Most Profitable Crafts
This post may contain an affiliate link, which means I will receive a commission if you buy through my link, at no additional cost to you. Please read the full disclosure here.
While no magic product is guaranteed to be profitable, there are categories and industries that tend to be more profitable than others.
There are also ways to make your craft / craft business more profitable, no matter what you’re selling.
So, let’s jump straight to the answer and dive into a little more detail in this article …
WHAT ARE THE MOST BENEFICIAL CRAFTS BY CATEGORY?
Profitable craft categories are those that tend to have lower production costs. Materials to make products in certain categories do not cost a lot and do not take long to make. Because their costs are * usually * lower, the following craft categories tend to have higher profit margins:
- BATH SOAP
What are the most profitable crafts by the industry?
Crafts intended for the following industries / interests tend to be profitable because there is always demand. There will always be people getting married, having children, moving into the house, looking after pets, etc. So that creates a machine that must always be fed.
- HOME DECORATION
- PREGNANCY / BABY
- HOLIDAY (EG CHRISTMAS)
HOW CAN I MAKE THE CRAFTS MORE PROFITABLE
To make a handmade product more profitable, it is simply a matter of lowering the costs of producing, marketing, and selling the product, and / or raising the price. To raise prices without raising eyebrows, the perceived value of a product must also increase.
The exact elements that must be converted to lower costs and / or increase in price and perceived value depend on the business and market it is targeting. Only you know how much material costs, how much time you spend creating the goods (and your self-paid hourly wages), and your overhead costs.
Soap can be a profitable product to make and sell, but less profitable if the business owner:
>> doesn’t shorten the process and takes too long to make soap, cut it into bars, and package it.
>> rent a place for production.
>> pays high fees for craft shows and doesn’t have a display or sales pitch that generates enough sales to cover the costs of diy craft shows and some.
>> does not give buyers a valid reason for consumers to pay a higher price for their bar of soap than to buy a bar of Irish Spring.
A single product will not guarantee a profitable handicraft business; Your entire business must be prepared to make a profit.
The basic formula for increasing profits is:
>> Lower costs (less money out)
>> Increase the price (more money coming in)
* For many simple tips on how to make your handmade business more profitable, check out THE SUCCESS PLANNER
Selling a normally profitable product (such as jewelry) to a normally profitable industry (such as weddings) does not guarantee that you will have a profitable handicraft business.
So let’s look at some of the ways to increase profits and the possibilities of building a profitable craft business.
WHAT REDUCE BENEFITS?
Costs are what lower the product: material costs, labor costs, and overhead costs. Here’s a brief description of the costs a business should pay attention to, which can eat away at profits:
This is the cost of any materials required to make the product “ready for sale”.
Say I sell a handmade wallet, my material costs might be:
- Outer fabric
- Hardware (for example a metal ring for attaching or adjusting a strap)
- The brand tag is sewn onto the lining
- Price label & tape to install it
If I wrapped each wallet in tissue paper, tied the tissue paper with a sticker, and placed the wallet in a branded box, that would also be a material cost.
Your labor cost is EVERY hour you spend working on your business, multiplied by your hourly wage.You can set your hourly wages, but don’t come cheap!
If you build your business and prices by not paying yourself hourly wages, or low wages, you are setting your business up for failure. Not paying yourself is unsustainable.
Imagine that you work for another business. You head to the office and they ask you to go to the post office to deliver the package. When you return, they tell you you won’t be paid for the hour it takes you to drive there, get in line, pay, and drive back. Not only do you have to spend miles in your car and burn fuel, now you are not being paid for your time.
It will never fly. Yet so many handmade business owners treat themselves as such and are not paid for their time.
Track the time spent on your business, pay yourself a fair wage for those hours, and check to make sure you’re still making a profit after covering all costs and wages.
For my wallet business, my working hours may be spent:
- Sewing wallet
- Steaming, curling fiber, and attaching a price tag
- Sign up for a craft show
- Packing stock for craft show
- Prepare, sell and pack at craft fairs
- Take product photos
- Upload & edit photos
- Updating my Etsy shop
- Post to Facebook
- Planning my year with THE SUCCESS PLANNER 🙂
- Record & track sales & make plans to improve next month (also using THE SUCCESS PLANNER)
- Online order packaging
- Update order status
- Mailing order
- Order more shipping supplies
There are many more tasks that may take your time.
