A Candlepreneur’s Guide to Selling Wholesale

A Candlepreneur’s Guide to Selling Wholesale

7 mins read
An overhead shot of a worker dragging storage boxes on a pallet. Source: Pexels.

Already got a candle shop and dreaming of the next big leap? Scaling up might just be a wick away with wholesaling. It’s about casting a wider glow, reaching beyond local spaces to illuminate shelves in retail stores far and wide. Imagine your candles not just across the country but sparking joy globally. And beyond sharing your passion with a wider audience, think about how it would expand your profit margins. 

From securing the right documentation, like providing the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for your products, to choosing the best selling structure, this guide is designed to walk you through the essentials of wholesaling. So, if you’re eager to see your candles illuminate more than just homes, fire up your business strategy with these essential wholesaling tips. 

What does selling wholesale mean? 

Wholesaling is like the secret passageway of the retail world, leading your candle business to the stage of growth and expansion. It’s a method where you sell your candles in volume to retailers, who then share your creations with a wider audience, all at a markup. This strategy isn’t just about offloading stock; it’s about strategically broadening your brand’s horizon without the hefty cost of direct-to-consumer marketing.

And here's the thing: opting for wholesale doesn't mean your craftsmanship has to take a backseat. Far from it. Wholesaling doesn't equate to cutting corners or compromising on the quality that defines your brand. Instead, it's about maintaining the integrity and essence of your candles, ensuring each piece reflects your dedication to excellence. This approach allows you to scale production responsibly while preserving the unique, handcrafted appeal that makes your candles special.

The benefits of selling wholesale

Going down the wholesale route can transform your candle business, offering benefits that go beyond just bulk sales. Here's how going wholesale can light up your brand in ways you might not have considered:

Broader exposure (without extra marketing costs)

One of the brightest benefits of wholesaling is tapping into the retailer's established promotional efforts and their loyal customer base. Your candles are likely to be introduced to a whole new crowd, ready to be captivated by your scents, without you splashing on marketing. In other words, it's their product shelf, but your brand gets the spotlight.

Effortless market expansion

Wholesaling opens the door to new markets. Whether it's a boutique in a bustling city or a cosy 

shop in a seaside town, your candles can travel far and wide, finding new homes and hearts to warm. The best part? You don’t even have to lift a finger for each individual sale. 

Volume sales

At first glance, selling your candles in bulk at lower prices might seem like you're short-changing your brand. However, the real magic of wholesaling lies in the volume. By selling larger quantities to retailers, you can purchase your supplies in bulk at a reduced rate and your overall profit margins will see a significant uplift. It's a numbers game where selling more at a slightly reduced price can actually result in a healthier bottom line. 

Stronger retailer relationships

It's not just about getting your candles out there; it's about building partnerships with retailers. These relationships can be the cornerstone of your business growth, offering insights into consumer preferences, feedback on your product line, and opportunities for collaborative promotions.

Requirements for selling wholesale

Jumping into wholesaling in the UK? Let's break it down into bite-sized chunks, making sure your candle business is ready for the big league.

Legal entities and business structure 

In the UK, you'll choose to operate as a sole trader, partnership or limited company. This choice impacts your taxes and legal obligations. Sole traders and partnerships offer simplicity but come with personal liability for debts. Limited companies provide legal separation between the business and personal finances, offering protection but requiring more management responsibilities. To officially start your business, registering with HMRC is a must, and for limited companies, registration with Companies House is also required.

VAT registration

If your business's VAT taxable turnover exceeds £85,000 in a 12-month period, you'll need to register for VAT. This allows you to charge VAT on your products or services and reclaim any VAT you've paid on business expenses. Businesses under this threshold can opt for voluntary VAT registration, which might offer financial benefits by allowing the reclaiming of VAT on purchases. 


Before you step into the world of wholesale, let's not forget about insurance—a safety net for both you and your business. It's important to safeguard your operations with appropriate insurance coverage, which can protect against unforeseen events that might otherwise disrupt or even derail your business endeavours.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) 

Essential for all products you plan to wholesale, especially relevant for candle makers. In the UK, it's crucial to provide comprehensive SDS that comply with regulatory standards, ensuring your products are safe for retail distribution. NI Candle Supplies simplifies this process by offering editable SDS at 10% concentration, allowing you to easily add your business details to comply with safety regulations.

Remember, each step here is about building a strong foundation for your candle empire. Getting these ducks in a row might seem tedious, but they're your ticket to a smooth wholesale journey.

