24 Best Things to Sell on Etsy to Make Money in 2021

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If you’ve ever wondered what the top things to sell on Etsy are and how to dramatically increase your sales, this is the guide for you.

In this post, I deep dive into the best things to sell on Etsy to make money as well as how you can quickly increase sales and start generating profit within weeks.

To do this, we’ll take a look at Etsy’s most in demand categories and best 24 hot-selling items in 2021. These aren’t ‘trends’ but rather ‘staples’ that will continue to sell no matter the time of year or season!

HOW I MAKE $800 A MONTH ON ETSY WITH JUST 4 HOURS

I’ve used these tips, tricks and guidance to turn my very own Etsy shop into a small side hustle.

Juggling travelling, ticking off things on my MEGA bucket lists, combined with running an online business, I only have around 1 hour a week to devote to Etsy. With just 4 hours a month, I make on average $800.

I absolutely know I could make more if I dedicated more time to my product line, but I’m treating it as more of a slow build, kind of like a nice, creative hobby. That’s the beauty of Etsy – your income isn’t capped!

First things first, what is Etsy exactly and what do successful shop owners know that others don’t?

WHAT IS ETSY REALLY? + WHAT EVERY SHOP OWNER NEEDS TO KNOW

Etsy is an online global marketplace where you can sell your items. BUT, it’s not like Ebay or Amazon or Shopify or pretty much any other platform out there.

Etsy is the go-to marketplace for unique, custom, vintage and craft goods.

Etsy further states this on their about page ‘In a time of increasing automation, it’s our mission to keep human connection at the heart of commerce…our platform connects millions of buyers searching for an alternative, something special with a human touch.’

Knowing that Etsy is king for UNIQUE items, means run of the mill items customers could find in a high street store, probably aren’t going to cut it.

Or at least, aren’t going to generate you a couple thousand dollars in sales. My bestseller is a personalizable children’s toy!

HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY BUY FROM ETSY?

As of 2019, Etsy had 80 million active users (potential buyers) worldwide. A further 61 million users joined just in 2020 alone, meaning there are well over 140 million people using Etsy! This is absolutely the time to get your products in front of a LOT of people.

24 BEST THINGS TO SELL ON ETSY TO MAKE MONEY in 2021

1. STICKERS

Stickers have generated a huge buzz on Etsy. They remain one of the best-selling items on Etsy, and it’s easy to see why: the options for customisation and style are endless.

The best news? People often buy stickers in large quantities. With some simple graphic design skills and a sticker printer, you can easily create batches of stickers fairly quickly. Demand for digital stickers are also on the rise, which is perfect if you don’t want to physically ship any items.

Example successful shops in this category:

  • PlannerKate1 (more than 500,000 sales on Etsy, top 10 shop)
  • VinylDisorder
  • PrettySweetParty

2. SELF CARE GIFT HAMPERS

If last year taught us anything it’s that we need to look after ourselves a little more, and Etsy shoppers thought so too.

A whopping 200,000 care hampers, ranging from tea hampers, pamper boxes and positivity packages were sold on Etsy during November and December 2020 alone! That trend is only set to continue as people adopt self care into their everyday routine.

3. READY MADE CRAFT KITS

Cater for the beginner market with ready made craft kits, perfect for kids, amateur DIYers and gifting season.

Think sock puppets, knitted unicorn creatures and even craft kits for simple wall art. DIY resin and clay making kits for couple date nights have also remained bestsellers for well over 4 years.

Your packaging and photos are extremely important when selling kits as people want to clearly see what they’re getting for their money. 

Example successful shops in this category:

  • The Gift Page
  • SockCreaturesUK

Related: Woodworking Projects That Sell: 19 Most Profitable Ideas

4. FOOD HAMPERS OR LETTERBOXES

Part of self care might involve a tasty treat every once in a while. Chocolate hampers, vintage sweets and baked goods boxes have remained firm bestsellers for the past few years.

food hamper gift sets that sell well on etsy

If you’ve got an eye for curation rather than creation, this could be the perfect etsy shop idea for you.

5. RAW CRAFT SUPPLIES

Crafts and supplies is the top selling category on Etsy. Etsy is famous for providing crafters and amateur DIYers with raw materials such as wooden beads, gems and even feathers.

Crafters, both on and off Etsy, are always on the lookout for new and novel supplies. For this reason, wholesalers do very well on Etsy.

Example successful shops in this category:

  • NicoledeBruin
  • BeadBoat1
  • YadanaBeads

You Might Also Like: 18 Easy Things to Make and Sell Online For Extra Money

6. JOURNALS & NOTEBOOKS

It’s no surprise journals and notebooks are on this list, Etsy was built upon the idea of unique and beautiful handmade creations.