There are tasks that are performed consistently (e.g. posting to Facebook every day or updating the Etsy shop every week) and less consistent tasks (e.g. using a sewing machine for repair).
The time spent on each business task must be accounted for so that you can be paid for it. Your salary will reduce your profits.
CHARGE OF HEAD
Overhead costs are costs that are not directly related to the production of your product.
Some of the overheads my wallet business may incur are:
- Tools – Pins, stitch rippers, sewing machines, sergers, etc.
- Listing fee
- Commission and transaction fees
- Craft show fee
- Website hosting costs
- Advertising costs (e.g. placing Etsy or Facebook ads)
- The cost of repairing a sewing machine or sharpening scissors
- Training (eg I can take sewing classes to improve my skills)
- Shipping inventory
- Packaging supplies (eg shopping bags for craft shows)
- Marketing materials (eg business cards, postcards, etc.)
BUSINESS COSTS OF YOUR CRAFTS
Think about all the tasks you spend on your business and whatever you spend on money.
I find it helpful to see business in three areas: creating, marketing and selling. Think about all the things you spent time and money on:
- make a product
- market these products
- selling products
Also, consider admin tasks that require your time and money. For example, legal tasks like registering your business, filing taxes, etc. (See HANDMADE SALES LAW for more), answering emails, tracking inventory, etc.
Find more information on how to make your business more profitable at THE SUCCESS PLANNER.
CRAFTS WITH THE HIGHEST PROFIT MARGIN
As already mentioned, no craft is guaranteed to make high returns; it all depends on how the business is run.
This is a more detailed look at crafts that can yield high returns due to the potential for lower materials, labor, and overhead costs.
Within each category, there is also room for these increases in costs, which I have shown in each description.
1 – JEWELRY
The jewelry industry is a multibillion dollar industry, so there’s room for every business. The good news is, people spend money on jewelry. The bad news is, this makes it a competitive industry.
Customers spending money on your product is the first step in profitability. Here’s a closer look at the costs and why jewelry making can be profitable.
Material costs vary widely for jewelry but consumers understand the value of real gems, stones, crystals, gold, silver, etc. So, if you’re working with higher quality materials, you don’t need to educate consumers about why 24k necklaces are more expensive than gold-plated necklaces.
When you plan your collection, instead of creating a singular item (which can be more difficult to make a profit), you can order materials in bulk, reducing your costs. You can also lower your material costs by reusing or recycling used supplies.
Jewelry making is such a popular category that many businesses sell supplies, making it easier to find discounted prices.
You need to take into account the packaging to prevent the pieces from wrinkling or being damaged. Again, jewelry boxes, cards, bags, etc. Can be found at wholesale prices and purchased in bulk to save costs.
The time it takes to make jewelry will depend on the design and the artist’s level of expertise. The faster an item can be made, without sacrificing quality, the better the profit.
Luxury jewelry takes more time for each piece, but also requires a higher price tag. As long as you spend time on features your customers love and are willing to pay for more, you can cover your time costs.
For example, suppose you spend hours looking for a rare stone for your jewelry, but your target market doesn’t understand the stone’s importance, they likely won’t be willing to pay a higher price for it.
Time spent on business assignments will be on par with other businesses. The jewelry business has to spend time creating, marketing, and selling.
Every business, no matter what they sell, should take professional-looking photos. Jewelry businesses should also photograph their work on models to provide perspective. It’s hard to tell how big a hoop earring is until you see it.
One drawback that the jewelry business has is that they are in a competitive category. That means they need to be creative in terms of marketing and stand out with a USP (unique selling position; what makes their jewelry different that consumers should go to. Read: 3 HANDMADE BUSINESS MISTAKES MAKE THEIR USP).
It took extra time and cost more to spread their brand message.
The initial cost can be made relatively low, depending on the type of jewelry you are making.
For example, when working with beads, wires, and chains to make the type of jewelry made in this class, you may just need a cutter, pliers, and adhesive.
