There are many ways to start a business, some more intimidating than others. When thinking about launching your ecommerce business idea, you need to determine where you’ll make your products available for purchase. For many budding entrepreneurs, Etsy is that place.
Etsy launched as a marketplace specifically tailored for makers, artists, and other creatives who want to sell their wares. Now, brands of all kinds get their start on the marketplace, expand to other Etsy alternatives, and even eventually launch their own website.
For this article, we’ll list some great Etsy shop ideas to help you get started on the marketplace for makers.
- Easy and affordable shipping
- Unlimited design options
- Lots of competition
- Need to constantly come up with new designs or leads
Stickers are a fairly popular item to sell and buy on Etsy. The term “Etsy stickers” sees just over 4,000 monthly average searches, and a search for “stickers” on Etsy turns up more than two million results. That’s a heck of a lot of competition, but also a lot of opportunity. Because selling stickers is so versatile, you can niche down into virtually any vertical market. You can also create sticker designs yourself or hire a designer to bring your creative ideas to life for you, so no skills necessary.
- Many types of pins and unlimited design options
- Less competition than some other items
- Be wary of low-quality pin suppliers
- Requires constant creativity for new designs
Much like stickers, making enamel pins is a flexible Etsy shop idea, and a search on the marketplace only turns up about 170,000 results—so there’s lots of room here. You can make many different kinds of enamel pins, including textured soft enamel, durable hard enamel, 3D mold, epoxy, and die stuck. You can make your enamel pin designs with an editing program like Photoshop or hire a designer to help you.
Pinlord sells enamel pins on Etsy and Shopify, under the Etsy shop name Enamelpinsforever. The pop-culture-inspired pins have illustrated designs with slogans beneath. They share a distinct design style, though each gives nod to a different theme or joke.
- Super flexible with lots of product options
- Allows you to use your creativity
- Lots of competition
- Can be challenging to mix passion with business
Etsy is an ideal marketplace for selling art because it’s specifically geared toward makers and creators. Therefore, Etsy shoppers have come to expect art and other creative products when they visit the marketplace. “Etsy art” itself gets more than 4,000 monthly searches, and “Etsy wall art” is queried as much as 7,400 times each month.
There are lots of ways to sell your art online, both on Etsy and your own website. You can offer your art as digital downloads—think things like phone wallpapers or desktop background images—so you don’t have to worry about shipping and fulfillment. You can also sell physical items featuring your art. Some artists go the print-on-demand route and offer a multitude of products including t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases. Others create one-of-a-kind items that can’t be replicated or reprinted.
More resources to help you sell your art online and on Etsy:
- Make candles yourself or outsource them from a supplier
- Versatile in ingredients, scents, niche, use cases, target audience, etc.
- Lots of competition
- Can be expensive to ship large, heavy candles and ensure they don’t suffer damage
Selling candles is a great business to start, especially with people spending more time at home due to COVID-19. The candle market is expected to reach $545.2 million by 2025, and “Etsy candles” gets more than 4,000 average monthly searches. Plus, candles are useful in a variety of environments even outside the home—think about restaurants, spas, and other places of business with a nice ambience.
Get more inspiration for your candle business:
- Can be as simple or as complicated as you like
- Opportunity to upcycle old wood
- May have a bigger learning curve in terms of mastering the craft
- May require money for upfront investment in equipment and supplies
Woodworking projects are excellent items to sell on Etsy because they fit in line with the crafting and makers theme. Infinite Abyss makes a variety of woodworking projects to sell online, including serving trays, wall shelves, and other home goods. To supplement Shopify sales, it also has an Etsy store where customers can browse the same items.
More resources to help sell your woodworking projects on Etsy:
- Small and easy to ship
- Popular item for Etsy shoppers
- Requires investment in materials
- Crowded niche with lots of competition
Jewelry is a massively popular item to buy and sell on Etsy. “Etsy jewelry” has an average 19,000 monthly searches and Jewelry & Accessories even has its own category on the marketplace—with more than 16 million results. Starting a jewelry business is an excellent way to start selling on Etsy.
To get ideas on the types of jewelry people look for on Etsy, consider the following average monthly search data:
- Etsy rings: 10,000
- Etsy earrings: 8,600
- Etsy necklaces: 6,100
- Etsy engagement rings: 4,500
- Etsy name necklace: 3,200
- Etsy bracelets: 3,100
Georgia-based handmade jewelry brand Virginia Wynne Designs sells its sterling silver designs on Etsy and its Shopify store. The brand has the same main image on both sites for a consistent brand experience.