Notebooks have a customer base of their own, with buyers feeling compelled to buy the item because of its uniqueness, ability to customize and even personalization.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve bought a notebook for every new project I’ve taken on. If you target organization and stationery lovers like me, then you’ll likely develop a solid repeat customer base!

Digital notebooks are also on the rise!

Example successful shops in this category:

  • PlannerKate1

7. JEWELLERY

Jewellery will always be a hit on Etsy, especially around peak gifting times such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.

According to Credit Donkey’s recent survey, over 49% of women want jewellery to be their main present at Christmas.

That’s a lot of potential buyers, and gives you, the seller, lots of niches to choose from. Small and dainty, or large and showy?

Not to mention, the men’s jewellery market. With Etsy shoppers being overwhelmingly female (81%), it’s no surprise men’s jewellery also falls into this best-selling category during peak seasons.

Some of the top selling items on Etsy in this category include:

  • Bracelets
  • Silver Pendants
  • Crystal Jewellery
  • Adjustable Rings

Example successful shops in this category:

  • SERENITYProject
  • FlashyStudioNYC
  • SilverRainSilver
  • SilkPurseSowsEar

8. WALL DECALS

Wall decals and vinyl stickers are one of the hottest trends in the interior design space right now. They’ve been popular for the last few years, but their uniqueness and ability to turn a drab wall into a work of art is what makes budget-savvy customers coming back.

These items can retail for anywhere between $5-$70 a set, depending on the size required, which is much cheaper than a full room refit, renovation or repainting.

9. WEDDING ITEMS & ACCESSORIES

The key to best selling wedding items and accessories? Personzaliation.

There’s a key trend running throughout the bestsellers in Etsy’s wedding category, and that’s sellers offering buyers the opportunity to personalize pretty much every inch of their item, which makes sense given how important wedding days are for most couples.

Don’t forget about the pre-wedding celebrations either, the average couple spends at least $579 each on their bachelorette and bachelor parties according to Wedding Wire.

Capitalize on these special moments by offering personalization as an added service.

Some of the top selling items on Etsy in this category include:

  • Wedding Invitations
  • Wedding Decorations
  • Wedding Gifts
  • Bachelorette/Bachelor Party Favors

Example successful shops in this category:

  • OurFriendsEclectic
  • MaisyandAlice
  • InspiredbyAlma

10. PLANTS

You’d be surprised just how many people buy plants off Etsy. If you love to propagate plants and nurse them to good health, you could quickly turn your passion into money making hobby.

Generally, the more rare and usual the plant, the higher price you can command. Although, I’ve seen lots of common houseplants quickly become bestsellers!

Terrarium starter kits also are a good seller with more people in urban environments looking for something manageable in a small apartment.

11. BABY ACCESSORIES

Everything from baby headbands to baby’s first birthday clay decorations to personalized milestone mats sell extremely well on Etsy.

Parents are always on the lookout for new and novel ways to keep their baby entertained or even safe around the home.

Baby teething rings are also a hit with buyers.

One common thing amongst the top sellers in the baby category? Their packaging is perfect, bright and lends to gifting well. 

Some of the top selling items on Etsy in this category include:

  • Headbands and Clothing
  • Personalized Toys
  • Milestone Mats 
  • Adjustable Baby Furniture

Example successful shops in this category:

  • MrCraftHandmade
  • MagicDoorAdventure
  • EllaBellaBoutiqueOK

12. PAPER & PARTY SUPPLIES

Editable party invitations, novel party gifts (think funny mugs, signs, banners) and party decorations all sell well on Etsy.

Again, the key here is, if it can be found in a regular high street store, it doesn’t seem to sell that well.

Of course, there are exceptions, like the general multi-color banner in this listing, but take the other two examples. They’re visually stunning, tailored to their market audience and even offer personalization. 

Important point: In case you’re wondering why I haven’t talked about the Harry Potter balloons – that’s because they shouldn’t technically be sold.

The Harry Potter franchise is heavily trademarked and copyrighted, as with most well known brands, and adding these kinds of items to your store could eventually result in a copyright claim and a shop termination by Etsy (3 strikes and you’re out!). Best to stay away from household names like this.

Some of the top selling items on Etsy in this category include:

  • Party Invitations
  • Party Gifts (all occasions)
  • Party Decorations

Example successful shops in this category:

  • TarasWonderworld
  • Hooraydays
  • PartySparkle

13. MUGS

Hobby or interest based mugs can quickly top bestseller charts on Etsy.

