What You Need to Start a Home-Based Craft Business

Professional Candle making is a Great Idea to Start a Home-Based Business

Candle making is a craft that has recently had a revival. Fragrant candles and colorful candles that can be made in your workshop, add a new dimension to home decor using cost effective material. Candle making can become a home based business that easily markets the product on the web. The article gives some concrete ideas for a small workshop with approximate costs of the finished product on the market; details of the wax material and fragrances available and recommends the most popular and easy to use waxes. It is a creative and original content giving original names for fragrant candles.

Candles are a product that can be crafted from a small workshop at home and requires only a few utensils, primarily molds with a wick that can be easily made at home with a little ingenuity. Quality waxes and fragrances give homemade candles a professional finish. Here are a few insights that will help you choose the appropriate waxes and fragrances for your finished product; and some marketing content for web marketing of your product.

Scented candles; mellow spice and berry wood

Have a candle appropriate for any occasion. Candle making is a unique craft. It is functional and it has recently become popular at restaurants and quaint shops as decorations, for the flicker, and now evens their fragrance. On a sultry evening, a scented candle is a delightful way to fragrant your home. It gives a delicate aroma that pervades the atmosphere around your living room, or bedroom. It also has therapeutic properties. What is it about candle making that attracts its customers to buy and sell in this craft?

Scented candles are more expensive than ordinary candles ranging from $10 to $20 depending on the size of the candle. With the inclusion of a few drops of concentrated fragrant oil into the melted wax and whisking it to distribute the fragrance evenly throughout the pour pot, before pouring the fragrant wax into the mould gives us the final product. Although ordinary whisks may suffice, a 10″ whisk with a flat end handle is a tool used in the craft. The mould is what gives the candle its final shape and although there are a variety of designs available, the most popular ones are the geometrical block candles and the cylindrical candles. These are durable and easily maintained once burned. To maintain a steady flow of the finished candles, melt enough wax for a batch of 10 different moulds and ensure that the capacity of the pouring pot is large enough to hold the melted wax that expands on melting and allows the fragrance to be whisked in easily into the wax.

There are many popular fragrances available for scented candles from wholesale stores. Alternatively fragrant oils, available from perfumeries can also be used. The amount of fragrance used in the scented candle wax depends on the concentration of the fragrant oil. Ordinarily a few drops of fragrance, 1-2 oz of a concentrated industrial quality fragrance is sufficient

The Different Variety of Fragrances that are Available on Wholesale Markets

When purchasing fragrances, have an idea about the type of fragrances you want to use. Most fragrant oil stores have a detailed guide of fragrances, giving a short description of the fragrance and the number of the fragrance. Here are a few ideas to start with for fragrant candles.

Using a few particular types of fragrance can make your product exquisite. A range of fragrances that are available in market are base notes of amber and sandalwood; citrus; floral and fruity fragrances that have become increasingly popular with the younger market. Within these basic fragrances are a range of fragrances the sheer numbers of which can stun olfactory senses. When shopping for fragrances, allow enough time to decide which ones are the right fragrances for the product you want to make and choose four or five different fragrances at a time. Once you overcome this experimental phase of selection, you will have a better gauge of the fragrances for infusion in candles. The recommended fragrances that a craft maker may want to try initially are aromatic amber, exotic spice, mellow spice, apple blossom and woodland berries, ginger and orange.

Why make fragrant candles?

There are many properties of fragrant oils, some of them therapeutic. An increasing number of people are taking leisure time in exercise or relaxing in aroma therapy parlors. Fragrant candles are a simple an easy way to relax in your own living room to enjoy the atmosphere of a uniquely scented room. It is also a more affordable alternative and does not involve making your way to a massage parlor or sign up for a regimen. Another is to simply decorate your interiors that set your rooms apart from others, creating a uniquely decorative effect with your personal touch in the selection of the fragrance, color and type of candle. Those dedicated to candle craft, have collections of candles arranged around the living space that serve lighting purposes instead of lamps. Traditional candles and theme candles are also very popular in their decorative effects and are adored for their translucence and their hues that silhouette the candle in the dark.

