Purchasing Supplies: Retail vs. Wholesale

So, you're walking around your local craft store and you see that they have candle making supplies and you think, "awesome! I can just get everything I need here!" But what you may not realize is that you could be WAY overpaying for those supplies if you're buying them at a retail store instead of a wholesale supplier like us.

What's the Difference?

First, let's look at the difference between retail and wholesale:

The word "retail" directly refers to selling goods to the public in small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale. Wholesale, however, is the selling of goods in large quantities to the retailer. So, if you're purchasing your materials from a wholesale supplier rather than a retail store, you're cutting out the "middle man" and the potential for additional costs!

Show Me the Money

We wanted to give you a real example of what kind of money you would be spending if you were to purchase candle-making supplies from a retail store versus purchasing similar products from us. Please keep in mind that it is impossible to know if these materials are exactly the same, for this purpose we are simply looking at the cost.

For this example, we have chosen to make a container candle using the following materials from Lone Star Candle Supply:

Golden Brands 464 Enhanced Soy Container Wax
8oz Square Mason Jar
#70 Threaded Gold Lid
Gardenia Fragrance Oil
ECO-10 6" Wicks
Large Pouring Pot
Bow Tie Wick Bars

We were able to find comparable products at our local craft store and even made sure that the jars were similar in dimension and volume. We spotted these products in-store but wanted to link them below as well just to show you that the prices you'll see in the table below are not something we fabricated. So here are the similar materials found at the craft store:

So here are the similar materials found at the craft store:

Natural Soy Wax - 2 Pounds
Glass Jar - 8oz
Lid Sold With Jar
Gardenia Liquid Candle Fragrance
Soy Wicks With Tabs
4-Pound Pour Pitcher
Bow Tie Wick Centering Clips

As you can see, many of these products are almost identical and you probably wouldn't even notice a difference if you had them right next to each other. Now, let's take a look at the difference in price. Keep in mind that the quantities and sizing on some of these products vary slightly so we are going to try to adjust them to match the sizing of the retailer.

Product Size/Quantity Retail Price Wholesale Price
Soy Wax 2 Pounds $9.99 $3.80
Jars/Lids 1 Dozen $20.28 $10.25
Fragrance Oil 1 Ounce $3.99 $2.50
Wicks 5 $2.99 $0.45
Pouring Pot 1 $15.99 $11.95
Wick Bars 2 $3.99 $1.78
Total - $57.23 $30.73

As you can see, there's quite a big difference in the cost of materials, $26.50 to be specific. Think of all the supplies you could buy with that much money!

Now, to be fair, we want to show you how much it would cost to purchase these materials in the quantities we sell them in. Our soy wax, for example, is not sold in 2-pound increments but can be purchased in a 10-pound bag. Let's do a comparison now and show you what the cost would be to purchase enough materials to make 1 dozen candles. That 8oz jar can hold about 7.1 oz of wax by weight so for 12 jars we will need approximately 6 pounds of wax. We will also calculate enough fragrance oil to add 1 oz per pound since that is the average amount most waxes can hold. For the rest of the materials, we will just multiply everything until we have enough for each candle. (We went ahead and bumped up to the 16 oz bottle of fragrance oil for our pricing since we don't sell them in a 12oz size).

Retail Pricing

Product Size/Quantity Retail Price
Soy Wax 6 Pounds $29.97
Jars/Lids 1 Dozen $20.28
Fragrance Oil 12 Ounces $47.88
Wicks 15 $8.97
Pouring Pot 1 $15.99
Wick Bars 1 Dozen $23.94
Total - $147.03

Wholesale Pricing

Product Size/Quantity Wholesale Price
Soy Wax 10 Pounds $19.00
Jars/Lids 1 Dozen $10.25
Fragrance Oil 16 Ounces $19.95
Wicks 100 $11.95
Pouring Pot 1 $15.99
Wick Bars 1 Dozen $10.08
Total - $80.18

As you can see, it's still a HUGE difference in cost! Of course, the pricing you are seeing here purchasing from us does not include shipping costs but for the products above, shipping is not going to make up the $60+ difference in cost compared to the retail price. Plus, you are getting more materials than you need to make those 12 candles when you purchase your materials from us, and the price is STILL better!

Pros & Cons

    We've already shown you how much more expensive these supplies are to purchase from a retail store but, what you may not realize is that you probably won't be able to purchase from them in bulk either. Many of these stores only have a limited supply of these products and might not be able to support your needs especially as your business grows. You also only have a limited selection of materials to choose from. There are only a handful of fragrances available and many times only 1 or 2 wax options. Not to mention wicks! There is not a "universal" wick on the market that will fit every jar. Wicks need to be properly sized in accordance with the widest diameter of your containers. This brings up another good point...expert support. When you purchase your supplies from a retail store, chances are they are not going to have a staff member who knows the products well enough to help you troubleshoot any problems you may be having or answer your questions in detail. And finally, quality. Obviously, there's no real way for us to be sure of the quality of the products sold in craft stores but we have heard some "horror stories" from customers who have mentioned watered-down fragrances and low-quality wax.

    Retail Cons:
    • More expensive
    • Can't buy in bulk
    • Limited selection
    • No expert support
    • Unsure of quality

    Retail Pros:
    • No paying/waiting for shipping

    • Really, the only pro for purchasing your supplies from a retail store is that you don't have to wait or pay for your items to ship.
      Obviously, we know not all of our customers will be able to come to our location in Fort Worth, Texas to pick their items up. However, we offer affordable and FAST shipping all over the US and Canada! We even ship to US territories and international military bases via USPS. Shipping CAN be expensive but, when you need to purchase your supplies in bulk, it's still much more cost-efficient than purchasing your items at a retail store.

      You've already seen how much money you can save by purchasing your supplies from us but, there are many more benefits as well. We also offer a HUGE selection of all our different products: nearly 400 different fragrance oils, almost 30 different waxes, a wide variety of candle containers and jars, plus so much more! Not only do we have a lot of products to choose from, but they are also top quality. Our waxes and fragrance oils are considered some of the best in the industry and help our customers produce very high-end products. You can also buy all our products in bulk and receive additional volume discounts based on the quantities you purchase so you can save even more money. We sell items like glass and wax by the pallet and you can purchase our fragrance oils in 1oz, 4oz, 8oz, 16oz, and even 25lb increments!

    Wholesale Cons:
    • Paying/waiting for shipping (unless you are local and can pick your order up!)

    • Wholesale Pros:
      • Much less expensive
      • Able to buy in bulk
      • Large selection of products
      • Export support available
      • High-quality product

      And finally, when you purchase your supplies from Lone Star, you have access to expert advice and product support from our customer service staff. We know our products very well because we have used them ourselves to make several different types of candles and other creations. We help customers troubleshoot their problems by asking the right questions to see if we can pinpoint where the problem is coming from. We also have access to direct contacts with our manufacturers to ask more detailed questions when needed. That's probably not something you will get if you purchase your supplies from a retail store.

      As you can see, the benefits of purchasing your supplies from LSCS go far beyond just the cost of materials. We know that cost is obviously going to be a major factor when choosing where you purchase your supplies from, but we hope you also consider the quality of our products as well as the level of customer service you will receive from us too. It's great to have the convenience of the retail store that you can run into and grab your supplies but is it really worth it when it comes down to it?

This article was written in 2020. Some of the pricing may be different.