When creating luxury jewelry, costs go up significantly. In addition to the necessary tools, you may also need to spend time and money on training. However, as this class covers, you don’t need to invest in expensive tools when starting out with metalworking.
2 – ART
Everyone hangs some form of art in their homes so it’s an industry where people spend money. The better the art, the more money people are willing to spend.
Creating art is also one of the skills people inherently have. One can, of course, take art classes to hone their skills, but I’ve found many artists are born with the ability to create art.
Art is also subjective, so if you find the right audience for your artwork, there is no rule on how much a piece of art can cost.
Art takes form in many mediums so the cost of materials varies. A watercolor painting may only cost pennies while a canvas for an oil painting can cost over a hundred dollars. Sculptures can be made from recycled materials, keeping costs low, while supplies for glass art can add up.
An artist who paints or draws can also keep material costs down by creating an original work of art and selling a print. The value of a print can still be high if the artist has a unique style that people are willing to pay for.
Digital art also has a low material cost. You can create:
- Greeting cards
- Surface patterns that can be applied to stationery, wallpaper, fabrics and more
The time it takes to create a work of art depends on the artist and the artwork they created. The faster an artist pumps art, without sacrificing quality, the higher the profit.
If artists can make their art prints and sell those prints in bulk, it allows profit through volume. They may not charge as much for the original print as possible, but they may be able to sell more units of the print.
Basic business fees apply to arts businesses (e.g. handicraft show fees, Etsy fees, advertising fees, etc.), however, in the case of drawing or painting, tooling costs can be kept down.
For digital art, there is usually a fee for software (eg Adobe Illustrator).
And the shipping fee may be a little higher, depending on how large or fragile the artwork is.
3 – PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography is akin to art in that some photographers can charge more for, say, a photo of an apple, than others. Their photography and editing style, which does not have to drive up costs, can increase the value of their work and the price consumers are willing to pay.
Photographers have low material costs associated with printing photos and their framing. If the prints are sold digitally, there are no material costs.
Time spent on business tasks such as marketing and sales will be similar to that spent by other craft businesses on these tasks.
Although the cost of materials for photography is low, labor costs can be increased with settings for shooting, shooting, uploading, and editing photos.
In addition to the usual overhead costs (advertising costs, listing fees, website fees, etc.), start-up costs for a photography business can add up. Some of these may be:
- Travel case
- Dark & development rooms (space, chemicals, equipment, etc.)
Editing software and digital file storage may also be overhead for photographers.
4 – SOAP & CANDLE
When you look at how much consumers typically pay for a bar of soap, selling handmade soap can seem like an unprofitable category. But handmade is not about selling ordinary products.
People are willing to pay more for a different or better product. Businesses need to know which features the market is willing to pay more for and offer them.
A consumer who purchases 20 packs of Irish Spring for $ 25 will never be your customer. So there’s no point in competing with businesses that sell $ 2- $ 5 bar of soap.
The soap business (or the bath & body business) can definitely have a high profit margin. But will most likely have to charge you over $ 5 / bar of soap for the benefit. And to charge more, it has to be justified.
>> Maybe your soap has some sophisticated and hard-to-find ingredients for skincare addicts (* Remember, you can’t make any medical claims about your soap, it’s definitely cosmetics, more here.)
>> Or maybe your soap bar is designed to clean body and hair, making it perfect for people working out and showering at the gym, or for travelers who don’t want to carry light items.
>> Or maybe your soaps have healing crystals in them so they attract people to do alternative healing or align chakras.
Start with a profitable target market then create a soap / bath & body product that will appeal to them.
If you want to learn how to find a profitable target market for your handmade business, see HOW TO FIND CUSTOMER GOLD.
When time is taken to search for ingredients and find the best prices, and ingredients are purchased in bulk, the ingredient cost for soap can save under $ 1.
Soap should always come in some form of packaging, so that is also a factor in the cost of ingredients. But again, searching for and buying the right one in bulk can lower the cost of a soap sleeve or box.
The process of making soap is usually done in stages. Materials are measured, smelted, and poured, to produce slabs that can be cut into multiple bars of soap. This assembly line process saves work time (and is something every business should adopt).
The soap business has distinctive marketing and sales duties to spend.
