If you are good at making crafts or other handmade products, you should consider selling on Etsy as a potential side hustle. You can easily start in your spare time and possibly build up a store that becomes a full time operation – if you can come up with unique ideas for things to sell.
Perhaps you are already selling handmade crafts locally or elsewhere online. If true, you’ll have a head start. But at a certain point you may need to do some brainstorming to keep your shop competitive and stay in business.
You may be in another category – and have never made crafts in your life let alone make and sell them.
How do you go about finding ideas for products to sell on Etsy? Where do you begin?
The answer is right in front of you. Simply spy on other Etsy sellers to see what’s hot!
How do you spy on other Etsy sellers? Keep reading and in this article I’ll show you the ropes.
Step 1: Brainstorm Products You are Interested In
Everyone has different interests, but one important step is to narrow your list down to areas you are most passionate about. A manly man that is into wood carving may not want to sell wedding decorations. A lady-like lady might not be interested in selling men themed gifts such as fishing lures.
So the first step you should take is get out a pen and paper or start a document on your computer and start brainstorming ideas.
I recommend that you buy a dedicated notebook that you can bring with you anywhere you go. Add new ideas whenever they pop in your head. Take your notebook to a coffee shop or on a lunch break. Or, you could keep a digital document in the cloud using a free service such as Google Docs.
Start with things that you are personally passionate about. What have you bought in the past? What would you like to buy in the future?
Here’s a sample list to give you as an example:
Computer mouse pads
Cell phone cases
Make a list off the top of your head. More than likely you’ll be more passionate about interests that do not require research. Your list will keep growing as the days, weeks and months go by. Ultimately it will be considered your Etsy product idea database to refer to.
Don’t wait for the perfect idea as there is no such thing. For your first product, come up with a page or two full of ideas until you feel like you have at least a few that excite you. Now, move to the next phase…
Step 2: Decide on Your Top 10 Favorite Ideas
Once you have built a list of around 50-100 rough ideas, it’s time to refine that list down to your top ten favorites. Go through this list and pick your first round of favorites.
As an example, if your main list had 50 ideas to begin with, hopefully now you have whittled it down to 25. Now, take this new list and go through the same process again. Pick your favorites out of the new list. Keep doing this until you have no more than ten to choose from.
Step 3: Decide on your #1 Favorite Etsy Product Idea
Now all you have to do is look through your list of finalists and simply choose your favorite one. Which one are you most excited about? Is there one that is motivating you to take action on more than others? Select the one that energizes you the most. It will likely be one you won’t want to procrastinate on and will want to begin to work on immediately.
Step 4: Research Your #1 Favorite Idea
It’s important to note that at this point you still don’t need to have a specific product idea. As long as you have a somewhat specific category that is good. When you get your specific product category you can then begin the fun of spying on other Etsy shops to see what is currently hot.
Random examples of favorite ideas include:
Cosplay Costume Props
Get the picture? Now, let’s start spying!
Step 5: Spy on Etsy Shops and Products
To save as much time, money and frustration as possible, you may want to initially focus on products that have already proven themselves in the marketplace. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Modify a known success.
Important Note: Be sure not to directly copy others and try to add your own unique, creative twist on anything you do find that is selling. There’s nothing more annoying than people that steal ideas directly. When you find a hot selling product try to avoid the temptation of cloning them. Instead, take note of it and brainstorm ideas for a similar product with a slightly different design or something that makes yours unique.
For example, doing a random search I see that mini wedding soap favors are popular by many different shops. Most appear to be rectangular shaped. Make yours round or heart shaped. Add a real pressed flower to the outside packaging. Offer a unique scent not available elsewhere.
How to Find an Etsy Store’s Top Selling Products – Ok, now the moment you’ve been waiting for. This is the most important tip the article has been leading up to, so you can now pay attention. 😁
1 – Do a Random Search or Browse
The easiest way to illustrate how to spy on a shop is to simply go to Etsy and do a random search or browse for a product. Look for a product result that has many reviews – preferably hundreds or more. I’m going to now search for the word “frog” to see what I can find.
After searching for “frog” I see one shop selling frog stickers with over a thousand reviews.
2 – Find the Store Name on the Product Page
The next step is to click on that product to see the page for it. On any product page you can find photos, product description, title, etc. What you are looking for is the name of the shop which should be a little down the page on the top right.
Next to the store will be stars and a number indicating how many reviews that shop has had. Click the link going to the store page. The URL will look something like etsy.com/shop/storename
3 – Find the number of sales on the Etsy store page
The number of sales should be to the right of the geographical location of the store underneath the name. It appears that some stores have it enabled that you can click through to see sales stats and other stores may have this disabled.
If they have it disabled, you should still be able to see recent sales stats on their store page. If they have it enabled, simply click the link of the number of sales and it will show you what has recently sold, how many and also… how many have a certain item in their cart!
After I clicked on the frog sticker store I found ideas for products I may not have previously considered. These examples had several customers with the product currently in their shopping cart:
Gecko Lover Stickers
Python Snake Stickers
Bearded Dragon Stickers
The best selling designs are very creative but the common theme of this particular store is people that own specific pets seem to want to buy stickers (perhaps for their laptops) to signal to the world they are snake lovers or whatever.
With this example you can quickly get an idea of the trend and hopefully come up with your own unique design that this same audience might like to buy. Stickers are only selling for $2 or $3 each, so perhaps you might want to sell t-shirts targeting the same audience?
Step 6: Refine and Create Specific Product Ideas
Once you try this trick out a couple of times you will quickly get the hang of it. In a nutshell you simply find stores on Etsy and look at their recent sales and pay special attention to the ones that other customers have in their shopping cart. Do this a few times you’ll become an expert researcher in no time.
Now the final step is to start a separate computer/cloud document or use a different section of your product idea notebook and begin writing down specific ideas you see. Also write down specific ideas you come up with that are spin-offs of what you have found. Just like you did before, keep building up this list of ideas and eventually you’ll have a large bank of product ideas to refer to whenever you need a new side hustle!
If you have the spare time, I recommend that you make a habit out of doing this even if have already found your calling. You never know when one idea might lead to another or be useful in an areas you are already working on. If you make a daily habit out of finding ideas on Etsy, eventually you’ll have a huge idea bank at your disposal which will give you a sense of security and will help eliminate the anxiety that you might get if you rely only on one idea.
Step 7: Take Action!
All of the above steps are useless if you don’t take action. You can spend months or years wasting time and get addicted to the planning phase if you’re not careful. Don’t fall into this trap. Set a deadline if necessary, pick one of your ideas and run with it. If your first idea fails, try polishing it up a bit or move to the next one. Wash, rinse & repeat. It’s that simple.
I hope this article has made it easier for you to figure out what to sell on Etsy if you are lost in that department. Oh, one more trick before I go. You can also read the recent reviews a shop has received to see what is selling. Also, you can get a general idea of broad categories that are doing well simply by finding stores that have a lot of sales/reviews. There are settings that allow store owners to hide certain sales stats, but they cannot hide sales numbers on their home page. If you search for a category and stores have very little activity, you may want to consider another idea.
If you need help or have other questions related to this subject, feel free to contact us and will do our best to help and update this post accordingly. Good luck!