- You can make the clothing yourself or purchase it from a supplier
- Flexibility in price point, niche, and more
- May have to handle returns more frequently than with other products
- Has a higher learning curve to learn to make clothes yourself
Clothing is another popular item to sell on Etsy, with “Etsy clothing” being searched about 3,200 times each month. Just like with jewelry, you can take inspiration from drilling down in the search data. Consider these average monthly search figures:
- Etsy t-shirts: 6,100
- Etsy lingerie: 5,400
- Etsy wedding dress: 5,200
“Etsy fabric” also has nearly 5,000 average monthly queries—you could use Etsy as a sales channel to sell your surplus or custom-made fabrics.
Check out these resources to get started selling clothes on Etsy:
Handmade pottery and clay goods
- Flex your creative muscles
- Opportunity to make completely unique items
- Requires a specific skill set and equipment
- May be expensive or difficult to ship without damaging
If you can make pottery, clay, ceramic, or similar goods, this skill is perfectly suited for Etsy shop ideas. Lorena Haldeman launched her brand HaldeCraft on Etsy to sell her handmade clay goods. She later opened a complementary Shopify store where she could organize her products in a user-friendly way via categories and subcategories, making it easier for her and her customers. You can make any variety of goods.
- Have to constantly source products
- Can be difficult to package
Curated boxes emerged on the scene with brands like Birchbox and they’ve remained popular since. These products are a way of bundling items from the same or different vendors in a themed “box” or product bundle.
For consumers, it’s a great way to learn about new brands and products—and it’s also a great gift option. In our consumer trends research, we found that buyers were more likely to shop from businesses that offered convenience. Curated boxes are convenient for gift givers on Etsy and elsewhere. You can build boxes around any theme your target market may be interested in—maybe it’s locally sourced products from your area, vegan food items, or yoga accessories. The possibilities are endless.
Check out these resources for building your curated box business:
- Shoppers love personalized items
- Flexible for almost any niche or product
- May mean a long fulfillment window
- Can be difficult to weather periods of high demand
Personalized items feel extra special because they’re one of a kind and customizable to the customer’s preferences. Etsy is an excellent place to sell personalized goods—there’s even a category called “personalized gift ideas.”
Personalized doesn’t necessarily mean monogrammed towels or name plate necklaces. Look at Conquest Maps, for example. The brand sells customizable push pin travel maps on its Etsy shop and Shopify store. The Shopify store allows for greater flexibility, and the brand has created a “build your own” digital experience where shoppers can customize their map’s region, style, format, size, and more.
Crafts, supplies, and kits
- Built-in target audience with Etsy
- Can use skills and supplies you already have
- Difficult to ensure consistent quality
- May need to include extra things like instructions
Any crafts you already make at home could also be money makers on Etsy. Likewise, crafting supplies are also great items to sell on Etsy—it’s a marketplace for makers who want to both buy and sell on the platform. Plus, Craft Supplies has a dedicated category on Etsy.
Crafting kits work similarly to curated boxes except they’re less about product discovery and more about convenience for the buyer—offering a one-stop shop for everything they need to accomplish a specific craft or project.
Get inspired for selling your crafts on Etsy:
QUIZ: what’s your creative calling?
New to DIY crafts and unsure which category would suit you best? Answer a few quick questions to get tailored ideas for crafts to make and sell, based on your personality, abilities, and interests.
What type of craft should I make and sell?
Tell us more about your crafting experience and interests and we’ll recommend the best craft ideas to kick-start a creative side gig.
Sustainable and natural crafts
Based on your interests and what’s important to you, consider starting a small craft business that makes an impact. Whether it’s using sustainable or upcycled materials or donating a portion of profits to a cause, there are many crafts that you can make and sell while also making a difference.
Consider upcycled vintage fashion, candles made from natural waxes in reusable jars, fabric grocery totes hand-dyed with natural pigments, or gardening pots and accessories. There are a range of DIY ideas from beginner to advanced.
Home decor crafts
Based on your interests and skills, home decor crafts are a great place to start. This is a wide category encompassing simple to complex crafts using a variety of materials. As home decor styles change, stay on top of trends and carve out a niche all your own.
Consider: handcrafted wooden planters, home fragrance products, home textiles like pillows and quilts, and ceramic plant pots.
Fashion is an ideal category for you based on your interests and goals. It’s a crowded space but there’s plenty of room for fresh ideas if you can find your niche and audience and develop a strong brand.
For beginners, polymer clay jewelry or hand-dyed scarves are simple-to-learn crafts, while more advanced creatives may choose to make handmade clothing from custom patterns or silkscreen t-shirts with custom designs.