If you are quick at coming up with funny phrases, inspirational quotes or love designing simple, but cute personalised mugs, you could be onto a winner.

14. CLOTHING

Clothing is a tricky category on Etsy. There are lots of sellers trying to sell ‘regular’ clothes you could find in a high street store or in a thrift store, but they’re not selling that well.

The key with clothing is to design something shoppers can’t find anywhere else; think novelty clothing, personalized shirts, popular quotes, hobby based.

If you do a quick search on Etsy you’ll quickly spot a trend amongst the best-sellers: they’re most likely something you’ve never seen before.

Some of the top selling items on Etsy in this category include:

  • Novelty Clothing
  • Personalized Clothing
  • Not on the ‘high street’ finds

Example successful shops in this category:

  • PetPartyCo
  • ThreadAlive
  • UnexpectedStyle

15. VINTAGE ITEMS

Vintage is a hot seller on Etsy, with real vintage items often commanding a high ticket price.

However, one key thing to note here is that vintage ‘style’ items also do incredibly well, and often gain Etsy’s coveted bestselling tag. Why? Not everyone can afford the price tag that comes with genuine vintage products.

If you can create something that mimics a vintage find, but with the price of something modern, you could be onto a real winner.

Some of the top selling items on Etsy in this category include:

  • Antique Charms
  • Vintage ‘style’ Posters
  • Art Deco Jewellery
  • Vintage ‘looking’ Items

Example successful shops in this category:

  • VintageJournalCo
  • CultureCross
  • TheMetalFoundry

16. NATURAL COSMETICS

With more people looking into all those hard to pronounce ingredients on the back of cosmetic bottles, it’s no wonder the natural cosmetics industry is booming.

Natural lip balms, make-up and even natural deodorant are bestsellers on Etsy, and with the world waking up to plastics and pollution, this can only grow as the years go by.

17. CANDLES

Candles, candles and more candles. Okay so you’re definitely not doomed to selling just candles, but it’s a seriously blazing business on Etsy.

Bestsellers in this category take up the entire of page one and most of page two in the search listings which is rare. This means there are a lot of people wanting to buy candles, and the good news? They can quickly turn into repeat buyers.

Over 81% of Etsy customers say they have bought more than once from a shop in the past 6 months.

Tap into niche markets to stand out from the crowd: kids, interest based, hypoallergenic, glitter, essential oils etc.

Example successful shops in this category:

  • AURAMORE
  • KindredFires
  • TheCoastalCushionCo

18. ART & WALL PRINTS

When it comes to selling art and collectibles on Etsy, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions:

  • Has my item been created on Etsy before?
  • How can I add my own unique twist to it?
  • Can I tie this in with a hobby or interest?
  • Can I make it novel and appeal to a market looking for quirky arts and prints?

Just a quick look at the bestsellers below shows that anything related to someone’s interest (i.e. coffee or witchcraft) can quickly become a bestseller.

A good friend of mine, Kitty Strand sells the most amazing wall prints, with a heavy focus on mental health and disability. You should check her out as an example of what works on Etsy!

Make sure to offer a selection of common sized prints so you’re catering to a broader market.

Some of the top selling items on Etsy in this category include:

  • Quote Wall Prints
  • Interest Based Art/Prints
  • Movie Posters

Example successful shops in this category:

  • DorindaArt
  • CosyPrints
  • Greyfoxdesignsuk

19. PET ACCESSORIES & TREATS

Over 470 million pets live in our homes worldwide, with dogs being the most common. It probably comes at no surprise then that the pet care industry is worth a staggering $125 billion annually, with that figure set to grow year on year.

On Etsy some of the top items in this category include personalizable food dishes, paw and nose balms, personalized blankets, amongst unusual pet treats, pet stocking fillers for Christmas and gift hampers.

20. SEASONAL GIFTS

Holiday occasions such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and Halloween see a huge surge in sales, with shoppers hoping to snag a good deal on something different and quirky.

bestselling seasonal gifts on etsy

There are so many products you could offer – even normal products with a seasonal twist e.g. an Easter themed candle! You can mix seasonal products in the rest of your shop so that you have sales all year round.

21. BATH BOMBS

I know you’ve probably seen this one before, but there’s a good reason for it. People can’t get enough of bath bombs – after all, Lush built a multi-million dollar brand of them, as did these teen sisters.

To nudge out some of the competition, target a smaller, but more loyal niche e.g. hypoallergenic bath bombs for people with sensitive skin. If you can make them eco-friendly and skin-friendly, you’re onto a real winner.

