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How to Start a Candle Making Business

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Candle Making Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$1,040 - $1,680

Revenue potential

$60,000 - $180,000 p.a.

Time to build

0 - 3 months

Profit potential

$30,000 - $72,000 p.a.

Industry trend




If you have a passion for candles, their design, scent, and feel, then starting a candle-making business could be in the cards for you. Candles can add a bit of romance or give a room a more natural glow — and they make for great gifts at an affordable price. Homemade candles, in particular, feel like they’ve been crafted from the warmth of the heart.

But of course, starting your candle business will take preparation and work. With this step-by-step guide, we provide all the information you need to develop and launch your business while avoiding common missteps.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and Cons

Every business has its pros and cons, and it’s a good idea to weigh these factors to decide if starting a candle business is a good fit.


  • Flexible — Set your own schedule and work when you want
  • Rewarding work — Chasing your passion, expressing your creativity in candles
  • Simple business model — Make and sell candles — not complicated
  • Minimal startup costs — Few materials needed; sell online
  • Good money & scalability — With low costs, profits can be strong; grow as you wish


  • Heavy competition v Due to the low barriers to entry, there are many custom candle makers out there that you will have to compete against
  • May need a supplier — In order to effectively grow your business, you may need to pair with a supplier, which will decrease your autonomy
  • Repetitive work with no safety net — You’ll receive no salary for your candle-making; earnings will rely on you churning out candles
  • Difficult to build customer trust and loyalty — With no face-to-face interactions, your candle website may have a hard time building a loyal customer base

Candle Industry Trends

Increased demand for home decor products has helped expand and broaden the candle-making market in recent years. Today’s custom-made marketplace offers innovative scents, multiple colors, organic ingredients, and a wide variety of shapes and sizes. One inventive maker even sells a candle shaped like a hand, with wicks on the end of each finger! The price? A cool $65.((https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/light-my-fingers-candle))

These days, pumpkin candles do well in the fall, peppermint in winter, and citrus in the summer. The candle industry has grown alongside the spa and yoga studio market.

Industry Size and Growth

candle industry size and growth

Trends and Challenges

candle industry Trends and Challenges


  • Increasing consumer preference for personalized candles
  • Great interest in wooden wicks
  • Rapid growth of ecommerce


  • Labor shortage
  • Environmental concerns

What Kind of People Work in a Candle Business?

candle industry demographics

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Candle Business?

The startup costs for a candle business depend almost entirely on your starting inventory, which is the largest cost. In general, to get you started in a modest capacity, startup costs will range from about $1,000 to nearly $1,700.

You will need several different items to launch your candle business, including special equipment you’ll need to purchase. Websites like Candle Science, Candles and Supplies, and CandleWic offer a comprehensive selection of candle-making equipment. Here is a list to get you started:

  • Aluminum melting pitcher
  • Aluminum pouring pot
  • Glass thermometer
  • Wick bars and holders
  • Molds, wax, wicks
  • Fragrance materials
  • Scale
  • Measuring cup(s)
  • Clothespins
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Initial inventory and supplies$360–$440$400
Labels and shipping costs$80–$100$90
Licenses and permits$110–$130$120
Insurance $200–$400$300

How Much Can You Earn From a Candle Business?

candle business earnings forecast

Candles can be made for a relatively low cost and sold at a high margin, from 30% all the way to 75% in net margin. The total potential earnings for a candle business depend on your level of production. For example, if you’re selling candles at $10 each and they cost you $5 to make, then you make $5 for each sale and your gross profit margin is 50%. 

In your first year or two, you could work from home and sell 500 candles a month, bringing in $60,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $30,000 in profit, assuming that 50% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to 1,500 candles a month. At this stage, you’d rent a storefront and hire staff, reducing your profit margin to around 40%. With an annual revenue of $180,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $72,000.

Candleers, a candle-making advisory, estimates that the average candle maker earns $50,000 per year, with the bottom 10% making less than $25,000 and the top 10% checking in at more than $100,000. Simply put, annual earnings will depend on how many candles you are selling and at what price point you are selling them.

Ultimately, your candle business’ earnings will be heavily dependent on the cost of inventory and the cost of making the candles. Your per candle price should be determined by your costs and how much you hope to earn from each sale. Candle-making has relatively low fixed costs, so this ratio will be among the most important aspects of your business.

To find the right price, research the prices of your closest competition.

What Barriers to Entry Are There?

