Soy candles are all the rage these days. They're being sold like crazy online and offline, everywhere from Etsy to major retailers. Many, many people have begun making soy candles out of their homes, starting businesses, and earning money.
Today's post gives a little info on soy candles, why they're so popular, and of course a little more detail on starting up a soy candle business. I've also tried to include a few resources that may help you if you want to do this, but have no idea how to make the candles or how to begin selling them.
I asked Margaret Agha of Jardle Soy Candles to explain why soy is overall a better choice than paraffin wax. “Soy is made from a renewable source and is not made from petroleum,” Margaret explained. “Soy candles burn more evenly, produce less soot and burn 30% longer than paraffin candles. Soy is better for the environment and does not release toxins into the air.”
Using soy instead of wax may also be a way to support local farmers. Because many consumers are now very focused on eco-friendly, chemical-free products, it's no wonder that soy candles are currently so in-demand.
Learning How to Make the Candles
One of the first things I wondered about when doing research for this article was how difficult is it to make soy candles? Is it something just about anyone could learn to do?
According to Margaret Agha, “Soy candle making is an art, and there are many variables including temperature, strength of the scent, and most importantly setting the wick.” So yes, anyone can learn to do this, but it will take some trial and error to get it just right.
For some step-by-step instructions, you may want to check out the “How to Make a Great Jar Soy Candle” eBook on Amazon, or “The Soy Candle Making Book” by Melissa Hall. And of course, there is always YouTube. I did a quick search and found a lot of videos with detailed instructions.
It goes without saying, but be sure you're following ALL the safety instructions given to you since you'll be dealing with hot wax.
Related: 50 Home Business Ideas
Investing Money In a Soy Candle Business
The great thing about any home-based business is that you can usually start off as small as you need to, and a soy candle business is no exception there. Margaret Agha told me that she started very slowly and only invested about $100 initially.
At minimum, you'll need the supplies to actually make some candles to sell — soy wax, scented oils, and cotton wicks. Some people also buy wick stickers when making soy jar candles to get the wicks to stick to the bottom of the jar, but you can also use a glue gun for this purpose. Soy Candle Making Time has a great list here of where to go to buy some of these supplies, plus a big list of supplies needed — many of which you may already have in your kitchen.
Marketing Your Candles
If you cannot afford to spend money on marketing initially, you can wait until you've sold a few candles (to family, friends, co-workers, etc.) and then use some of your profit to invest in marketing. For you, this could mean creating business cards, branding your business, buying branded labels for your candles, setting up a website, etc.
However, Margaret Agha told us that word of mouth has been her best marketing tool so far, and of course that won't cost you a dime! Many customers turn into repeat customers because they love the scent and performance of her candles, and they also tell their friends and family. So if you're making a great product, chances are good that some of your first customers may refer their friends to you, and so on and so on. Great products often sell themselves.
Places to Sell Your Candles
Obviously you have a lot of choices here. You can sell either online or offline, or do as many sellers do and choose both. Margaret says that while her focus is currently selling online at Etsy, she also regularly attends farmer's markets and craft shows and has had a lot of success there. So definitely do some research in your local area, or even statewide, and find out how you can get set up to sell at any such events happening near you. Craft Lister is a good resource to get started searching for local events where you can sell.
If you primarily want to sell your soy candles online, Etsy is of course the obvious first choice, but you may want to check out this list I have of other places you can sell crafts online. And don't rule out starting your own website/blog for your candle business.
Please feel free to comment with any info you have about making and/or selling candles below.