The Trials and Tribulations of Starting a Candle-Making Business

Reader Contribution by The Surrey Beekeeper
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 Image by congerdesign from Pixabay 

Here is the latest excerpt from Iain’s guest blog series charting his aims to build a socially responsible candle company working with disabled people. To find out more about his project you can read about it here on my Guest Beekeeping Blog Page. I hope you enjoy his latest post….he is on an amazing journey.

With any start up business there is always talk of how to market your product or service, and how difficult it is to get that product to market. Getting our product to market has turned out to be no less difficult. We decided on a three fold approach, selling our candles on the internet, selling our candle through retailers, and selling them directly to members of the public.
Our e-commerce website is now being constructed, all good! We have an appointment with a buyer from a well known gift shop later this month ( I won’t say where just in case I jinx it!!) Thirdly we decided to sell our candles at craft markets in London.

Getting a stall at some of the London craft markets can be quite tricky! At first we wanted to get a pitch at Covent Garden, which as most people will know is in the heart of London’s west end and a popular tourist destination. We duly went and spoke to the market manager, who was very nice and seemed supportive of a social enterprise making candles in London from locally sourced beeswax but, we would need to fill in the application form.

Well I have never seen an application form quite so complicated, even when applying to work for the Royal Household the application form and process were not as complicated. Her Majesty and MI5 could learn a thing or two!!

Firstly the application form itself asked many detailed questions, then we had to send in CVs along with photos of us; write two  essays about our products, one on the technical of how the Candles are made, the other about the candles in general. We then had to send a price list and finally create a DVD with images of the products themselves with a brief description of each product.

All this was just part ONE of the application process! If we were successful there would be more to come!!

All this had to be submitted to a committee that meets once a quarter. So it was duly submitted….. 

We waited and we waited…..after a couple of months I contacted them to find out if the committee had met and made any decision.

The committee had met, about a month previously, but they had forgotten to let us know their decision. After all that the answer came back NO.

As you can imagine we were crest fallen. We had a great product that was locally sourced and locally made by a social enterprise that was also environmentally friendly, what was there not to like?

It turns out that there was an other person selling candles at the market. Even though their candles are mass-produced using lots of artificially produce chemicals and wax from the petrochemical industry. 

With a heavy heart, we’re beaten but not defeated….
To be continued………….
James’ note: Should you want to know a little bit more about Iain and his exploits with Lucenarium Beeswax Candles you can find information on the Guest Beekeeping Blog page 

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