Handmade products are highly in demand. And there are tons of ways to sell these original creations, from online marketplaces to local craft stores. If you’re interested in starting a DIY business, here are some handmade business ideas you can start now.
What is a handmade business?
A handmade business is one that sells products made by hand or designed by an independent artisan. There are tons of handmade goods that fall into this category, from furniture to prints.
Why You Should Consider Starting Your Own Handmade Business
If you’re interested in starting a business in 2023, here’s why you should consider selling handmade products:
Creative expression: Many handmade shop owners turn their hobbies into a business. So you can enjoy expressing your creativity while turning a profit.
Low upfront costs: Handmade shops are among the best businesses to start with no money. You may just need a few basic ingredients or supplies and a website or account on marketplace sites like Etsy.
Ability to scale: You can easily start a handmade business with just a few items, but then grow over time.
Easily reach customers: Marketplace sites like Etsy help you easily connect with interested buyers. Then you can build an audience of recurring customers over time.
Location flexibility: There are tons of things to make and sell from home. Sellers can even travel and enjoy time freedom while running this type of business.
Choosing the Best Handmade Business Ideas: Our Methodology
For evaluating handmade business ideas, it’s important to consider factors that highlight the uniqueness and appeal of handcrafted products, while also ensuring viability and marketability. Here’s an overview of the key criteria and their importance scale:
Quality and Uniqueness of Handmade Products
Importance: Essential (10/10)
The distinctiveness and high quality of the handmade products are crucial for setting the business apart.
Market Demand and Niche Targeting
Importance: High (9/10)
Understanding the market demand, particularly in niche areas, is vital for the success of a handmade business.
Scalability While Maintaining Craftsmanship
Importance: Moderate (7/10)
The ability to scale the business without compromising the quality and uniqueness of the handmade products.
Cost Efficiency and Pricing Strategy
Importance: High (9/10)
Balancing the costs of production with competitive yet profitable pricing is key for sustainability.
Brand Building and Storytelling
Importance: High (9/10)
Developing a strong brand that tells a story can significantly enhance the appeal of handmade products.
Online Presence and E-Commerce Viability
Importance: High (9/10)
A strong online presence and e-commerce capability are essential for reaching a broader audience.
Supply Chain and Material Sourcing
Importance: High (9/10)
Reliable sourcing of quality materials is crucial for consistent production of handmade items.
Marketing and Customer Engagement
Importance: High (9/10)
Effective marketing strategies and customer engagement are vital for building a loyal customer base.
Importance: Moderate to High (8/10)
Utilizing sustainable practices can enhance the brand’s appeal, especially in markets that value eco-friendliness.
Adaptability to Trends and Customer Preferences
Importance: Moderate (7/10)
Being adaptable to changing market trends and customer preferences can help in staying relevant and innovative.
Top Handmade Business Ideas
If you’re interested in selling your original creations online or at a local craft store, a handmade business model may be right for you. Here are some business ideas to consider.
1. Jewelry Making Business
Jewelry makers can offer a huge range of products, from beaded jewelry to those made with precious metals. You can start small and then grow your own jewelry line over time.
2. Fashion Designer
Start your own line of hand-sewn clothing, like dresses, tops, or entire outfits.
3. T-Shirt Designer
You could also specialize in customized t-shirts. There are many printing services you can use to print your own designs on demand or in bulk.
4. Woodworking Business
Those skilled with woodworking tools can sell a huge array of products, from furniture to birdhouses.
5. Toy Maker
Offer handmade toys like plush animals, wood puzzles, or knit dolls.
6. Knit Goods Seller
If you’re a skilled knitter, there’s a nearly endless selection of products you can sell, including hats, scarves, blankets, and socks.
7. Print Seller
If you create any sort of original art, sell prints of your work at a low price point. You can even offer digital files that customers can print on their own.
However, many artists also choose to sell original versions of their work. These are generally priced higher, but can only be sold one time.
9. Custom Illustrator
Artists may also offer custom portraits or drawings that each buyer can select or change. For example, you could draw people’s pets or create cartoon versions of families.
Calligraphers can sell signs or prints of their letters. Many also this skill as a service for things like wedding invitations.
11. Handbag Maker
Create your own line of purses and bags out of fabric, leather, or other materials.
12. Leather Goods Business
If you’re skilled at working with leather, there are a variety of products you can sell, including wallets, watch bands, and bags.