Type of Wax “Container blended or votive”

Wax is the primary raw material used in candle making. There are several available in the market and careful selection is necessary to avoid any initial difficulties in melting the wax to evenly distribute the fragrance and the color.

Several different types of candle wax are available on the market each with its own qualities. Wax is obtained from either organic sources or derived from petroleum by products. What is the deciding factor is the easy availability of the product and its quality in producing the finished product. Animal wax has been used traditionally but may be difficult to find on the market. Animal wax includes Chinese Beeswax, goat tallow and wax obtained from vegetable oils. Hard waxes have been obtained from animal fats such as tallow that has an odor and can take a while to melt. Wax obtained from petroleum by products is comparatively odorless and melt rapidly. Waxes obtained from vegetable oils may be more readily available and because of their recent harvest could also be cost effective. Crafting candles professionally requires about 500g of wax at a time. Not a vast quantity but a regular supply would be an important input. Of the vegetable waxes, Carnauba wax is a hard wax obtained from Brazilian palm. Canella wax, sugar cane wax, ouricury wax and jojoba are some other popular waxes used. In terms of their chemical composition, these waxes contain fatty acids, primary alchohols, ketones and are esters all of them obtained from natural plant sources.

Paraffin wax is a completely different type of wax and is also use for candle making. Paraffin waxes are obtained from hydrocarbon chains, and are essentially petroleum by products. Paraffin wax has different qualities attributable to the degree of branching of the hydro-compound chains into their aromatic compounds such as the isoalkanes, naphthenes and alkyl chains. Their properties will include different melting points and the ease with which they are blended. Paraffin wax is also the most popular wax used in candles. There are two types of paraffin wax; straight paraffin and blended paraffin. Straight paraffin is often made from shorter hydrocarbon chains, has a lower melting point of between 125- 200 degrees and as a result is very difficult to regulate. It has to be blended with other waxes from the hydrocarbon chain, commonly termed “blended paraffin wax” also available in the market, to retain their fragrance and colour. With straight wax, additives need to be mixed to bind the fragrance and dye so they do not seep from the candle wax. The results are not always uniform when blending the waxes in the workshop. Blended paraffin wax is a standard product that ensures consistency and quality from the manufacturer.

Other commonly known blends are votive pillar and contained wax both are hard waxes blended to retain sent. Votive and pillar waxes appear to contract more on cooling and are used in candles that are release from the moulds rather than candles in containers and jars with gaps. Making pillar candles from votive wax will melt them on the sides once burned. Some of the wholesale names for blended waxes are: oneway pour IGI 4630 harmony container blend, paraffin / soy blend wax (IGI 6006), container candle wax (IGI 4786) All of these container waxes are blended waxes and are used more than any other wax. They can retain fragrance and produce a quality product. As with all craft try the most recommended first and experiment with other waxes after a little more experience.

Candles can be crafted using a variety of colors that are available on wholesale markets. White and Black candles are the two contrasting colors that I have suggested here for marketing purposes.

White Candles

White candles, Ivory, creamy white of azeleas, white of wedding gowns, white like the first snow, white of fresh clean table linen. White is an epitome of purity and simplicity and beauty. White candles are just as unique. A collection of white candles impart a mysticism wherever they are placed. In addition to a decorative effect, they are especially suitable for special occasions. White candles at wedding celebrations are delightful and complement receptions perfectly. The incandescent light of translucent white candles, give a very delicate atmosphere. They are versatile and can be used as decorations and lighting tables at any occasion. Why white? White candles have an innate quality of offering a beautiful effect without looking misplaced. Incandescent light from white candles auguement many auspicious occasions and celebrations. Birth ceremonies are very aptly decorated by white candle light just as they are decorative for festive occasions. Apart from decorating special occasions, creamy white candles are a self indulgence in themselves. Having a collection of assorted votive candles, tea light candles are luminous and blend in perfectly with their surroundings. Poised smartly on my table in the living room, one of my guests remarked my ability to choose the perfect place for a quaint decoration. On a formal dinner with close relatives, I had miniature ivory white floating candles as a decorative centre piece at the dinner table. They were admired for their quaintness and were a delightful surprise for all of my family who never bore of applause at these dinners. Most of all they added to make a memorable occasion. White candles are crafted by mixing a white dye after melting the wax.

