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Updated Oct 24, 2023

Strange Etsy Shops You Won’t Believe Exist

These unique Etsy shops may inspire your own unique e-tail dreams.

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Written By: Sammi CaramelaBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Writer
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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Etsy is an excellent e-commerce platform where sellers can get creative vintage and handmade items in front of consumers searching for unique gifts and wares. Many collectors and creatives make a living selling their offerings to loyal audiences on the site. 

Etsy sellers’ creativity seems to know no bounds, and some shops can get a little weird. Still, one buyer’s “weird” is another’s treasure. 

If you’re interested in selling online and are curious if Etsy is the right place for you, get inspired by the following strange but successful Etsy shops. You may find that this online sales platform and its vast array of niche audiences resonate with you.  

Strange but successful Etsy shops

The following 11 Etsy shops have established loyal niche target customers and have found success despite their less-than-mainstream focus. 

1. The Pastel Purgatory

If you’re smitten with kittens, you might be intrigued by The Pastel Purgatory. This Etsy shop sells accessories that’ll make you feel like a feline, from fuzzy ears to collars and leashes. The concept is strange, but the shop has five stars and respectable sales. Prices range from around $20 to $80 or more. 

2. Wild Things Inc.

Are you obsessed with all things creepy and crawly? Those passionate about spiders, snakes, bugs, and bones will love Wild Things Inc., an Etsy shop specializing in exotic animal parts and art. 

Whether you’re looking for holiday ornaments filled with snakeskin or want to make your own creations using things like tarantula and cockroach molts, turtle shells, and found animal bones, this shop has everything you could ever dream of – even arachnophobes would consider it a nightmare. The inventory on Wild Things varies, but custom orders and special requests are welcome. 

3. Flavored Toothpicks

On the surface, Flavored Toothpicks seems like a perfectly normal business idea. People use toothpicks all the time, so why not give them a little flavor? While it’s true that cinnamon, grape, wintergreen, and even bacon toothpicks are intriguing, this shop offers some strange flavors, including baby formula and breast milk.  

The shop offers more than 140 different toothpick flavors that retail for $6.87 and come in a small, sliding metal tin. 

If Etsy isn't a fit for your e-tail enterprise, consider Etsy alternatives for crafty entrepreneurs, including Amazon Handmade, Big Cartel, and eBay.

4. Uncanny Creatures

From faux-zombie parts to strange stuffed animals, Uncanny Creatures has it all. The shop, which has been open since 2011, features eerie-looking yet somehow endearing teddy bears and stuffed animals with piercing acrylic eyes, faux fur, and oddly humanlike mouths, complete with teeth, all handmade to order. 

Uncanny Creatures also offers a custom message-in-a-bottle letter service and sells zombie finger keychains and bookmarks along with “bodily candles,” incredibly realistic vegan wax candles shaped like parts of human heads and faces. Shop updates occur periodically, so check back frequently for current offerings. 

5. Cappy Sue Creations

You know the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Cappy Sue Creations is a unique Etsy shop that takes it to a new level. Along with random paintings, jewelry, and art pieces that range from strange and unusual to traditional and beautiful, Cappy Sue Creations will also take your random, unwanted junk; turn it into something new and more interesting; and send it back to you for a fee. Now you know what to do with all those office gift exchange items

In addition to custom projects, you can also find some not-so-safe-for-work items in the form of pendants, ornaments, and more. Prices vary by item.

6. aKNITomy

According to its Etsy page, aKNITomy is an “icky and cuddly world of knitted anatomy.” The shop sells framed, knit versions of human anatomy and dissected creatures (like frogs, rats, bats, and aliens) that are both strange and, oddly, kind of cute. And if you’re interested in knitting your own science projects, aKNITomy also sells patterns and DIY kits for a small fee. Finished projects sell for anywhere from $75 to around $200.

7. Funereal Ephemera

If you’ve always been fascinated by death, you’ll love this Etsy shop. Funereal Ephemerea is a shop specializing in “vintage cemetery, funeral, and postmortem photography,” according to its Etsy page. You can find old photographs – some haunting, some beautiful – of everything from flower-covered cemeteries and bodies in coffins to religious and medical paraphernalia and even taxidermy. Prices vary, but most photographs cost between $10 and $40.

Did You Know?Did you know
Etsy may not be the best place to start an online resale business. The platform allows reselling only in its vintage and craft supplies categories.

8. The Curiositeer

What if you could wear a bat’s skull around your neck or wear a spider like a ring? The Curiositeer makes it possible, offering jewelry and other items made with materials like human teeth, insects, and animal skeletons. Items like frog hearts, scorpions, and bird skulls are preserved in resin and mounted to pendants or rings. For the faint of heart, there’s also a selection of jewelry made with flowers and rocks. Items vary in price, but most of the jewelry falls between $20 and $50.

