In the world of ecommerce, Etsy is the go-to platform to buy and sell unique, handmade wares of all kinds. If you’re just opening an Etsy shop of your own, this level of creative freedom can almost feel overwhelming. But deciding what to sell on Etsy—and finding the right niche—is key to your store’s success.
To spark your imagination, we’ve put together a list of 15 items or categories that sell the best on Etsy. In particular, this list is conducive to selling in our current economic climate and takes into account customers’ spending habits and preferences in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Once you’ve figured out what to sell on Etsy, we’d recommend reading our guide on how to open an Etsy shop so you can sell your chosen wares successfully. But first, let’s brainstorm.
What to Sell on Etsy: 15 Popular Items
Need some inspiration about what to sell on Etsy? Consider one (or more of) the following 15 best-selling ideas below.
1. Craft Supplies
Customers head to Etsy as much for DIY odds and ends as they do for readymade items. Craft supplies like stickers, charms, beads, and other craft and jewelry supplies (like these wood earring blanks) frequently show up on Etsy’s best-selling items page. Consider purchasing these supplies from a wholesaler and reselling them on your Etsy store.
2. Home Decor
Etsy is one of the best resources for finding unique, inexpensive home goods from independent artisans around the world. Whether your specialty is carving wooden serving trays, sewing cheeky pillows, crocheting seasonal coasters, printing dish towels, or stringing together wind chimes, you’ll find a huge customer base for your home decor items on Etsy.
Jewelry is a perennial bestseller on Etsy, from diamond wedding bands to septum rings to beaded chokers. Not all jewelry on Etsy is handmade, however—vintage jewelry, for instance, is also a frequent bestseller—so if you’re not especially crafty, reselling jewelry on the platform can be a lucrative venture.
4. Wedding Items
Etsy is a go-to for all things wedding: Think bridesmaids gifts, invitations, gowns and veils, bow ties and cummerbunds, neon script signs, cake toppers, guest books, bachelor and bachelorette gifts, and literally everything in between. And the effects of COVID-19 may make prospective brides, grooms, guests, and wedding planners even more inclined to purchase things from Etsy for the big day. Big, expensive weddings are becoming more difficult (or impossible) to pull off, so people are opting for smaller, intimate, low-lift, and cost-efficient events—which is exactly where Etsy sellers come in.
5. Party Decor
Etsy is a go-to resource for party supplies beyond nuptials, as well. Streamers, balloons, place settings, a Ferris wheel candy cart, gift tags for wine bottles, personalized Halloween buckets, Friends-themed quarantine birthday cake toppers—you name it, somebody wants it for their party, and they’re going to Etsy to find it.
6. Stationery and Planners
Some of the top Etsy sellers of all time, like PlannerKate, specialize in stickers, checklists, and other planning accoutrements, while others have found massive success selling planners, journals, calendars, and other types of stationery. Right now, lots of the best-selling items that fall under this umbrella are specific to small business owners, like a 2020 Instagram planner for small businesses and a downloadable SEO worksheet.
7. Personalized Gifts
Who among us has not panic-bought a last-minute birthday/baby/engagement/graduation/[insert milestone here] gift on Etsy? Better yet: a personalized gift. (Who among us doesn’t love to see our names, initials, or inside jokes on a mug, sign, shirt, bobblehead, wooden sign, soup spoon, or mailbox decal?) As a seller, you’ll always find an audience for personalized gifts on Etsy.
8. Wall Art
Now that the vast majority of the population is spending the vast majority of their time at home and staring at their blank, undecorated walls, the demand for high-quality but reasonably priced art is increasing. Printable wall art (i.e., digital downloads) especially is a top seller on Etsy, since you can offer customers several artworks at super low prices, and you don’t need to worry about shipping costs and logistics. Otherwise, customers will scoop up anything from watercolor landscapes to pet portraits to motivational mottos.
9. Pet Supplies and Accessories
Another byproduct of most of us spending way more time at home than we ever have before: spending more time with our pets. Which translates to: We need to buy more things for our pets. (How can you resist that face!?) So things like pet ID tags, collars, leashes, bowls, carrier bags, and pet clothes all have best-selling potential on Etsy. But you can expand your scope into pet-adjacent items, too: Pet portraits, urns and memorials, custom paw print rings, and custom pet pillows, for example, all show up on Etsy bestseller lists.
