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How to start a homemade candle business

Once you know that you make candles that will sell and make you money, you may want to start a business out of your home.

Some talented people fail at business because they do not know about the necessary licenses, or how to charge for their wares.

Making beautiful candles and running a small business efficiently are two completely separate skill sets. It is possible, however, to do both well.

Acquire the appropriate licenses to run a homemade candle business. Apply for a business license at your city or town offices. You may give your home address as you business address if you make the candles at home. You will be required to pay an annual fee for the business license; the amount varies depending upon where you live.

Inquire at your county offices to find out if you need a resale license. (City and county offices are different.) A resale license s required if you live in a state that charges sales tax, and it gives you the right to purchase candle making supplies such as wax and wick at wholesale prices and without paying sales tax. After you make and sell the candles, you will be required to pay sales tax on the price you charged for the candles.

A resale license is for your state; for example, you may have a California resale license or a Vermont resale license. However, some counties require additional sales tax on top of the state sales tax. So, if State sales tax is 6% and your county adds 2%, you will pay 8% sales tax on the purchase price of your candles. Most retailers collect sales tax from customers; for example, you sell a candle for 60p and charge the customer 70p to cover the cost of sales tax.

Request paying sales tax on an annual basis. Most businesses pay sales tax quarterly; candles are seasonal and you will do most of your business in the Winter. It may be difficult to remember to pay sales tax in July on a relatively small amount of sales.

Decide if you want to sell candles wholesale, retail, or both.

Wholesale candles are candles you make at home and sell to retail stores and gift shops. You do not charge sales tax because the store will charge sales tax when the candles are purchased.

Retail candles are candles you make at home and sell directly to the public. Charge sales tax if required by your state. Most likely, you will sell retail at art and craft shows.

Figure your prices.

Wholesale price: Your cost of supplies (wax, wick, colour, scent) x 2 = wholesale $.

Retail price: Wholesale $ x 2 = retail $.

If you ship candles via mail or UPS, the recipient pays for shipping (both wholesale and retail).

Have a home office. Making candles requires a heat source and you will most likely use your kitchen. You should have a separate room,however, to store all of your candles, supplies, equipment and paperwork. This room is "office space" and the rest of your home is "living space." The office space may be tax deductible.

It is acceptable to make candles in the kitchen and put everything away in the office space.

As a safety measure, all candle making equipment should be kept separate from food making equipment. Do not mix wax and food.

Consider your booth set up if you wish to sell retail at craft shows. Start small with inexpensive, indoor fairs that do not require you to purchase expensive displays. Christmas shows are a good way to start selling homemade candles. Look for small shows in schools and church basements.

If successful, work your way up to more expensive shows and purchase a 10' x 10' white canopy to market your wares at outdoor events.

Visit local gift shops if you wish to sell wholesale. Ask if the buyer is available or if you should make an appointment; take the business card if you need to make an appointment.

Visit during the week; never act as a sales representative on the weekend or after 5 PM. Bring samples of your best candles to show the buyer.

Things Needed

  • Business License
  • Retail License
  • Wax
  • Wick
  • Home Office Space
  • Candle making equipment
  • Art show display