22. CHILDREN’S TOYS AND BOOKS

With more parents and grandparents recognising the value of hands-on learning, Etsy has become a go-to hub for children’s books and toys.

Not only are the toys unique, but they’re also good value. Items that sell extremely well include: wooden puzzles, stem sets, playdough kits as well as personalized plushies and books.

23. ENAMEL PINS

Searches for enamel pins have exploded and continue to grow year on year, with people collecting them to mark hobbies, interests and special occasions.

These tiny pins are highly customizable, can feature anything you can imagine and sell for anywhere between $8-$15, though some can retail for a lot more. Check out this handy guide on how to create enamel pins to start a small business.

24. GREETING CARDS

Whether you choose funny and witty or go for the cute and adorable factor, there’s no doubt about it – greeting cards are hot sellers on Etsy, and always will be.

People love Etsy in particular because they know they will find something they can’t get in the high street shops, and more often than not can personalize their card. Bonus, cards are super lightweight and have very low shipping costs.

BESTSELLING CATEGORIES ON ETSY BASED ON SALES VOLUME

Wondering what products sell well on Etsy that you can make as a beginner? Based on E-Rank data, a platform dedicated to spotting Etsy trends, as well as Etsy’s own best selling trends, the best-selling products on Etsy tend to fall into a few main, but crucial categories.

  1. Crafts and Supplies
  2. Handmade Items
  3. Jewellery
  4. Home and Living
  5. Baby
  6. Wedding
  7. Paper and Party
  8. Clothing
  9. Vintage
  10. Art and Wall Prints

PERSONALIZED ITEMS ARE HOT SELLERS

On Etsy, the ability to personalize and customize the item is king in the eyes of the customer.

Not to mention, personalization naturally commands a higher price which customers expect to pay.

80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences, with 44% of them saying they will likely become repeat buyers.

If you can offer personalization via a label, custom engraving or even just a thank you note, you will likely see more sales.

IS ETSY REALLY THE BEST PLACE TO SELL?

Lots of potential sellers wonder, is it worth selling on Etsy? Etsy is a good start for any creator looking to get a jump start on their DIY craft or handmade item business.

Etsy is an easy to use platform with a super engaged existing customer base which you can just tap into by making sure your listings, marketing and SEO are on point.

When you’re a new seller learning the ropes, the last thing you want to do is spend monthly fees on a platform like Shopify only to struggle to drive traffic and sell anything.

You could test your idea on Etsy first before moving to a self hosted website.

ARE THERE ANY REAL ETSY SUCCESS STORIES?

Absolutely! According to Jennie Smith, Etsy’s former seller growth manager, around 26% of sellers run their Etsy shops as full-time businesses. That’s a really healthy figure!

Some notable success stories to take a look at:

  1. Maeven Vintage – the seller was able to scale their Etsy shop to a US recognised brand, and even started hosting pop-up stores in New York. 
  2. Three Bird Nest – often referred to as Etsy’s richest seller, made news headlines when her shop generated over $70,000 a month in revenue. 
  3. Bohemian Findings – a shop that sold ‘raw’ craft materials rather than a finished product, was used to seeing up to 500 orders a day. 

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN YOU MAKE FROM ETSY?

As much as you like, which is what makes starting your own business truly amazing!

There are people banking over $30,000 a month from Etsy and then there are people making a small side hustle income like me.

The average person on Etsy makes anywhere between $100-500 profit a month

Your income earning potential depends on the demand for your products, how quick you can make them, your marketing efforts as well as your average profit margins (and how much time you want to dedicate to the business!)

WHAT PERCENTAGE DOES ETSY TAKE (+ OTHER FEES TO NOTE)

In terms of ‘what does it cost to sell on Etsy?’, Etsy doesn’t charge any monthly fees but rather individual listing fees, which you pay only when you’ve made a sale (except the first upload listing fees).

I’ve broken down the main fees you will have to pay as a handmade business owner.

TRANSACTION FEE

Etsy takes a 5% cut of the total item cost (plus shipping and gift wrap) in your listing currency. 

SHIPPING TRANSACTION FEE

For physical items that need to be shipped, Etsy may also take a 5% cut of the listed shipping costs for an item. Note, this is 5% of the shipping cost, not overall item cost.

NEW LISTING FEE

When you first upload your item, Etsy will charge you a $0.20 listing fee. This fee allows your item to stay on Etsy for 4 months.

If you wish to keep your item on Etsy after that period, you will need to pay an additional $0.20 listing fee per item on your shop.

