One of the questions I'm asked most often is, “What’s the difference between a handmade candle and a store bought candle?”
It's a really good question because some people just look at a handmade candle as being a more expensive option, or just another candle, or maybe even a candle of lesser quality.
I’ve been at trade shows and expos where people have made statements like, “They look nice, but I like Yankee Candle, I won’t buy anything but Yankee Candles.”
I get it. Loyalty. I totally understand loyalty. There are places I shop that I'm loyal to.
The question I like to ask is, what, exactly, are you loyal to? What is it you like so much about your Bath & Body Works Candles? Is it the candle style?
Usually, it's the scent. But if that's all you're loyal to, a scent can be duplicated by pretty much fragrance company out there! So what else is there that keeps you loyal to that candle brand?
Do they treat you nicely?
Are you getting a personal note from the owner that thanks you for your loyalty?
Maybe you're thrilled with the way they always give you something in return for your loyalty.
There are tons of candle companies out there. Many are made by brands who manufacture their candles in factories while there are also brands that produce hand crafted candle products.
Today, I really want to get into the differences between the two.
If you're going to be loyal, at least know what you're loyal to.
So let's dig in!
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First of all, bigger isn’t always better.
Big manufacturing companies, like Yankee and Bath & Body Works, produce in higher volumes. This, can be a huge advantage in production.
Unfortunately, it also gives larger manufacturers just like Yankee Bath & Body Works a disadvantage in their quality control.
The result oftentimes is...
Candles that are manufactured tend to have a poorly distributed amount of fragrance that can lead to candles that produce a generous amount of soot. While there are extreme exceptions to this, you'll likely need to shop in the luxury candle department to get those candles (because producing luxury simply costs more).
What do you mean, exactly?
Well, here’s the deal.
Manufacturers use huge machines to process candles. When mixed in large batches, scent oftentimes doesn’t completely bind to all of the wax, causing the scent to be poorly distributed.
One result of the wax not binding completely to the wax is that black smoky substance (or soot) you see when you burn your candle.
Another result would be a scented candle that only burns fragrance through parts of the candle and seems to lose its scent while burning the candle.
"If you're losing scent halfway through a big $30 candle, you may as well pay the same $ for higher quality candle half the size." Dawn Mayo, Everything Dawn Bakery Candles
When Differences Matter: Manufactured vs. Handmade Candles
What makes the big guys more popular isn't necessarily their quality and good looks. It's more their ability to spend more marketing dollars to be seen.
Reality, however, is some people love paying $30 a pop for a large candle that loses scent halfway through. Mostly because those big marketing dollars can really put out enticing ads! However, in the end, the $30 spent for 26 ounces of scented candle quickly becomes $30 for 13 ounces if all you're getting is half the candle burning true scent.
So, while you may pay a little more for a handmade candle, you’re paying for quality, creativity, individuality, and skill.
Here's something else to consider.
Luxury and quality both have a price.
Once upon a time, America was filled with merchants who put their time and hard work into creating the highest quality merchandise for buyers. There was no question of quality.
However, during the Industrial Revolution, more of these handmade artisans were put out of work due to the factories that began to produce the same merchandise faster. They were put out of business.
As factories grew, owners began to figure out that they could make even more money if they could use cheaper materials to produce the same merchandise.
Look at the quality of toys, for example. There are distinct differences between the make of older toys versus today's toys.
And today, those very vintage toys are prized and collected for their structure because toys are simply not made they way they used to be.
Before the Industrial Revolution, the merchants who created their wares by hand were very personal with their customers. There was a warmth, a genuine interest in providing quality to the guy down the road or the lady across town. And in return, there was customer loyalty to the merchant.
So, my question to you again is...
What are you loyal to?
Handmade Is Historically Known For Quality. Manufacturing Is Historically Known For Cheap Production.
It's up to you to decide if luxury and quality are on the top of your priority list when you're buying candles.
In my personal candle journey, I've found that when I've compromised quality for a few dollars, I've usually found myself wasting my dollars (hence getting scent out of only half a candle).
But it's your call. What's most important to you when you're buying candles? Comment below to
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