Although I'm relatively new to the candle making community, I have received comments like, “Gosh, that’s really expensive,” or, “I buy my candles at Bath and Body Works when they’re on sale”. Initially, this made me second guess my pricing, and if I was missing the mark. However, with some additional research and reassurance, I have concluded that:
- I'm not competing with the big guys.
- Cheaper does not make people want it more.
Bath and Body Works is not my competitor. The corporate candle world makes a lousy product. All makers know this yet we often feel they are our competition. They are not. Clients who are buying from Yankee when it’s on sale at Walmart are not my target audience. It’s not personal, this clientele simply does not see the benefit of handcrafted, locally sourced, unique, high quality candles. These corporations have huge factory floors on which candles are mass-produced. I recently watched a video on YouTube of a large, well known candle company’s production line and felt so depressed. They took the heart and soul out of candle making and their line workers looked so bored (and underpaid). The facts are: I don’t want to be them so I'm not competing with them, they’ve got mass production nailed down and you’re not going to do what they do better, and the market does not need another mass producer of lousy candles. The market is already flooded with cheap, crummy candles.
Cheaper does not make people want it more. This one can be difficult to wrap our heads around because we so frequently hear price, price, price. Here’s the deal: there is something called perceived value and it is real. From a psychological perspective, when we acquire something cheaply, we typically value it less.
As a small ( it's a 1 woman show) business owner, I define my own value. When you tell people what you are worth, they believe it. I'm also selling my expertise, creativity, and art. I am selling the countless hours and thousands of dollars you spent developing a high quality product.
Before I entered the candle business, I was a school administrator for close to 20 years. Yes, a dramatic career change to say the least. The lesson I learned from this, and I have successfully applied this knowledge to all areas of business. People want to be treated or provided a service based on their individual needs or preferences. As a new business owner, I asked myself, “Who is your target audience?” Everybody is not your target market. I'm not selling toilet paper. I'm selling a luxury, handcrafted piece of art that I created with hours of formulating and testing.
High quality products require high quality fragrance oil, essential oils, wicks, vessels and wax. All these fabulous things cost money. Sure, I could pour a candle into a vessel I order in bulk from China that cost me $1.50 each, but that certainly wouldn't make Moonchild candles special, let alone a luxury.
Self care is not optional, it's mandatory. Sometimes, self-care includes a candle, and when it does, it should be nothing short of spectacular!