  • Knowledge of candle-making — This is a basic barrier for any candlemaker. While not the most difficult process in the world, learning candle-making requires time and focus.
  • Access to top suppliers — The most successful candle makers typically secure relationships with top suppliers such as Amazon, Etsy, Shopify, and others.
  • Designs must be up-to-date — Candle makers need to keep up with the latest customer desires for new scents, shapes, and styles.
  • More than a full-time job — A candle maker’s earnings depend on the amount of time and energy they are willing to devote to the work.

Related Business Ideas

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a candle business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an Opportunity

The first thing an aspiring candle business owner should do is assess their skills and knowledge about candles in relation to the larger market. You can find good opportunities with some simple research into the most popular candles and their makers. Try to answer questions like: What are the most popular candle websites and what are their bestselling products? Which price points are most appealing? At which cost could you produce the same candles, and what materials would you need to do so?

Your business brand will be determined as a result of your research and the market opportunity you choose to target with your candle creations. You might go in for wildly shaped or exotically scented niche-market candles, or go for a mass market product. The choice is entirely up to you!

What? Define Your Offerings and Candle Types

Make a list of all of the candles you might like to make. Some of the popular candle types, each appealing to different segments of buyers, include but are not limited to:

  • Scented and aromatherapy candles
  • Twisted and other sculpted candles
  • Decorative and other artistic candles
  • Vegan candles
  • Soy candles
  • Odor-eliminating candles
  • Bug repellant candles
  • Long-lasting candles

Each candle could require different ingredients and a different process of creation. You should consider which type of candles you’d like to define your brand. This will determine your material needs, production schedule, and marketing.

How Much Should You Charge for Your Candles?

Most homemade candles you’ll find online are priced in the $15 to $30 range. Specialty candles that provide a special scent or artistic design will of course be more expensive than straightforward candles of traditional shape and size.

You should price your candles based on your costs and your profit expectations informed by market norms. It’s best to do a good deal of market research before settling on your price points.

Once you know your costs, you can use our profit margin calculator to determine your markup and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify Your Target Market

Different candle types will be popular for different market segments, and at different times of the year. As noted above, citrus and fruit-scented candles will be popular in the warmer months, while mint-scented candles will do better in winter.

Women tend to be bigger candle buyers than men, and homeowners buy more than renters.

Spas and yoga centers, restaurants, retailers, and other small businesses that rely on candles to create a certain ambiance will also be in your target market.

Depending on the type of candle you produce, some will meet the desires of a specific customer – such as eco-friendly, vegan candles, or highly decorative candles. And keep in mind, the more original and exotic your niche, the more you may be able to charge!

Where? Choose Your Business Premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a storefront. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
candle business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Candle Business Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
  • The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords in the name, such as “candle” or “wax,” boosts SEO
  • Choose a name that allows for expansion: “Bright Flame Candles” rather than “Aromatherapy Candles”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Discover over 410 unique candle business name ideas here. If you want your business name to include specific keywords, you can also use our candle business name generator. Just type in a few keywords, hit Generate, and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Candle Making Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive summary — A brief overview of the candle making business, highlighting its mission, goals, and key points for potential investors or partners
  • Business overview — A detailed description of the candle making business, including its history, mission, vision, and legal structure
  • Product and services — Clear delineation of the types of candles offered, their unique features, and any additional services, like customization or fragrance options
  • Market analysis — Examination of the candle market, identifying target demographics, trends, and potential growth areas for the business
  • Competitive analysis — Assessment of other candle makers in the market, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the business
  • Sales and marketing — Strategies for promoting and selling candles, encompassing pricing, distribution channels, and promotional activities
  • Management team — Introduction of key individuals involved in the candle making business, emphasizing their relevant skills and experience
  • Operations plan — Detailed explanation of the day-to-day operations, including the production process, sourcing materials, and quality control measures
  • Financial plan — Overview of the financial aspects of the business, encompassing startup costs, revenue projections, and budgeting for ongoing operations
  • Appendix — Supplementary materials such as detailed financial statements, market research data, or any other supporting documents

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — a prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s done, you have your own business!

Choose Where to Register Your Company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to candle making. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind that it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose Your Business Structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your candle business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole proprietorship — The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General partnership — Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) — Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corporation — Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corporation — This refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. Either a corporation or an LLC can elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. Here, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.

Form Your LLC

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number or EIN. You can file for your EIN online, by mail, or by fax. Visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate on a calendar year (January–December), or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund Your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing
  • Bank loans — This is the most common method, but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and a strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans — The Small Business Administration can act as a guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants — A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and family Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal — Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a candle business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept. 

