necessary.

Ready to start your new candle-making business? Create your online store with Wix eCommerce today.

Looking to start a candle business in a specific state

How to start a candle business FAQ

What are some of the challenges of starting a candle business?

There are a few challenges that you may face when starting a candle business. These include:

  • Competition: The candle industry is very competitive, so you'll need to find a way to make your candles stand out from the competition.

  • Costs: Starting a candle business can be expensive, especially if you plan on making your own candles. You'll need to factor in the cost of supplies, packaging, marketing, and shipping.

  • Time: It takes time to build a successful candle business. Don't expect to become an overnight success.

What are some tips for starting a successful candle business?

Allison Lee

Allison Lee

Editor, Wix eCommerce

Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.

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