Can I Make A Living Selling Candles?

The candle making business has seen steady growth and popularity over the past decade. With the rise of e-commerce and sites like Etsy, the demand for handmade, artisanal candles has skyrocketed. According to research, the global candle market is projected to reach $13.7 billion by 2027. Consumers are increasingly looking for unique, high-quality candles rather than mass-produced options. This presents a major opportunity for small businesses and sole proprietors to tap into the thriving candle making industry.

Starting a candle making business allows creative entrepreneurs to turn their passion into a profitable livelihood. Handmade candles also appeal to consumers who value supporting small, local businesses. With the right strategy, dedication, and smart financial planning, candle making can absolutely be a viable business model and income source.

Startup Costs for a Candle Business

There are many upfront costs associated with starting a candle business, including materials, equipment, licensing, and permits. According to the Millennial Boss, initial costs usually range from $500-$2000 depending on the scale of your operations. For a starter kit, costs for wax, fragrance, dye, vessels, and wicks can total $300-$500. Millennial Boss recommends budgeting at least $1000 to start a small candle business.

Essential equipment like a double boiler, pouring pots, thermometers, and scales can cost $200-500. Other costs include packaging materials, labels, shrink wrap, boxes and branding assets. Many entrepreneurs get started with more affordable Mason jars before investing in pricier votive holders or tumblers. Crowdspring reports total equipment costs around $500-1000.

Finally, you may need business licenses or permits to legally make and sell candles depending on your state and municipality. Selling candles online simplifies licensing but check your local requirements if selling locally. Crowdspring recommends getting assistance to ensure full legal compliance.

Creating Your Products

Making candles involves several key steps. First, you’ll need to gather your candle making supplies, like wax, wicks, fragrance oils, and jars or other containers (Candlescience, Shopify).

person pouring white candle wax into glass jar

To start, clean and prepare your candle containers. Next, melt your wax to the proper temperature – soy wax melts at 120-150°F. As the wax melts, you can add dye for color and fragrance oils for scent. Some popular fragrance options are fruity, floral, woodsy, and baked goods scents. Use 6-10% fragrance oil per pound of wax. The oil should be mixed well to fully incorporate (Architectural Digest).

Once melted, place the wick in the container and straighten it. Then slowly pour the wax into the container around the wick. Allow the candle to fully set before trimming the wick to 1⁄4 inch. Finally, add a label with your brand, fragrance, and weight. You may also include safety warnings. For packaging, use boxes, bags, or wrap to protect the candle (Candlescience).

Building Your Brand

A key component to building a successful candle business is developing a strong brand for your products. Your brand helps convey your company’s identity and shapes how customers perceive your offerings (source:

Start by choosing a memorable business name that reflects your products and values. Your company name will appear on your branding, website, packaging, and marketing materials, so pick something catchy that customers will remember. You’ll also want to create an eye-catching logo that represents your brand. Your logo should be versatile enough to work across various platforms and branding contexts (source:

designer creating candle company logo

In addition to your business name and logo, pay close attention to product branding. Develop cohesive labeling and packaging that complements your brand identity. Product branding includes details like fragrance names, container styles, label design, and other visual elements that identify your products.

Leveraging social media can greatly boost brand awareness and allow you to directly engage with customers. Create profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to showcase your products and business story. Share photos, videos, promotions, and other content to attract followers. Building an audience on social media helps drive interest in your brand (source:

Online Sales

One of the best ways to sell your candles is through an online store. Setting up your own ecommerce website gives you full control over your branding, messaging and products. You’ll need to focus on search engine optimization (SEO) to help customers find your site when searching for candles online. Useful SEO tactics include keyword research, optimizing page titles and descriptions, building backlinks, and creating engaging content like blogs and videos.

Another option is opening a shop on a marketplace like Etsy, which lets you tap into their existing customer base. As of 2022, Etsy had over 90 million active buyers searching for unique handmade products like candles (1). While you don’t have as much branding control, you benefit from Etsy’s SEO and can take advantage of their selling tools and support. Consider opening your own website in addition to an Etsy shop to diversify your online presence.


Offline Sales

Selling candles in-person at local events and shops can be a great way to reach customers and grow your business. Here are some options for selling your candles offline:

Local Craft Fairs

candles for sale booth at local craft fair event

Setting up a booth at arts, crafts, and farmer’s markets is a popular route for selling candles in-person. These events allow you to interact directly with customers, share your brand story, and build relationships within your community. It takes some work to manage your booth and inventory, but the payoff can be worthwhile if the event draws a large crowd 1.

