Artists make money by selling their work, doing commissions, or even opening a studio gallery. If you’re an artist thinking of starting abusiness, ...
13 Best Handmade Business Ideas
Written by: Esther Strauss
Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on November 4, 2022
Updated on October 2, 2023
Do you love building and creating with your hands? If so, you could be looking at a potential money-making venture, if you’re able to turn your hobby into a profitable business.
Crochet, embroidery, painting, woodworking and carpentry — these can provide steady income if you put your mind to it. You can also make money with your photography, candles and pottery. Check out our list of excellent handmade business ideas and start making your way toward success.
1. Greeting Card Making
Although it’s more convenient now to greet family and friends through digital cards, many Americans are still buying and sending traditional greeting cards. These are, after all, still one of the most popular forms of communication. If you’re creative and have a way with words, starting a greeting card business could be the perfect opportunity! Demand may no longer be as strong, but the US greeting card industry is still worth around $7 billion. It’s a huge market that’s packed with opportunities.
To cut costs, you could start with only online sales and open a shop only once you’ve established your business. Branding is important, so it’s important to develop a personality and be consistent. A greeting card business can be rewarding and lucrative if you are willing to put in the work.
2. Crochet Business
Few hobbies are better suited to a crafts career than crochet. Starting your own crochet business can be a fun and profitable endeavor. You can do almost anything with your yarn and hook – from teapot cozies and tablecloths to rugs and clothing, just take a look on Etsy! Demand for crochet and other US handicrafts remains high and the market expects strong growth through 2028.
A crochet business requires minimal investment. You just need crochet hooks, yarn, digital row counter, scissors and a few other tools. You can also run this business from home. But there are many things to consider, such as what type of products to make, who your target market is, and how to promote your business. Thanks to technology, you can now market your crochet merchandise both locally and internationally. You can also sell crochet patterns in PDF files online. With a bit of creativity, you can make a lot of money from a crochet business.
3. Embroidery Business
Embroidery is the craft of decorating a fabric with needlework. It used to be a status symbol and, centuries ago, young girls had to learn it. Thanks to embroidery machines, the process is now faster and the design options limitless. Starting an embroidery business should be a breeze. Embroidery is now largely used to print logos and text on caps, shirts, socks and more. The global market is expected to grow steadily through 2028, with the US and North America as dominant revenue contributors.
In order to start providing professional embroidery services, you will need to invest in an embroidery machine. This will allow you to embroider a wide range of fabrics, from cotton and denim to velvet and leather. Most of these machines are pre-loaded with designs, but it’s also possible to create your own designs or use the designs submitted by your customers. With a lot of creativity and a good marketing plan, your embroidery business should be able to get off the ground in no time.
4. Candle Making
If you’re a budding entrepreneur with a creative streak, custom-made candles are part of a fast-growing market. With a small investment you can start making candles from home and sell them online to help countless people set the mood while making good money. Best of all, you can express your creativity in your candles. Some of today’s trendier homemade candles include calming scents, wild colors, organic ingredients and a variety of shapes and sizes, including a $65 candle shaped like a hand!
The first key step will be brushing up on your candle-making skills, and there are many online courses to get you up to speed. After that, you’ll just need to purchase all the materials and equipment, set up an account at an online platform like Etsy and start selling. Once the money starts rolling in you can create your own website, start giving tutorials to build your reputation and even open your own candle shop!
5. Painting Business
Painting may not be the most exciting line of work, but it can be quite lucrative, and demand is nearly constant. After a sharp slowdown during the pandemic, the US painting industry is now coming back strong and looking at steady growth in the years ahead. With a relatively small investment you could launch your painting business from your home, take on residential and commercial jobs, interior as well as exterior, and make good money while adding a burst of color to your community.
Of course, it won’t be as easy as watching paint dry. You’ll need a van or truck, as well as brushes, rollers, step ladders and other equipment. And if you plan to take on bigger jobs, you’ll also need to be licensed as a painting contractor by your state, which requires significant experience. But you could start out with smaller jobs, build up your experience, client list and reputation, and then once you get your license, launch your sharp new website and watch the jobs start rolling in!
6. Knife Sharpening
The knife is considered the most important tool in the kitchen. In fact, mastering basic knife skills is among the first tasks given to aspiring chefs. Keeping the knife sharp is another. With popular cooking shows inspiring more people to prepare meals at home, demand for knife sharpening services is on the rise. The US knife sharpening services market was worth $70 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at least 6% per year through 2028. If you’re looking for a profitable and practical way to earn money, then consider starting your own knife sharpening business.
A knife sharpening business is something that you can do from home and requires minimal investment. But you will need to know all the knife safety rules to avoid injuries. You will also need to research the various methods and materials used to sharpen knives. If you choose carefully, you will not only be ensuring the long-term health of your knife, but will also minimize the risk of accidents.
