Artistic musings

Back to the whole candle subscription thingy

Posted in general by Sarah Benalene on August 24, 2015

Warning, this is a very dry post, crunching numbers and minute details.

I started musing if it was actually feasible on a cost level, meaning, could I sell them low enough that people would feel comfortable paying monthly for them. I think people are more comfortable spending a bit more if it is a random one-off purchase, but less comfortable spending the same amount on a monthly basis. And would that price also be enough for me to cover my time and effort.

First off, I needed some goals. I wanted several candle tiers, the lowest being sample size (< 2oz), a small size (~ 3oz), a middle size (~ 10oz), and then my wine bottle size (~ 10+oz). I figured this would make it accessible to a wide range of people, and also provide a chance to try something smaller before committing to something larger. I also wanted to push myself to come up with new essential oil blends for my candles. A new one every month is too much, cost-wise. I do extensive testing on my candles and scents, so that is essential oils that I am buying and burning and not selling until I get it right. I figured every two months might be more doable, and I might cycle out some fragrances, probably based on the seasons.

So, now I needed to look at materials cost. I started with Lavender, as that is my most popular scent, and it is right in the middle, cost-wise, of all my fragrances. I buy my essential oils from http://www.camdengrey.com/, and all my wax, wicks, and jars from http://candlescience.com. I will link to my spreadsheet with my numbers, but I’ll just put the end result here.

Shipping charges for the materials to me comes out to about $0.57 a candle, regardless of size. I got this number by filling up my cart with one 50lb box of wax, 8 cases of the mason jars, 4 cases of the tumblers (which is what a 50lb case of wax will make), plus enough wicks and stickers. Got the shipping charge for all that and divided by the number of candles I can make (150). This number will obviously fluctuate depending on what I need to buy and when, since I won’t always be buying this exact same cart every time.

The 4oz mason jar, which actually holds 3oz by weight of wax, costs $1.23 in materials (and that is not including shipping charges when I order the supplies), so I am going to round that up to $2 just for materials. And then shipping from me to you is about $3. And I decided to charge $9/month for this candle. I am making about $4 on each candle. Actually, make that $3, because Patreon and credit card fees take about 7-9% of that.

The tumbler, which holds 10oz, costs $3.21 in materials, again, not including shipping charges to me, so closer to $4 in materials costs. Shipping the finished candle to you costs about $7. So $11 to make the 10oz candle, and I am charging $20.

Note that I am calculating shipping based on shipping from NYC to California. If you live closer to NYC, then I would pocket a little bit more from each candle.

Should I be charging more? Less? Comments or suggestions?

Link to my spreadsheet

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