13. Scented Candle Maker
Candles are popular gifts, and can come in a huge array of scents and designs.
14. Stationery Business
Design your own greeting cards and paper products to sell. You can offer originals or create prints of your work.
15. Ornament Maker
Create your own custom holiday ornaments to offer around the Christmas season. Personalized options where customers can add a name or date tend to be especially popular.
16. Bead Maker
Make your own beads using hand-blown glass, clay, or even felt. Then sell them in bulk to other crafters.
Create your own quilts or offer customizable products. You’ll need a sewing machine and lots of fabric, but these products can command high prices.
18. Basket Weaver
Weave baskets using natural materials like reeds, bamboo, and seagrass.
19. Gift Basket Service
You can also arrange various handmade products, foods, and gift items into gift baskets.
20. Screen Printing Business
Use screen printing supplies to add your own custom designs to various products, like hats, bags, and mugs.
21. Scrapbooking Business
Use scrapbooking materials to create custom pages for customers, or offer supplies they can use to make their own designs.
22. Pet Accessories Business
Pet owners are always looking for unique products for their furry friends. Offer handmade toys, outfits, or pet collars.
23. Digital Product Designer
There are a variety of digital products you can sell online, like planners, signs, or spreadsheets.
24. Sculpture Artist
Create 3D artwork out of various materials and sell it online or through local galleries.
25. Ceramics Business
If you enjoy working with clay, create unique products like bowls and mugs to sell to customers.
26. Candy Maker
There are many different candy products you can make by hand and then sell online or through local bakeries or gift shops.
You could also offer baked goods like cookies and pastries. They will need to be packaged fully if you plan to offer them online.
28. Landscape Photographer
Take photos of beautiful landscapes and then sell prints of your work online.
29. Graphic Designer
Use graphic design software to create digital artwork that you can sell as prints. You could also offer custom designs by working with clients one-on-one.
30. Weaving Business
Use yarn and other fibers to create woven artwork or wall hangings for customers to display in their homes.
31. Hair Accessories Shop
Make handmade hair accessories like bows and headbands. These small items can easily be packaged and shipped.
32. Dried Flower Artist
Collect flowers and leaves that you can dry or press to create one-of-a-kind artwork.
33. Mixed Media Artist
Mixed media art includes various materials combined to make one collage or piece of art.
34. Furniture Upcycling
Take old pieces of furniture and use paint, upholstery, and new materials to make them into something fun and unique.
35. Floral Designer
Create bouquets and floral designs to sell or deliver locally. Many florists also work on special events like weddings.
36. Men’s Accessories Shop
Many handmade accessory businesses focus on women’s styles. However, you could carve out a unique niche by selling men’s accessories like cuff links and watch bands.
37. Kids’ Clothing Shop
Kids’ clothing is also a popular niche that is always in demand.
38. Phone Case Business
Design unique phone cases that customers can purchase to protect and upgrade their devices.
39. Book Binder
Use board, adhesive, and heat tools to create professional-looking books or journals. If you’re a writer, you can even hand-make your very own book to sell.
40. Alterations Service
If you’re skilled with a needle and thread, offer alterations and repair services to people in your local area.
41. Studio Photographer
You can also sell photos or provide photography services in a local studio. These often include portraits of families, couples, seniors, or pets.
42. 3D Printing Business
You can print just about anything using 3D printers and various resins. Create your own digital files and then sell either the products or the designs.
43. Bath Products Shop
There are tons of bath and beauty products you can make from scratch, including bath salts, scrubs, and lotions.
44. Digital Photo Business
Many photographers also sell digital versions of their photos. You can either use stock photo sites or just sell the digital files on your own site.
45. Holiday Decor Business
For the more festive entrepreneurs, consider building a handmade business around holiday decor, making parties and supplies a main selling feature of your shop.
46. Pattern Maker
Crafters often use patterns for sewing, knitting, and crocheting products. If you make your own patterns, consider selling the digital files to other crafters.
47. Stamp and Stencil Business
Make stamps or stencils out of rubber or plastic and market them to crafters for use in their own projects.
48. Hand-Dyed Yarn Shop
You can also spin and/or dye your own yarn using wool and other fibers.
49. Fabric Supplier
Or design your own fabric or dye textiles that you can offer to others for sewing projects.
50. Craft Supply Shop
You can even combine multiple craft supplies into one shop and offer a variety to those interested in trying multiple hobbies.