Are you an amateur photographer who loves snapping great images? Photography in the US is an $11 billion industry expected to see steady growth in the coming years, so now would be a great time to stretch your entrepreneurial wings and give it a shot. You could start your photography business from home and give the world beautiful photos while also making a good living.
A crucial step will be finding your photographic niche. There’s a wide array of subjects to choose from. You could focus on personal portraits, fashion and culture photography, news and celebrities, or travel, nature and wildlife. Assuming you already have a professional-level camera, you’ll just need some great editing software and to build a website showing off your portfolio and listing your prices and services. With a bit of talent and determination, you could be snapping your way to success in no time!
8. Art Gallery
Are you passionate about art? If so, now might be the right time to follow your dreams and open an art gallery. The US art dealers’ market is worth $9 billion and growing, so the opportunity is there for the taking. Getting started isn’t as easy as drawing a stick figure, but nor is it as difficult as painting the Sistine Chapel.
First, you’ll need to decide which type of art you’ll focus on. It should be a genre that’s personally meaningful to you. Maybe you’re into 20th-century Russian art, or contemporary South American artists. Or maybe you’d prefer to highlight up-and-coming artists from your area. Alternatively, you could embrace several of these options, but it tends to be better for a gallery to build a brand focused on a certain concept or genre.
Once you’ve nailed down your concept, you’ll just need to rent out a good space, start reaching out to artists and collectors and, last but not least, launch a major marketing blitz to promote your first show. Good luck!
Pottery goes back thousands of years, but remains relevant to this day — as can be seen by the countless pottery products on Etsy!
If you’re a creative person with a love for pottery, you might want to turn your passion into a business and start making good money. Pottery, or the manufacture of earthenware from clay, is part of the broader ceramics market, which is anticipated to return to pre-pandemic growth levels and earn almost $350 billion globally by 2028. Ceramics also include porcelain and stoneware.
To go into a pottery business, you’ll need a pottery wheel, kiln, clay, glazes, molds, and other tools and supplies. Find reliable suppliers, observe the competition and compare prices, and promote your products either through digital marketing or word-of-mouth marketing. You also need to set up a workshop and build out your Etsy page, as well as your website. Then you’ll be ready to start shaping your dream future.
Are you good with wood? If so, this is a great time to get into the woodworking industry, which has seen steady growth in recent years and is expected to be worth nearly $5 billion globally by 2026. These days, people everywhere are interested in hand-crafted, artisanal goods, from wooden rocking chairs to homemade pies.
You could start your own woodworking business from home for little investment and ride this wave of appreciation for sturdy, traditional products to serious success. Even if the trend slows down, high-quality furniture and other wooden items are always in strong demand.
To get started, there are a few key steps you’ll need to take. First, you should get all the necessary tools and equipment, if you don’t already have them, and brush up on your woodworking with an online class or two. Next, you’ll need to decide what you’ll be making: furniture, figurines and chess sets, decorative plaques and custom wood pieces, or all of the above. The choice is yours, but as long as you choose wood and are willing to work hard, you should find your way to success.
Nearly 90,000 job openings for carpenters across the US are expected every year through 2030 as construction expands, fueling demand for carpentry skills.
If you have the skills and the tools, why not start your own carpentry business? Some states require carpenters to have a general contractors or subcontractors license, so it’s important that you check out your state’s licensing rules before anything else. You also need to comply with other regulatory requirements. Once that is out of the way, it’s important to come up with a marketing plan to promote your business and find clients. Keep in mind that it would be difficult to find jobs during cold months, so it’s best to prepare for the lean days.
12. Candy Making
Got a sweet tooth? Then you probably know that candy is big business. The global candy market has seen steady growth of late and will soon be worth a whopping $200 billion. No wonder everybody wanted to get a glimpse of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! People are crazy for candy.
If you’re thinking of starting a candy business, it might not be as difficult as you think. In the early days you could run your business from home, sell your candies online and save up to open your own candy store. The key is producing a uniquely appealing product and standing out from the competition in an increasingly saturated market. It could be chocolate, jelly beans, lollipops, jawbreakers or something entirely new! As long as it’s delicious, the sky’s the limit for you and your candy business.
13. Gift Wrapping
There’s nothing like the excitement created by a present wrapped in colorful paper and ribbons. If you’re looking for a profitable venture that will make your customers feel good, starting a gift wrapping business is a viable option. The market value of gift wrapping products in the US is set to double to $7 billion by 2025 as people spend on gifts and gift wrapping during the holidays and throughout the year.
To get started, you have to decide whether to just provide gift wrapping services at home or set up a shop. You will need to unleash your creativity to be able to offer unique gift wrapping ideas. Keep up with the latest trends and techniques to stay relevant and differentiate yourself in the market. It’s also important to stock up on wrapping materials and tools to make sure you can deliver what your customers want. With retailers constantly thinking about ways to make each day special, there will always be someone who will need your gift wrapping skills.
13 Best Handmade Business Ideas
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