With nearly 94 million annual customers, Etsy is the premier Internet destination for unique, hand-crafted, and vintage items. If you've got a strong brand identity and a knack for delivering one-of-a-kind items, opening an Etsy store is one of the best ways to cash in as an ecommerce entrepreneur.
Why an Etsy store can still be profitable
How to identify trends that can help you sell on Etsy
Top Etsy shop ideas - along with their pros and cons
How Gelato can help Etsy shop owners manage margins
Yes! Even with over 7 million active Etsy sellers, there are still roughly 13 buyers for every Etsy shop, so deciding to sell on Etsy can be a great way to make money online. You'll enjoy the advantage of Etsy's built-in, global audience of actively engaged shoppers while avoiding the startup costs associated with a brick-and-mortar store.
But competition on Etsy is fierce. To join the ranks of top sellers, you'll need to do more than choose an Etsy shop name and start selling: your Etsy shop will be up against experienced sellers who've turned their side hustle into a thriving Etsy business.
You'll need top-quality goods and search-optimized product listings with professional-quality photos to come out on top - not to mention exceptional customer service. Etsy customers expect you to answer their questions (and complaints!) quickly and courteously.
One of the best places to start your search for great Etsy shop ideas is Google Trends. This tool analyzes your query and serves up stats on search volume, regional popularity, and related terms to help you figure out if your Etsy shop ideas are ahead of the curve or yesterday's news.
You can also source shop ideas by brute force. Suggested results from the Etsy search bar offer insight into what Etsy users are looking for. To short-circuit category saturation and discover unique Etsy shop ideas, top sellers "niche down" by replacing simple keywords like "planner" or "hoodie" with long-tail keywords like "Ramadan fasting planner" or "hoodie with short sleeves."
Trending hashtags on popular social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are another vital source of Etsy shop ideas for your niche. And don't forget the original Etsy stores: craft fair booths! Local shows are a great way to gather inspiration for your own Etsy store.
While some Etsy buyers seek handmade clothing and vintage clothing from Etsy's choice clothiers, others come to Etsy shops for cool and customizable t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, children's clothing, and sportswear.
Not only is clothing a versatile Etsy shop idea, but it's also an easy and profitable way for new Etsy sellers to get the hang of running an online business. As a result, it's one of the most common Etsy shop ideas - so the category is a bit saturated.
Differentiate your brand with outstanding quality and one-of-a-kind designs that pop in search results. Etsy customers care about sustainability and the environment, so incorporating eco-friendly materials is a perfect Etsy shop idea to help your shop stand out.
Creating original clothing to sell on Etsy is often time-consuming, and materials can be costly, especially if you go the sustainable route. You'll also have to figure out where to store your inventory until it sells. One way to mitigate these risks is to work with a print on demand supplier who can print and ship your customers' orders on your behalf.
2. Baby products
Onesies, baby t-shirts, swaddling blankets, loveys, and stuffies: the market for baby clothing and other products is vast and growing, making it one of the best Etsy shop ideas.
Customers in this space want to pamper little ones with customized baby clothes and baby accessories. Offering personalized gifts is key to helping your Etsy business achieve its full potential in this category. Offer non-toxic, chemical-free baby clothing to impress customers and keep them coming back to your Etsy store for inevitable replacement orders.
Remember, there are many regulations and stringent guidelines that baby clothes and baby accessories must follow. Consistently meeting these requirements can be challenging if you're a one-person shop trying to juggle other business priorities.
3. Fashion accessories
Accessories are an excellent choice for your Etsy business. Shoppers of all ages and genders purchase accessories to add a personal touch to their outfits and on impulse, like when a social media influencer's latest look inspires them.
But influencers move fast, making keeping up with accessory trends difficult. Another challenge with accessories is their delicate nature: you'll likely need to pay extra for secure packaging that ensures your items reach buyers in one piece.
To take some of the headaches out of your online business, consider centering your Etsy shop on customizable staples like tote bags. You can then focus on creating high-quality, unique designs instead of chasing fads.
4. Custom art
Selling art is a popular Etsy shop idea that leans into the platform's penchant for personalized items. Etsy shoppers are looking for wall art, posters, canvas prints, ready-to-hang framed prints, wall hangers, and digital photography posters for home decor.
The biggest challenge to selling art in your Etsy shop is the inherent subjectivity of the medium. In other words, people either like your style or don't. There's not much you can do besides optimizing your product listings to give Etsy's search as many chances as possible to surface your custom designs in search results.
Once you make the sale, you'll also have the challenge of shipping your art to its new owner. For most artists, connecting with a print on demand supplier is a smart move that allows you tooffload printing and shipping responsibilities. Doing so can help reduce overhead for your Etsy store by avoiding inventory and ensuring customers' orders arrive in one piece.
