Etsy is an amazing and terrible place. Amazing because you can find just about any kind of handmade or vintage item you're looking for, and terrible because you can find just about any kind of handmade or vintage item you're looking for. Before you know it, you've fallen down the Etsy rabbithole and spent the last two hours browsing custom Angora wool tea cosies.
While there's nothing wrong with a custom woollen tea cosy, there are, undoubtedly, some categories and items that sell better on Etsy than others. If you're looking to open your own Etsy store, it's always good to know what's popular and how you can tap into that market. Here are the current top trends to watch.
Top Etsy Categories and Items
Stationery and Journaling Supplies
From custom designed stickers to handmade bullet journals to stencils and washi tape packs, stationery, journals, and planners are among the top selling items on Etsy. There are a few benefits of these particular types of items.
- First of all, they're small and, for many, relatively quick to produce, making it easy to offer a wide range of items without keeping a huge inventory on hand.
- They're also easy to bundle into value packs, and are closely related, which makes add-on sales straightforward and logical for your customers.
- But one of the most important things about these types of items is that they're highly individualized. Different sellers cater to different markets, aesthetics, and personal tastes, so even though there's a lot of competition, if your artwork or products are just a bit different, you might be able to tap into a market that hasn't yet found just what they're looking for.
Another hugely strong category that, in many ways, succeeds for the same reasons as the stationery category.
- There are tons of options available, from high-end handmade wooden rings to replicas of costume jewellery for cosplay to chic and simple pieces for everyday wear. The most successful stores find their niche within the vast universe of options and get good at what they do.
- Personalisation is key. Lots of the top sellers include some kind of personalisation, whether it's stamped with your favorite sayings or customised to be just the right length. Make it easy for your customers to make it their own, and they'll know they're getting something completely unique.
In our social media, selfie-oriented culture, there's more pressure than ever to throw parties that aren't just fun, but gorgeous. So the race is on to find those Pinterest-worthy party decorations that will add the perfect touch. Once again, there are several qualities about decor items that give them a leg up over other types of handmade items.
- They can be themed. Steer clear of licensed characters unless you want to risk copyright infringement issues (which you definitely don't!), but don't be afraid to offer the same basic product (bunting, for example) in a range of colours or themes.
- Find a niche. Maybe your focus is kids' birthday parties. Maybe you're all about weddings. You don't have to do it all; you just have to be good at what you choose to do.
- Customers will keep coming back. Sure, you may not be providing cute party favors for another wedding next year, but when they hold their next anniversary party, why not come back for more? And the photo backdrop for a little girl's birthday party was so much fun, you know her brother is going to need one, too. Party decor tends to be used only once. Make a good impression and keep customers coming back.
Handmade items for children and babies are more popular than ever, and often tap into markets that mainstream manufacturers miss—like adventure-oriented clothes for girls, and boys clothes that feature their favorite cuddly creatures. Here are a few other reasons kids clothes are a top seller.
- They always need something different. Kids keep growing, and their tastes change. If you win them over, they'll keep coming back.
- Milestones are to be celebrated. Birthdays call for special occasion bowties and party dresses, and parents and grandparents aren't shy about spending a little more for these occasions.
- Quality and customisation. It's hard to find kids' clothes that hold up to all the wear and tear. Often they're worn out before they're outgrown. Handmade and made-to-order items tick all the boxes for quality and give the customers just what they're looking for.
Adapting Top Items to Suit Your Store
So now you know what the top selling items on Etsy are, but what this isn't what you make? You don't need to ditch your current business plan, or add stickers to your line of Angora tea cosies. Use this knowledge in a way that makes sense to promote the work you're already doing.
Create Accessory Items
If you're a sewist, it's probably not a good idea to add a line of bullet journaling sticker packs. But you could add a zipper pouch or pen roll designed just to hold the bullet journaler's collection of felt tip pens. Knowing what people are already looking for and offering them accessory purchases is a great way to tap into these bestsellers while still staying true to your brand.
No matter what you make, it's generally straightforward to personalise it. Let customers pick color, length, or shape. Add monogramming or initials—anything that makes each of your pieces a customer-created work of art.
Plan for Repeat Customers
The most successful items are those that are bought more than once. Kids outgrow clothes and need more. Journals are filled and need to be replaced. Work to keep your customers coming back. It's an investment that pays off.