Mason jars, leather-bound journals, and herbal soap… ironically, some of the best sellers in tech-reliant ecommerce are old-fashioned, handmade goods. As we dive deeper into the 21st century, more and more online shoppers are looking back to rustic styles and homemade products — which sell better now than when they were the norm!
For artisans, craftspeople, chefs, and designers, modern ecommerce offers more opportunities to make money doing what you love. If you’re looking for data-driven inspiration on what’s selling and what’s in-demand for 2020, here are the 9 best handmade product ideas for online stores.
1. Made-to-Order Beauty Products
Beauty products have always been a staple of ecommerce — they’re the right cost, easy to ship, and, as consumables, customers always have to buy more. Combine this old favorite to new trends like handmade and custom goods, and you have what’s predicted to be an online best seller of 2020.
According to an Etsy press release of 2020 trends, there has been a 19% increase in searches for “custom perfume,” a 15% increase for “custom soap,” and a 13% increase for “custom beauty” in general.
Etsy attributes the rise due to people who have preferences for certain scents, or even allergies. The pull towards personalization is getting stronger in ecommerce, and you’ll see a lot of custom items on this list.
2. Jewelry and Craft Supplies
As we mentioned in our Best Product Sourcing Strategies for Artisans and Craftspeople, one of the hardest parts about selling handmade products online is managing supplies. Especially if you’re creating custom goods, you need a wide range of materials on-hand to be prepared for any order.
That’s leading some vendors to switch to a B2B model and sell crafting supplies directly to other online vendors. In fact, the second-best Etsy shop, Yakutum, sells raw materials for jewelry: clasps, studs, ring settings, earring hooks, chains, beads, and charms.
For some craftspeople, selling jewelry components can be more cost-effective than actual jewelry. Not only do you need less ingredients, but you don’t have to worry about appealing to niche tastes or styles.
3. Natural Snacks for Pets
Pet products generally sell well online. So do natural foods. Combine these two niches and you have something a lot of buyers want, but not a lot of sellers offer.
In the U.S. alone, pet food production is a $26 billion industry as of 2019. While an independent seller would struggle to compete with the giants like Purina or Whiskas, the niche for natural, organic pet food still has openings.
If you’re somewhat of a food scientist, you can make and sell your own brand of pet snacks to health-conscious pet-owners.
On the one hand, selling candles online is such a cliche, and it seems every work-at-home wannabe has a candle company. On the other hand, people who buy candles always need more candles.
If you manage to break into the right niche and avoid all the competitors, candles can be a profitable online venture. They’re easy to make and consume quickly. The key is to find the right market. What separates your candles from everyone else’s?
Consider using unique ingredients or scents, or even a custom option so shoppers can personalize their candles.
5. Mason Jar Crafts
The official container for the Millennial generation, mason jars are so popular that they’ve spawned their own market. Sure, you could sell generic mason jars and market them as anything from cups to pen holders, but if you really want to catch the eye of shoppers, you can sell mason jar crafts.
The mason jar aesthetic largely lends itself to the item’s success, which means anything you make out of a mason jar is also attractive. What we’ve seen so far are soap dispensers, snow globes, painted vases/containers, and candle holders — also tissue dispensers. But a creative artisan will have no trouble thinking up new uses for these simple supplies.
6. Customized Fashion Accessories
One of the few entries on this list that doesn’t reflect a rustic or old-fashioned style, customized fashion accessories have a timeless appeal. Like MTO beauty products or natural pet food, customizable fashion accessories already have a built-in niche. Lots of people buy fashion accessories, and of them, quite a few want custom options.
The extent of customization is up to you. On one end of the spectrum, you could sell your own line of jewelry and inscribe a name or message into it, perfect for romantic gifts or commemorating events. On the other end, jewelry built around input from the customer, such as incorporating a specific picture or made-to-order images like a school mascot. For inspiration, check out BigHead Custom.
7. Hand-drawn Stickers
Stickers have been trending on Etsy since 2018, presumably because they’re easy to manufacture and cheap to sell. Again, with a little customization — in this case, using hand-drawn illustrations — you can tap into its prebuilt niche.
Following the same system as the other entries on this list, you can give customers the chance to personalize their stickers, allowing you to charge extra and expand your customer-base into specialized territory.
8. Home Decor
Handmade vases, inscribed glasses, personalized pillows, wood-carved signs. The home decor industry has always been a mixed bag of products, and for customers with rustic sensibilities, it’s a haven for homemade goods. If your handmade products appeal to certain tastes, they’ll have no trouble finding a new home.
The range is wide for this group, including large wooden furniture and tiny garden statues. While that diversity may make it harder for you to find your niche, it also gives ample space for you to specialize in the items you’re passionate about. If you really enjoy making toilet paper holders that look like sheep, you do you.
9. Handmade Journals & Planners
Last but not least, handmade journals and planners are still popular after trending a few years ago. Indicative of the current “old-fashioned” trend, journaling is making a comeback among younger shoppers, while simultaneously digital planners lack a certain appeal for a sizeable niche of hand-writers.
Handmade journals and planners scratch this itch for many customers. The look and feel of the book matter just as much as its practical function, maybe even more, so the more decorated or stylish your homemade books are, the better.
To dive deep into this niche, use leather-bound books — the leather aesthetic perfectly epitomizes the rustic style. To dive even deeper, using customizable leather print; you appeal to both the old-fashioned trend and the personalization trend.
Conclusion: Where to Sell?
If only the success of your homemade craft store depended on the quality of your products. Sadly, even the finest craftspeople can go into the red if they fail at the business aspects of ecommerce. Aside from marketing and outreach, you have to find the best channels for artisans and handmade products.