With e-commerce sites like Etsy and Zibbet growing in popularity, the market for handmade goods sold over the Internet has never been bigger. While the overwhelming majority of products are highly creative crafted items, there's certainly room for nonartists to carve out a niche in the online retail space. Here are seven businesses you can start that don't require much artistic ability.
Knitting might seem like an activity reserved for grandmothers, but handmade scarves and hats are big sellers in the online marketplace. Wholesale yarn is relatively inexpensive, and depending on how quickly you can knit, you'll be able to build up your inventory and spend more time marketing your store. Don't know how to knit or crochet? Sites like KnittingHelp.com are readily available to teach you.
If you frequently find yourself whipping up a batch of cookies to stave off boredom, why not get paid for it by opening a bakery? Find desserts that you can replicate perfectly every time, and accept orders online to deliver or ship to local areas. This is a great business to run in your spare time, as you can fill orders during evenings and weekends. The best part about being in the baked goods business? You'll never find any shortage of volunteers to help you eat your mistakes.
With do-it-yourself lamp kits available online and in most major home improvement stores, you can make a lamp out of anything from mason jars to wine bottles. A little bit of spray paint or plastic beads are all you need to make colorful, customized lights. You can even create lamps out of old plastic toys, like in this DIY Network tutorial.
If you can operate a sewing machine (or can hand-stitch quickly and efficiently), you can create handmade bags out of a variety of materials. Using recycled fabrics and other materials from around your home, create bags and purses in different sizes, styles and colors to appeal to a wide customer base. Better Homes and Gardens has a few ideas to get you started.
There are few foods that are easier to hand-make and package in large quantities than jam. With access to a steady supply of high-quality fruits and mason jars, you can go into the jam-making business in no time. First, build a repertoire of tried-and-true jam recipes. Then create branded labels and sell your goods online or at local fairs, farmers markets and events. Almanac.com has some tips for making the perfect preserves.
Bath and cleaning products
Hair products, lotions, soaps and cleansers can all be made using natural ingredients you already have in your pantry. Sure, anyone can find a recipe for a sugar scrub or vinegar-based cleaning solution and do it themselves, but if you package and sell them in sets, your customers can have those all-natural products at their fingertips without having to use their own time and resources.
Handmade candles are fairly easy and inexpensive to make with the right materials. All you need are wax, wicks and scented oils to make unique, fragrant candles right in your kitchen. While you'll need to keep a close eye on your products as you make them, once you master the art, there's no limit to the shapes, sizes and scents of candles you can create. Find instructions on Homemade Candles.