So you want to sell on Etsy.
You consider yourself a little creative. And, hey, it wouldn’t hurt to make a bit of money on the side. Maybe it would even becomes a full-time job at some point. But what’s the best thing to sell on Etsy?
People shop on Etsy to find something new and unique, which makes it a high-opportunity marketplace for those who are willing to get creative. But when you’re thinking about getting started on Etsy, it’s not enough to know that opportunity exists; you need to know what you can sell on Etsy that will help you grow a successful ecommerce business.
The best things to sell on Etsy balance your needs as a seller with the wants of your shoppers. In this article, we identify the top seven product types that offer both the profit margins and the popularity to be useful to you as a new seller.
Know the rules before you decide what to sell on Etsy
Before we go further, it’s important to note that the Etsy marketplace isn’t right for every business idea. Etsy is built on the concept of unique, handmade goods, and the marketplace works hard to keep that reputation. To that end, there are certain products you just can’t sell on Etsy, and thus, certain business models won’t work on this marketplace.
For example, a traditional wholesale or resale business isn’t viable on Etsy. Items in the Handmade category must be original and handmade (or made from an original design with the assistance of a verified production partner). The Vintage category does allow reselling, but only of items that are at least 20 years old. The Craft Supplies category does allow you to sell commercial, nonvintage products, but within very specific boundaries.
You can run a dropshipping business on Etsy with certain products and within certain categories. However, due to Etsy’s transparency policies, you will need to identify your dropshipper as your production partner. You should also do your best to make sure your dropshipper meets Etsy’s standards.
Within these boundaries, however, there’s a world of opportunity waiting on the Etsy marketplace.
How do we determine the best things to sell on Etsy?
As you will have noticed if you’ve searched for “best things to sell on Etsy,” there is no one true answer to this question. Data on Etsy product performance is harder to come by than, say, Amazon products. Even the best Etsy SEO tools offer only limited insights into trends.
But new sellers like you still need to know—what products will offer you the best chances of success when you’re starting out on Etsy? To that end, we’ve come up with our own criteria to determine the best products for new sellers on Etsy.
Our judgment of “best” depends on these three product success factors for new Etsy sellers:
- A good sales opportunity: You need a product that is in a popular category, but that doesn’t have overwhelming competition. The best opportunities are products where shoppers want a variety of options or something highly unique.
- Low barrier to entry: Some kinds of products require expensive equipment, pricey production contracts, artistic mastery, or all three. To start selling successfully on Etsy, you need products that don’t require a lot of experience or overhead.
- Profitable: Last but not least, you need to sell products that actually make you money, especially given the tight financial times. The best products for new sellers are inexpensive to make and ship.
So while there’s no proprietary data or secret code to give you a guaranteed winning product idea, we’re confident that these seven types of products offer you the popularity, buyer demand, and cost-effectiveness you need to start a successful business on Etsy.
It’s no surprise that jewelry is one of the biggest, most popular categories on Etsy. Since jewelry is a form of self-expression, shoppers are on Etsy to find a one-of-a-kind item, which why this category is still an option for new sellers, even with over 12.6 million products listed.
A quick look at the top sellers in jewelry shows that shoppers like jewelry that can be personalized (with names, monograms, messages, etc.), as well as jewelry with a lot of personality! Items designed for relationships or occasions, especially those including a note card, also consistently do well among shoppers looking for a special gift.
The skills, materials, and tools needed for jewelry range widely, but there are plenty of inexpensive ways to make something that can capture a trend or niche. (Such as these best-selling pressed flower necklaces from seller EmeryandOpal.) This makes the barrier to entry fairly low, especially when jewelry is not bulky and is thus cheap to ship. You won’t need much space to store supplies or to create your items, and depending on your product, a few basic tools should do the job.
Browse subcategories to look for ideas and niches you think you could fill. With a little creativity and basic artistic ability, jewelry can be an easy product to get you started on Etsy.
As we mentioned earlier, the craft supply category is a bit of a catchall. This category contains everything from nail decals and egg stamps to crochet patterns and wire strips for face masks, but we’re talking specifically about selling craft supplies, such as beads, charms, ribbons, yarn, etc. This is where we see the biggest opportunity for new sellers.
Many of the top sellers on Etsy sell jewelry and other supplies, which indicates high demand. Better yet, this niche doesn’t require that you be artistic, beyond creating your brand. If you can identify who your buyer is and what their needs are, you can build a store that reaches a qualified audience with a profitable product. (Check out Etsy’s Seller Handbook for some great tips on how to sell craft supplies.)
First, you’ll need to figure out what your target buyers value most. Is it low price? Bulk purchasing? Standout designs? Once you have that knowledge, you’ll need to find the right wholesale source for your products. Whether your wholesaler ships the product to you or dropships to your customer, you need a partner that can provide quality. A good place to start this process is Salehoo’s article on where to buy wholesale craft supplies.
Match a great product to the needs of a crafting niche and you’re in business with a low-effort, high-reward product.