Step 8: Apply for Candle Making Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a candle business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your candle business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability — The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business property — Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment breakdown insurance — Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation — Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property — Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto — Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability — Protects against claims from clients who say they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP) — This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential Software and Tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as Craftybase to track material and product stock, log expenses, and update pricing. You can also use NetSuite Commerce to manage your online and in-store transactions.


  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, FreshBooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences of filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop Your Website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

However, people are unlikely to find your website unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 


Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Social media showcase — Use Instagram, Pinterest, and Etsy to display your unique candle designs and share the stories behind each scent and collection.
  • E-commerce SEO — Optimize your online store to rank highly in searches for handcrafted and specialty candles, ensuring visibility to potential customers.
  • Engaging online experience — Develop an interactive website that allows customers to easily explore and purchase from your candle collections.
  • Distinctive branding and packaging — Design your product packaging to reflect the quality and uniqueness of your candles, making them instantly recognizable.
  • Introductory offers — Attract new customers with discounts on their first purchase or special bundle deals.
  • Regular email newsletters — Engage your customer base with updates on new products, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, and special offers.
  • Candle care blog — Share expert advice on candle maintenance, the benefits of various waxes and scents, and insights into the craft of candle making.
  • Customer spotlights — Feature customer reviews and photos on your platforms to foster a community feel and show real-life applications of your products.
  • Candle making workshops — Offer interactive workshops where customers can learn to make their own candles, enhancing their connection with your brand.
  • Pop-up shops — Utilize pop-up shops at fairs and markets to physically showcase your candles and directly engage with new customers.
  • Local business partnerships — Collaborate with local businesses, like spas and cafes to offer your candles, expanding your reach and customer base.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your candle business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your candle business could be:

  • Regional or seasonal scents
  • Twisted and unusual designs
  • Aromatherapy candles
  • Eco-friendly and vegan candles
  • Visually satisfying online store with a customizable selection
  • Lifestyle and decor recommendations with every candle order
  • Branded Pinterest posts detailing candle ideas
  • Reusable candles


You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain but your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a candle business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been making candles for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in candles. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

You may not need any employees if you are starting out small from a home-based office. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various job roles. The potential employees for a candle business include:

  • Candle maker
  • Label maker
  • Packer and shipper
  • Marketing strategist
  • IT specialist for your website 
  • Accountant

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Candle Business — Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Scented candles are widely thought to melt stress, induce or improve sleep, provide therapeutic care, and more. That’s why candle making is a nearly $3 billion market in the US and remains one of the top business ideas globally. Now that you have all the information you need to start a candle business, it’s time to take the first step in your entrepreneurial journey. 

If you do proper research to better understand what your target market needs and craft a brilliant marketing strategy, you can light your way to success and start making a great profit!

Candle Business FAQs

How long do homemade candles last?

Homemade candles typically last for 12-15 months if stored in a cool, dry place. They burn approximately one hour for each inch of their length. The burn time can vary based on the materials and wicks used.

How do you ship candles?

Since candles can be fragile, it is best to package them in durable boxes and fill the interior with tissue paper or bubble wrap to cushion them during transit. For certain candles and climates, you may want to include frozen gel packets within the box to prevent any melting. See this guide from Paper Mart for some more tips and tricks on candle shipping.

Are scented and other specialty candles safe?

Yes, scented and unscented candles – using the appropriate materials – are safe for use. Both synthesized and natural scents have been widely tested and deemed safe. Wicks and wax sold by candle makers and suppliers are also safe, as they must be approved by the relevant regulatory agencies. For more info on candle safety, consult this comprehensive FAQ from the National Candle Association.

Do you need insurance to sell candles?

No, insurance is not required to sell candles in the US. However, many candle makers buy liability insurance to help shield against any potential legal action. Ultimately, candles deal with fire, so there always liability concerns for sellers. The Armatage Candle Company provides a useful guide on candle maker insurance.

Is candle making a profitable business?

Candle making can be a profitable business, but success depends on various factors such as market demand, product quality, pricing, marketing, and effective business management. If you sell online, you’ll have to spend some money on digital marketing to get traffic to your site.

Is a candle business hard?

Starting and running a candle business can have its challenges, including sourcing quality materials, developing unique scents and designs, managing inventory and production, marketing and competition, and maintaining consistent quality.

What type of candles sell best?

Some popular candle categories include scented candles, soy candles, natural or organic candles, decorative or artisanal candles, and seasonal or themed candles. 

Can I use essential oils in candles?

Yes, you can use essential oils in candles to add natural fragrance. It’s important to choose oils suitable for candle making and to adhere to guidelines for safe use. Typically, essential oils should make up about 5-10% of the total wax weight.


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How to Start a Candle Making Business