For many of us, lockdown presented an opportunity to explore new hobbies, learn different skills and progress with DIY projects. As a result, some people found themselves reconsidering their current employment, pursuing dreams of starting their own business based on their passions and interests.
One popular craft to be embraced as a profession is candle making, which is not surprising given it's an incredibly therapeutic process and a product that's hugely in demand. The UK candle economy is now worth £1.9 billion per year .
If you're tempted to start a candle making business but not quite sure where to begin, here are some things you need to consider:
Start With a Candle Making Business Plan
Every business needs a robust business plan to focus your vision and set out your pathway to achieving it. Identify your budgets, decide which market you're aiming for: luxury charging premium prices; mid-market, more affordable candles; or maybe you're planning a mass-market approach. This will determine what types of candles you will be producing, luxury, practical, eco-friendly, novelty etc.
Your plan shouldn't be set in stone – it should evolve as your business grows.
Stock up on Candle Making Equipment
You'll need to invest in a range of equipment and supplies. Shop around to find a supplier that's right for you; you may want to purchase small quantities initially, then build up as you sell more products.
Candle wax can be categorised into two types – vegetable (natural) wax and mineral (paraffin) wax:
- Paraffin wax or 'mineral' wax is derived from petroleum
- Vegetable wax is taken from vegetable oil. It's a renewable, eco-friendly alternative to paraffin wax that means your candles can be promoted as vegan products.
Wicking your candle is an integral part of the candle making process and can be pretty tricky. Candle wicks come in different sizes, so make sure you choose the correct ones.
Candle oils are a blend of natural, essential oils and synthetic compounds containing a strong aroma. The key to creating the perfect candle is getting the scent right.
Liquid or powdered dye; both give great results but are different to work with.
You'll also need tools to make your candles: a saucepan and heatproof bowls, a thermometer, moulds and glasses.
Perception is everything, so spend time considering your packaging. Develop a recognisable logo that represents your brand, and be sure to include it on your candle labels, your boxes and other marketing materials.
Check Legal and Safety Requirements
There aren't any specific regulations relating to candle making. However, if you make and sell products to consumers in the UK, you're responsible for ensuring they're safe to use and follow the legal requirements concerning labelling. It's advisable to check the government's guidance on product safety, the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).
Insurance for Candle Makers
Wherever you make your candles, and however you decide to sell them – in shops or online – you need to protect yourself and your business from risks. Having the right insurance in place is essential, for example:
Public liability insurance
Will provide cover if a member of the public is injured on your premises.
Product liability insurance
If your product causes injury or financial loss, for example, if your candles include ingredients that may be hazardous.
As we continue to emerge from lockdown, there is a sense of cautious optimism for the jobs market as non-essential shops and hospitality venues re-open. However, despite UK unemployment continuing to fall for the fourth month in a row in April, it is 553,000 below levels seen before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. So if making candles was a lockdown hobby that you're ready to turn into a profession, maybe now is the time for you to embrace and experience the benefits of entrepreneurial life. You may be interested in reading about how to start a retail business.
Quotes from well-known and specialist insurers, including: