Tobacco and salted fish are used to trade for fur and other feed grains. A block of wood is cut into a horse-like toy and sold at an artisan market. After being sown and tended to, watermelon seeds are full-fledged fruits before they can be sold at a roadside stall.
These are the inception transactions of commerce. The last 100 years have seen commerce evolve, with the greatest changes occurring with rail transport, the boom in manufacturing, and the internet. The roots of commerce have not changed much in the past 100 years.
Shopify merchants today produce handmade goods and sell them at craft shows, pop up shops and online. Ecommerce allows makers to reach more people and helps them keep their businesses running efficiently. This allows them to focus on their craft. Many of these business concepts can easily be launched at home without any upfront investment.
We’ve done deep dives into DIY business, produced case studies, and guides to help turn your passion for crafting into a career.
Maybe you aren’t sure what to make. Perhaps you are looking for something to do with your spare time and earn additional income. Maybe you aren’t crafty at all.
We have compiled a list with 14 items you can make and sell online. These are things that appeal to all skill levels, from beginners to experts, as well as those who are more hands-on. Every home-based business idea has a link to a detailed guide and a Shopify shop to help you create your own.
1. Bath bombs and soaps
Google will return pages of tutorials that can help you make soaps, bath bombs and other beauty products at your home. These tutorials range from basic recipes for bath salts to more complex formulations that require emulsions or preservatives. This business idea requires little creativity. Soaps, bath bombs and soaps can be made with commercial molds. However, branding and packaging are essential in beauty. Hiring design help is a good option.
Start here How To Make Bath Bombs
- You should keep your stock tight. Fresher bath bombs are more fun, and natural ingredients like essential oils can expire.
- To ensure that your raw ingredients are safe and beauty-grade, you should investigate their sources. Shopify merchant Salem Essentials suggests understanding basic chemistry.
- You can check with your local government to make sure that your production facility, even if it is your kitchen, meets all health standards. The FDA has guidelines in the US for ventilation, air control and surfaces.
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2. Print merchandise and T-shirts
This is a non-maker’s maker business. You can design your original idea (this is where “maker” comes into play) and have it printed on various products, including mugs, dog bandanas, tote bags and tote bags. Then, you can ship directly to your customers. This is a simple business to start and easy to sell. You can increase your handmade factor by learning screen printing and buying equipment to print your designs at-home.
- Print merch and T-shirts can be a great way to supplement your existing business. For example, gyms, musicians, or charities can sell branded merchandise to their current customers and help build their brands.
- Not a designer? You can find designers on sites such as Shopify Experts and Creative Market.
- You can use a print-and-filling app like Printful or Lulu Express. These apps integrate with Shopify and print, fulfill, ship, and ship every order.
Another business idea is jewelry. It can be simple and low-tech (beaded necklaces or woven bracelets), or skilled trades that require special equipment (such silversmithing). This is a highly saturated market so it’s important to do your research before you start designing. Is there an niche market you can sell to?
Get Started: How To Start A Jewelry Making Business
- Fashion is unpredictable. Validate your idea with tracking jewelry trends–use Google Trends and follow fashion bloggers and influencers.
- To help customers stay fit, consider adding apps such as Jewelfie.
- Photography is important, but it can also be difficult due to the reflective and large scale of jewelry. Hire a professional photographer to take great photos. Partnering with other apparel brands can help you save money on lifestyle shoots.
- This is a great idea to start a business for young entrepreneurs. Basic jewelry, such as beaded necklaces, can be made and sold by children.
4. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive curated gift and subscription boxes
For those with less craft skills but a keen eye for curation, a subscription or gift box business can be a great idea. Curated box businesses are more hands-on than print-on-demand tshirts. Although assembly can be tedious, the business offers many advantages. Subscription boxes are often packed in one box each month, and shipped in the same size container. This makes shipping easy.
Be inspired Day in the life of Sophia Pierro, Entrepreneur
- Calculate your storage needs and assembly requirements. Is your home big enough for your business?
- Your customers will be more likely to commit. Subscribers who pay upfront for subscriptions will receive a significant discount or the first month is free.
- To keep everything organized, use a subscription manager app such as Recurring orders and Subscriptions
The US candle industry is worth $2.3 billion. There are many niches within it: religious, birthdays, eco and naturals, novelty, beeswax and novelty. There are many DIY tutorials available for beginners in candle making, and the basic melt-and-pour methods require very little craft skill. It’s also one of the easiest craft to make and sell.
- Safety labelling and insurance are essential. Because of the inherent dangers of using candles, as well as the potential for injury and fire damage, you need to ensure that your business is protected from any civil lawsuits.
- To stand out in a competitive market, tap into a niche. Frostbeard Studio is a book lover’s dream with its cleverly named candle fragrances and written copy containing literary references.
- Branding and packaging are important. While candles are similar in terms of their ingredients, they can be distinguished by beautiful packaging or strong branding.
You can make candy, cookies, cakes, breads, chocolates, jams, and other baked goods. You can make endless products from sugar by dissolving it. This is a category with unique complications–legalities, labelling, and shelf life–but also with lots of room to get creative. Niche Market includes holidays and occasions, custom and novelty, catering, dog treats and gift baskets. When considering food-business ideas, make sure you investigate whether your product can be sold online. Do shipping costs increase due to fragility or refrigeration?
- Track the supply chain. Select your raw ingredient suppliers carefully to make sure that the label you put on is accurate.
- To ensure that your labelling is compliant with local regulations regarding nutritional content, ingredients and allergy warnings, consult a lawyer.
- Rotate your inventory, and emphasize the importance to all who handle it.
7. Prints and art
Forget about the tale of the starving artist. There has never been a better moment to create and sell the art that you desire (without having to sell out). You can reach far-reaching markets and sell internationally, regardless of whether you are selling reproduction prints or fine art.
Start: How To Sell Art Online
- Shopify-powered SpokeArt is a gallery that can help you show your work and build an audience for an online store.
- Photograph your work professionally or scan it in sections on a flatbed scanner and then stitch the images together in Photoshop.
- You might consider reproducing your artwork in multiple formats. Prints, cards, mugs and t-shirts are all options. You can either do it yourself or license your work for other ecommerce brands.
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