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A simple guide to starting a candle business in the UK

6-minute read

Homemade soy candles
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

29 April 2022

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There’s been a surge in people wanting to work from home selling candles, whether that’s as a new way to make money or simply to enjoy some creative escapism.

Are you an artisan candle maker? Find out how to turn your hobby into a business with our step-by-step guide.

When starting your own business, it can be hard to know where to begin. Read our nine-step plan for how to make your own candles and start selling them from home. Or for a more general guide to getting set up, check out our step-by-step guide to starting a business.

A step-by-step guide to starting a candle making business

Use the links below to check out specific sections of the guide.

Design beautiful candles

Designing and making your candles is the fun part, and probably why you’re looking to make this artisan craft your side hustle or even a full-time business.

Candle making gives you the chance to play with shape, fragrance, and colours to create eye-catching products. For example:

  • try making personalised candles with photo memories
  • use colours and moulds to create candles inspired by anything from desserts to landscapes
  • design centre-pieces for festive tables or weddings

Making your first candle

Are you planning on making candles at home? Or do you have a workshop or commercial premises? Either way, YouTube has some useful video tutorials on how to make candles from home.

The process is fairly straightforward but, a lot like baking, the temperature and ingredients are important – pouring too hot or cold and you could end up with lumpy wax.

At this stage it can be useful to create some samples and gather feedback from a small group of target customers. Conducting thorough research during the product development phases will help you evaluate your initial concepts and bring the best version to market.

What about candle business names?

There’s a lot to a name. It conveys your brand’s personality and helps you stand out against your competitors. You should also be aware of intellectual property and copyright laws that protect products and brands.

Here are our tips for finding the right name for your business:

  • choose something unique – make sure no one else has had your idea first
  • make it memorable
  • consider SEO – search your name in Google to see what what else comes up
  • check the web domain is available – even if you’re not making a website just yet
  • don’t limit yourself – make sure the brand name works if you decide to expand your product offering in the future

We spoke to Olivia, Co-Founder at Keep Candles, about how they came up with their business name: "We spent a lot of time brainstorming as we didn't want it to be too cheesy and we also wanted it to reflect the ethos of the brand.

"In the end we both loved the name (and also the branding that we created) as we think it's really classic and aligns with our vision that good quality items should be built for the long term or to keep."

If you’re still stuck for candle business names, try our Business Name Generator for a bit of light-hearted inspiration.

Find your niche

Eco-friendly candles? Scented candles? Luxury candles? Decide on your product and who your target audience is and go from there.

It’s a good idea to look at what your competitors are doing to see if there are any gaps in the market. You might even find it useful to do a SWOT analysis of your business and main competitors to identify core areas to focus on.

Sustainability is central to Keep Candles, a homemade candle business set up by sister duo Olivia and Marnie. This ethos comes through in the wax, essential oils, and packaging decisions they make.

Olivia says: "We create dual purpose candles that can be used again and again. We have reversed the design process by curating a range of homeware vessels which we turn into unique scented candles that have a second life after burning."

Read our guide to starting a business from home for more tips.

Write a business plan and budget

Although we could all do without business admin, a business plan helps you understand your purpose, your strategic objectives, and your competitors. It can also help if you’re planning on applying for a start-up loan.

Next you’ll need to consider costs and make a budget.

It’s not expensive to set up your own candle making business – initial start-up costs can be about £50, depending on the candle supplies you go for.

Olivia, Co-Founder at Keep Candles, says: "It sounds cheesy but just start with something and then see how it goes. Task yourself with making £10 one weekend and you'll be surprised how quickly things grow."

"Doing your research is also key, and so is starting small – don't buy every colour of something that looks good online, as often you'll end up spending a fortune, and when it arrives you might think it's completely wrong and not usable," she added.

To work out your budget, you’ll need to think about:

  • set-up costs (including equipment and supplies)
  • how much time it takes to make your product
  • how much each candle costs you to make
  • shipping costs (if you’re selling online)

Buy the right candle supplies UK

Here’s a list of the equipment and supplies you’ll need for your candle business:

  • candle wax – soy wax, paraffin wax, beeswax, coconut wax (or a combination)
  • candle wicks – usually made of braided cotton or paper
  • scents – choose from a mix of organic and synthetic fragrances
  • dyes – liquid or powdered dyes can be added to your melted wax
  • moulds – these come in all shapes and sizes, or you can make your own
  • candle glasses – you can use these instead of moulds if you prefer
  • thermometer – to make sure your wax doesn’t heat above 80°C
  • saucepan and heat proof bowl – for melting your wax using the ‘double boiler’ method

You’ll also want to think about how you’re going to package your candles and get branded labels and gift boxes.

There are no specific legal requirements for selling candles in the UK, but you should be aware of:

Organise insurance

Whether you run a craft stall or are just selling online, your customers will expect your products to be safe. That’s why it’s important to get insurance for crafters.

You can select from a range of covers:

Start marketing and selling your candles

When it comes to how to make money selling homemade candles, think about where you’ll be selling and how you plan to market your business. For example, are you going to be selling online or in a bricks-and-mortar shop? Or perhaps you want to start selling candles at flea markets and craft fairs? It’s easy to set up an online shop using platforms like Shopify or Etsy, or even start selling on Amazon.

Writing a marketing plan can help you determine your strategic approach.

Use social media to your advantage

Candle businesses naturally lend themselves to social media marketing as you can take beautiful pictures to promote your brand and build a following. For tips on getting the most out of social media for your business, read our guides on:

How to remove candle wax to reuse containers

You might want to consider what happens to your candle container afterwards, and building that into the product development process.

To reuse a container, you just need to remove any remaining wax (bain marie style or by putting the pot in the freezer for the wax to shrink and pop out), remove the wick holder, and you'll be left with a beautiful container you can reuse.

Consider expanding into the wax melt business

Once you’ve nailed making candles, you might want to expand your product offering. For example, wax melts are popular on Etsy and Not On The High Street and you won’t need anything extra to make them.

How to make wax melts to sell

Wax melts are wickless candles that you heat with a burner or tealight to release the fragrance. And they’re super simple to make:

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer
  2. Put wax into heatproof bowl over the saucepan and stir with a spoon
  3. Add your fragrance or essential oils
  4. Pour melted wax into ice cube trays
  5. Beyond candle making

Still not sure if candle making is for you?

Here are some other top business ideas you could consider instead:

More useful guides for small business owners

Are you thinking of starting your own candle making business? Let us know in the comments.

Looking for self-employed insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it's public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we'll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we're a good fit.

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Photograph: New Africa/
Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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