February 19

The Rise of Contemporary Candles: Business Opportunities in 2021

The other day, I bought a candle from COUDRE BERLIN. It is handmade in Berlin and created from soy wax and essential oils. It was 25 EUR. It was the tip of the iceberg. Contemporary candles are on the rise. And speciality candles are a thing now.

So, with that: Are you wondering how Gwyneth Paltrow managed to sell a candle for 75 USD in 2020? Then keep on reading to discover which trends have made this phenomenon possible.

The Candle Controversy

The most famous example of an expensive essential oil candle is “This Smells Like My Vagina Candle” from Gwyneth Paltrow and her lifestyle and cosmetic brand Goop. It retails at 75 USD and provoked some negative attention from the conservative press. 

The Guardian wrote bitter commentary and ELLE jokes:

It’s not April Fool’s Day, no you’re not hallucinating, and somehow that headline isn’t fake news. You have in fact read it correctly, whether you wish you had or not.

The point being: Your good old beeswax candle is now being replaced by his stylish essential oil cousin – no matter how much the press jokes about the one that Gwyneth Paltrow made.

Speciality Candles On The Rise

Google Trends leaves no doubt: The demand for essential oil candles has been rising steadily since 2013.

Our urges for beautiful candles coincide with some other Zeitgeist phenomena:

  1. The wish to buy hand-made products
  2. The desire for organic products with natural ingredients
  3. The rise in popularity of yoga, meditation and mindfulness
  4. Social media allowing small direct-to-consumer brands to gain exposure

Zeitgeist Supports Candle Business Opportunities

Let’s dive into the four factors a bit more. 

First, the global demand for arts and craft products has grown by 17% between 2017 and 2020. And is meant to grow another 23% by 2024. 


To illustrate this, let’s look at the online retailer Etsy. A marketplace for handmade products. And guess, what, the most popular items are home decor. 25% of their sellers are listed in the category Home & Living

Etsy’s annual revenue has 10x since 2012 making it one of the leading marketplaces worldwide.


Secondly, green consumerism or green consumption is a form of consumption that is compatible with the safeguard of the environment for the present and for the next generations. (Wikipedia)

It originates in the 1960s and ’70s and has gained more momentum since the early 2000s. Statistia found that the global market value for natural cosmetics and personal care expected a positive increase from almost 34.5 billion dollars in 2018 to roughly 54.5 billion dollars expected for the year 2027. 

The awareness of consumers on the type of products purchased is growing over time. This is especially the case when it comes to personal consumer goods.

This is also relevant for the candle market since the type of ingredients that consumers are looking for is changing: Demand for organic candles made of natural wax is on the rise over the past few years. 

The demand is positively influenced by the preference for candles that do not result in carbon blackening. Along with this, rising awareness among millennials regarding the effects of burning candles on the environment is encouraging them to strive toward reducing the carbon footprint. (Grandview Research)

Thirdly, with the rising popularity of yoga, mindfulness and meditation came the trend of using essential oils. Once a new age phenomenon, it is now becoming more and more mainstream.


Fourth, and crucially important, for small direct-to-consumer brands is the birth of social media. Facebook was founded in 2004, Tumblr in 2007, Pinterest in 2009 and Instagram in 2010. 

And Instagram, a platform that used to allow for very little outside clicks for a long-time set up Instagram Shop in May 2020. Brands can now display a full shopfront within Instagram making it easy for users to purchase straight from the feed.

This is great for small, independent candle brands that can not rely on an established distribution network like some of the big retailers.

Independent Brands Own The Candle Market

As a result, small candle brands are leading the market for scented candles in the USA in 2020.


The hype around scented candles goes beyond wanting your house to smell good.

The market is being driven by growing awareness regarding the application of the product in various types of aromatherapies and candle massages. 

Scented candles play a crucial role in these therapeutic procedures by creating a relaxing ambiance, which helps in achieving a meditative state of mind. 

The incorporation of essential oils in these products to infuse fragrance helps in soothing the senses and re-energizing one’s spirit. Additionally, each fragrance serves a unique therapeutic significance, creating a demand for customized scented candles to attain relaxation in a specific health state. (Grandview Research)

Essentially oil candles are meant to: Calm you down or energize you – based on the mix of oils.

Artnaturals listed the most common essential oils and the expected benefits from inhaling them.

  • Lavender: A soothing and relaxing scent, lavender has the ability to relieve anxiety, depression and stress. It is used also to treat headaches and insomnia.
  • Citrus: Orange, lemon and grapefruit all have powerful citrus scents that help to brighten the mood and increase concentration.
  • Vanilla: A sweet and warming scent, vanilla is soothing and comforting. It also helps to relieve stress.
  • Cinnamon: Known to help nerves, fatigue and exhaustion, cinnamon has a very inviting scent that smells like freshly baked cookies.
  • Geranium: A scent that reminds people of being outdoors, geranium has a wonderful effect on the nerves, having calmative properties that help with relaxation.
  • Jasmine: One of people’s favorite scents, jasmine is calming and relaxing.
  • Sandalwood: Having some of the same benefits that people claim to receive from meditation, sandalwood helps soothe irritation and lifts depression.
  • Eucalyptus: With a minty and uplifting smell, eucalyptus helps decongest the nose and provide relief from colds, sinusitis and allergies. It is also emanated to build energy.
  • Peppermint: A scent that everyone is familiar with, peppermint aroma candles can relieve muscle pain, headaches and digestive problems.

Even mainstream women’s magazine Cosmopolitan has your back with a selected list of “14 Aromatherapy Candles to Make You Feel as Peaceful as a Sleeping Baby.”

When Cosmopolitan writes an article like this, you can rest assured that candle business opportunities are the next big thing and have long outgrown their niche of hippie-yogis.

And the good news: Only 35% of candle sales occur during the Christmas/Holiday season. Non-seasonal business accounts for approximately 65% of candle sales

And even better: Consumers are increasingly purchasing candles as a focal point for their home décor, and for aromatherapy-like relaxation and stress reduction. (National Candles Association).

Candle Business Opportunities: What’s Next?

If you are looking to start a candle business (maybe even from home), now is your time. Entrepreneur listed candles businesses in their business idea section:

The popularity of specialty candles has really taken off in the past decade as more and more people are starting to enjoy the relaxing effect that burning scented candles can have. This popularity and consumer demand for specialty candles creates a tremendous business opportunity for the innovative entrepreneur to start a business that manufactures and sells candles.

BTW, do you remember COUDRE BERLIN, the brand whose candle I bought that sparked my interest in this topic? At the time of writing this article (February 2021), their online shop for “Contemporary Candles” is completely sold out. 

It is safe to say that they indeed nailed contemporary speciality candles.

P.S. Gwenyth Paltrow’s candle, on the other hand, is back in stock if you are tempted. And even more, the sequel candle “This Smells Like My Orgasm” is out, too.

About the author 

Viola Eva

Viola Eva is passionate about digital entrepreneurship, flow and mindful marketing. As founder and SEO consultant for Flow SEO, she has worked with clients ranging from individual digital entrepreneurs, to software companies to multi-national corporates and government institutions.

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