Your Start-Up Candle Business Guide: Learning Your Market

When it comes to starting your own candle business there are plenty of things you’ll need to think about to get you started. From the products you’re using, your business model and even how to stand out from the crowd, with thousands of products at your disposal, it’s important to start off with a clear vision.

If you’re looking to start your own business in candle making, whether it's a side hustle or a full blown business, the first step is simple; outline your target market. 

Market research should never be underestimated. Many successful new businesses enjoy longevity because their owners conduct regular market research to understand their target market, identify consumer problems and pinpoint realistic competitors. 

Although many suggest working with wax first to get an idea of your product, your market will dictate a lot about your candle line. From the wax to the tumblers you use, so it's best to lock in that before you purchase bulk products. 

Of course it's important to make and sell products that you love, but if your goal is sales then the first port of call is to find the gap in the market and fill it. 

Research and Development 

So! You’ve decided to launch your own candle business. With the growing popularity of the products it’s a smart time to be getting in front of your audience. Did you know that the global candle market is worth more than NZD$20 billion as of 2021 - Needless to say it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

Like any business your first step is to identify your market. Who are you aiming to sell candles to? Are they men or women, younger or older demographic, are they interested in luxury goods, vegan goods or more rustic goods? Where are they based geographically, and what stores are already catering to this market. 

These are the kind of questions you need to ask. You can find out more information during your research and development time by chatting to family and friends about what they like about their favourite candles, and more importantly what they’d be willing to spend. 

Finding your market will give you a leg up and help you stay ahead of the competition, because you’ll have clear guidance on who you're targeting when the time comes to advertise. 

The easiest way to learn more about the demographics of your target market is by walking around both boutique and big box retailers to see what they stock, this will also help you identify a gap that isn’t being catered for. 

So, to start, ask yourself these questions; 

  • What group is my target market? (men, women, non-binary etc)
  • How old are they? (15-25, 25-35, 35-45, 45-55, 55+)
  • Where do they live? (Local, cities or rural)
  • What are they interested in? (Rustic DIY, veganism, foodies, Taylor Swift)
  • What stores are already catering to these people (Kmart, Jo Malone, Boutiques etc)
  • What is the gap that isn’t being filled? 

Once you have these questions answered, you have your customer profile. And although this profile may alter as you go, the core of it will remain the same. From here, you can begin to create a product that is going to appeal to this market. 

Let’s do an example. Say your market is women, aged 35-45, single, city-located with an interest in veganism. All of these answers you can decide yourself or discover through chatting to friends and family. 

From here we can begin to assume things about this person, due to age and living in the city alone they probably are willing to spend more on luxury goods as long as they fit into their lifestyle. We can assume from their vegan lifestyle the waxes you use will need to be non-beeswax, and that the scents you use would be the less masculine types. 

Now, remember that these profiles are just assumptions, they act as a guide, not a bible. Your business needs to be an extension of you, so make sure you’re putting your own flair and having fun with it. 

When it comes to really connecting with your customers it's important these days to have clear values. So make sure you outline why you’re launching this business (even if the answer is because you love making candles) and let that lead you on the journey. 

By doing your own research and development before committing to a product, you are making sure you’re starting off on the right footing. R&D can lead to great innovation and even discovery of new products you may not have thought of. 

With so many options for candle makers out there, it’s important you’re doing your market research and more importantly using trusted local providers who can help you on that journey.

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