Personalization is a big market on Etsy in any category, but the clothing market has the best opportunity for these kinds of products. Everything from birth announcement onesies to family reunion T-shirts to socks with your face on them—the creativity and volume of customized items on Etsy is pretty remarkable, and it presents a wide and varied audience to new sellers.
Again, the market here is big, but since the demand for fresh, original personalized products is high, this is one of the best things to sell on Etsy. If you can provide a fun or useful idea with a quality product to back it up, you’ll more than likely be able to find a willing market for it.
It’s also one of the easiest products to sell on Etsy. With the right production partner, you can sell custom items and then dropship them through your supplier. (If you don’t decide to go the dropshipping route, you’ll require a little more space and equipment, but this can still be a profitable product.)
Just make sure you do your product research. Look for a new twist on a popular category. For example, you’ll find a lot of personalized items if you search “bridesmaids gifts,” so instead of recreating what others are doing, look for something that fits the need but does it in a fresh way.
Graphic Designs and Printables
You might be surprised to learn that Etsy has a thriving marketplace for digital products as well as physical ones. You can buy everything from resume templates to downloadable art prints, usually for only a few dollars, although some sellers see success with higher-priced downloads.
There’s a lot of variety within this category and also a lot of demand if you look at the sales numbers for all-digital sellers like VectoriaDesigns or ArtCult. Audiences range from small businesses looking for graphics, labels, and business assets to college students wanting a cheap way to decorate their dorms. As always with Etsy, get creative—meet your market in a unique way.
The good news is, with this product, you have a lot of freedom to experiment and find something that works. Etsy fees are the only necessary overhead, so if you can make enough to cover the basic costs, you can start selling on Etsy without any capital or inventory. With some basic graphic design skills (or the willingness to learn them) and a free tool like GIMP or Canva, you can start selling on Etsy.
As individuals and families spend more time at home these days, the popularity of DIY craft kits has risen on Etsy. These kits range from more complex crafts in beautiful packaging to very simple kits for children. The sweet spot for this market includes crafts that offer something engaging (especially for children or families) that isn’t too terribly complicated.
New sellers have the opportunity to identify a niche in this market and essentially assemble small packages of craft supplies for a decent upsell. Smaller and lighter kits are easier and cheaper to ship and can be made for popular projects, such as embroidery or jewelry-making.
To sell this kind of product, you’ll need some space to assemble kits, as well as both the crafting materials and the appropriate packaging materials. (Check out our article on Amazon wholesale products for a starting list of quality wholesale directories.) Once you’ve located a quality supplier for these, you’ll also want to put a little effort into creating a brand, which will help your craft kits stand out.
DIY craft kits provide a fun, inexpensive way to make a profit on Etsy for sellers willing to put a bit of extra creativity and elbow grease into the process.
Etsy sells stickers for every purpose you can think of: wall stickers, labels, bumper stickers, scrapbooks, planners, water bottles, stationery—if you need something colorful and sticky, Etsy has options for you. Designs range from cartoonish to professional custom labels, giving sellers another wide market to explore.
As with many products on Etsy, if you can make it fresh, fun, and fitted to the needs of the market, you can probably find an enthusiastic audience. The trick with stickers is to figure out the purpose for the stickers and then double down on that purpose in your design. For example, if you’re selling stickers for laptops or water bottles, you’ll want to create something that helps people express their identity. If you’re creating wall stickers for kids’ bedrooms, however, you’re going to want to find some fun designs and quotes to fit the bill.
The great news for new sellers is that stickers are inexpensive and easy to produce and ship. There are several great custom sticker suppliers out there at various price points, so you can find a production partner that’s right for you. You’ll need basic graphic design skills and software to create this product, but some of the most popular stickers on Etsy are incredibly simple.
The wedding industry is huge—the size of the U.S. wedding market alone is estimated to be $73.6 billion! Add to that the total spend for decor, favors, and stationery, which comes to $2,460 per wedding, according to Wedding Wire. The size of the Etsy wedding market reflects this.
While there are many high-tier products in this category, there’s enough ongoing demand for one-of-a-kind products to make it a viable opportunity for new sellers. Table place cards, creative save-the-date cards, and wedding invitations with unique flair are all low-barrier ways to enter the wedding market. The tools and skills you’ll need to start selling these kinds of products on Etsy will depend on what you’re trying to sell, but it’s not difficult to acquire the design and production tools needed for many wedding stationery products.
In addition to thoughtful, creative designs, a common trait between top sellers in the wedding category is the branding they give their items and stores. Given the emotional state of many buyers, sellers that take an extra step to provide a personal touch will be better received than sellers who put no effort into branding.
There are a lot of opportunities for low-lift, high-reward products on Etsy. Ultimately, the best thing to sell on Etsy is something that matches your interests and abilities to a buyer’s need. So do some product research, take some time to prepare by finding quality production partners and materials, and then start creating!
Want more direction on how to start? Check out our guide Selling On Etsy: How to Get Started in Just 10 Days, as well as our other guides for Etsy sellers.