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.
The following 11 Etsy shops have established loyal niche target customers and have found success despite their less-than-mainstream focus.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Downsides to selling on Etsy include the following:
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.