As working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic became the norm, many people in the homes evaluated their spaces, noticing things they had never noticed before.
Creativity blossomed, as many thought of ways to upgrade these spaces or to make them more personal. Many who were thrust out of work found ways to occupy time by rediscovering old hobbies such as woodworking and jewelry making, creating masterpieces that left friends saying, “You really should sell those!”
Why Etsy Skyrocketed
Enter Etsy. The e-commerce site connects creative crafters and sellers with buyers looking for unique products that bring a personal touch, and it took off in 2020. While Etsy was founded in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2005, word about Etsy spread as friends told each other it was the best place to buy face masks, which hadn’t yet hit the global marketplace. Crafters sold masks upon masks in the early days of the pandemic, and buyers who got their introduction to Etsy that way returned throughout the year after seeing all the available merchandise.
In fact, Etsy’s gross merchandise sales grew by 106.7% in 2020 to $10.3 billion, up from $4.98 billion in 2019. The number of buyers increased by 76.7% to 81.9 million, with sellers rising by 61.7% to 4.4 million.
And even though the mask rush is over — 4% of Etsy’s gross merchandise sales in 2020 were from masks — Etsy continues to thrive. It isn’t too late for artists, hobbyists, retailers and collectors to sell their goods on the site.
But what are the best things to sell on Etsy? Read on for a look at some of the best-selling items on Etsy, as well as what it takes to sell on the site and earn top dollar.
10 Top Items To Sell On Etsy
Etsy has about 100 million items for sale for consumers to choose from. What are some of these best-selling items?
Masks were the must-have accessory of 2020, but it’s time to take a peek at the bigger selection of accessories. Choose from hats and purses, hair barrettes and bows, ties and personalized cufflinks for every occasion and every outfit – and more. After 2020, people are ready to spoil themselves.
2. Art and Collectibles
A search for “art” on Etsy returns more than 20 million items to browse, meaning there really is no limit to what you can find. From original paintings to prints of classics, from custom neon to clip art for kids’ projects, Etsy has it.
Collectibles also are popular on Etsy, including memorabilia, figurines, old advertisements, and stamps and coins. It isn’t everywhere you can shop for original movie posters and Precious Moments figurines at the same time.
3. Craft Supplies
It isn’t just the finished product that winds up on Etsy. Craft supplies are some of the best-selling items on the site and include yarn along with patterns for knitting and crocheting. Jewelry makers will find kits, beads, charms, hooks, claws and other necessary tools. Etsy sellers also offer clothing patterns, embroidery kits and supplies for about any project.
4. Digital Artwork and Printable Items
This is just what the category title implies – items that are sold digitally for the buyer to download and print. Artists can sell their works this way for use as wall art or even greeting cards; it all depends on how large the image will print. Other printable items include planner pages and stationary, and the buyer controls how many copies to make. The best part? No shipping costs for the buyer and no trips to the post office for the seller.
5. Home Goods
If you’re redecorating and no longer want your art deco wall art or your sunburst mirror, chances are someone will. Etsy is a landing spot for new, used and handmade furniture, as well as dishware and other kitchen items, custom wreaths for the front door, indoor and outdoor décor, and things to help make a garden grow. Sellers who can provide a personalized touch, such as adding a family name to a wall hanging or doormat, have an audience that wants to update their home or buy a gift for a wedding or other occasion.
Shoppers turn to Etsy for new and used jewelry, from diamond engagement rings to wedding bands to one-of-a-kind pieces, whether quirky, glamorous or for everyday wear. There’s jewelry for every neck, finger, wrist and toe. Etsy jewelry shops are among the most successful on the site.
Remember going to the doctor as a kid and the excitement of getting to select a sticker on your way out for being good? Stickers are still popular – among a variety of ages – and they’re best sellers on Etsy. Why? Because they aren’t expensive, they don’t take up much space and because they, simply, make people happy.
Lots to choose from here: personalized toys, wood toys, sensory toys, climbing toys, traditional toys and educational toys. And even toys for adults, such as stress-relieving fidget toys. Etsy has a collection of unique fun things for kids of all ages.
9. Vintage Items
What’s old is new again, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Whatever adage you choose, vintage items are among the best-selling items on Etsy. That includes apparel and accessories, jewelry, toys and even buttons and butter dishes.
10. Wedding Invitations, Décor and Clothing
There’s nothing more personal than a wedding, from invitations to table favors to place cards and even the bigger-ticket items such as wedding dresses and veils. When it comes to the paper products, such as invitations, many are sold in a downloadable template form, allowing brides and grooms to customize them with their choice of paper or card stock. Graphic artists can sell the same template or change the colors to give the design a whole new look.
The items extend to the bridal party, with bridesmaid gowns, wedding vests and bow ties available, along with T-shirts and favors for the bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Getting Top Dollar on Etsy
While Etsy is one giant e-commerce site, it actually is a collection of small businesses called “shops.” Once you decide to sell on Etsy, it isn’t hard to get started, but it does require you to do your homework before hitting the marketplace. Being prepared before you start will help you to maximize your potential as a seller.
Build Your Inventory
Before opening your shop, spent time on the Etsy website to look at what competitors in your genre are offering. How can you make your items different from the other sellers? What makes you stand out in a crowd?
Once you’ve determined what to sell, it’s time to build your starting inventory and take pictures of your items. The Etsy Sellers Handbook, available on the company website, is filled with tips about how to best photograph your merchandise. Photos, according to the handbook, should grab the attention of shoppers, display the product clearly and show details such as color, materials and size.
Set Your Pricing
Selling on Etsy is easier than setting up your own website to sell your merchandise. You have a built-in audience of millions of buyers, but know there is a fee to work with Etsy. The company doesn’t charge any user or monthly fees, but there are three costs:
- Sellers pay a listing fee of 20 cents per item. The listing will stay online for four months.
- Etsy charges a 5% fee per transaction once the item sells.
- There is a payment processing fee that equals 3% of the sale, plus 25 cents. Those are the equivalent of credit-card processing fees, which are completed on a secure platform.
So it’s important to set prices that pay you for your time, materials and costs, as well as the taxes you’ll owe on your profits. By opening your Etsy shop, you’re moving from hobbyist to pro, and you should be paid like one.
According to the Etsy Sellers Handbook, most Etsy shoppers aren’t looking to pay bottom dollar when they visit the site. Instead, they are looking for just the right product and are willing to pay for it.
Name Your Shop
The name of your shop — which is limited to just 20 characters — should reflect you or your merchandise, evoke a feeling among buyers or be something unique that will set your shop apart, according to the Sellers Handbook. It should be broad enough to allow your shop to evolve and narrow enough to keep the focus on what you sell.
For example, if you only make bracelets now, you probably shouldn’t choose “Only Bracelets” for your shop name. What if you decide to add necklaces to your offerings down the road? The more focused the name on your merchandise, the easier it will be for shoppers to find your shop and start filling their carts.
As you choose a name, come up with a few in case the one you prefer already is taken. And be comfortable with it. To help your shop grow, you’ll probably want to add social media pages to advertise it. Make sure it’s something you would like to be printed on business cards, too. Put simply, if your shop is successful, that name will be with you for years to come.