Typical business overhead costs will apply. The area that could increase these costs for a soap business is having the right settings for soap making and following proper labeling. The soap business needs to understand label laws and take the time to apply them properly.
The soap business may also want liability insurance to protect the business. If a customer gets a rash from one of your products, product liability insurance provides you with protection. (Personal assets could be put at risk if business is not properly regulated. See HANDMADE SALES LAWS).
CRAFTS THAT USUALLY HAVE LOW BENEFITS
This craft can really be profitable. The key, as with any business, is to create products, brands and businesses that target profitable target markets so that you can raise prices and they appear appropriate to consumers.
If you want to learn how to find a profitable target market for your handmade business, see HOW TO FIND CUSTOMER GOLD.
Due to the amount of labor and / or overhead costs, the following crafts tend to have a harder time achieving high profit margins.
Although the product industry related to pregnancy / baby is popular, products made for babies / children can be less profitable. Children’s products don’t always have a high cost, but they do have safety rules and labels that they must follow. If your business requires security testing or certificates, not to mention insurance, the costs can be high.
The easier / safer route if you want to sell under the lucrative pregnancy / baby industry is to create products for mom / dad.
Due to the large number of pieces that have to be cut and sewn together, quilts are usually high in labor costs. People who appreciate blanket work are usually the ones who make them; and if someone can make a blanket, they will more than likely pay for someone else.
Consumers are used to blankets sold in stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, which are mass produced and only cost $ 50.This means the average consumer may not realize why handmade blankets are so much more expensive and why they should buy them for what it is. which can be purchased at a lower price at major chain stores.
Processing wood is a skill that takes time to develop, which means upfront costs can be high. If consumers pay more to buy handmade jewelry boxes, chairs, or dressers, they expect high-quality items. This level of quality takes time to cut each piece, sand, and finish the item properly.
Woodworking also tends to attract customers who want a custom cut. Creating new plans and making adjustments for each customer can eat up profits.
Beading work is the art of gluing beads to each other, or to a surface, one at a time. This made it time consuming. There are machines that can manufacture beads faster, making it more difficult to justify the price of beads to consumers.
Knitting and crocheting are included in embroidery, as is embroidery. This type of craft can be labor intensive and production can only move so fast without the aid of a machine. Which makes sewing less profitable.
WHAT IS THE MOST BENEFITABLE MARKET?
For a handicraft business to be profitable, it must target the market that spends money on the products they sell.
Some markets are more profitable than others.
For example, “mothers with 5 or more children” can be defined as the target market. However, these mothers are most likely focused on getting the most out of it, saving for their children’s college fees, getting the kids to school on time, and monitoring everyone’s activities.
If I were to create a luxury bath & body product line for that busy mom, I might not have a profitable business.
A mother of 5 most likely:
>> doesn’t have time to surf social media, where she might come across my Facebook posts marketing my bath products.
>> rolled her eyes and thought “Isn’t that fun!” when I describe relaxing bath time without the kids banging on the door.
>> To think spending $ 60 on a face cream is ridiculous when it can buy you enough diapers for a month.
A business selling products the mom to 5 kids needs (e.g. jumbo packs diapers) or products that would help her save money (e.g. reusable diapers), or that would make her life easier in some way, would be a better and more profitable fit.
You must target the right market and know what those consumers care about and are willing to spend money on.
You can’t go too broad with your target market or you’ll be competing with too many businesses and will have a hard time reaching and connecting with potential customers.
And you can’t go too narrow or it’ll be hard to find customers, and enough of them, to support your business.
HOW TO FIND A GOLDMINE OF CUSTOMERS will help you find the perfect, profitable target market for your craft business.
WHAT CRAFTS ARE TRENDING IN 2020?
For a craft to be profitable, it must have a demand. Apart from targeting a profitable target market, you can also offer products that are trending.
What is trending changes from year to year, but you can see the hottest craft trends this year here:
- CRAFTS TRENDS THIS YEAR
WHAT ARE THE MOST PROFITABLE CRAFTS TO SELL ONLINE
If you plan to sell products online, you need to consider two other elements:
1 – Shipping costs
2 – Online shopping behavior
Shipping costs can easily derail a sale. I’ve left some carts online because I got to the checkout and saw that:
- Business doesn’t have the option for me to choose my country
- The shipping cost is almost the same as the product price
Understand where people visit your online store from (Google Analytics provides this information) and how much it costs to ship your products to different states / provinces or countries.
