It is hard to find somebody who does not love candy. After all, who could resist the spicy, sweet, tanginess of chamoy Gushers? When it comes to starting a home candy business by selling local or online, the hardest part is always getting the first few customers.
But trust me, it is satisfying (who could really give negative feedback on candy anyways).
Do you know how to make candy? If not, most candy recipes are simple enough for anybody to follow. Or you could piece a variety of candies together for a party tray.
Do you have a phone camera? Chances are you’re looking at this post from a phone.
Then you have everything you need to start an online candy tycoon straight from the kitchen!
For more information on how to start making and selling candy, continue on!
It’s simple to start an online candy shop from home
People of all ages love candy so do not worry about a shortage of customers. The hard part, however, is getting the first few.
But don’t worry, it is hard to mess up candy (unless you are completely forgetful).
There are so many platforms to sell candy online but only a couple will be focused on here. If you want to make a decent side income doing something as fun as candy-making, then keep on scrolling!
A Few things to keep in mind before starting
Check your state/local cottage food laws. Different states have different regulations on correct packaging, labeling, or food handling certifications. Do not skip checking this!
They’ll state what kind of information should be on the label such as potential allergens, address of production, and/or statement of non-inspection.
Here’s an example of a non-inspection statement that’s required to be on labels in Texas:
“This food is made in a home kitchen and is not inspected by the Department of State Health Services or a local health department.”Texas Cottage Food Law
Packaging. A rule of thumb is that candy should be packaged in a way where the product will not become contaminated or exposed to open air. A sealed food-grade bag or tray will suffice.
Maximum gross annual income. Depending on the state you’re in, there’s a cap on how much you can make before you have to officially register as a business.
Other things to consider:
- Upfront cost. Ingredients, packaging, labeling, shipping, and labor
- Shipping logistics. Local delivery or ship countrywide? Temperature-sensitive products?
- Competition. Is your niche of candy competitive on whichever platform or local area (Etsy, Tiktok, Instagram)?
- Selling locally? Create a social media profile for your candy business. It should be something brandable and easy to say. You’d be surprised by the word of mouth. A simple share on a story can lead to more customers down the road.
5 Brief Steps to Start Selling Candy Online or Locally
Step 1: Have a Product
You can’t start selling candy online if you don’t have, well, candy!
And no, I do not mean reselling individually wrapped Jolly Ranchers online! Unless you are planning to freeze-dry them, then that is another story.
The main thing that makes selling candy so profitable is how cheap and addicting sugar is.
So go for a product that looks and tastes amazing.
Here is a quick guide on how to make a lollipop.
Step 2: Take Attractive Photos and Videos of the Product
When selling your candy, it has to look good before it tastes good. That is if you want anybody to buy it. In other words, you want your customer to almost taste the candy (and drool) just by looking at pictures or videos.
Here are some tips for taking high-quality photos of the candies:
- A well-lit space with plenty of natural light is needed to highlight all the features of the product. You can also use artificial lighting if needed. Ideally, this lighting will allow the camera to catch all the bits of goodness.
- Set up a backdrop with a tablecloth or other object which provides a solid color. Have a quiet background with focus on the candy product. You don’t want to distract from what’s in your hand!
- Different angles and distances. Having varying photos and videos can give potential customers a better idea of your product. Close-up slow-motion videos are killer!
Work on your focusing skills when taking photographs and videos in order to get quality shots more often!
I would avoid using too many filters; you want the product to look authentic and close to what the customer will receive. This is especially true after shipping; candies will never look the same before and after transit. There will be literal bumps along the road along with potentially high temperatures.
Maybe later down the line, hiring a professional photographer or videographer would be worth it!
Step 3: Create a logo on Canva
Don’t sweat this step too much, you can always adjust and change this later on.
The most important part is getting listings on your chosen selling platforms ASAP.
A simple, text-based logo should work for now.
If you want to get fancy with the logo, you could try Canva Pro for a limited time. This will give you access to many more templates and features that you can also use outside of just creating a logo.
Step 4: Get listings on social media (Instagram) or e-commerce platform like Etsy
What platforms to sell candy locally on?
