Going into the candle-selling business is great if you are passionate about making candles and just enjoy the whole process in general. It can be risky, but if you are willing to work long and hard, you can definitely make it happen.
Now, setting up an online shop or a physical store are two completely different subjects. Here, I will go in-depth on the things you need to do to make either work and what additional challenges you may face when pursuing either route.
Start Out Small
You may want to try to sell some of your candles first to see if people would buy them. You don't want to go into business only to find that your candles aren't selling at all. I great way to start selling your candles is to friends and family. They are more likely to take a risk and support you, and then they can use the candles and give you constructive feedback on them. This is a great way you may be able to improve your products if you need to.
Something I would strongly recommend doing before opening a shop would be to throw a candle party. That is where you can invite your friends and family and have a fun night centered on your products. If you do well and they tell you that your candles were professional grade, you should consider going into business. To learn everything you need to know about throwing these candle parties, read our article on the subject here.
Find Wholesale Providers of Material
To be able to make a decent profit off of your candles, you will need to be able to buy the material cheap. The most efficient way to do this is order off of large wholesale sites, where you are able to purchase hundreds of pounds of wax and other materials at a time.
This is extremely advantageous, as you will always have plenty of material, and you will be getting it for very cheap. The Internet is full of wholesale candle supply retailers. There are a lot to choose from, which can definitely make it hard to choose. Candle Science is a great site that I would recommend trying first, as they have a great selection and good prices.
If you want to know all of the supplies you should buy, read this article of ours about everything you need.
This is by far the most important step for growing your company. It is also the biggest challenge start-ups face. You need to be able to let people know you exist. With big chain candle retailers such as Yankee Candle, most people will naturally go there. Your goal is to give people a reason to go to your shop. You can do this by presenting your products as natural, higher quality made candles straight from the source. People will definitely buy your products because of this.
Now in the world of the Internet, the best possible thing you can do for marketing is having a strong online presence. If you can just focus hard on that at the beginning, you won't need to pay for expense advertisements. The best part about this is that having a strong web presence is fairly cheap and just requires you to put some time and effort into it. There are two important parts for maintaining this strong web presence; having a well-run website and social media pages. Below I'll dive into the details of each.
No matter the type of shop you will have, you need to have a website for your store. Now, people use Google to find stores' hours, locations, and sometimes the phone number. If you don't have this basic information uploaded you will be missing out on a lot of potential customers.
If you are just planning on having a physical shop, I would recommend using WordPress.org to set up a self-hosted website. If you use WordPress.com, it will be free, but your URL will have wordpress.com attached to it, which will look unprofessional, and your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) won't be good. For a self-hosted site with your own URL and much more customizations when it comes to themes and other great tools, pay the around $10 a month extra.
Now, WordPress is perfect just for a website that displays all of your information. If you are going to have an online shop, I would recommend setting up your site through Shopify. The tools and features are very similar to WordPress; it is just better suited for an online store, as that is what it is designed for.
In the day and age where online shopping is more popular than ever, even if you do have a physical store, I would still strongly recommend having an online shop. It really doesn't add any more costs, but it can make you sell your products around the world. That's what we do here, and it benefits our business tremendously.
For whatever route you do, I would also consider having a blog. The purpose of a blog in marketing is simple; to drive people to your site. As we do here, just have the blog as a section of your website. You may have to pay a writer to write your content, but it will be much more professional and save you time. I mentioned SEO just a minute ago, and I didn't really explain it. I won't go too deep into it, but the basic of it is using specific writing techniques, like keywords, to get your page high ranked in a search engine search. Search engines have algorithms that have a variety of factors that determine how high a site is ranked. These factors include page load speed, a number of visitors, number of pages, and a lot more.
You definitely want your site to have a great SEO score, because through search engines like Google is how people find most of their information. For instance, if they search 'candle store near me', you will definitely want your website to be on the top of this list.
Now, if you have no idea how to use WordPress or set up a website, you could easily find a paid professional to do it for your to give you a nice clean look.
As it is a free service that almost everyone uses now, having a strong social media game is so important. A great part about this is that anyone with a basic knowledge of computers can do it. The stuff above about creating a website is critically important, but unless you are an expert with WordPress and SEO writing, you need to hire someone to do it for you. One person can’t run a business, and your expertise is making the candles. Hiring someone will ensure that the job gets down correctly and will save you time.
The best thing about social media is that you can run it yourself as it doesn’t take muck time. Create a Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account, and you will be covered. Create it as your company and start posting. A good starting goal would be once a day, as you want to be bringing in as many people as you can. Good things to post include images of the shop, news on discounts or other shop news, and notifications every time a new blog is posted. This step doesn't take much work and is free but so crucial. You will definitely greatly increase your chances of being discovered if you use social media.
Come Up With Your Scents
Another big key is for you to have a large variety of types of scents at all time. Decide which ones you are best at creating and push for those.
Also, if it is around a holiday season, possibly make some seasonally themed fragrances. You can promote those at the front of your shop or website and customers will love them.
Get a Business License
Whether you are opening up online or with a physical store, you will need a business license. Once you have your products lined out, where your store will be, and other pieces of important information, then you can apply for a license. For a great article from Big Commerce, read How do I apply for an e-commerce business license? This article gives you all the steps necessary to get your business going
To make your brand name known and to get as much name recognition as possible, you should consider designing a logo and getting unique packaging. If someone purchases one of your candles and they have it displayed at their house with your logo on it, it will start to advertise itself to all the guests in the house.
Unless you are an experienced graphic designer, I would recommend hiring someone who is an expert in that to design you one. It may cost a couple of hundred dollars, but it will be well worth it. If you have any more questions on the process of how to get that perfect logo, read this article from Start Up Bros.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into opening up your own store. There may be some costs, like hiring a person to write for your blog or someone to design your website and a logo for you. Those three crucial things will help your site grow tremendously and they will only cost you around a couple hundred bucks. But trust me, it will definitely be worth it and pay for itself.
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