Ivory white is available as an industrial dye for creamy white candles. In the first instance, mix a small quantity of color into the pour pot containing the melted wax using a whisk. Once the color is distributed evenly throughout the wax, pour into the mould or a decorative jar for a votive candle. Once again, the quality of wax is important. A good quality paraffin blend used for votive candles and candlesticks should be used for the white candles. White is readily available in ivory and a keen searcher might also find creamy white in the market. The prices of industrial dyes depends on the quantity and different brand names do not affect the quality of the dye.

Black candles

Black dyes are rare and craftsman incumbent upon making black candles might have to await an order. Black is renowned for its glamour. It is also a hip hop color, used at parties for a younger crowed, stylized does for their dramatic effects, romantic and exotic events. Black dyes for candles are at times not available on their own and come in black and gold colors. Black cylindrical and block candles look stunning at an evening out. At a well publicized event, the company given the contract for decorations opted to choose a clean and typically “green” theme for the burlesque and used black candles as lighting for the evening. There was a display of candles at the entrance that illuminated the foreground with brilliance. The walls were lined by black candles standing on candle stands of varying heights. Candles stuccoed around the seating arrangements. The performance was on centre stage that had a plethora of candles luminous, as their flickers danced in the light summer breeze. The decor used approximately 500 black candles and the event was remembered by its unique and exotic decoration for all participants. Black candles are a rare occurrence. One seldom comes across this color of candle in craft shops and it is being uncommon that makes them a treasure for the customer. Black votive candles are virtually everlasting as they do not seep color on continuous burning.

Who Prefers to Buy Wholesale Candles?

It is a popular trend with many people for a variety of reasons. It is used in ancient times as the sources of lights as well as the means of decoration. Today, the use of it is widely for the purpose of decoration. This is because it is capable of creating a wonderful environment, irrespective of the type of setting a place has.

The wide use of it globally has encouraged their manufacturers to run successful candle making businesses. There has never been and there will never be the dearth of it buyers all over the world. In fact, there are people who wish to purchase candles in huge quantity. Here are some reasons that these people explain for buying wholesale candles.

People Practicing Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has long been associated with the use of scented candles which help in enhancing the levels of fragrances at the places they are used. Candles used for aromatherapy are prepared using a variety of fragrance oils like eucalyptus, lavender, citronella and so on. Besides, there are soy candles that are quite popular among people practicing aromatherapy. These people often purchase wholesale candles which help them meet their routine requirements.

Daily Decorations

Some people are fond of decorating rooms at their homes with a variety of colorful candles. These candles with their warm glow are capable of creating a soothing environment, especially for those who spend their routine in a hectic manner. This is the reason for many homeowners to purchase wholesale candles.

These people choose among a huge variety of decoration candles that are available in styles like taper candles, votive candles and jar candles. Another popular variety of these candles is that of floating candles which is used by many homeowners to decorate centre tables and dinning tables.

Special Occasions

There are many special occasions which require the use of more than few candles. As a result, people buy wholesale candles in advance to be used for such occasions. Those who are habitual of organizing dinner parties and late night parties are usually very fond of making candles as a part of their decorations. Weddings are other occasions when people love to decorate their places as well as wedding venues with colorful candles. Wedding planning companies are among the regular purchasers of candles in bulk.

Festival occasions like Christmas make perfect use of candles manufactured in different shapes, colors and sizes. In the countries like India, there are festive occasions like Diwali when the use of a huge number of candles is inevitable. It is during these festival occasions that people need to buy wholesale candles.

One reason to buy it in wholesale is to save money and to have a good profit. The popularity of wholesale it has been increased by their presence at the internet stores. People love to explore different varieties of candles available on the web as it has a lot of convenience and cost saving associated with it. Moreover, it allows choosing from reputed candle manufacturers located in different parts of the world.