AUTO-RENEW LISTING FEE

Everytime you sell an item, Etsy will also take a $0.20 auto-renew listing fee, which is different to the general listing fee you pay for a new item.

VAT ON PROCESSING FEE + OTHER VAT TAXES

Etsy does have a ‘VAT on processing fee’ which again varies depending on the cost of your item and the ‘cut’ Etsy takes. They use a slightly complicated percentage of a percentage method.

This is what Etsy states on its beginner guide to Etsy fees, ‘This rate and percent vary by country. The fees are taken from the item’s total sale price, including its shipping fees, and any applicable sales tax.’

However, you might also notice your items are more expensive than the price you set. This is often due to various taxes inflating the cost of your product. 

VAT varies based on where you’re located in the world as well as where your shopper is buying from. 

If you have an item that can be bought by people in the UK, they will see VAT pre-added to your item cost. Etsy automatically calculates this and collects it for you. This fee will not come out of your profit, but rather the customer pays it. 

PAYPAL FEES

If your customer decides to pay with Paypal, Paypal as a payment processor, will take an additional 3% + $0.25 payment process fees on each sale.

DO YOU HAVE TO PAY TAXES ON WHAT YOU SELL ON ETSY?

Yes! All Etsy sellers have to pay income taxes on their Etsy sales which means it must be declared to your national government when you start earning a profit.

The threshold for paying income tax will depend on your country’s laws.

It’s worth noting, Etsy further states in its seller handbook, ‘this is considered “self-employment income”.

For more help on figuring out what you should be paying in taxes, check out Etsy’s seller handbook.

HOW DO BEGINNERS SELL SUCCESSFULLY ON ETSY?

I often receive messages asking ‘How do I increase sales on Etsy or even get my first sale?’. Selling well on Etsy comes down to four main things:

  1. PICKING A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT

A successful jewellery store owner on Etsy (who has asked to remain anonymous) told me she first started off making a certain kind of jewellery that didn’t sell well.

She then switched her product to bohemian style jewellery and within months she started making 1,000+ orders per week.

The foundation of any successful Etsy shop starts with a successful product. I go into much more detail on how to pick a winning product in my post 18 easy things to make and sell online

  1. BATCH CREATION

If you started to get lots of orders, could you make and ship them before the customer became frustrated?

Choose an item that can be made in batches, or at the very least, clearly state that your item is made to order, and so takes X amount of days or weeks to prepare.

  1. ETSY SEO + IMAGERY

Etsy SEO involves making sure your titles, tags, product description and imagery are all relevant and up to date.

Your photography will either make a person purchase or send them back to the search listings.

It’s worth investing in some decent lights and a good quality camera (nothing fancy) to make your items pop on screen.

  1. MARKETING

Wondering how to promote your Etsy store and gain customers quickly after set-up? Pinterest is your secret weapon.

Pinners don’t just browse endless pictures of home decor and travel destinations; in fact 58% of pinners use Pinterest to influence their buying and shopping decisions.

Bonus, this data by Sprout Social further shows that pinners buy what they’re passionate about. 

  • 70% use Pinterest to find accessories, watches and jewellery.
  • 52% of Pinterest users spent $500 or more on beauty products within six months.
  • A further 52% use Pinterest to check out and try the latest types of food and drinks.

What does this mean for you as an Etsy seller? You need to get your shop’s items pinned on Pinterest! It’s a quick and easy way to start generating profit early in the game.

PROS AND CONS OF SELLING ON ETSY

Before you jump right in to creating your own Etsy store, you should be prepared for both the pros and cons of selling on Etsy.

As with any business, there are pluses and minuses.

PROS

  • It’s an established platform with a ton of traffic
  • Buyers already trust Etsy, and understand they’re protected if something goes wrong (= massive hurdle for most independent sellers)
  • There are no monthly fees
  • It’s super simple to set-up your shop, unlike other platforms
  • Etsy only takes fees when you make a sale (except new listing fees of $0.20)

CONS

  • You’re competing with every other seller in your niche 
  • Etsy recommends other sellers products right underneath yours
  • Etsy’s fees may be too high for some creators
  • There will always be copycats who duplicate your entire listing (this can happen on any platform)
  • Etsy has full control over your store
  • Limited branding and customization options

HOW TO BECOME AN ETSY SELLER

To get started, it’s as easy as heading to Etsy and opening a shop. If you already have a personal Etsy account, you can open a shop within the same account by finding the shop manager icon at the top of your page, or by creating a shop page separately. Check out this post written by the Etsy team for a quick shop set-up.

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