CategoryHandmade Business Ideas
Jewelry & AccessoriesJewelry Making Business, Handbag Maker, Bead Maker, Men’s Accessories Shop, Hair Accessories Shop, Phone Case Business
Fashion & ClothingFashion Designer, T-Shirt Designer, Kids’ Clothing Shop, Alterations Service
Wood & FurnitureWoodworking Business, Furniture Upcycling
Art & IllustrationPrint Seller, Painter, Custom Illustrator, Mixed Media Artist, Sculpture Artist, Digital Photo Business, Holiday Decor Business
Writing & CalligraphyCalligrapher, Book Binder, Stamp and Stencil Business
Leather & TextilesLeather Goods Business, Knit Goods Seller, Quilter, Basket Weaver, Weaving Business, Hand-Dyed Yarn Shop, Fabric Supplier
Toys & GiftsToy Maker, Ornament Maker, Gift Basket Service
Printing & DesignScreen Printing Business, Graphic Designer, 3D Printing Business
Scented ProductsScented Candle Maker, Bath Products Shop
Stationery & Paper ProductsStationery Business, Pattern Maker, Craft Supply Shop
Food & ConfectioneryCandy Maker, Baker
PhotographyLandscape Photographer, Studio Photographer
Pets & AnimalsPet Accessories Business
Digital ProductsDigital Product Designer
Ceramics & GlassCeramics Business
Floral & BotanicalDried Flower Artist, Floral Designer
How do you start your own creative business?
Once you decide to start your own handmade business, it’s time to turn your vision into action. Each business will require its own specific supplies and steps. However, here’s a basic guide for how to start a craft business:
Determine your niche: Consider what products you will sell and what sets your shop apart from others.
Choose a selling method: Do you plan to sell products online or in person? Think about what stores or marketplaces you might use.
Perfect your craft: Practice how you plan to make each product. Develop prototypes if necessary.
Create a price list: How much do you plan to sell each product for? Consider the cost of supplies, your time, and other business expenses like your website and marketing.
Market your work: Share your work with potential customers, either through online ads and marketing or locally.
The Role of Digital Transformation
In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, digital transformation has emerged as a pivotal catalyst for the growth and sustainability of handmade businesses. The advent of e-commerce platforms, social media, and digital marketing has revolutionized the way artisans connect with their target audience. Here are some key facets of the digital transformation within the handmade business sphere:
Global Reach: Handmade businesses can now transcend geographical boundaries, reaching customers across the world with ease. Online marketplaces, such as Etsy and Shopify, provide a platform for artisans to showcase their creations to a global audience, amplifying their market reach.
Direct Communication: Social media platforms have become indispensable tools for handmade business owners to engage directly with their customers. Sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of the creative process, responding to inquiries, and fostering a sense of community are all facilitated through digital channels.
Elevated Branding: Digital tools enable artisans to craft compelling brand narratives and visual identities. From crafting a captivating website to curating an Instagram-worthy feed, artisans can elevate their brand presence, creating an immersive and cohesive customer experience.
Data-Driven Decisions: The digital sphere empowers handmade businesses with invaluable data and analytics. Insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends enable artisans to refine their product offerings and marketing strategies, optimizing their business for success.
E-commerce Integration: The seamless integration of e-commerce solutions allows handmade businesses to manage inventory, process payments, and fulfill orders efficiently. This streamlining of operations ensures a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience for customers.
Digital Marketing: Leveraging digital marketing techniques, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing, artisans can strategically position their products in front of a receptive audience. Personalized email campaigns, in particular, enable artisans to nurture customer relationships and drive repeat business.
Sustainability Advocacy: In an era marked by growing environmental consciousness, digital platforms provide a space for artisans to advocate for sustainability and ethical practices. Transparency regarding materials, production processes, and eco-friendly initiatives resonates with a socially conscious customer base.
The Path to Profitability
While passion and creativity are the driving forces behind a handmade business, profitability remains a vital consideration. Fortunately, the inherent qualities of handmade products and the strategic utilization of digital tools offer numerous avenues to boost profitability. Here are some key strategies:
Pricing Strategies: Determining the right pricing strategy is crucial. Artisans should factor in the cost of materials, time invested, overheads, and desired profit margins. It’s essential to strike a balance between competitiveness and value perception.
Product Diversification: Expanding product offerings allows artisans to tap into different market segments. Offering a range of products, from affordable to premium, caters to a broader customer base.
