If you’re looking for an eCommerce niche that’s big and getting bigger, look no further than your hands. Making and selling homemade items can be a great way to start making extra cash, while providing things people love.
It’s expected the global handicraft market will reach $984.8 billion by 2023, thanks to eCommerce making it easy to start selling custom items online.
Finding things to make and sell is great to make some extra money, but there’s plenty of other benefits as well.
- Bigger price tags – Reach shoppers willing to spend more for unique items made with skill and love.
- Niche audiences – Build a customer base that is easier to create long-term relationships and boost your CLV with.
- Less competition – Since you make and sell your own items, fewer sellers are able to replicate your products.
- Lower start-up costs – Make money from home with little to no reliance on suppliers or manufacturers.
- Passion – The ability to create things you love while getting paid for it.
9 popular handmade items to sell online
If you’ve got a skill or passion that you can make and sell online, now is the time to go for it. If you’re looking for a little inspiration for a hobby you can turn into an eCommerce business, here are nine popular things to make to get you thinking.
1. Printed t-shirts
The printed t-shirt market has flourished recently, with consumers eager to stand out with unique designs that resonate with their style, values, and personality.
The beauty of selling printed t-shirts is that they require very little skills, equipment, and costs. You can adopt a hands-on business model, where you design and print t-shirts yourself using heat transfers or direct-to-garment printing, or run an outsourced model using freelance designers and a print-on-demand service.
2. Enamel pins
Enamel pins have come back in fashion, with people using them to tailor their clothing and accessories with designs that reflect their loves and interests. Custom pins are also a superb way to target niche audiences and build long-term customer relationships, rather than short-term fads.
Much like printed t-shirts, an enamel pin business is as hands-on or -off as you like. You can make and sell pin designs yourself or use a freelancer designer to put your ideas onto paper, and then all you need to do is find a reputable pin manufacturer to bring them to life.
3. Customized prints
Art has always been in fashion, but the Internet has made it far easier for customers to commission and buy customized prints. These are particularly popular for keepsake gifts – celebrating weddings, new homes, and new babies with something different and personal.
As an artist, you’ll already have the pens, paints, or software needed to create your prints, all you need is a store to sell them on (which we’ll come to later).
4. Bath bombs
This year has been a little stressful for many, which is why sales of bath bombs are…booming. Bath bombs are the ultimate me-to-you (or me-to-me) gift, promising a relaxing, colorful, and indulgent soak away from the hassles of the world. They attract a nice price tag too.
Bath bombs are simple to make, with basic recipes requiring a few grocery store ingredients and an appropriately shaped mold. Once you get going, you can delve into bath salts, soaps, and other beauty products too.
5. Wax melts
Candles have always been popular, but hot on their heels are wax melts. Wax melts are small, scented pieces of wax that release their fragrance when gently heated. The variety of scents and the ease of switching fragrances has made these a popular household purchase.
To get started, all you need is some wax, fragrance oil, liquid dye, and wax molds – it’s easy. A wax melt business can also easily expand to related products such as wax burners, candles, and snuffers.
6. Cross stitch
If you think cross stitching is for grannies, think again. Cross stitch has become trendy, with crafters creating niche, funny, and personal cross-stitches for the home and office.
Cross stitching is perfect for entrepreneurs who are creative, good with their hands and love thinking outside of the box. You need very little equipment to get started, and you can even use software to design your own cross stitch patterns and create personalized designs.
7. Gardening supplies (planters)
Millennials are obsessed with houseplants, leading to a rise in gardening purchases. The health, visual, and apartment-life benefits of houseplants are huge, but what’s even bigger is the plant accessory market.
Handmade, hand-painted, and even handwoven planters cater to this green-fingered market perfectly and are simple to make. You can bulk buy plant pots and add custom prints, or get your needle and yarn out to crochet a hanging holder. The possibilities are vast, and it’s a great way to make extra money while encouraging environmentally healthy habits.
Handmade jewelry has been a craft-market staple for years, and now it’s coming online. Shoppers looking for a unique gift or statement piece are flocking to online marketplaces and eCommerce stores to find handcrafted necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and even hair accessories.
Jewelry is another homemade niche that is as hands-on as you want. You can use your own creative skills to make jewelry from home or source beautiful and intricate handmade pieces from across the world.
9. Face masks
Finally, and most recently, handmade face masks are trending. Handmade masks are already popular in countries such as China and Japan, helping wearers protect themselves and others while looking stylish at the same time. The COVID pandemic has extended this trend across the globe.
Face masks are also easy to make – all you need is a pattern, fabric, thread, elastic, a sewing machine, and a willing model.
Things to consider when selling handmade items
If those ideas have got your brain whirring, great. But, before you dig out the sewing machine and head to the hardware store, there are some essential considerations.
Always research and meet any regulatory requirements when hand-making products. This includes regulations around production, health and safety, allergens, warnings, and expiry dates.
Where to sell online
Knowing where to sell online is crucial for attracting the right audiences and purchase prices. You don’t need a physical storefront to sell your crafts, but you do need a channel where customers can find you.
Wish.com is a mobile-first marketplace that uses AI technology to create a personalized feed for shoppers. It’s ideal for getting your handcrafted items in front of the right audiences.
Shopify can turn any of your items, from t-shirts to dog treats, into an online web store, allowing shoppers to buy directly from you. It’s perfect for establishing your brand, building personal relationships with customers, and increasing profit margins.
Etsy is the ultimate handcraft marketplace, where people immediately head to when looking for personalized and unique items online.
eBay is a great online marketplace for products with variations and customization options, with many sellers offering personalized gifts through the platform.
Further reading: How to conduct a product market profit assessment
How to fulfill items online
How you fulfill your handmade items is a significant consideration. While you might naturally assume that in-house fulfillment is best for a small, handmade eCommerce business, it’s not always the case.
Outsourced fulfillment for handmade items brings significant benefits, including:
- More time for you to spend making and creating items.
- Access to temperature-controlled warehouses, for products that easily melt such as wax melts.
- Use of warehouse management software that manages expiry-dated products to reduce waste.
- Cheaper storage, packaging, and shipping costs through economies of scale and all-inclusive pricing that is impossible to achieve by yourself.
Tip: use a fulfillment cost calculator to compare fulfillment costs for your homemade items.
Turning your hobby into an eCommerce business, or an eCommerce business into your hobby, is the ultimate win-win situation. You get to do what you love and get paid for it. And with these top ideas for homemade items, there’s no excuse not to get started.