It appears that the market for candles has never been hotter!(pun intended) Candle sales have really taken off, as consumers, driven by their nesting instincts, seek to create warm, cozy and relaxing environments at home; and the trend continues to grow. Choices in candles have never been greater, as candle manufacturers, both large and small, continue to introduce new styles, colors, and fragrances. Scented candles are an especially hot category, and they’re available in every form, including votives, pillars, container candles, soy candles, gel candles, and more. Besides their popularity as accents to home decor, candles are used to generate aromatherapy, symbolize celebration, mark ceremony, and enhance romance. From moderately-priced versions to far more elaborate styles, candles are a perfect gift. Let’s examine some of the candle options that are out there.
As we’ve said, scented candles lead the way in sales and popularity, and candle-makers are becoming more and more creative with their fragrance lines. In a move away from heavily-perfumed or artificial-smelling fragrances, many candle scents are now being developed from nostalgic or organic themes. For example, the clean fresh smell of the “Laundry Line,” offered by Bridgewater Candle Company or “High Cotton” from Wicks n’ More, takes us back to childhood memories of summers in the backyard. Unique environmental fragrances abound as well, like “Hay Ride” from Solas Candle Company and “Meadow” made by California Fluerish.
Floral-inspired scents remain strong sellers, such as the subtle “Cutting Garden” from Seda France, and sweet “Alyssum,” manufactured by Canyon Creek Candle Company. The aroma of food always arouses a customer’s hunger for more, with flavors like “Banana Nut Bread,” made by Ardore Candles and “Jelly Bean” from Simply Pampered. Remember that olfactory memories — those associated with the sense of smell — are the strongest ones we have, and it’s often the sense of recognition provided by scented candles that motivates a purchase.
In addition to these trends, there is also a focus on aromatherapy. Customers are seeking out fragrances that not only smell nice, but also make them feel good, and scented candles are a natural match. Many companies, such as Inbal, are offering candles with names like “Energy” and “Pure Clarity” to complement their lines of essential oils and other aromatherapy products. Candles like these are a good sales mix with potpourri, body lotions, bath products, etc.
Ask anyone what candles are made of and the usual response is wax, but that is only part of the answer. Candle wax can be composed of many different materials, including beeswax, paraffin, stearin, and palm oil. One of the newest trends in candles is soy candles. These candles are made of a soy-based wax that has some advantages over other materials. For example, soy candles are cleaner burning, producing almost no smoke or soot, and they’re less expensive than beeswax candles. While paraffin has its uses, soy wax is environmentally friendly since it is made from soy beans, a renewable resource, rather than from fossil fuels. Since soy wax is usually softer than paraffin, soy candles are often sold as poured candles, meaning that the wax has been poured into a heatproof container or glass jar. Consumer awareness of soy candles is growing, and Ocean Street Candles is among several candle-making companies that use 100% soy wax in their products.
Poured candles, also called filled candles and container candles, have been growing in popularity and availability with most manufacturers offering them now. Votive candles, pillar candles, and floating candles, available in scented and unscented varieties, are typically made with a wax that is hardened by stearin, a white odorless wax found in many natural fats. Stearin raises the melting point, adds opacity, and helps to resist bending when used in the manufacture of candles. It also helps these types of candles to hold their shape, even while burning.
Remember that votive candles should always be burned in a container of some sort to collect and pool the melted wax. Votives burn longer if the container is relatively small and fits snugly around the candle. Filling with about 1/8-inch of water and then placing your new votive candle in the bottom of the container will allow a burned votive candle to pop out of the container more easily later. You can also try refrigerating the votive candle in its container for 15 minutes or so. The wax will shrink somewhat, allowing the spent candle wax to be removed more easily.
Whenever you light a pillar or column candle, allow it to burn long enough that a pool of melted wax forms across most of the diameter of the candle. This will extend the life of the candle and keep it burning more evenly. Pillar candles should be extinguished by bending the wick over into the pool of melted wax, using a nonflammable instrument. This little-known technique eliminates smoking of an extinguished wick. After extinguishing the flame, re-center the wick.
Floating candles offer a festive way to decorate a table. Place one or more floating candles in a clear glass bubble bowl or other container that’s partially filled with water. Then put the bowl on top of a mirror laid flat on the table. The glass and the water increase the reflection from the floating candles, bouncing light all around the table. For evening events outdoors, place floating candles in fountains or fishponds to enhance the mood.
Here are a few more candle tips, courtesy of Candlemart:
- Candles will fade if left in the light for an extended period of time. Never put candles in a window or directly expose to bright outdoor light or indoor spotlights.
- Keep lit candles out of drafts; drafts create large flames, shortening the burning time.
- Wicks should be trimmed to 1/4-inch from wax for longer burning time.
- Let spilled wax solidify so when it hardens it can be removed in pieces by covering with a paper towel or a brown paper grocery bag and gently pressing out with a warm iron. The wax will melt and be absorbed into the paper.
- A candle will burn more slowly and evenly if it’s refrigerated before using. Wrap the candle in plastic or foil before refrigerating to prevent wicks from absorbing moisture.
By now you should be waxing enthusiastic about candles and burning with desire to sell them in your store! All punning aside, candles are the perfect companion gifts. They generate year-round sales; they blend well with other product lines, such as potpourri, room fresheners and personal care products; and with so many styles from which to choose, they provide a great opportunity to offer your customers something unique. Check out our FGmarket candle vendors to see the entire selection.