How Much Money Do You Make Selling Candles?

Selling candles can be a great way to make money even as a side business. This is one of the most asks questions. People are curious about candle making because it is a craft that everyone can relate to.

The profit margin for candles is between 25% and 50%. The average cost for an 8-ounce candle can run just under $3 and they can be sold for around $10 to $15 each. Selling at weekend craft shows at about 100 candles each week can earn you somewhere around $1000 a month. This is just a baseline. However, this is a craft that can be tailored to your lifestyle with very little initial investment and overhead as a start-up business.

Every candle business owner should breakdown the cost and make sure the profit is in line for growth. I do this every year to check my pricing to make sure I am earning money. Here is an example of how much I make selling candles.

 

candle cost breakdown

 

This profit margin variation is relative to the market. As a rule, the formula is to price your candle 2 times the cost for wholesale and 3 times the cost for retail. Selling a candle at a flea market may be worth $8. However, that same candle could be sold in a boutique for $15. Like real estate, location matters.

How much money do you make selling candles at flea markets?

 

This is usually the cheapest table rental or weekend rental. Pricing for this venue is often low as people expect to get a basement bargain. Most people think of this as a yard sale and often will not pay good prices. I have sold at an indoor flea market for years and kept my cost low. I do not make much profit selling here. I must make up for it in volume.

The bonus at a flea market is the traffic and exposure to a crowd supports that. I do not make as much money per candle, but I sell a lot of candles. This is where I can make about $1500 a month consistently.

We will call these $5 candles.

How much money do you make selling candles at craft and vendor shows?

 

The table rental for this venue is a little more and the locations you will do a show will move around. Doing weekend shows can add to the cost of travel. I always stayed local. This is a little harder for me to manage and I usually make about an extra $500 around Christmas time with a couple of shows. I do pick up a couple of customers. This helps to drive sales to my booth at the flea market.

The bigger the show, the more money you will make. The cost of the table rental is usually more as well. For this location, people expect to pay more and have an appreciation for the craft. I also tried to target holiday shopping in the 4th quarter and neighborhoods that had a higher average household income.

We will call these $8 – $15+ candles.

How much money do you make selling candles in salons or boutiques?

 

This is a more luxury candle and can yield a high-profit margin of around 50%. There is a broader margin based on foot traffic and the average customer spend. Chain salons may have a higher profit margin than a craft show and similar traffic but will not hit the high end that specialty boutiques will bring.

Some dress shops in the mall will allow “pop-up” stores for you to display your candles throughout the year if you ask. This would allow you to take advantage of their traffic and customer base to advertise and potentially sell.

This accounts for about $150 -$200 a year in my sales around springtime. This is harder for me to manage and the traffic is slower. This also must be monitored.

The strategy for this would be to research the customer demographic that would purchase your candle and match that consumer to the retail environment. You would need to pair up with the retail buyer and try to find a placement. Becoming your own salesperson is another skill to learn.

This can be a great avenue especially if you can acquire an account that has multiple locations. Sometimes a salon owner may have 3 locations. These are also good downtown spots.

Some boutiques offer this in different agreements so take that into consideration. There could be a space rental that you must take care of, a resale agreement, or a commission agreement. Sometimes it is a combination. These do not always go well financially for me and it must be a very good set up to win me over!

We will call these $15 – $35+ candles

How much money do you make selling candles wholesale?

 

This is a great way to break into the industry and make consistent sales. This strategy can be viewed more in the direction of making a salary or a business that has an annual earning. Usually, this is contract-based and the supply is continuous. You can start small and scale this to a six-figure income.

Wholesale was hard for me to maintain and work full time. This avenue requires a full-time commitment and assistance from a partner or employee. Earning less profit from one candle must be offset from selling many candles. The glory is this business model is designed to sell many.

Knowing that I will make a $3 profit per candle on 250 candles (wholesale order) is a different feeling than making $8 per candle on 250 candles that I am not sure when they will sell.

This type of account is a little harder to find. Every year there used to be a wholesale show in Atlanta and a beauty supply show in Mount Pleasant. Networking at shows can pay off with bigger profits. Meeting the right people is crucial.

How much money do you make selling candles as a white-label?

 

This is a unique strategy and you can make a lot of money. This is a little different than wholesale in that you are manufacturing on behalf of a product label. You make a product and someone else puts their name on it. Depending on the agreement, it can be your product, or you can manufacture their product.

Either way, the profit margin is like wholesale. You charge based on what service you perform. If you provide candles that are bare, and they label, you could make $2 per candle. If you label, you can charge, etc.

Most of the time I see this as raw material or bare products. This would be unlabeled candles shipped to a customer for them to label and package to the end customer. They would also be marketing and selling to the end-user. You would be the manufacturing entity. This is a larger scale.

An example of this would be the Yankee candle. They are also Wood wick which is also Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Bay is the white label for Avon. It is ALL manufactured by the same company.

The difference may be the blend or recipe. The labeling could be different. The marketing is different. It is possible to make variations of product lines and sell them under different names. Not that I would want to as an artisan, but you could reduce the fragrance and sell a “lower-end” candle made for a dollar store and still make the same amount of money.

Alternatively, larger candles can yield bigger profits as the cost of the container (as an example) may be the same but the perception of a larger candle price could be more. Making 25% on an 8-ounce candle could be 35% margin on a 16-ounce candle simply because it is bigger.

 

Collectively, all the venues above can be scaled to earn money on the side at around $1000 a month. It can also grow to earn six-figures working full time. A candle-making business is profitable and flexible to fit many lifestyles.

To make more money selling candles you must do 1 of 4 things:

  1. Reduce the cost to manufacture
  2. sell more candles
  3. increase the cost (value) of the candle
  4. increase the amount per sale