Consignment in Local Shops

Approaching boutiques, gift shops, and other local retailers about selling your products on consignment (and taking a commission on each sale) expands your offline reach. This allows you to tap into the existing customer base of physical shops without managing your own storefront. Be sure to find shops that fit your brand aesthetic and target demographic 2.


Selling candles in bulk quantities to retailers, corporate gifting companies, hotels, and other business customers can significantly increase sales volume. Landing these large wholesale orders takes more upfront effort but provides a steady stream of revenue. Be prepared to offer discounted pricing and customize products to meet wholesale customer needs.

Pricing Your Products

One of the most important parts of starting a candle business is determining how to price your products. There are a few common methods used for pricing handmade candles:

The standard cost method involves calculating your raw materials cost per candle and multiplying by 3. For example, if your materials cost $3 per candle, you would price the candle at $9 retail (Reference:

The market-based approach looks at competitor pricing and aims to be in line with the average prices in your market. Check prices from other handmade candle sellers in your area to determine a competitive price range. Most standard 8oz containers retail from $15-$25 (Reference:

The perceived value method prices based on the decorative value and quality of your candles. For high-end, luxury products you can justify pricing at a premium well above production costs.

It’s recommended to use a blended approach looking at your costs, competitors, and the value you provide. Allow room for discounts and sales as part of your pricing strategy. Tracking demand and sales data over time will help refine your pricing.

Managing Operations

Managing operations efficiently is critical for any candle business to succeed. Here are some key areas to focus on:

Inventory Management

Carefully track your inventory of candle making supplies like wax, wicks, fragrance oils, jars, and packaging. Know when to reorder materials so you don’t run out mid-production. Use inventory management software or spreadsheets to stay organized. Regularly audit and cycle your inventory to prevent waste. Consider the shelf life of ingredients when ordering.

Order Fulfillment

Streamline your order fulfillment process to quickly and accurately ship customer orders. Automate what you can to save time. Establish packing and shipping procedures and train staff. Integrate your ecommerce platform with shipping software. Provide fast, reliable shipping and good customer service.

Manufacturing Workflow

Define your production workflow from start to finish. Schedule tasks efficiently to meet production timelines. Standardize your procedures for efficient, consistent output. Assign roles and responsibilities. Continuously refine your processes. Maintain equipment well. Ensure safety and quality control in your workspace.

Running an organized operation is vital for any profitable candle business. Paying close attention to inventory, fulfillment, and workflow will help maximize productivity and minimize costs.

Financial Considerations

When starting a candle making business, it’s important to understand the financial considerations involved. This includes the startup costs as well as the ongoing operational expenses and profit margins you can expect.

According to Forbes, the startup costs for a candle business include product testing, purchasing raw materials and supplies, buying packaging, registering your business, building a website, and purchasing equipment like scales, thermometers, pouring pots, and wick stickers (How To Start A Candle Business In 2024). You may also need to rent retail space if you plan to sell locally. Overall, plan for around $10,000 or more to start a small candle brand.

person calculating profits and expenses

Ongoing expenses will include the cost of supplies to make your candles, packaging, labeling, rent for a retail space, website hosting, marketing, credit card processing fees, and general overhead. Carefully tracking your material costs and factoring in labor and overhead is key to setting your pricing and margins.

For pricing and profit margins, a thread on Reddit discusses candle sellers on Etsy getting $10-$13 for a 4oz candle and $20-$35 for an 8oz size, with $10-$12 charged for shipping (Candle business profit margin). Most experts recommend aiming for a 25-50% profit margin on your candles after accounting for all expenses. You’ll need to find the right balance between pricing competitively while making enough profit to be sustainable.

Is it a Viable Business?

The candle making business can be quite lucrative if done right. However, like any small business, it requires careful planning and execution to be profitable [1]. Here are some of the key considerations when evaluating candle making as a viable business:

Overall, the profit margins for handmade candles are favorable. Quality candles typically retail for $15-30 each, while cost of goods sold per candle may range from $2-8 depending on materials and labor [2]. This allows for a healthy profit margin around 50-80%. Of course, other costs like packaging, shipping, and marketing will eat into profits as well.

A major advantage is the low startup costs, typically less than $1000 to begin. Easy access to suppliers and ability to start small are other advantages. Candle making is also scalable – you can start as a side hobby business and expand over time once demand grows.

However, the market is competitive and dominated by large brands. Building a recognizable brand and marketing effectively to reach customers takes consistent effort. Managing pricing, costs, safety compliance, inventory, and order fulfillment also requires diligence as a small business owner.

Keys to success include: focusing on a niche (e.g. scented, decorative, custom, etc), emphasizing quality and unique value, leveraging online sales channels, exploring both B2B and B2C opportunities, and providing excellent customer service. With careful planning and execution, candle making can certainly become a profitable small business or side income source.

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