Customization: Providing customization options allows customers to personalize their purchases, often justifying higher price points. Customization fosters a sense of exclusivity and emotional connection.
Limited Editions: Creating limited-edition or one-of-a-kind pieces adds an element of rarity, encouraging collectors and enthusiasts to make purchases swiftly.
Collaborations: Collaborating with other artisans or brands can introduce a new customer base to your products. It also lends an element of uniqueness and novelty to your offerings.
Efficient Production: Streamlining production processes, optimizing workflows, and minimizing waste contribute to cost efficiency and, consequently, profitability.
Effective Marketing: Strategic marketing efforts, including social media campaigns, email marketing, and collaborations with influencers, can amplify visibility and drive sales.
Customer Retention: Building strong customer relationships is key to sustained profitability. Loyal customers often make repeat purchases and recommend products to others.
E-commerce Optimization: Continuously optimizing the e-commerce platform, ensuring a user-friendly interface, and implementing secure payment gateways enhance the online shopping experience, reducing cart abandonment rates.
Market Research: Staying attuned to market trends, customer preferences, and emerging niches enables artisans to adapt and innovate, staying ahead of the competition.
What handmade items sell the best?
Handmade items hold a unique appeal to many shoppers because of their individuality, quality, and the craftsmanship that goes into creating each piece. Let’s delve into some of the most popular handmade items that sell well:
Furniture: Customized tables, chairs, and cabinets often command high prices.
Decor: Items like picture frames, wall hangings, and wooden sculptures are in demand.
Utensils: Hand-carved bowls, spoons, and cutting boards offer a personal touch.
Quilts: Individually designed quilts are cherished for their warmth and aesthetics.
Table Runners: Customized for various seasons or themes.
Baby Blankets: Often purchased as gifts for new parents.
Wallets and Purses: Personalized designs and quality leather make these items popular.
Belts: Custom sizing and stamping are sought after.
Journal Covers: Leather-bound journals are often appreciated for their classic appeal.
Vases: Artistic vases are often used as decorative pieces or gifts.
Ornaments: Seasonal or personalized glass ornaments are collectors’ favorites.
Drinkware: Unique glasses and goblets provide a sophisticated touch to dining.
Customized Jewelry and Accessories:
Initialed Necklaces: Adding a personal touch with initials or special symbols.
Engraved Rings: Custom messages or dates make these items uniquely special.
Personalized Bags: Tailored designs, monograms, or colors for individual preferences.
Ceramics and Pottery:
Mugs: Handcrafted and painted mugs are popular for gifts or personal use.
Planters: Unique shapes and designs cater to plant enthusiasts.
Dinnerware: Custom dinner sets can create a unified and artistic table setting.
Soap and Candle Making:
Soaps: Organic or specially scented soaps cater to individual tastes.
Candles: Customized shapes, sizes, and fragrances provide a cozy atmosphere.
Textiles and Knitting:
Scarves: Hand-knitted scarves in various yarns and patterns.
Pillows: Decorative pillows crafted in unique fabrics and designs.
Hats and Gloves: Custom-made winter wear for added warmth and style.
People’s attraction to these handmade items often stems from a desire for unique, high-quality products that reflect personal tastes and values. The ability to communicate directly with the creator of the item can add to the allure, as buyers can request specific customizations or learn the story behind a piece. The trend towards supporting local artisans and small businesses also plays a significant role in the popularity of these items. Whether seeking a one-of-a-kind gift or investing in an heirloom piece, handmade crafts continue to resonate with discerning shoppers.
What is the easiest handmade business idea to start?
Starting a handmade business doesn’t necessarily require heavy investment or extensive skills, particularly with the advent of digital design tools and on-demand services. Here are some of the easiest handmade businesses that you might consider, primarily focusing on digital design and leveraging existing platforms:
Custom T-Shirts and Apparel:
Print-on-Demand Services: Sites like Printful or Teespring allow you to upload designs and sell without maintaining inventory.
Personal Branding: Create your own brand with unique designs catering to specific niches or interests.
Targeting Local Businesses: Offer customized apparel for local schools, clubs, or businesses.
Digital Art and Printables:
Printable Decor: Design and sell downloadable prints for home decor.
Digital Planners: Cater to the productivity community with customized planners.
Personalized Invitations: Offer custom digital invitations for various events and occasions.
Custom Phone Cases:
On-Demand Printing: Utilize existing platforms to create unique phone case designs.
Niche Themes: Target specific interests like animals, hobbies, or popular culture.