Based on your experience, it’s best to start small. Ease into the DIY world by teaching yourself a range of crafts from free online tutorials. This way, you can discover which materials and methods you enjoy working with most.
Some great options for beginners are: textile dyeing, beaded or assembly jewellery, candles, and paper crafts. Most can be made and sold from home so you can start your small business with little upfront investment.
Whether you’re already a crafting superstar or you’re just really ambitious, based on your answers, you’re ready to dive deep into the craft world. Become an expert at one thing and build your personal brand around it. You can make and sell unique and intricate crafts on your website and use content to help drive traffic and sales. Offering free DIY advice on a blog or creating a YouTube channel dedicated to craft tutorials will both help establish you as a powerhouse in the craft world.
Consider: pottery, custom tufted rugs, jewellery made from fine metals, woodworking, or large scale loomed textile art.
Your interests and goals tell us that you’re serious about building a successful business around a craft. If you’re looking for a place to start, immerse yourself in the craft, fashion, and home decor worlds to keep an eye on trends on platforms like TikTok and Pinterest. Build your business around an emerging trend that’s in high demand but also aligns with your abilities and interests—authenticity and excellent craftsmanship are important to handmade shoppers.
Keep reading to discover trending craft ideas for 2021 including ’90s revival, hand-dyed textiles, planters and plant accessories, and tufted rugs.
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- Consumer demand for baby products
- High potential for repeat customers
- Sizing may be tricky for apparel
- Need to pay extra attention to safety precautions and regulations when dealing with children and babies
“Etsy baby” is a popular search term, with almost 6,000 monthly queries. And according to our consumer trends research, baby products are the number one thing people plan to buy post-pandemic. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs can get ahead of this trend by promoting and selling baby products well before the pandemic is “over.” You can sell a variety of baby products—clothing is a great option because Etsy has a category dedicated to Kids’ & Baby clothing. Toys & Entertainment is another category worth targeting with baby products.
More resources to help sell baby products online:
Skin care products
- Great consumer demand
- Can be small and easy to ship
- Products and ingredients expire more quickly than other Etsy shop ideas
- May require extra step(s) with the FDA, etc., to sell legally
Health and beauty is a thriving industry to get into, and most business owners are happy to operate in the space. According to our survey, 55% of health and beauty business founders reported being satisfied with business performance in the past year—compared to a 38% average across all industries. And nearly 80% of health and beauty founders have a positive outlook for the future.
Plus, more people are using video chat platforms due to the pandemic, so we’re seeing and paying attention to our own faces more. As such, skin care is increasingly important. People are washing their faces and wearing makeup more than usual. Thus, skin care products are a viable item to sell on Etsy—especially if you make them yourself.
Get more inspiration for your skin care products:
- You get to help make pets happy and healthy
- Growing industry with sustainable consumer demand
- Lots of competition
- May be safety and healthy liability risks, especially for edible items and chew toys
One timeless Etsy shop idea is to sell pet products and accessories. Etsy highlights items for pets on its homepage, and more than 4,000 searches for “Etsy dog collars” happen every month. Plus, US-based pet owners spent $103.6 billion on their companions in 2020 alone. When it comes to starting a pet business and selling items on Etsy, you can make and sell a variety of things, including treats, collars, clothing, feeders, toys, beds, and more.
- Beautiful to photograph
- Plants (house plants in particular) are in high demand, especially during the pandemic
- Difficult to ship without damage
- May be limited in who you can sell to due to restrictions against shipping plants internationally
Selling plants online is a viable business idea, and Etsy is a perfect place to put your plants up for sale. “Etsy plants” is a popular search phrase, with 5,000 queries each month. And with so many people spending more time at home, houseplants are especially top of mind. Take a look at how searches for “house plants” spiked shortly after the pandemic:
Plus, many people buy plants for themselves and as gifts for others, including succulents and other easy-to-grow indoor plants. If you don’t have a green thumb, faux plants could be a route to explore as well. The phrase “Etsy wreaths” generates around 3,400 average monthly searches and could be a perfect item to make with fake plants.
Print on demand
- Completely outsourced fulfillment
- No upfront investment in inventory
- Little to no control over quality assurance and fulfillment
- Smaller profit margin compared to other Etsy shop ideas
A print-on-demand business sells items that have printed designs on them. Typically, merchants work with an external printing company—the merchants receive customer orders and pass them along to the printer for printing and shipping. Print-on-demand works well on Etsy because it’s a flexible product idea that can span across virtually every niche. Popular print-on-demand items include t-shirts, mugs, stickers, and books.
More resources for your print-on-demand business:
Furniture and home goods
- Flexible business idea
- Many possibilities for sourcing products—DIY, secondhand, outsourced supplier, etc.
