Why Fragrance Is The Key To Starting A Candle Business

Candles come in all shapes, sizes, colors and scents and their manufacture is a multi billion dollar industry.

In fact, according to the National Candle Association, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of all candles sold in the United States are scented.

Annual retail sales are estimated at approximately $3.2 billion, and it is believed that currently fragrance is the dominant factor affecting candle purchases.

It’s no surprise than that candle manufacturers are closely allied with fragrance companies to ensure that their candles will not only be competitive, but also burn pleasantly and conform to all safety standards.

Consumers buy scented candles to enhance their home décor, reduce stress and to provide a channel for aromatherapy, and many of those fragrances often are born within the hallways of our perfume manufacturing facility in suburban Pittsburgh, PA.

But what makes for an unforgettable, highly marketable candle fragrance, and what should one consider when starting a candle making business?

Our team explains.

Fragrance Candle Business

A Brief History Of Candle Making

Although their exact origins are shrouded in mystery, it is believed that the earliest use of candles dates back at least 5,000 years to the glorious realm of ancient Egypt where rushlights or torches, while lacking a wick like true candles, were made by soaking the core of reeds in melted animal fat.

Other early cultures including: ancient Rome; China; Japan and India, all developed candles constructed from indigenous ingredients.

The Middle Ages brought the introduction of beeswax candles, which unlike animal-based tallow,  burned pure and cleanly, and emitted a pleasant sweet smell.

The next major change came in the late 18th century with the growth of the whaling industry, when candle-makers discovered spermaceti, a wax obtained by crystallizing sperm whale oil.

Candles made from this wax became very popular and are considered to be the first “standard” tapers.

Advances in chemistry and industrialization during the 19th century transformed candle making into a product that was affordable to the masses. Needless to say, candles have come a long way over the course of time.

While they are no longer a primary source of light, their warm, fragrant glow still serves to symbolize a celebration, spark romantic moments, soothe the senses, honor a ceremony and accent home decors.

Candle-making remains an important growing industry aided by fragrances created by our expert perfume makers.

A Perfumer’s Industry Guide To Scented Candle Manufacturing.

Scent Candle Fragrance Guide

The Modern Candle-Making Business

Handmade crafts, like candles, are some of the fastest growing small businesses in the country. As is the case with all things in life, there are pros and cons that should be taken into consideration before initiating a candle-making business. Some are highlighted below and explained. 


This is one of the biggest lures to an entrepreneur seeking a new business venture.  The amount of time put in is completely one’s own. The key here is effective time-management.

High Profit Margins

Gross profits are somewhat higher in candle-making than in many other endeavors, usually about 50%, due largely to a thriving high-demand market. Return on investment (ROI) is known to be relatively quick as well, provided that the necessary steps are taken before product launch. Statistics indicate that 7 out of every 10 U.S. households use candles. This allows for both business growth and cost management.

Candles Are Often An Easy Impulse Buy

Scented candles are tactile products that can be touched and felt as well as inhaled. According to Susan Noyes, manager of retail operations at the Shops at South Shore Hospital, in South Weymouth, MA: “Get them to touch it, then they have to have it most of the time.” This appeal to the senses is the key to impulse buying and part of the reason why candles glean higher profit margins than other products.

An Easy Start Up

Candle making requires a minimal amount of equipment and space to get started. This can be as basic as providing supplies, tools, a work place and a willing and open mind. Candles are also easier to sell than many other products and pricing can be variable. What might cost a dollar or two to create can often be sold for three times that amount. Marketing options can include: local gift stores; craft malls; farmers’ markets, online outlets like Amazon or via individual websites.

Candle-Making Is A Community of Fellow Crafters

Candle makers are never alone. They are always a part of a craft community where resources and knowledge are generously shared. In addition, when crafters select fragrances from Alpha Aromatics, they also gain access to a sharing font of knowledge and experience. Many perks and discounts are available to those starting out in this industry. 

Entrepreneurs Should Be Wary Of Some Potential Pitfalls

Plan For Overhead Expenses 

All startups have some costs and candle making is no exception. Entrepreneurs must prepare a budge for operational costs which include: allowances for rental of space, utilities and supplies. If working from home or with other crafters, costs can be greatly minimized. There are also permit and licensing fees that vary from state to state. Do some research to discover which fees may apply to you. 

Raising Funds For A Candle-Making Business

It should be noted that the technique of bootstrapping has aided many an entrepreneur seeking funding for a start-up venture. It allows for self funding without external help or capital, and enables the reinvestment of earnings back into the business. Research this possibility.

Building Trust Among Customers

This is easier to accomplish in other industries because selling candles does not allow for significant face-to-face interaction. A purveyor of candles-must take advantage of whatever time there is to talk to customers and establish connections without being too pushy.