Personalized Stickers and Decals:
Etsy Shop: Use platforms like Etsy to sell your unique sticker designs.
Vehicle Decals: Create customized decals for cars or motorcycles.
Seasonal Themes: Design stickers for holidays, seasons, or special occasions.
Custom Jewelry Design:
3D Printing: Use 3D printing services to create unique jewelry pieces.
Beaded Jewelry: Starting with simple beading can be an accessible entry point.
Handmade Soap and Candles:
DIY Kits: Many suppliers offer kits to create soaps or candles with minimal investment.
Custom Fragrances: Craft unique scents and themes to appeal to various tastes.
Stock Photography: Sell photos to stock photography sites.
Printed Photography: Offer printed versions of your photos through on-demand printing services.
Personalized Gifts and Merchandise:
Mugs and Drinkware: Create and sell custom designs.
Personalized Keychains: Offer simple, personalized keychain designs.
Holiday Specials: Create special editions for holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.
Online Classes and Tutorials:
Teaching Skills: Share your crafting skills through online platforms like Skillshare.
Selling Patterns and Guides: If you’re skilled in knitting, quilting, etc., you can sell your unique patterns.
Craft Subscription Boxes: Curate monthly boxes with materials and instructions for a DIY project.
Themed Boxes: Build around a theme or hobby to attract a specific audience.
Many of these ideas leverage digital tools and existing platforms to minimize the overhead cost and need for physical space. The key to success in these ventures often lies in identifying a unique niche, building a strong brand, and offering products that resonate with a specific audience. They also benefit from being scalable; you can start small and grow as demand increases, all while aligning your business with your creative passion and existing skill set.
Is selling handmade crafts profitable?
Yes, there are plenty of things to make and sell for profit. Handmade businesses often don’t require a lot of overhead expenses. You just need a few different materials and the ability to market to specific customers.
The world of handmade businesses offers a plethora of opportunities for creative individuals seeking to turn their passion into a profitable venture. The demand for unique, handcrafted items has continued to rise, and with the advent of digital transformation, artisans can reach a global audience with ease. This article has explored the concept of handmade businesses, highlighted the reasons to consider starting one, and provided a diverse array of handmade business ideas to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs.
A handmade business is not just about creating products; it’s a journey of self-expression and entrepreneurship. It allows you to take your creative passions and turn them into a source of income, giving you the opportunity to do what you love while making a living. With low upfront costs, the ability to scale over time, and the convenience of reaching customers through online marketplaces, starting a handmade business has become more accessible than ever.
The list of handmade business ideas presented in this article is a testament to the wide range of possibilities available. From crafting jewelry to woodworking, from creating personalized art prints to crafting unique leather goods, there is a niche for almost every creative talent. Moreover, the digital era has brought forth a multitude of opportunities, such as digital product design, 3D printing, and selling digital art.
However, the success of a handmade business goes beyond just crafting products. It involves understanding your niche, choosing the right selling method, perfecting your craft, setting competitive prices, and effectively marketing your work. It’s a journey of continuous learning and adaptation to market trends and customer preferences.
One of the most significant game-changers for handmade businesses has been the digital transformation. This transformation has ushered in an era of global reach, enabling artisans to connect with customers worldwide through online marketplaces and social media platforms. Direct communication, branding, data-driven decision-making, and e-commerce integration have become integral components of thriving handmade businesses. Embracing digital marketing techniques, advocating for sustainability, and optimizing online platforms have become essential strategies for success.
While pursuing creative endeavors, profitability remains a crucial consideration for handmade business owners. Strategies like pricing strategies, product diversification, customization, limited editions, collaborations, efficient production, effective marketing, customer retention, e-commerce optimization, and market research are key to achieving profitability without compromising on the uniqueness and quality of handmade products.
The demand for handmade items continues to grow as consumers seek unique, high-quality products that reflect their individuality and values. The personal touch, direct connection with artisans, and support for local businesses are driving factors behind this trend. Products like woodworking creations, quilts, leather goods, glass art, customized jewelry, ceramics, soaps, and textiles continue to be popular choices among buyers.
For those looking for an easy entry into the handmade business world, there are several low-cost, accessible options, such as custom apparel, digital art, personalized stickers, custom phone cases, handmade soap, photography sales, personalized gifts, online classes, and subscription boxes. These ventures leverage digital tools and platforms to minimize costs and offer scalability.
Image: Envato Elements
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