Print and Post

Remotely printed (hybrid) mail is not a new concept. It has been marketed by document services companies for many years, but previously it has only been available to a restricted corporate customer base seeking a BPO (business process outsourcing) type solution. These DPO (document process outsource) suppliers target major customers with significant volumes of transactional or direct mail.

The ‘father’ of the new breed of hybrid mail technology is Australia Post which developed the concept for its domestic market and then acquired international print software vendor ‘PrintSoft’, specifically to extend the concept internationally. As Mark Worsley, Global CEO for PrintSoft explains, “We originally developed a desktop mail solution called ‘Post E Letter’ for National Australia Bank. Our new vision is to take a wide range of desktop mail documents and bring them into a central process, electronically.”

What this new breed of hybrid mail technology achieves is that it brings the whole concept of hybrid mail within reach of a range of much smaller users – specifically SME’s and branches of corporates. PrintSoft feels that potential lies in “event triggered documents”. Worsley explains “We’ve found a strong market with debt collection agencies, typically for reminder letters….the type of document doesn’t change too much but the person you’re writing to does change.”

Many feel it is an idea whose time has arrived, not only due to accessible new (free) software, but also because the dynamics in physical mail are still very much determined by the cost of collection. For most SME’s it is just not cost effective to use an alternative supplier because collection costs are prohibitive. This view is confirmed by to Bob van Ierlan, Director of E2E development for TNT Post. He said, “The dynamics in physical mail are still very much determined by the cost of collection.”

SME mail

Indeed the 100 – 200 per night letter market still remains ‘business as usual’ for the vast majority of SME’s, despite the opening up of the market to full competition. With the standard DSA product rapidly becoming homogeneous and dominated by two operators – TNT Post and UK Mail – it leaves these SME’s as a potentially attractive target. “With hybrid mail, you can differentiate yourself upstream more than you can do with traditional physical mail,” according to van Ireland.

Another market driver which has really only achieved B2B prominence in 2007, is the environmental forces which mitigate against carbon emission hungry collections and herald the advantages of printing the mail closest to its final destination. The intelligent hybrid mail software facilitates this process. Alongside PrintSoft, four other companies have now entered the UK hybrid mail market almost simultaneously: PDQit (a 2005 start-up); TNT-it (division of TNT Post); ViaPost (a 2007 start-up) and i-mail (a division of UK Mail).

A number of these hybrid mail companies have global ambitions. The cross border advantages of hybrid mail are even more compelling, particularly on in-bound international mail. All entrants rely on a network of printer partners to deliver the business model, unless they install digital printers into their own facilities. PDQit has a dual strategy having built SME mail its own print facility in Warrington, but it also plans to set up a regional network and build rcontributive partnerships to expand their print capability.

Printers who have been historically focussed on direct mail are attracted by the proposition because they are losing business to transactional mailers due to convergence. So for them it is a form of revenue protection. Examples of alliances announced to date include Inkfish and DOL (Document Outsourcing Limited) (by Print Soft) and Polestar and FormProMM (by ViaPost). ViaPost is seeking an initial network of seven locations expanding to 35 across the UK.

PrintSoft is taking its printer network partners’ involvement a step further “They’ll be able to function as a member of the network and also to be able to sell the service in their own right.” explains Worsley. This empowerment effectively creates additional sales resource for PrintSoft.

New entrants are mostly offering free downloadable software models and using that proposition to target SMR’s, or branches of corporates, with a ‘pay as you go’ cost model. It is clearly expected that this model will encourage trial and take-up. Joes Sykes, marketing director of PDQit explains that “The software is intelligent enough to work out the nearest RMC (Royal Mail Centre); the closest facility that we have to it and fire the job down to that area. It can take one file which might have 10,000 records and split it into 50 different sorting centres.It works especially well with Sage”

The environmental benefits are not lost on Sykes either “What we’re trying to do is to eliminate all the unnecessary trunking of lots of documents from source to main sorting offices.”

