There are some important considerations, including understanding the laws for selling candles in the US, when planning a new candle business.
When used safely, a candle gives many hours of beauty and atmosphere. The twinkling candlelight combined with elegant colors and sophisticated fragrances provides a great sensory experience. Although candles are almost pieces of decoration in their own right, the fact that they are burning with an exposed flame should not be forgotten. These lovely works of art are also potential health and safety hazards. This potential threat should be forefront in the minds of people who are thinking about selling candles.
What are the Laws for Selling Candles in the US?
The National Candle Association (NCA) has played an important part in the creation of a set of candle industry standards. These standards have been developed and published through ASTM International. These standards clearly outline important features that need to be adhered to and are designed to help combat the increase in the number of fires due to candles.
The six key standards and full information, plus a detailed description, can be found at the candle subcommittee page of the ASTM Information Web site. In brief, the standards include:
- Standard Guide for Terminology Relating to Candles and Associated Accessory Items
- Standard Specification for Candle Fire Safety Labeling
- Standard Specification for Annealed Soda-Lime-Silicate Glass Containers That Are Produced for Use as Candle Containers
- Standard Test Method for Collection and Analysis of Visible Emissions from Candles as They Burn
- Standard Specification for Fire Safety for Candles
- Standard Specification for Fire Safety for Candle Accessories
The onus is on the seller of the candle to ensure that the candles have been manufactured to meet the required standards and are labeled correctly.
More information about the laws for selling candles in the US and general candle safety can be found at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site.
Other Important Legal Considerations
In addition to safety issues, there are other legal aspects that need to be considered when you're planning to start your own candle business. These include trademarks and copyright as well as Web site legalities.
Trademarks and Copyright
Trademark and copyright protection is another important consideration when starting to sell candles to the public. Large candle manufacturers and other companies have their own unique fragrances and designs that they have spent many thousands of dollars in developing. These companies trademark, patent or copyright their fragrances and designs to stop other companies copying them. This affects small businesses as well as large ones and is something that a new business should be aware of.
It would be very easy to market and sell handmade candles that had names that were similar to those owned by larger companies in error. The company owning the copyright would be completely within their rights to send a 'cease and desist' notice that would stop the sale of copy-cat candles, even in the case of an inadvertent breech of copyright. The onus is on the candle manufacturer as well as the seller to ensure that the copyright and trademarks of other companies are not infringed.
Web Site Legalities
Many work from home candle businesses can be operated through a Web site. When selling candles through a Web site, there are important aspects that need to be considered. Sites should have a terms and conditions page that clearly outlines applicable law (detailing what the governing US state is), any trademark or copyright limitations, whether prices are subject to change and a disclaimer of warranties and liabilities.
Finding Out More Information
When starting a candle sales business, it is important to research all the different areas of the business first to ensure that a good understanding is gained of all the key issues. Local craft groups often have a range of good quality industry contacts who can help provide up to date and relevant information. Candle making equipment and supplies vendors are another important source of information and can provide essential data about their products.
There are also many small business consultants who offer advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. However, before seeking the help of a consultant, it would be advisable to check his/her credentials when it comes to knowledge and experience of selling candles.