10. Baby Clothes
Anyone with a baby in their lives knows they outgrow clothes and shoes in .5 seconds. If you know how to sew, knit, print, crochet (or resell) anything baby apparel-related, like bibs, booties, hats, tutus, and teeny-tiny leggings, do it on Etsy. And even better if you can offer personalization services.
11. Face Masks
If there was one object that symbolizes 2020, it would be the face mask. And as COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, these crucial items are not going away anytime soon. So if you know how to sew and can get your hands on quality fabric, making and selling stylish face masks on Etsy is kind of a no-brainer. (You can follow the CDC’s instructions on how to make face masks to ensure they’re up to code.) They’re bestsellers now, and they’ll continue to be for months to come.
12. Homemade Bath and Body Products
We put starting an online beauty business on our list of recession-proof business ideas, as data suggests that consumers are spending more money on personal-care products since spas and salons have temporarily shuttered. Beyond that, we can all use a little more self-care these days.
If you’re going this route, think more along the lines of bath, body, and skincare products rather than makeup, since people are likely using less of the latter in our socially distanced world. In terms of the former, things like essential oils, bath bombs and shower steamers, bath salts, and moisturizers, are fixtures on Etsy’s best-selling lists, as are related items like washcloths and headbands.
On a related note, candles are a crucial element of any self-care routine worth its salt. And if you’ve watched any beauty or lifestyle influencer’s haul videos recently, you’ll know that candles are incredibly popular, and they’ve experienced a resurgence especially among younger generations of homeowners and renters (or dorm dwellers). The best-selling candles on Etsy are almost universally scented, like this coconut and lime soy wax candle or this rainbow sprinkle-flecked birthday cake candle. Otherwise, top-sellers typically have some other, unique angle going for them, like an energy-boosting aromatherapeutic candle or groovy galaxy-inspired candles.
14. Novelty Shirts
Etsy is a wonderful resource for selling any clothing items, both handmade and vintage, but it’s a real go-to for people seeking novelty or personalized shirts, tanks, and other tops. Tops with sassy slogans (or, as Jia Tolentino dubbed it in The New Yorker, “sassy mom merch”) have a particularly loyal fanbase. For your inspiration, some bestsellers in the Tops & Tees subcategory as of this writing include: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer-inspired shirt and a shirt sarcastically claiming, “It’s fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine.”
15. Baked Goods
Starting a food and drink business also made the cut for our list of recession-proof business ideas, because no matter what the economy is doing, people have to eat. And since time immemorial (probably), people have found comfort and joy in treating themselves with delicious things, especially when times are tough. So these days, the bestsellers under Etsy’s Food & Drink subcategory are trending sugary: pound cakes, chocolate chip cookies, cake rolls, the works. That said, saltier snack foods like nuts and pretzels are top sellers as well, as are other easily packaged and shipped things like hot sauces, drink mixes, tea, and coffee.
The Bottom Line
No matter what you’re selling on Etsy, it’s important to follow some best practices to ensure that your bullet journal templates/toddler tiaras/bespoke fascinators/lemon drizzle pound cakes actually sell. After deciding what to sell on Etsy, make sure you set your store up for success.
First and foremost, your photos should be well-lit, stylishly arranged, and portray the item from several angles, and your items should be organized intuitively on your homepage. Your items should be priced fairly, as well. That means striking a balance between properly compensating yourself for your time, labor, and material costs, while hewing to customer expectations that things on Etsy are reasonably priced. A quick Google search will yield tons of resources tailored specifically to Etsy sellers who need help with this step.
Next, you’ll want to optimize your Etsy store for SEO, which will boost your store’s visibility both on Etsy and other online search engines. But perhaps the most important factor in ensuring your Etsy store’s success is providing excellent, consistent customer service. Great customer service means more five-star reviews, which will draw even more customers to your store.
Christine Aebischer is an editor at JustBusiness and Fundera.
Previously, Christine was an editor at the financial planning startup LearnVest and its parent company, Northwestern Mutual. There she wrote and edited on topics such as debt, budgeting, insurance, taxes, investing, and retirement. She has written for print and online on topics ranging from personal finance to luxury real estate.