I highly recommend also setting up a matching Instagram page as it is easy to update product photos. Instagram is a picture-based social media with the ability to tag locations. For selling locally, Instagram makes it easy to update info and stock for local customers. Bonus brownie points if they share your product on their story with a tag!
Try to take a solid video that captures the flavor and essence of the candy. Selling sour candy? Surround the candy with slices of lime and lemon. Selling something savory? Sprinkle on the salt or seasoning. You get the idea.
What platforms to sell candy online on?
The front page search for “lollipops” on Etsy has a lot of competitive products and quality images.
You may be thinking, how can I compete with these?
Here are some tips on finding your niche audience for any product.
- Use longer search phrases (also known as long-tailed keywords). When selling online, it is important to have a product that is unique. Otherwise, you’ll be buried in the search page.
- Example: (some unique flavored) lollipops
- Freeze-dried (types of candy)
- (shaped) hard candies
- (flavored) sour/sweet chewy
- Learn how to use photo-editing software like Photoshop. Create eye-catching thumbnails depending on the flavor! But don’t overdo it to the point of being deceiving.
- Sell candy as a gifting experience. Think gift boxes, focusing on the gifting and wrap aspects.
Step 5: Actively market, promote, and sell!
The first customers are the hardest to acquire but also the most satisfying. Because once you get a customer (that’s not a family or friend), that’s all the proof you need to keep going!
Offer a promotion or delivery to entice people to try your candy. This is why it is important to have a quality product that gets people talking. Because candy is kind of hard to mess up, the presentation of the candy matters.
This is why having an Instagram page for your candy business is important. You can reach anybody from local to nationwide!
3 Tips on growing your candy biz Instagram page
- Post regularly – This allows you to reach out to customers locally at first. As you grow and gain social proof, you will gain more eyes outside of your city.
- Engage with related pages – See what other related pages are doing right. Interact with their fans. Chances are, they will like your candy too!
- Host giveaways – This is a great way to gain traffic once the page gets some traction. I’d suggest not doing this in the beginning when not that many people are aware of your brand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I sell candy online?
It is hard to find somebody that dislikes candy. People of all ages love sugar! Getting the first couple of customers will be difficult, but with enough testimonials of “Oh my goodness, these bites are so good!” you’ll find yourself needing a helping hand soon.
Real satisfaction comes with building a brand and an experience.
How much can you make selling candy online?
It all depends on the sales volume and costs. After all, this is a business. Some can make a side income of $100+ a month. Others have created a full-time living from their brand that stretches across multiple platforms.
It depends on how much work you want to put into it and your other obligations. Be prepared for an initial ingredient and packaging cost if you’re just starting out!
Many fail because they don’t invest enough time in marketing themselves or researching products before listing them (or at least not until after experiencing failure). Test your products with close family and friends first before offering them locally or online.
Is an online candy shop profitable?
Yes, with the proper research and preparatory work done, it can be profitable. However, like all businesses, the money isn’t guaranteed; the average person starting makes nothing (or worse loses something).
Everyone loves the taste of candy. But many people don’t know that it’s also a profitable business to invest in for some entrepreneurs, thanks to its low cost and ease of production. With ingredients like sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and corn syrup, the cost to start is very low!
You will find that selling 1 batch of candy covers pretty much all of the supplies and a little more! It is very hard to not profit from selling candies; the most difficult part is acquiring the first couple of regulars that enjoy your product.
How do I ship hard candies?
Candy that is heat-sensitive melts quicker than you think. Try to have the candy delivered in a way where it is protected against sitting in the heat for a long time.
When shipping hard candies with hot weather exposure in mind, ice packs or insulated wrapping can help protect candy from damage.
For more information on how to correctly package candy and other confections such as chocolate, please read our shipping guide.
In conclusion . . .
Selling candy online can be simple at first; taking clean, clear photos, and having a killer flavorful product will sell itself. Start by selling locally and build up that brand recognition along with social proof. Be sure to have a “portfolio” of sorts (which is why Instagram is recommended!)
But with rewards come a bit of risk. Be prepared to front the initial cost of supplies in terms of the product itself, packaging, shipping, and labor. I hope you learned a little something on how to start an online candy business!