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You did it!  You got the perfect candle and you are ready to sell!  Woo, so glad all of that testing is over!  Flash forward, 6 months later*****  Something is wrong!  You have been doing everything the same!  You go to the wax manufacturers website and there is a notice that some batches of wax had issues.  Ok, woo.  You switch out the waxes because it is your lot number.  Breath easy!  6 months later-Holiday rush.  Customer returns a candle because it is not burning correctly.  Something is wrong....What could it be...Not the wax, not the scent, not the wick.  WHAT.  All of a sudden the candle isn't burning correctly.  You grab the same candle from your stock and sure enough get the same bad results.  Hum....new batch of wicks.....call the manufacturer.  Then you remember that you had changed wax coatings on your wicks.  Really, could this be the issue!  You make two candles, one with an old wick and one with a new just to be sure.  The old wick burns beautifully but the new one stumbles.  Same wick size but different coatings.  Never had this happen before!  You grab 2 different scents with the new wick and burn them.  They burn perfectly.....Wow, this particular scent doesn't like the new coating....Now, do I go back to the old coating or re-test.  Since you want to have all of your candles consistent retest it is!  Luckily with just a small test (6 candles-3 wick sizes with duplicates)  you can determine that you just need to wick up a size and all is good again.  Stick the new wick size in a candle and sure enough you are golden.  You did it!  You got the perfect candle and are ready to sell!  But then.....

You wake up for your nightmare in a cold sweat.  All is good.  Wait..is there a knock on the door....

If you have been a candle maker for any length of time this may feel like your life.  When I first started I felt that all I did was test.  And then in dawned on me that maybe that is because I should be testing all of the time.  A professional candle maker is not someone who blindly sticks a wick in some wax and goes to market.  A true candle maker takes pride in their craft and tests like the dickens.  I know what you are thinking.  "If I tested ever candle I would have nothing to sell and no time to sell."  Too true my friend, too true.  There has to be balance.  No one is able to test burn every bag/batch of wax, every wick order, each fragrance re-order.  We count on our manufacturers to also be on top of things.  And they are for the most part.  But things get by them as well.  Maybe there was a change in a raw material that caused a slight change in their product but it still fell within their acceptable "spec" ranges.  This happens with wax sometimes.  But for whatever reason it may affect your product.  This is why in addition to our regular tests to get the product on the market we also do "pull tests".  We just pull a candle and burn it like a customer would burn it.  Of course taking notes on the burn.  This way if there is a problem we can be ahead of it.   Honestly, we rarely find issues this way. But over 30 years of business we have found them. But the issues are usually found when a customer brings back a candle.  Then we have to figure out the mystery.  Luckily it is a rare rare thing. (knock on wood) But it does cause nightmares.

So my suggestion for candle makers it so accept and grow to love testing.  View it as your job.  Maybe find some joy in the testing process.  It makes it easier to not view it as a waste of time and a drudgery.  Also, keep track of all of your testing expenses.  If you are in business you should be able to write them off!  (Not a tax professional, nor do I play one on TV-Check with your tax professional)

Yours in candle making!
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