Six Things To Consider Before You Commit To a Wholesale Candle Supplier
Candles are a viable online business both on their own and as a complement to other products. The market valued at $3.45 billion in 2018 continues to grow – amplified by a COVID-19 world where people spend more time at home and minding their mental health.
There are tons of uses and types of candles, so it’s important to know what to look for in a wholesale candle supplier before you commit to any agreements. And even if you have tons of experience as a consumer of candles, being a proprietor of candles is a whole different story.
If you’re looking for a wholesale candle supplier, take yourself through these six steps to make sure you find the right one for your business needs.
1. Determine What Candles You Want To Sell
The variety of candles out there is practically endless:
- Scented vs. unscented: There are candles for ambiance while others offer olfactory benefits. For three-quarters of shoppers, scent is extremely or very important in their purchase decision. And some estimates count more than 10,000 candle scents available in the US.
- Candle type: Votives, container candles, and pillars are the most popular types of candles, but there are many other kinds. You can also sell tea lights, floating candles, tapers – there’s a candle for pretty much everything.
- Ingredients: We’ll dig deeper into this in a bit, but there are soy, beeswax, synthetic, and many different materials that can go into your candles.
It’s okay to start with one type of candle with the idea of expansion in the future. If that’s your plan of attack, make sure your supplier of choice has the variety of products you’ll need.
2. Check the Candle Ingredients
There are many ways you can manufacture candles and tons of ingredients you can use. And consumers are starting to pay more attention. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of what goes into the products they’re using and demand for organic and natural wax candle products is rising. So it’s equally important you make yourself aware of what goes into the products you plan to sell.
The most common types of wax used in candles are:
- Paraffin: Owning a 30 percent market share in the industry in 2018, paraffin is affordable, easy to work with, and water-resistant (ideal for floating candles). However, it’s a petroleum by-product, so environmentally conscious customers may be averse to these types of candles.
- Soy: Expected to grow 8.5 percent annually through 2025, soy wax has a high melting point so it burns slow, which makes it ideal for fragrance and colored candles. It’s also more environmentally friendly as it’s manufactured from soybeans. It doesn’t hold its shape well, so this works better in containers.
- Beeswax: Another environmentally friendly (and cruelty-free) ingredient, beeswax is natural, non-toxic, and renewable – and also hypoallergenic. A lot goes into producing this type of wax, so it can be pricier than other options. Beeswax holds its shape well, so it can be used as a standalone candle without a container – votives, pillars, stiicks, etc.
- Coconut wax: Coconut wax is renewable, natural, holds scent well, and burns slowly. It has a low melting point, so it’s best in containers. It’s also more expensive than other waxes.
- Palm wax: Palm wax is natural and renewable, but the manufacturing processes are questioned by many. Farmers burn several acres of forest at a time to obtain the raw ingredients needed to create palm wax and other palm-derived products. It’s a good idea to steer clear of palm wax.
There’s more to candles than wax. Many have scent in the form of natural ingredients, essential oils, or synthetic concoctions. Scent is important, considering nearly half of Americans use candles for air freshening and room deodorizing purposes.
Generally speaking, synthetic fragrances and ingredients are on their way out. They’re harmful to the environment and people’s health. You might see synthetic ingredients disguised as “fragrance.” While the FDA allows for this vague language to protect trade secrets, some manufacturers have taken advantage of the loophole to omit listing certain ingredients. Fragrance can mean synthetic, so it’s best to avoid.
Instead, look for natural ingredients. Essential oils, for instance, are often added for scent. This industry is experiencing its own increase in demand for 100 percent plant-based oils, sans synthetic and animal-based ingredients.
Frequency LLC is one great option. They sell soy candles that don’t have any synthetic fragrances, preservatives, chemicals, silicones, parabens, phthalates, or ingredients tested on animals.
Before you buy wholesale candles, make sure you know exactly what went into them – and make sure you can confidently communicate that to your customers.
3. Find a Supplier With Products That Match Your Target Market
Now that you’ve defined what you’re looking for, it’s time to map those needs to a supplier. Candles have a place in so many different niches, and it’s important to understand the niche you’re targeting so you can find the products that will meet their needs and desires.
If you have an existing business, you likely already know about your customers and their preferences.
