Making things from scratch, cultivating them by hand, and carving out a living by selling and trading them. But maybe you’re not quite sure what to make and sell. Maybe you’re looking for a new hobby to busy your idle hands. But you can take it a step further to turn your little craft hobby into a home-based business venture.
Today, thousands of crafters produce made-by-hand goods—some with traditional and primitive methods—selling them at craft shows, among friends and through their online stores worldwide. E-commerce and supporting communities gives makers more reach, keep their businesses running more efficiently, letting them focus on what they do best: their craft.
6 Things to Make and Sell
We’ve compiled a list of things to make and sell, something to appeal to everyone from the advanced craftsperson to the creatively-challenged. Each idea will include a link to a comprehensive guide, to inspire your own.
In fact, some people enjoy making home-made jewellery as a hobby and then go to local craft fairs to see if they can sell it. You can turn your little craft hobby into a home-based business venture.Jewellery is a great business idea that can range from simple and low-tech (say, beaded necklaces and woven bracelets) to skilled trades with special equipment. It’s a saturated market, so doing your homework up front is important—how can your designs stand out? Is there a niche market to target?
Get inspired: Claysphere Jewellery
- Fashion is fickle. Validate your idea by tracking trends in jewellery—use Google Trends, and follow popular fashion blogs and influencers.
- Photography is extremely important, but also difficult because of the scale and reflective qualities of jewellery. Invest in great photos by hiring a pro. You can save money by partnering with complementary brands to share the cost of lifestyle shoots.
2. Bath Bombs and Soaps
A simple Google search returns pages of tutorials to teach you to make your own soaps, bath bombs, and other beauty products at home. They range from simple recipes for bath salts to more complicated formulations requiring emulsions and preservatives. This business idea has low creativity requirements—soaps and bath bombs can be made using commercial moulds—but packaging and branding are important in beauty.
Get inspired: Modern Soapmaking
- Keep your inventory tight—fresher bath bombs have more fizz, and natural ingredients (like essential oils) in soap can expire.
- Investigate your raw ingredient sources to ensure they’re beauty-grade and safe for skin. Recommends understanding the basics of chemistry.
- Find some good design moulds to make soap more attractive in look
The candle business is a billion dollar industry, and within that there are several niches to explore: religious, birthday, eco and natural, scented, beeswax, novelty, and more. Like with soap, there’s no shortage of DIY tutorials for novice candle makers, and basic melt and pour methods require little to no previous craft skills.
Get inspired: The success story of Pramila Candles
Get started: How to Make Candles Guide
- Get insured and use safety labelling. Due to the nature of candle use, and the increased risks of injury or fire damage, be sure to protect your business from civil suits that may result from the use of your product.
- Tap into a niche to stand out in a crowded market.
- Pay attention to branding and packaging. Candles don’t differ much from an ingredient perspective, but your product can stand apart with beautiful packaging and strong branding.
4. Curated Gift and Subscription Boxes
A gift or subscription box business is a great idea for those who are less crafty but have an eye for curation. Contrary to print-on-demand t-shirts, curated box businesses can be very hands-on. Assembly can be a tedious task, but the business has its advantages: subscription boxes are usually packed all at once at the same time each month, and in the same size box, making the shipping process simple.
Get inspired: Bookworm Box: Successful Subscription Business
- Calculate your storage and assembly needs. Can your home accommodate your business, or do you need to rent additional space?
- Ease your customers into commitment. Offer a substantial discount to those who pay upfront for subscriptions, or offer the first month free.
5. Traditional Handcrafted Goods
Leather tooling, wood carving, embroidery, and pottery are all traditional mediums with thriving markets. The backlash against mass-production is driving trends back one-of-a-kind and bespoke goods, and artist craftsmanship. Many of these disciplines require skills honed over time, but you can access your inner maker and learn these skills via online tutorials, local workshops, and trial and error.
- Much of the appeal of crafted goods is the story behind the maker. Weave your own story into product description and packaging.
- How will you scale? If your idea takes off, consider how you will maintain the handmade nature of your goods while producing in large quantities: can you hire contract makers? Can certain components of the process be outsourced to a manufacturer, then finished by hand?
6. Art and Prints
Forget the story of the starving artist. It’s never been a better time to create the art you want to create and sell it. Whether you’re dealing with fine art, or reproduction prints, you can access far-reaching audiences and sell worldwide.
Get inspired: CHow she made money selling art on Facebook
Get started: How to Sell Art Online: The Ultimate Guide
- Work with an established gallery to show your work in person and help build an audience for your online store.
- Have your work professionally photographed, or as a low-cost option, scan it on a flatbed scanner in pieces and stitch the image together in Photoshop.
- Consider reproducing your art in multiple formats from prints and cards to t-shirts and mugs. Do it yourself through a print and fulfilment company, or licence your work to other eCommerce brands.
The ideas don't stop here—you can make and sell everything from cup holders and coffee tables to handbags and bonsai tree.