The more countries to ship to, the more opportunities you have to sell your crafts online. But that also comes with a lot more responsibility.
Remember, when you sell products outside of your jurisdiction, you must also follow the laws of the destination you are shipping to. More on that on HANDMADE SELLING LAWS.
When profits are high, you can absorb part of the shipping costs and still leave a profit.
You can include a portion of the shipping cost in the product price. For example, it costs me about $ 5 to ship items in my city. I can raise the price of my product by $ 5 and offer “free” shipping within my city.
If it costs $ 10 to ship my product to another province, I will only charge that customer $ 5, because the other $ 5 is used up towards the price of my product.
Even though customers pay the same amount, they feel psychologically that they are getting a better deal. Paying more for product, rather than shipping, feels like you are getting more value for your money.
ONLINE SHOPPING BEHAVIOR
You should consider what people are buying online for and be willing to pay for the shipping. Would you buy bar soap and pay $ 5 for shipping if you could easily pick up a bar of soap from the grocery store or stop by a local craft fair and skip the shipping?
Some people buy products online so they don’t bother driving to the store. However, most people tend to shop online when they are looking for items that are hard to find or something specific.
For example, if I’m looking for a yellow evening dress with ruffle sleeves; I prefer typing that search term into Google and seeing hundreds of results rather than going to a mall and checking out hundreds of stores.
In this case, you have to know which keywords the buyer is typing into the search so that your listing or website will most likely come up.
For example, I bought handmade soap bars at a local farmers market and handicraft fair in my city. I’m not going to shop for soap on Etsy.
I may, however,
>> See Etsy if I’m planning a wedding and want to give soap as a wedding favor. I might browse “wedding soap favors”.
>> Or if I was just reading in New Beauty magazine how amazing turmeric is for the skin and wanted to find a bar soap containing turmeric, I could enter the keywords I read about in the magazine.
>> Or if I’m shopping for someone’s birthday and want to find a new soap bar or something that suits the recipient’s interest, I can search for “zero waste soap” or “vegan soap” to find an eco-friendly gift for my friend.
People will buy almost any type of product online… and sometimes the weirder, the stranger, the better.
But in most cases, people don’t go online to find a product they can easily buy in person.
Consider what makes your product difficult to find, unusual, or worth searching for to help determine if it will be a profitable product to sell online.
WHERE TO SELL CRAFTS ONLINE
The most common platform for handmade businesses to sell handcrafted online is Etsy and website building.
There are a few other options for selling online, I’ve listed many of them here:
- WHERE TO SELL ONLINE HANDMADE (EXCEPT ETSY)
WHAT MAKES LUCKY CRAFTS FOR SALE WHOLESALE?
Selling your crafts wholesale to retailers means lower profits, but you are selling them at a higher volume.
To sell wholesale, your product must have a high profit margin.
On average, most retailers expect to buy products wholesale at 50% of the retail price.
If I sell a handbag for $ 100, the retailer will likely expect to buy it from me for $ 50. They will then tag it and sell it to their customer for $ 100. They need that $ 50 to cover their store expenses and have any remaining profits.
When selling wholesale, your selling costs (and sometimes marketing costs) can be lower.
You still have to spend time and money marketing to retailers (e.g. setting up at trade shows or craft shows (HOW TO DRIVE WHOLESALE ORDERS AT CRAFTS EVENTS), creating lookbooks (HOW TO MAKE A LOOKBOOK), etc.), however, when you make a sale, the unit your per transaction is much higher, and your acquisition costs could be lower.
When a craft show shopper buys from me, they will most likely buy only one bag (and possibly an additional product, see: HOW TO USE ADDITIONS TO SELL MORE HANDMADE).
When a retailer buys from me, they probably buy 10 bags (more units per transaction).
Let’s say I sell one of my bags for $ 100 and it costs $ 30 for materials and labor. I may need another $ 10 from that sale to help cover the costs of the craft fair where I sold it, the time I spent marketing on Facebook that month, the cost of fixing my sewing machine, etc. $ 60 is left over for profit.
