Candle Party: Another way to sell your candles
The purpose of this hub is about selling your candles by having a Candle party. However, I wanted the reader to understand a little more about how me and my wife got to the stage of having our own candle parties and why the candle party helped our business grow.
The Birth of our Gel Candle Business
If you have been reading my hubs, you may have realized by now that I made and sold Gel Candles. It actually started out more as a hobby than a business idea. My wife enjoyed candles very much. And the thing was, she would spend a lot of money in one month on candles. More then most women (or so I thought). So I figured it might be cheaper if she made her own candles, and so it began.
I did some research online and found some well written articles on how to make wax candles and where to buy the ingredients by bulk. When I told my wife, she told me she really preferred gel candles. At that time gel candles were the NEW thing.
Needless to say, finding information on those types of candles was like looking for the elusive needle in the barn size Hay pile. But I did find a sample size gel candle kit and purchased it, although I thought the cost was a lot more then it should have been.
Once the package arrived at home, my wife started following the vague instructions on the label. I still don't remember to this day but some how I got roped into helping her. I have to admit, after a while I got hooked. Making these gel candles was fun. It did take some trial and error, but eventually we had ourselves some legit awesome candles.
I found a company that sold the Gel by bulk and another company that sold the jars by bulk. Eventually I also found a company that sold gel safe scents by the 16oz. (1 lb) bottles.
We started giving away candles to our friends and family for awhile. But we were still making to many. Everyone loved the candles and told us we should see about selling them at craft fairs. At least get back the money we spent in supplies and basically have all the candles we wanted for free.
Neither of us had ever sold stuff to the public, well other than an occasional yard sale. But that is a different set up all together. How to begin selling at craft fairs? This was going to be a big step for both of us.
Why not a Candle Party?
My wife's sister suggested we try selling our gel candles by having a candle party at home. She hosts many Tupperware parties and told us that the "selling" part is almost a no brainer. The people that attend the parties are already buying customers. They know what to expect and already have money in their pockets, ready to spend. The atmosphere is laid back. You don't have to be a salesman. Then move on to trying craft shows if we did well with a candle party.
So we agreed, and our first candle party only involved 8 people. Her mother, my mother, a few sisters and 2 women my wife worked with. My sister-in-law helped my wife plan it out. They took the Tupperware party idea and molded it to fit around candles. It went pretty smooth I must admit.
At no time during the candle party did it feel like we were trying to sell something. there was none of that negative feeling that one worries about that comes in form of rejection. Or that feeling like you are being pushy. I mean, I know I don't like a pushy salesman, I sure don't want to be one.
One Candle Party led to many
That candle party raked us in over $100.00 profit that day. The party only lasted about 1 hour. I say that wasn't bad at all. We didn't even have to try to figure out how we were going to do another candle party. At the end of that first party, one of my wife's co-worker asked us if we would be interested in having her host one and we just show up to show off (and sell) our candles. She knew a bunch of people who liked gel candles but didn't know where to get them or didn't know much about them. Of course we told her to call us with a date and time and we would be there. That was the beginning of the "snowball effect". That first year we did 20 candle parties. At first we went to then together, but after awhile we got more comfortable and we split so we could do two parties on the same day. (it happened a few times)
Needless to say, when it came time to looking into doing craft fairs. Neither of us was all that nervous. Home parties made the transition very easy. After that we were selling at craft fairs, had some stores that we sold out of on consignment and other stores that bought from us out right at a discounted price.
Hosting a Candle Party
Having a candle party is not as hard as one might think. I'm going to tell you how we did ours and the incentives we offered to gain some party hostesses. Yes, they were all women who hosted. I was the only male at most of these parties. I lived in an area where men don't "do parties" unless it is a football or poker party.
Also please remember, I may have been selling Gel candles at these parties. But any type of candle will work, Soy, paraffin, bees wax, cut and carve. The principle of the candle party is the same.
First comes the organizing of the party - where will it be held, when, how many people going to be there.
We tried to have no more then 12 people. Our reasoning was it would be easier to have one on one conversations. Even if it was a group talk you can hold that person's eye to eye contact when answering their question. It makes the party feel more personal.
Try to have at least two dozen candles of every available scent you plan on showing off.
Make sure you have a sample jar of each scent. (also have a small container of coffee grounds available for them to smell. It clears the smell from the nose so they can smell the next candle scent.
We made small gel tea cup candles to give away free to each person that showed up. You don't have to give free stuff away but we found that helped us and created repeat business.
It is up to the Host or Hostess on if they want to play games or not. We had a few ideas in case they couldn't think of any. Sometimes you will find the crowds prefer not to play any games.
We would start the party off with the free gifts to everyone. Then we would all join in what ever room we set aside for us. (depended on the seating arrangement) We would pass around each sample candle and talk about the scent while it was being passed around.
We would answer any questions that pertained to that scent before moving on to the next candle. We would pass around the container of coffee grounds while answering those questions.
After all the candles had been passed around, we would discuss the safety issues that need to be addressed when ever using gel candles. (or in any candles case there are safety concerns, trim wick height, never leave unattended etc..)
If it was possible we would have our most popular candle burning during the entire party to demonstrate it's scent.
Then we would break out the snacks whether it was finger sandwiches or in some cases sweet and sour meatballs that had been slow cooked all day. ( I still remember that party, that woman could cook!)
This would give everyone time to decide if they were interested in buying a candle or not. Low sales pressure tactic ;) Generally everyone came to the party with some one, or already knew someone there. So they would huddle together while snacking and talk about our candles. Their own friends were our best sales people!
Then we would let it be known that we were ready to take orders if anyone decided to buy. And that we had some candles on hand so they might be able to take their order home instantly if they ordered soon enough. But not to worry we had plenty of supplies at home and unless we received a huge order, we would have them ready within 5 days. (generally we had 5 dozen of each candle already made at the house but we never let that be known. It gave us a safety cushion for time.
Now, What did we offer as an incentive to be a candle party host you may be wondering. We had a two-tier system and this worked like a charm. We offered a first time Host or Hostess $50 worth of our candles. Now if that host or Hostess referred someone from their candle party and that person signed up to be a host or hostess to another candle party. They would receive an additional $25 worth of candles.
See how that works? An example. Let's say Jane is the candle party host. She has received $50 voucher for being the hostess. During the party she mingles etc.. and at the end of the party she refers Johan to us as a Host to another party. If Johan agrees and we confirm a date, then Jane receives another $25 voucher for our candles.
However, that does not mean she can claim the full $75 worth of candles that day. We still haven't done Johan's party yet. But we know where Jane lives and we also have her address and phone number. So we contact her after Johan's candle party and fulfill her $25 voucher.
We have to do it that way in order to save ourselves from committing to filling the $25 voucher to Jane and then have Johan tell us she changed her mind.
Also with this set up, Jane could refer 5 people to us the night of her candle party and if they all end up having parties, Jane could be set of candles for a long time.
And considering it was our candles the vouchers covered and not actual cash, the amount of actual profit we lost was tiny compared to the sales from the parties we booked. It was a win-win for us all.
I can see I could have made at least two hubs out of this information but oh well. lol
A quick recap.
Candle party is a quick way to get into the selling end of a potential business.
A candle party helps a new sales person get over their nervousness.
You can sell any type of candle, we just happened to be making gel candles. Basically the same fundamentals.
Enjoy Candles and Host A candle party!