Back in 2001, I wrote an article on the same topic. In that time, the United States were the only place where you could find decent candlemaking supplies and raw materials: votive molds and wick pins, Container wax blends, UV-inhibitor, universal additive, fragrance oils... In Europe (and pretty much everywhere else), we had to make do with the basic paraffin wax, a couple additives and a small selection of molds.
As I write this update on the eve of Christmas 2020, it is clear that everything has changed a lot.
In the course of the last twenty years, raw materials (like special wax blends and additives) and supplies of all sorts have become readily available to candlemakers based in continental Europe. France and Germany, primarily, have several suppliers who offer pretty much anything you need. The United Kingdom is also home to a range of suppliers I use a lot because I like their extended range of products and the affordable shipping costs most of them offer.
So as of today, importing candlemaking supplies from the United States has stopped being a necessity as it was the case twenty years ago. Moreover, it has become either impossible or ridiculously expensive.
Back in 2001, I placed an order with a - now defunct - US supplier for the following articles:
for a total of $165.00 (at the time equal to 169 EUR, today 135 EUR)
I won't reprint the entirety of the long 2001 article but rather quote the important "details" only, namely the different costs and taxes I had to pay on top of that total:
If we add it all up, the total of my order jumped from 169 EUR to a whopping 275.87 EUR!!!
Fast forward to 2020. Nowadays, the american suppliers who still offer shipping to Europe (or anywhere outside the US territory, for that matter) are few and far between. If you give our supplies finder a whirl, you will see that only 8 US suppliers do actually ship to Belgium. But even then, it comes with a hefty price tag!
I did a little test on the website of 3 of these suppliers and started the checkout process for articles that are neither heavy nor bulky. The results? Shipping costs ranging from $70 to $108 for the cheapest (and slowest) delivery option. Don't forget to add import taxes and VAT (neither have gone down since 2001) and you end up with a total that is just plain ridiculous in regards to the original price of the articles ordered.
So I guess the answer to the question that is the title of this blog post, whether importing candlemaking supplies from the United States anno 2021 is a good idea, is a big bold NO. And as I said earlier, it is also not necessary anymore...