Not Craftsy Enough for Etsy? Top Five Merch You Can Still Sell


Jun 14, 2018
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It’s on Etsy that I learned the meaning of the acronym OOAK. It spells out “one-of-a-kind”, and it’s meant to describe a craft or an art item that is a one-off, thus making it more covetable while justifying a higher price tag. An OOAK item can be a doll, a dress, a small sculpture, an art print, or just about anything that fits into the vast array of merchandise which Etsy’s creative and enterprising members put up for sale on a daily basis. However, it’s not the only kind of merchandise this e-commerce store puts a premium on.

A quick look at the site reveals hundreds of categories, items, and shops you can browse through to get an idea of what to sell. If you find that you aren’t gifted with enough craftsy or artsy inclination, you can still be a seller on Etsy, as illustrated by the thousands of members there with success stories. Below are five popular, non-OOAK items that are still in high demand among Etsy buyers.

1. Plants and gardening supplies

While some might argue that gardening in itself is a craft, the fact is that it’s never been a more popular pursuit - even for those who can’t boast of having a green thumb! Succulents and cacti in particular are now all the rage, and big leafy indoor plants have landed a special niche in the entire interior decorating scheme.

If you find yourself constantly surrounded by plants and with a vast knowledge of how they thrive, you can use that to your advantage. Clicking on the Home & Living tab of Etsy reveals the sub-categories of Outdoors & Gardening, which opens up to Plants (further classified into flowers, ferns, grasses & bamboo, succulents & cacti, herbs, fruit and vegetables, etc.) Scrolling down, you’ll see a colorful array of beautiful images of flowers, rocks, herbs, bonsai trees, and just about anything to do with gardening. The bottomline is, plants will never go out of style, and it’s a sure bet when it comes to selling them or anything that has to do with them.

2. Vintage fashion accessories

What’s old is new again. There’s a separate tab marked “Vintage” at Etsy, and it’s arguably one of the most popular categories in the site. If you have fashion items that are at least ten years or older, then you can sell them at either the clothing, jewelry, accessories, or bags and purses categories. You can choose to specialize on certain items to sell, whether it’s by period, brand, style, or the item itself (you can become known as a specialized vintage bag, sunglasses, or scarf seller, to begin with). Just make sure the items are in good condition, give it a good descriptive overview, and describe in detail all its flaws and unique details. Also, don’t forget to take good, clear photos of the items (even their flaws and details you think will make them even more interesting).

3. Mobile phone peripherals and gadgets

Though not as “sexy” as vintage and other artsy stuff in the shop, you can’t deny that mobile phones and gadgets are now some of the best-selling, in-demand, and ubiquitous items in any e-commerce sites today. If you want to sell your gently-used, pre-owned, or even unused mobile phone accessories and gadgets, go to the Electronics & Accessories page of Etsy. You can see many sub-categories there covering electronic cases, cell phone parts and accessories, audio equipment, batteries and charging tools, and even cables and cords!

4. Food and drink items

Food & Drink falls under Home & Living, and while it’s an easy enough category to “move” in terms of sales, there are special considerations for shelf life and shipping that go with it. When it comes to edible items, there’s a lot of sensitive issues that need to be addressed. You can sell anything from herbs and spices to baked goods, through to beverages and pet food and you will find that there will always be someone willing to buy them. But bear in mind that they need to abide by packaging and shipping regulations, meet FDA standards for selling, and have to be sold and delivered way before the sell-by date.

5. Specialized collectibles

If you’re a collector yourself, you will know that a lot of the thrill comes from the hunt of an item that will fit right in with your existing collection. I myself love anything Alice in Wonderland-related, so I immediately start using the search bar in any e-commerce site to see if there’s anything in the shop I can buy (that’s within my budget).

You can focus on stuff you already have (if you collect them yourself, consider flipping the duplicates or redundant items), or start a shop specifically dedicated to your target niche. Click on the Art & Collectibles tap to see which sub-category you want to focus on, and then you can start hunting for items that will help build your brand as a unique seller while making money off the merchandise you will offer.

The verdict?

Etsy functions as any e-commerce site does, except with special attention to unique and creative goods. It’s a website that wants to focus on the heart of real commerce by using the kind of technology that makes online shopping a breeze. If you like what Etsy represents, I recommend it for your own online selling business, given its huge community of satisfied sellers and buyers, very affordable sign-in fee, and a chance to connect with others who will love what you have to sell them.

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Your turn!

Ever tried selling stuff on Etsy even if you’re not into arts and crafts? What items did you end up selling? How did your customers respond to your items, and would you recommend it as a selling platform for non-crafty stuff?

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