If I sell the bag to a retailer, I receive $ 50 for it.
My profit now is only $ 10 from selling the bag. But shop owners tend to buy more than one bag. I can even set minimum orders so that retailers have to buy 10 units or more to get the wholesale price. Then I am guaranteed to make a profit of $ 100 or more with one wholesale order.
If you sell to a retail store in your city, you can lower orders. I’ve found, however, that you can quickly run out of retailers to bring your product into town.
Downtown retailers don’t want to carry the same product as retailers a few blocks away. Depending on the size of your city, it can limit how many stores you can sell.
When you start shipping orders to retailers out of town, you need to make sure the shipping costs are not too high.
The retailer will have to pay for the shipping costs, but again, they will hesitate to place an order if the delivery is nearly as expensive as their product order.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CRAFTS BUSINESS MORE PROFITABLE
Obviously, the key to increasing profits is lowering costs. Here are a few ways to do this.
BUY IN LARGE
Take the time to search your ingredients and find what works best for your money. While you can’t find a discount for buying them in bulk, you will save on shipping costs by grouping the items together.
Your business may or may not require a business license (find out if yours is) but having a license can give you access to wholesale prices from multiple suppliers.
Grouping work tasks together can reduce the time spent on those tasks, as well as reduce time wasted by constantly switching between tasks.
Think about all areas of your business:
How can you group tasks together to reduce the time they spend?
For example, when making a bag, I can cut all the pieces of my pattern one day, comb all the stitches the next day, sew the pieces another day, put all the zippers on another day, etc. I follow a task flow, which allows me to complete it faster, and I don’t switch between stations, machines, threads, etc.
I might spend a day shooting all the bags from my latest collection, then uploading and editing them the next day so I don’t have to set up a lightbox or background, wait for the right lighting, or open my editing software program multiple times.
I can also group product descriptions together and prepare multiple descriptions on a single day (on days I don’t have author blocks), which can then be quickly copied and pasted on the day I add a new listing to my Etsy store.
ROI stands for return on investment. It calculates how much money you spent on an assignment (including your time / wages) and how much money that particular task made. If you spend 5 hours a week on Facebook, you want the job to generate sales. If you don’t track how many hours you spend and how many sales people view your Facebook posts, there is no way to know if your Facebook efforts are paying off.
When you calculate the ROI for an assignment, you can then use your time and money more effectively.
If you found that 20 hours spent on Facebook each month only resulted in one $ 20 sale, would you keep putting in 20 hours / month?
Probably not. That time could be better spent on tasks that generate more sales and give you a return on investment.
More about tracking, calculating and increasing ROI in THE SUCCESS PLANNER
When you don’t realize the overhead costs your business has, it’s easy for them to eat away at your bottom line.
Start tracking overhead costs and determine what needs and what can be done.
INCREASES PERCEIVED VALUE
The elements that surround your product can make buyers believe that the product is more valuable.
That’s why you expect a t-shirt to cost around $ 10 when you’re in Old Navy, and over $ 100 when you’re at a Versace store. The quality of the Versace shirts is better, but not 10x better than Old Navy. People pay for perceived value.
Just by enhancing your branding, product packaging, craft show displays, websites, photos, etc. Can lead buyers to give your product a higher value, which allows you to charge more.
WHAT CAN I MAKE AT HOME AND SELL MONEY?
Many people start a home business in 2020 to limit how much time they spend around other people and to add new sources of income.
The beauty of starting a craft business is that most items can be made at home. They don’t need a large studio or expensive equipment to get started.
Determining what will be sold is not as important as determining to whom it will be sold.
You have to start with a profitable target market; a group of people who are guaranteed to be interested in what you sell (based on their interest) and almost guaranteed to buy your product.
The handicraft industry was too competitive to start making jewelry, or soap, or pottery, or knit goods, etc. If you don’t have a unique point of view that appeals to a specific group of people, your stuff will simply disappear into the crowd on Etsy.
Start by determining your profitable target market (HOW TO FIND CUSTOMER GOLD will help you do just that).
Then explore the different types of products you can sell to that lucrative target market.