<span style="font-weight: 400;" data-mce-fragment="1" data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">A shop display of scented candles staged on their packaging boxes. Source: </span><a href="https://www.pexels.com/photo/cabinet-full-of-candles-in-jars-5865151/" data-mce-fragment="1" data-mce-href="https://www.pexels.com/photo/cabinet-full-of-candles-in-jars-5865151/"><span style="font-weight: 400;" data-mce-fragment="1" data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Pexels</span></a>

Building your wholesaling structure

As you venture into wholesaling, understanding the selling structures can be the blueprint for a successful partnership between you and retailers. It’s all about finding the right balance that benefits both parties while ensuring your candles light up store shelves and not just your storage space.


This arrangement is generally preferred by retailers  because you only get paid once your products sell. It’s like sending your candles on a little trial run in stores. However, it also means you bear more risk—if your candles don’t sell, they come back to you. Consignment can be a great way to break into retail without a huge commitment from the retailer, but ensure you have clear terms on how long products will sit on shelves before they're returned.

Payment up front

This is the dream scenario. Retailers buy your candles outright, giving you immediate cash flow. It simplifies inventory management and financial planning. Though it's more challenging to negotiate with retailers, especially as a new brand, it’s worth aiming for terms that at least include partial payment upfront.

Net terms (Net 15/30/60)

This refers to the timeframe in which the retailer promises to pay you after receiving the goods—15, 30 or 60 days. It’s a common practice but means you’ll have to wait for your cash. Setting up these terms requires a good understanding of your own cash flow to ensure you can cover production and operational costs while waiting for payment.

Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) and price breaks 

Establishing MOQs ensures that your production scales efficiently. It’s about finding that sweet spot where the order volume makes the production worthwhile for you. Price breaks, on the other hand, incentivise larger orders. It’s a straightforward concept—buy more, save more. This can encourage retailers to stock up, benefiting both parties in terms of sales volume and stock availability.

Carefully think about these different structures to determine which one aligns with your brand’s capacity and growth aspirations. Whether it’s securing upfront payments to stabilise your cash flow or leveraging consignment to gain retail presence without upfront commitments, each structure offers unique benefits and considerations. The key is clear communication and contracts that define terms, ensuring both you and your retail partners have a shared understanding of expectations and responsibilities. 

<span style="font-weight: 400;" data-mce-fragment="1" data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">A man and woman shaking hands and sealing a business deal. Source: </span><a href="https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-and-woman-near-table-3184465/" data-mce-fragment="1" data-mce-href="https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-and-woman-near-table-3184465/"><span style="font-weight: 400;" data-mce-fragment="1" data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Pexels</span></a>

How to find your wholesale selling partners

Finding the right retail partners for your candle business is all about making meaningful connections where both parties benefit. Get stuck into wholesale directories to discover retailers seeking what you offer, essentially acting as matchmakers for your products. 

Trade shows offer a dynamic environment to share your brand story and product in person, creating immediate interest and potential partnerships. While online platforms, including social media and your website, serve as digital showcases for your brand, attracting retailers with aligned values and interests through compelling storytelling and customer testimonials.

Key points to remember:

  • Utilise wholesale directories for targeted retailer outreach.
  • Make the most of trade shows to present your brand's story and products.
  • Leverage your online presence to attract and engage potential retail partners.

Creating a compelling wholesale offer

A successful wholesale offer combines competitive pricing with the unique appeal of your brand's story, ensuring that you stand out to retailers without compromising your craftsmanship. Pricing your products competitively ensures interest without undercutting your brand's value. 

However, what truly makes a difference is how you convey your brand's narrative, making your products more than just items for sale but stories to be part of. Maintaining strong relationships with retailers post-sale by being responsive and supportive underscores the value you place on those partnerships.

Key points to remember:

  • Balance competitive pricing with the value of your craftsmanship.
  • Highlight your brand's unique story to stand out to retailers.
  • Build strong, ongoing relationships with retail partners for long-term success.

Ready to scale up your candle business?

Wholesaling could be your ticket to casting your candles’ glow far and wide, and more importantly, scaling your business. But it’s not just a case of getting your business out there—selling wholesale involves building solid relationships, understanding the legal bits, and making sure your offer is too good to pass up.

Feeling the heat of opportunity but need a guiding light? Drop us a line at NI Candle Supplies, and let's chat about how you can take your candle game to the wholesale level. 

1 Response

NI Candle Supplies LTD

Thanks I found this piece very enlightening as we are at this point now, brand expansion and visibility .

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