5. Home products
If your shop features home products, you'll have a significant market opportunity - and, as usual, plenty of competition. Etsy shops with a home decor focus offer everything from tabletop baubles and front porch signs to living room furniture, making it easy (and essential) to niche down in this category.
Offering easily-customized items like wallpaper, calendars, and photo books will allow you to focus on designing eye-catching layouts instead of chasing home design trends. These products also enjoy heightened sales during the holiday gifting rush, but because people need them all year, your sales won't fall off a cliff come January.
Consider partnering with a print on demand service to avoid sitting on unsold inventory for items like calendars, which become less and less likely to sell as the year progresses.
Printables are a great Etsy shop idea that helps create a passive income stream. You'll still get the occasional customer question, but in general, printables are fire-and-forget digital products that you can tailor to have broad appeal or meet a niche need.
Etsy shop ideas for this massive category include everything from greeting cards, party favors, and party banners to order inserts, product labels, resume templates, and sewing patterns. Templatized documents like fitness trackers, habit trackers, and planners are also popular. You can differentiate your designs by making them editable for customers to personalize them post-download.
Because printables are digital assets, they have great margins: you'll never have to worry about shipping costs or inventory management. Unfortunately, you may need to give up some of your bottom-line breathing room to entice customers with discounts in this saturated category.
Merch can be lucrative to sell on Etsy. Shop ideas for the merch category include a combination of t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, and printables. Being able to capture shopping from those categories is a significant advantage.
You can also easily niche down your Etsy shop in merch. Latch on to enduring-yet-popular fandoms, pop culture touchpoints, musicians, or even causes you support for shop ideas. But be careful: intellectual property laws can open your Etsy shop to exposure from litigious copyright holders.
If activism is the goal for your store, be clear to customers about how you're using your profits. They'll want to be sure most (if not all of) their purchase supports their favorite cause and not just your Etsy shop.
Personalized drinkware is great to sell on Etsy. Customers use them to commemorate special occasions, promote their own brand, or replace existing drinkware with higher-quality materials like stainless steel and ceramic.
Mugs and water bottles are fantastic Etsy shop ideas you can easily customize with a unique graphic, clever quip, or inspirational quote.
However, drinkware is often fragile, and getting your creations safely to customers can increase costs. Maintaining quality control for handmade crafts can also be challenging, and customers will be extra picky when customizations represent their own business. Partnering with a print on demand provider can also help mitigate these risks.
9. Phone cases
Offering unique, high-quality phone cases is a great way to profit from your Etsy shop. New phone model releases can spike demand as consumers look to personalize and protect their devices. The opportunity for repeat business (who hasn't lost or damaged a phone case?) is another advantage for this space.
Challenges include the need for special equipment to manufacture the cases. There's also a risk of damage during shipping, but solving these problems and successfully differentiating your brand positions you to compete in one of the top product categories for 2023.
10. Office supplies
Etsy shoppers often look for unique ways to decorate their home office - especially if they're small business owners. Customizable items like stationery sets, stamps, pen holders, mouse pads, and calendars are great Etsy shop ideas for this category.
One of the advantages of selling office items in your Etsy store is their consumable nature: that pad of sticky notes won't last forever! Eye-catching notebooks, flyer and brochure templates, letterheads, and business cards are Etsy shop ideas that will keep customers returning for refills.
Another advantage of office supplies is the relatively low-cost nature of these items. Adjusting the prices in your store can help you compete without sacrificing too much profit margin, but because many office supplies are mass-produced, your margins may already be tight. Creating templates and customizable pieces that stand out without invalidating their use case can also be challenging.
11. Products customized with images of handmade items
A unique way to leverage your handmade items is to photograph them, then use digital design tools to mock them up on tote bags, mugs, phone cases, and more. From there, a print on demand partner can produce these items using your design, allowing you to offer a range of customized products unique to your brand.
This approach also multiplies the utility of your products: you can sell the original creation in your store and use its digital likeness indefinitely. It's a brilliant play if your Etsy shop sells wall art or other one-of-a-kind pieces: it turns every coffee mug featuring your artwork into a mini-billboard for your store.
12. Craft-themed products
It's a good business idea to open passive income revenue streams for your Etsy shop by creating products aligned with your niche. You might print a treasured recipe on a mug, create stationary with your unique calligraphy as the letterhead, or design posters with stylized crochet and knitting patterns - the possibilities are almost endless.
If you're creative, Etsy is one of the best ways to turn your hobbies and passions into a profitable enterprise - especially if you find your niche in one of the categories above. Your competition won't make it easy, but you can stand out with high-quality products, optimized product listings, and a robust social media presence. Providing top-notch service will help turn customers into repeat buyers whose reviews help attract new customers to your store.
Having the right partner for your Etsy shop can make your store even more profitable. Learn how Gelato can help you bring your creativity to life - and into business - with high-quality products to sell on Etsy.