- Larger items may be expensive to ship
- Lots of competition, especially for home goods
Selling furniture online is a great ecommerce business idea—and it also works well as an Etsy shop idea. Lots of shoppers are interested in furniture on the marketplace. “Etsy furniture” gets 4,400 monthly searches. However, furniture can be bulky, difficult to produce, and nearly impossible to ship. People also head to the site to search for home goods—consider the nearly 4,000 monthly searches for “Etsy home decor” and the 4,200 monthly searches for the seasonal phrase “Etsy Christmas ornaments.” So home decor and other items for the house also make an excellent Etsy shop idea, either instead of or complementary to your furniture items.
Get inspired to sell furniture and home goods online:
- Allows you to be really creative
- Lots of room for new brands
- Requires adherence to specific safety guidelines and regulations
- Difficult to scale on Etsy
You might not immediately think of sex toys when you think of Etsy, but it’s actually an excellent marketplace to sell these types of products. Selling sex toys online has a number of benefits, and Etsy is a great place to take advantage of some of them. The industry is growing, projected to be valued at $36.1 billion by 2027—yet a search for “sex toys” on Etsy yields a small 30,000 results, so there’s lots of opportunity there.
Strange Bedfellas got its start on Etsy, selling 3D-printed originally designed sex toys. Since launching, the brand has expanded to its own Shopify store, where it can own the customer relationship more directly. The Etsy shop earned more than 7,000 sales before closing so the brand could focus on growing through its owned channels instead of third-party marketplaces.
- Small, lightweight products are easy and affordable to ship
- Can be as creative as you like
- Requires constant updates for compatibility with new phones
- High potential for customer dissatisfaction if quality is not good
Phone cases make great products to sell on Etsy as well, and there’s still relatively low competition (at least compared to other Etsy products). A search for phone cases on the marketplace turns up just shy of 400,000 results. So there’s definitely space for new players.
Depending on your skillset and business goals, you can make phone cases yourself or outsource to a print-on-demand company. Floral Neverland sells phone cases on both its Shopify site and Etsy store. Founder Olivia Wang launched what was originally a school project on Etsy—and it later evolved into a full-on ecommerce business.
- No shipping or fulfillment costs
- Immediate fulfillment
- Requires constant updating and maintenance
- More risk to cyberattacks
Digital products are another versatile Etsy shop idea you can pursue in pretty much any niche. “Etsy wallpaper” gets more than 3,000 monthly average searches—you can create wallpapers for phone or computer backgrounds and screensavers. Another popular search at 3,500 monthly queries is “Etsy wedding invitations,” and you can also do invitations for any other type of event.
Shopify merchant Pixie Faire sells digital downloads of patterns for sewing doll clothes for popular brands like American Girl and Barbie. It supplements its web sales with an Etsy shop where customers can also purchase the brand’s instantly downloadable templates and patterns. More than 9,000 people have favorited the shop.
Vintage and secondhand goods
- Minimal creativity or skills required
- Good for the environment
- Requires space for holding inventory
- Must have access to locations where you can source quality used goods
A heightened interest in the environment and conservation has also driven demand for secondhand goods. More than 20,000 stores have a combined annual revenue of about $17.6 billion selling used goods in the US alone. Many kinds of secondhand or vintage goods make great sellers on Etsy, including:
- Clothing and accessories: arguably the most popular category for secondhand goods
- Home goods: look for durable, small, and/or lightweight items for easy shipping
- Furniture: note that large and heavy items may be expensive to ship
- Children’s toys: be extra sensitive to any safety requirements
When choosing which vintage or secondhand items to sell on Etsy, think about what you have access to and what will be easy to ship.
- Can easily add to your business alongside pre-existing products (if applicable)
- Timely consumer demand
- Lots of potential for competition
- Uncertain demand forecasting due to unpredictability of the pandemic
Face masks have emerged as a trending product idea for businesses across many niches due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And Etsy has followed suit—people search the phrase “Etsy face masks” about 4,000 times each month. Yet a search for “face masks” on the marketplace shows just over 500,000 results, offering plenty of space for newcomers to the niche.
If you go this route, just be sure to avoid making any medical claims. You can find out more information directly from Etsy.
Moving forward with your Etsy shop ideas
Selling on Etsy is a great way to start your business or supplement your existing business with an additional sales channel. Plus, it’s simple to connect your Etsy shop to your Shopify store so you can sync inventory and sales data in real time. Remember, Etsy is an excellent marketplace to sell your products and attract new customers—but it’s a single sales channel, not your entire business strategy.