You might be looking to launch a business dedicated solely to selling candles. In that case, look for a wholesale supplier that has a variety of candle offerings. Maybe you own a salon or spa and have retail as a component and want to test the candles in your space and for sale – look for a supplier with a focus on aromatherapy. Or maybe you want to add candles to your subscription boxes, in which case you’ll want small and fun votives or tin candles that match the other products featured in your boxes.
If you’re adding candles to your home goods business, you might opt for a supplier like Elyse Maguire. The women’s and home accessories brand offers a collection of soy candles as well as scarves, pillows, and other related goods.
It’s always a good idea to define who you plan to sell to and the types of candles they will want to buy before you choose a candle supplier.
4. Choose a Candle Supplier That Can Grow With You
Especially if you’re just starting out with selling candles, it can be easy to focus on what you need right now. But the most successful businesses consider both their present and future needs.
As your business grows, you’ll reach more customers and make more sales. This will mean you’ll need to place bigger orders with your suppliers and potentially introduce new candle products. Some suppliers offer candles as an adjacent offering to other products. Others have more of a focus on candles and related products.
Old City Canning Co., for example, has a whole collection of candles to choose from. If you’re interested in making candles a cornerstone of your product collection, this would be a supplier worth exploring.
Or, in the case of TERRA, candles are all they do. This indicates a likelihood that they’ll be able to scale alongside your growing business, but it’s always best to reach out directly and have a conversation about your goals and needs.
It’s also important to note the seasonal trends that affect the candle industry and ensure your supplier can fulfill your needs during periods of peak demand. More than a third of annual candle sales happen during the holidays, for example. Inquire about lead times and how quickly their operations can scale to fulfill large orders – as well as what the maximum order size is.
5. Factor In Import Fees
International selling comes with additional taxes and tariffs. These import fees, or customs and duties, are applied to both the seller and the buyer in some cases. This affects you, your suppliers, and your customers.
Each country has its own product classification system which helps them determine associated duties and fees:
- US – USITC Tariff Database
- UK – GOV.UK Trade Tariff Service
- EU countries – Trade Market Access Database
Candles have two different classification possibilities in the US:
- Textile wicks, woven, plaited or knitted, for lamps, stoves, candles and the like; gas mantles and tubular knitted gas mantle fabric (HTS 59080000): 3.4 percent tax
- Votive-candle holders of glass, nesoi (HTS 70139935): 6.6 percent tax
There are also duty calculators available online:
When you research and plan for import fees ahead of time, you’ll be able to more accurately determine profitability and better price your products.
6. Final Vetting of Your Candle Supplier
With so many candle suppliers out there, it can be difficult to shine a light on the red flags. But there are steps you can take to ensure you’ve carefully vetted your supplier before it’s too late.
Ask potential suppliers for documents and resources to prove their legitimacy, like:
- Business license/registration
- Compliance certificates
- Proof of FDA registration
- Current customer references and their contact info
Put your PI hat on and conduct your own investigation too – type keyword phrases like “[supplier name] reviews” and “[supplier name] scam” into Google to help you uncover any red flags.
It’s tough to verify a supplier’s professionalism and trustworthiness. When you use a reputable wholesale marketplace, they’ll handle the verification process for you, giving you more peace of mind. We carefully vetted and selected every supplier on Handshake, for example, so you can feel confident in their quality and professionalism.
Summary: Finding a Wholesale Candle Supplier
Finding a wholesale supplier for any product is exciting but intimidating – and it’s so critical to your business success. To find the right candle supplier, consider these six things:
- Know what types of candles you want to sell. Consider whether you want to have the option to grow your candle product line over time.
- Get acclimated to candle ingredients. Understand what type of wax is used, as well as additional ingredients.
- Pick a supplier with products that resonate with your customer. After you’ve defined your target market, understand what types of candles they need.
- Think about the future. Find a wholesale candle supplier that is prepared to grow with you.
- Calculate import fees. When importing and exporting internationally, there may be additional taxes you’ll need to consider when crunching numbers.
- Verify everything. Get all the documentation you need to prove the legitimacy of your potential wholesale supplier.
There are tons of wholesale candle suppliers out there. Start your search with the carefully vetted suppliers at Handshake.