9. Digitalsoaps

What do you do when you can’t put down your video game long enough to take a shower? You take it with you – in the form of soap, thanks to this Etsy shop. Digitalsoaps makes handcrafted soaps in the form of gaming accessories, like Nintendo game cartridges and PlayStation and Xbox controllers. The shop also sells shampoos and body washes in soda bottles (popular brands like Dr Pepper and Mountain Dew) and soap inspired by cartoons and anime.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
There are 7.4 million active sellers on Etsy, with over 94 million buyers frequenting the platform.

10. Terrible Origami

According to its Etsy page, this shop “puts the OMG in origami.” Some people are talented at origami, the art of paper folding; others, not so much. The sellers behind Terrible Origami are of the latter category. Instead of making beautiful, intricate swans, this shop sells what looks more like crumpled paper. 

These terrible origami items are listed for outrageous prices, many of which are over $100, and it’s clear that the shop is more of a joke than anything. However, the shop also sells Terrible Origami-branded T-shirts for fans to purchase and has even somehow sold a few origami pieces.

11. Concept Insect

The Concept Insect Etsy shop, based in Pennsylvania, is focused on making insect hobbies affordable and accessible to all. However, what sets this vendor apart from more conventional Etsy shops is its framed bats. Interested hobbyists can acquire rare and unusual bat species for $50 or less – an absolute steal for any hobbyist or bat enthusiast. 

If you're interested in selling on Amazon, it's crucial to understand restricted and nonrestricted product categories. For example, handmade products are considered restricted and must adhere to Amazon Handmade guidelines.

Pros and cons of starting an Etsy shop

If this list of funky online vendors inspires you, it may be time to try your hand at e-commerce. Etsy is a way to quickly launch an online business idea. However, before diving in to start an Etsy shop, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of building an online business via the platform. 

Benefits of starting an Etsy shop include the following: 

  • Starting an Etsy shop is simple and easy. Setting up an Etsy shop is as straightforward as creating an account, uploading some photos and opening your shop to the world. If you follow the company’s online guides, you can quickly and easily get your business up and running. The basic Etsy shop feature is free, while premium subscriptions are available for more robust sellers.
  • Etsy is popular. Millions of people visit Etsy daily to browse and purchase handmade items. If you’re an experienced artisan, opening an Etsy shop can give you direct access to a massive customer base. If your products are excellent and you have good customer service skills, you can become a significant player on the site. 
  • Etsy offers built-in analytics. As you build your shop, Etsy provides tools to help you better understand expanding sales and marketing your business. It’s intuitive and simple to view basic sales analytics, like shop visits, orders received and which items are the most popular. 

Downsides to selling on Etsy include the following: 

  • Etsy charges fees. While creating an Etsy shop is accessible and straightforward, like all e-commerce platforms, Etsy must take a cut. The platform charges fees for listing items and takes a percentage of each sale. It’s crucial to learn about Etsy’s fees and payment policies before getting started.
  • It’s hard to stand out on Etsy. Etsy’s accessibility means thousands of online sellers have flocked to the site to try to sell their handmade goods. That means a lot of competition for you and your small business. If your products are good and you connect with a unique community of customers, you can carve out a profitable space on the site. Otherwise, it’s hard to stand out.
  • An Etsy shop might take time away from your day job. If you already run a business and crafts are a side hustle, starting an Etsy shop may take time away from your top priority. It’s crucial to define your goals as a business owner or professional first and then use Etsy as an outlet for your passion or an avenue to expand your business’s sales network. 
Keep your Etsy shop updated and stocked with new items to build customer loyalty and attract new business.

Why Etsy matters

Nurturing a craft or skill that connects you to your passion is a vital, enriching experience. Whether you’re creating an Etsy shop as a side hustle or trying to integrate it into your small business’s current sales offerings, Etsy is an excellent option for anyone looking to sell handmade items. 

Matt D’Angelo and Brittney Morgan contributed to this article. 

author image
Written By: Sammi CaramelaBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Writer
Sammi Caramela is a trusted business advisor whose work for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others centers around creating digestible but informative guidance on all things small business. Whether she's discussing cash flow management or intellectual property, work trends or employer branding, Caramela provides actionable tips designed for small business owners to take their entrepreneurship to the next level. Caramela, who also lends her expertise to the financial outlet 24/7 Wall St., has business management experience that allows her to provide personal insights on day-to-day operations and the working relationship between managers and independent contractors. Amidst all this, Caramela has found time to publish a young adult novel, develop a poetry collection and contribute short stories to various anthologies.
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