What is the best way to reach out to retailers to carry your product?

I recently started a handcrafted candle business and want to know the best way to reach out to retailers to wholesale my product to. Is there a specific price range retailers are looking at for the wholesale cost?

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If you are going to sell directly to the retail store, they want to make 25-30%. If you want to sell to a distributor and have them sell into the same retailer for you the they want 25% also!

Rich, this is a great response. I never thought about their end and how much they expect to make per product.

Hall Banks

6:24 Handcrafted

You can’t make money in retail without at least a 50-55% margin. Professional, independent reps expect 15-20% commission in your category.

Marsha, we did our research and are at above a 50% margin for our category. What is the next step?

Hall Banks

6:24 Handcrafted

Start reaching out to prospective reps and agencies. I've picked up two different lines since I've been on Abound, most recently another candle company. Let prospects look over your line and pricing to see if it's a fit for their current customer base and existing lines already in their bag. Listen to questions and concerns reps may have... they can help you refine your message, pre-packs/offers, etc. Do you have a catalog? Despite what you may believe a catalog (or at least a professional, complete sell sheet) is still a must. Sometimes the arc to place a new line, especially a candle line, can be long. In the past, I've worked months and years to get new lines placed. We MUST have materials to leave behind, because out of sight (digital materials in email box) is out of mind.

Thank you for this helpful insight. Would love to hear your comments about our brand too if you have a chance. Thank you Marsha. - www.brunna.co

It really depends on the account/retailer. What type of retailer. etc. I usually take different approaches depending on the research I have.

Thanks, Monica! What approaches do you take for smaller accounts/retailers to start?

Hall Banks

6:24 Handcrafted

We work with many different types of retailers - internet sites, discounters: home - improvement , furniture, sporting goods, grocery, drug, department , and convenience stores - so it will depend on which segment of the market you want to attack.
Is your product for the masses or for small boutiques or just for the internet? Once this is known, we can figure an approach that will work to sell your product(s).

Thanks for your answer, Jimmy. We are targeting both online and small boutiques.

Hall Banks

6:24 Handcrafted


I agree overall with the comments below. My suggestions are:

1) Define your financial goals & timelines & be conservative.

2) Define what channel(s) your business needs to have the most success to meet you short-term sales goals & your long-term sales & profitability goals.

3) Identify the target account(s)/website(s) and/or sales strategies that will get you there. If you need, small boutiques, do it yourself or pay someone based on what they bring in. If it is big box retailers or large, ecommerce, find professionals that specialize in calling on those targets. I'm sure that you can find many of these people on this site.

Where you want to speak more, please call message me through Abound.



Good afternoon.

I just spent a few minutes reading down through these comments. I also reviewed your website.

I formerly represented the largest manufacturer of candles in the US. I am very familiar with this market. I don't see anything unique enough about your product to demand the retail prices you are asking. At over $2.50/oz for a 13oz candle no retailers will be interested. Your price is just too high. You aren't competitive.

You have no marketing presence. Even small candle brands will have 1,000+ Instagram followers. As far as I can tell (from your website and a Google search) you don't have any social media presence.

More importantly, there isn't anything unique about your offering. For example your product label leaves a lot to be desired when looking at it up against the emerging candle brands competing for space in the market.

Before you reach out to any rep or retailer you need to make sure you have something unique for the market that is going to get people excited. You must look as good or better as other upcoming brands in order for anyone to pay attention to you.

There should be no discussion with reps at this point - you aren't ready. With most people in this business you are only going to get a single shot to speak with them - your value proposition and presentation needs to be lock-tight.

You need to consult with someone in the candle business who has already placed artisan lines into small retail chains. Get their opinion and suggestion about your products before spending any more time trying to contact reps or retailers.

Ask them about what type of candles (including messaging) is in demand. Get their opinion about your product labeling and packaging. Ask them what retail price you need to be in order for them to be excited to sell your product. And as Marsha Fleming suggested, you need a lot of help getting your collateral material. ready

You have a lot of work to do before moving forward towards multi-store placement.

Wishing you success,

John T Clark

Good afternoon Hall,

We own a fast growing, wood wick candle company beginning in Jan 2019 and now are in 28 locations and growing weekly. Here are some tips and experiences we have had:

We began a good ol fashioned search (Google, Maps, Social Media) of boutiques, gift shops, salons, etc and compiled a list of over 200 contacts to begin. This allowed us to really reach out and make a significant push once we had our ducks in a row. We cold emailed them, highlighting what made our candles different, and a better value proposition for them and their businesses.

Photography and Social Media has been key! My wife and I both worked full-time, (she now has been able to quit her career, I'm next) and we are by no means photographers, so we enlisted brand reps on Instagram and paid a burgeoning local photographer for website product photography and other.

Know your cost per candle down to the cent! This enabled us to offer 51%+ margin on all our candles and we offer that as such to our stockists, highlighting not only that, but also offering free shipping on all first time orders outside our delivery range, plus an attractive tiered shipping discount for subsequent orders.

These are just a few tips that have helped us and we wish you all the luck in your endeavors.

Brian & Megan

Brian & Megan Dalrymple

Anchored Northwest

This is an interesting question. but for me I just contact them via email.

Norma McElroy

Norma's Bath & Body

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