Equipment Breakdowns

Nothing lasts forever and equipment does eventually down, sometimes requiring expensive repairs. Try to avoid damages and wear and tear as much as possible and find a way to put some money aside for when this may happen.


The bane of all business ventures, as a candle maker you will have to pay taxes and possibly charge sales tax as well. Self-employment taxes can be high and should be calculated before each year begins, if it is at all possible. Selling in some states requires charging a sales tax. It can be problematic to establish a process and procedure for this, although it will not affect your bottom line specifically. 

How Fragrances Can Help Launch Your Candle Brand

Candles come in all types of shapes and sizes and can range in price anywhere from 50 cents for a votive to $200 or more for an original artisan candle.

Scents aided by social media and online sales is the driving force behind new growth within the candle making industry.

It is estimated that there are as many as 2,000 varieties of candles and more than 10,000 diverse scents to choose from (as well as the ability to create unique ones). 

Our Alpha Aromatics master perfumers rely heavily on meticulous research to stay on top of industry trends, and we have been developing fine fragrances for perfumes and scented products since the late 1940s.

Alpha Aromatics Leading Pefume Manufacturer

The one aspect to candles that differentiates them from each other is their selected fragrance. It is the key to what customers will remember about a specific product line.

As we recently wrote, “fragrance has the ability to do many things. It can lure unsuspecting consumers; it can seduce customers to recall past memories and, by virtue of that, increase sales; it can help to establish a firm foothold for products in otherwise crowded marketplaces.”

But designing fragrance takes a unique understanding of proper scent layering, market trends, demographics, sociological elements and a whole host of the elements.

With all of that in mind, the following represent just a few of our recently-designed fragrance options specifically for candles.

Acai and Pomelo

This uniquely sweet, light, tropical and fruity fragrance opens with a top note of uplifting, sharp, grapefruit-infused pomelo and succulent acai berry. 

These elements soon stream into a heart note marked by aspects of sweet, tart cherry, peachy, fruity plum and sugary, powdery violet petals. 

The scent completes with an earthy woody base note.

Amber and Vanilla Blossom

This fragrance packs a nostalgic wallop connecting with warm holiday times of the past. 

Sweet, elegant vanilla and dark warm amber mingle with juicy orange and powdery, woody violet blossom. 

Vanilla renders a sensual feminine aspect to this scent, and because it is so often a vital ingredient in scrumptious desserts of all kinds, the association with food is inescapable.

Beachwood Vetiver and Sea Spray Driftwood

Images of soft, summer breezes and glistening white sands all collide within the minds eye even if one is off freezing somewhere in the dead of winter. 

Candles scented with this delightful mélange of sugary, milky coconut, exotic vetiver oil and salty sea air tinged with eucalyptus, exotic jasmine, sun-dried driftwood and tangy seaweed evoke peace, warmth and serenity. 

Citron Blossom Cassis

Marked with elements of aromatic, dry citron and light, fruity and slightly animalistic cassis, this highly sensual and usually masculine scent suggests quiet winter evenings besides a crackling fire. 

Candles infused with this scent can really set the mood for passion and intimacy.

Huckleberry Sugar Blossom

This delightful, mostly feminine scent evokes feelings of comfort, home, a cozy fireplace, and the mouth-watering promise of huckleberry pie fresh from the oven. 

It opens with elements of succulent orange, sugary grape and candied fruit. 

These elements soon fold into a floral/ fruity heart note comprised of tangy, woody-tinged raspberry, strong, leathery blackberry and creamy gardenia. The scent completes with a base note featuring earthy and passionate musk.

Sparkling Citron and Oak Barrel Vanilla

Streams of invigorating citron invade the nostrils and open this uplifting scent. 

These aspects soon surrender to a heart note of fresh, aromatic mulled fruit and warm wood. 

An earthy touch of oak and lush, sugary vanilla complete this compelling scent.

Water Lily and Hyacinth

This Victorian-inspired fragrance features the intense, sweet and lingering aroma of hyacinth coupled with fine, fresh and soft water lily. 

Floral streams of romantic, musky rose and woody, sugary violet coupled with warm, spicy white peach and aromatic grape form the heart note of this unforgettable scent. 

A base note of elegant and lush vanilla completes this fragrance.

In Conclusion

If you are developing a new line of candles or have a business that’s lagging in sales, contact our team, and discover what we can do to enhance your candles with fragrances that are unforgettable and highly marketable.

Final thought on candles: You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, ‘See if you can blow this out..’ ~ Jerry Seinfeld

Alpha Aromatics ISO 2019 Certification

Photo Credits: Pixabay

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