Whether you want to earn some extra cash or want to start a successful business, home sales are a popular first-time business. Selling candles at home is one option for starting a home-based business. You can make and sell your own candles or become a distributor for a candle company. Candles are popular items that many people purchase for themselves and as gifts.
Things You'll Need
- Candle supply
- Table and display
- Product literature
- Advertising literature
Find out if your state and city require you to have a business license in order to sell candles from home. Check the Small Business Association (SBA) website and contact your city clerk's office to find out. The SBA website provides links to each state's small business requirements. You may also need to apply for a sales tax number and charge sales tax to your customers. It is important to operate legally from the start so you do not become responsible for fines or back taxes. You will also need to verify that your candles list their ingredients and have proper warning labels where applicable to comply with state and federal laws.
Decide if you will be making your own candles or becoming a distributor for a larger candle company. There are pros and cons to both approaches. Making your own candles may lower your cost and will give you the option of offering a greater range of products suited to your customers. However, you may need to provide additional labeling to meet safety regulations, and you will have a large inventory on hand that you paid for out of pocket that could cut into your operating capital. If you decide to become a distributor, you will have the experience and support of the company to back you up as well as the power of a well-advertised brand behind you. Your profit margin will be smaller because the company will get part of your profit and you may be required to purchase samples and marketing materials.
Prepare for your first home party by advertising in places where your potential customers are. An effective way is to invite your friends and family and request that they bring a friend or two with them. You can also leave fliers on bulletin boards and advertise online via mediums such as Craigslist. Door prizes, such as giving away a basket of candles, a gift certificate to be used toward an order, or an attractive candle holder, also encourage attendance. You may have a party at your own home or you may host it at another home. If you host it at another home, offer a benefit to the hostess, such as a discount or free merchandise per dollar amount sold at the party.
Get the home ready for the party. Arrange your table and displays attractively. Light a few of the candles, making sure to light those whose scents will complement each other. Have drinks and small finger foods available for your guests to nibble on. Light a few tea lights and place them around the food trays. Have plenty of product literature available. This can include product catalogs, product information and information about how to order after the party. You will also want to have hostess cards outlining the benefits of hosting a party and information on how to become a hostess. Offer candle accessories as well--snuffers, candle holders and candelabras that will fit your product are all good ideas.
During your party, give a short presentation about the candles and allow the guests to sample the scent of each one. Outline the benefits of your products. Do they burn longer or have a stronger scent, or are they made of natural materials? Answer your guests' questions and encourage a fun, informal atmosphere. Treat your guests as you would your friends and avoid the hard sell until the end when you pass out the order forms, though you will want to gently bring the conversation back to the candles if it strays too far off topic. If you have your product available, make sure it is attractively packaged and pass it out after payment. If you must wait for delivery from the distributor, make sure your customers understand when their order will arrive. If you have those who are not sure they wish to order, send them home with an order form and a small tea light of their favorite scent. They may decide to order later.