Etsy is an amazing online marketplace for crafters, artists, and collectors, with a personal audience of almost 30 million shoppers who spent almost $3 billion on the site in 2017.
Sellers and buyers alike appreciate the exclusivity of Etsy’s products, it’s not just any old yard sale or resale site. The products sold on Etsy are verified handmade items or authentic collectibles from any of these categories:
- Jewelry & Accessories
- Clothing & Shoes
- Home & Living
- Wedding & Party
- Toys & Entertainment
- Art & Collectibles
- Craft Supplies & Tools
There is huge potential here for creative people who want to start their own business from home. It’s not difficult or expensive to get or make things to sell on Etsy. I would say it’s one of the easiest platforms to launch a store in if you can find a product that fits the criteria.
1. Thrift stores, yard sales, and estate sales
If you are not particularly creative or don’t have a ton of time, and you’re looking for the simplest route to getting a store open, picking up cheap vintage and antique items from thrift stores, yard sales, and estate sales is probably the best.
Here are some tips for shopping:
Research while you shop. Keep your phone on you as you shop so you can look things up and check to see if they are actually vintage, antique, or collectible. Eventually you will get a feel for this, unless you already have some expertise on the subject.
Take advantage of sales. Many thrift stores also have deal days, during which you can pick up a ton of stuff for really cheap. A couple years ago a Goodwill opened up near me and they ended up with a lot of overstock. They had a sale day when they sold everything for $0.99 and I got a pile of designer coats, including Burberry, for $10.
Stay organized. Keep receipts of every purchase as well as a spreadsheet showing how much things cost and how much they sold for. This is extremely important for making your business profitable.
Eventually you will build up an inventory and may even find other avenues to sell excess inventory through such as Poshmark or EBay.
Can you imagine a more fun job than shopping every weekend?
2. Raid your own closets and shelves
If you’re going to start a resale business, you may as well see what you have to add to the mix first. Dig through your home and closet and see what you can come up with.
Here are some ideas for things you might have in your home right now that are popular on Etsy:
Mom Jeans – Who ever thought this vintage look would come back?! Well, it’s a thing now. Do you have any high-waisted jeans from the 80s or 90s that you’re not wearing now? Note: Levi’s are a popular vintage brand for jeans.
Flannel Shirts – These were my high school wardrobe go-to in the late 1990s. I can’t even believe how popular they’re getting again.
Authentic Army Fatigues – Have you been or do you know someone who was in a military outfit (literally) in the 90s or earlier? People pay good money for this stuff.
Vintage Jewelry – I think shopping for and selling vintage or older jewelry has got to be the most fun – finding that one unique piece that you just can’t find anywhere else.
Vintage Books, Movies, & Music – Do you still have a box of cassette tapes or CD’s in your storage facility – like I do? Cassette tapes, VHS, musical instruments, vinyl records, laser discs, 8-tracks, sheet music, old video games, real books….. You could have a little gold mine sitting there for a collector.
3. Raid your friend’s closets – selling on consignment
Selling on consignment means you agree to put someone else’s item in your store and take a small commission when it sells. When you’re just starting out, this is a great way to rapidly increase your income.
I raid my mom’s closet for stuff she doesn’t wear anymore and wants to sell but never has time to. I’ve sold her shoes and unworn clothes on Poshmark.
Try throwing a post on Facebook or messaging some friends and family to let them know you’re selling. Offer them something like 60% of the sale price and confirm the lowest they’d accept for the item(s) so you know how to price it.
My mom did this and now has piles of vintage jewelry from her friends to post. When she sells, Etsy gets their 3.5% (plus any listing fees), the owner gets 60% and she keeps the remaining for her commission.
People are always wanting to clean out their closets. Help them out and make some money!
3. Make Things to Sell on Etsy
There is nothing more satisfying than selling something you’ve made with your own two hands. While some of these ideas are probably quite obvious, you’d be surprised what creative talent you may be able to develop to make some money.
Here are some of the top things people make to sell on Etsy:
- Clothes for Men, Women, and/or Children
- Scarves, Hats and Accessories
- Handbags and Purses
- Home Decor Placards, Signs, Etchings, Stencils, Wallpaper, etc.
- Home Decor Pillows and Throws
- Custom Personalized Stuffed Animals
- Party Decorations
- Cake Toppers and Gum Paste Figures
- Quilts and Blankets (anything you can sew, knit, crochet, or embroider)
But there is so much more that you can get inspiration from. People love handmade trinkets to mark their special occasions. Think bridal and baby, birthdays, college events, or any special holiday – how can you commemorate it for someone?
And here are some of my favorite examples of Etsy sellers’ creativity:
Elena Myloslavaskaya is the owner and creator of the Etsy shop BAGatelleStudio, where she sells book-inspired handbags that she makes herself from scratch. You can even order one custom-made for your favorite little reader. What a unique gift idea!
If you are handy with gum paste, cake toppers are all the rage and Etsy has some of the best. A lot of sellers are making money selling simple, glitter cut-outs, but then there are the ultra creatives like TyeDyedgrandmas and their cute kitten, emoji cake figurines.
Are you a baker or handy in the kitchen? People are even selling food on Etsy, believe it or not. MacabeesSweets is helping the less creative, or those who lack time, make birthdays and parties that much more special with their precious cake pops.
4. Papercrafts to Sell on Etsy
While papercrafts to sell on Etsy might technically fall under the last category of making things, it has so many ideas under it, it deserves its own section.
Technically papercrafts would include the currently popular kits that teach people how to create paper structures and figures for simple decorating (see the unicorn below), but truthfully there are so many ways you can get creative with paper.
Here are some amazing and simple ideas for things you can make out of paper and sell on Etsy. Click the photos to see their descriptions on Etsy.
Invitations and Note Cards
Paper Dollhouses, Dolls, and Furniture (or just the downloadable design!)
Origami and DIY Papercraft Designs
Cute Paper Cut Outs
I hope you’ve found some inspiration here. It’s time to decide what you want to sell and get started on your store!
I’d love to hear any ideas you have in the comments below.
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