An important feature of all the software packages on offer is the ability to personalise the documents. The TNT-it software can be downloaded free of charge from the TNT Post website. Clearly this mail will be consolidated with other TNT Post mail volumes. Van Ierland regards that as major point of difference between TNT Post and other, non-affiliated competitors. He said, “The client will benefit since you can eliminate mark-ups between parties when you control the full postal chain”. The TNT-it product adds value to the core product by ensuring the accuracy of the address is verified before it is printed, which van Ierland feels helps in terms of service levels to clients.

ViaPost has the lowest cost model on the market at a projected 24p for a printed delivered document in what is described as a “first class service for a second class post” according to Simon Campbell CEO of ViaPost. It has recruited a high profile management team and raised finance. It believes its print-on-demand model is the ‘future of postage’ as it brings SME’s with below 250 items into the loop and allows then to access potential savings. “For the price of their second class stampe at the moment, they get everything included,” adds Campbell. But there is also the convenience factor and time saving, a point also endorsed by van Ierland of TNT Post.

However unlike some of the hybrid mail operator, ViaPost is not interested in bypassing Royal Mail, but prefers instead to work closely with Royal Mail Wholesale. To ensure uniform print quality across the network ViaPost is working with Publicis Dialog who Campbell describes as “experts in production and maintaining brand control.”

PrintSoft is forecasting customers’ savings of up to 40 per cent based on Australian experience to date. PDQit are estimating similar savings to the end user.

UK Mail’s i-Mail product will be launched in January 2008. It is claimed to be the first hybrid mail product to offer a ‘next day service’ – in effect competing directly with full priced first class mail. This has been made possible by a late night access agreement negotiated with Royal Mail Wholesale.

Equipment Integration

Pitney Bowes has moved into the hybrid mail market as part of a suite of offerings according to Jo Kenny, Operations Director UK for Pitney Bowes Management Services. “We prepare, create, fulfil and insert into the mailstream at the closest point to delivery”, he claimed.

Significantly three of the new hybrid mail operators – Viapost, PDQit and Esker (France)- use Pitney Bowes’ mail fulfilment equipment. Both UK Mail and TNT Post have expressed the view that hybrid mail represents a competitive threat to traditional postal metering, but Pitney Bowes has responded swiftly not only as a major supplier of equipment, but also as an operator (in France) through the acquisition of Asterion’s 10 print sites which are enabled with a ‘white label’ version of Esker’s ‘Clic Doc’ hybrid mail technology. This compliments the three print facilities Pitney Bowes has built in the UK to give the company a full downstream capability.

Kenny also recognises the environmental benefits of hybrid mail “If you look at the carbon footprint of trucking this mail back and forth, the more mail that we can move digitally closer to the last mile, we believe will greatly reduce the carbon footprint.”

The last to announce its launch is UK Mail with its ‘i-mail’ product, due to be test marketed in January. The point of difference, according to Guy Buswell CEO of UK Mail’s parent Business Post, is that it will be a ‘next day’ product, due to its agreement with Royal Mail Wholesale in negotiating late night access into the network. “Royal Mail has given us a wholesale equivalent to a first class product” states Buswell.

The other major difference between UK Mail and its rivals is that it will not be relying on a printer partner network; instead Buswell explains that UK Mail plan to add digital printers to its existing regional sortation centres. It feels this will give it an advantage because of the difficulties associated with different printers and IT interfaces. Buswell admits however, that this investment will be gradual and in line with post launch customer demand. UK Mail will also be targeting the 200 letter per night SME segment estimated to be worth £1.5bn by Buswell.

Worsley sums up the hybrid mail concept neatly “In my view of the world, there are only two key stakeholders in mail, that’s the mail originator and the mail recipient. Everybody else is just an actor on the stage. So we can match the needs of the mail originator with the needs of the mail recipient and that’s where hybrid mail fits in”

Buswell agrees that hybrid mail is an evolving product designed to match customers’ needs. He said, “I am absolutely convinced that whatever we come up with as a product it will change over time… the business model will not look the same 3 – 6 months after launch, as it will appear at the outset.”