Choosing a new scent for a candle is one of my favourite things to do as a candle maker, the scents you choose become part of your scent family, not only because you pour them so often, but you also love them fully and with passion. Choosing a new scent can also be one of the most difficult things to do too as there are so many gorgeous scents to choose from and it can feel overwhelming, it also doesn't help that I am not the quickest decision maker either, It can take me a long time to make decision on a new candle scent but then it suits me as I would rather get it right for my customers.
There are so many different scent variations to choose from in the world of home fragrance and aromatherapy and when choosing a new scent you have to really hone in on what goes well with your other scents as well as ensuring you get it right for your customers so that they will love them just as much as you do.
So here is my tried and tested process I use when choosing a new scent for my seasonal scent candle collections:
1. Is it nature inspired?
When choosing a new scent, I am heavily inspired by nature and I find that these natural scents and ingredients work really beautifully in the natural 100 % soy wax I use. The scent of fresh raspberries or floral peonies and roses, woody cedarwood or beautiful medicinal lavender. The reason for this is that these are the ingredients I love and I know that they blend so well and make beautiful aromas from my candles. It can also make you feel that there is a bit of nature inside your home or space creating a cosy natural atmosphere.
2. Does it smell good?
It doesn't matter if the concentrated scent oil sounds amazing or I know that it would blend really well with the other ingredients, if it doesn't pass the scent test it probably won't progress any further. This doesn't mean I will not give up on it on the first sniff from the concentrated oil, I will still make the candle in the new scent in different sizes and test it through the burning process. If after the burning process it doesn't quite meet the brief it will not move forward. At this point my family and friends are delighted as they get to have the candle testers!
3. Target Audience Evaluation
I may love the scent and think it burns really well, but if one of my official testers (typically previous customers) rate it as been a 'not so good scent' or 'it didn't burn well', or 'the scent faded' it's back to the drawing board.
4. Does it feel right?
I cannot explain the criteria for this factor when choosing a new candle scent, but it's one that I have come to rely on. I suppose you could call it 'gut' instinct or experience or knowing your customers, if the candle scent doesn't feel right it just wont make it. This actually happened with a scent I brought out when I first started Hazel & Blue it was 'English Pear & Vanilla' and it just didn't fit right, it was a lovely scent but I didn't love it enough to want to promote it or talk about it, and then it didn't sell very well so after a lot of contemplating I discontinued it and it felt right.
5. Hazel & Blue Customers and Audience
Lastly and most importantly I will ask my customers and audience about new scents. I am always asking my Hazel & Blue Customers what their favourite scents are, this is because they are a big part of the decision making when choosing new scents as my candles are for them!
I will ask customers at markets or fairs, or through my monthly mailing audience, on social media whether through a poll on stories or in a caption. If it gets a thumbs up then I know that it will be a good candle scent to have and I will continue the process.
There are so many factors when I am choosing new candle scents for my collection and for my customers and I have come to rely on all of the different elements above to help me in my decision making when choosing to introduce a new candle scent. Although ultimately my customers will decide if they like a scent or not and at the end of the day, they will decide which ones they love and will continue to love going forward.
However for me the best part is when I make the new scent for the very first time for a customer and the scent fills the studio and it's bliss, equally when one of my stockist asks for the new scent for their customers and this never fails to make me happy. The Scents I use in my nature inspired candles becomes part of my candle world and my little Hazel & Blue candle family and I for one wouldn't have it any other way.
How do you choose your candle scents? Do you have a favourite scent? I would love to know!