Make More Money With Personalized And Custom Products

Most online sellers are always looking for new ways to get more money in the bank. Constantly searching for new revenue streams, more products to sell and a bigger bank account to pay their bills and feed their families.

make more money with personalized and custom products

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I’m no different. I love finding new ways to make money online.

I’ve found tons of success running my own business online and one of the ways I’ve done that is through personalized products and custom orders.

So, if you are wondering how I did that, keep reading.

What is a personalized product?

A personalized product is a product in your product line that your modify to give it a personal aspect. This can be done by adding names, changing the colors, etc.

I sell banners in one of my online stores. I personalize these by changing the colors, names or small graphics to fit the buyer’s party theme.

personalized baby shower banner

What is a custom product?

A custom product is an item that you create that is not in your current product line. This item is one that is make to the buyer’s exact specifications. This may include things like size and dimensions, material type, color and other modifications you do not normally offer your customers.

We don’t create many custom products. Later, I’ll explain why.

However, on occasion, we’ve created a product that was, at the time, a request for an item that we didn’t carry. Many times, these are complimentary products to our existing line, changes in phrases, etc. Usually, we find ourselves adding these as additional items to our store when we get more than one request.

custom wood mosaic

What is the difference between personalized and customized products?

Personalized products are items that you change to meet the buyer’s expectations from an existing product design. They are already products in your product line, but you are making small modifications to the product. A custom product is one that is created completely to the buyer’s specifications.

Many times personalized and custom are used interchangeably, but I tend to view them differently. I do this for several reasons.

Why you should distinguish between personalized and custom products?

Even though personalized and custom products are viewed similarly by most people, they are different product types and usually have different pricing formulas.

As a result, you can typically charge a much higher price for an item that is “custom” vs “personalized” product.

Take this example, for instance.

A potential buyer messages you and asks if you can personalize a necklace for them. They request adding an engraved name on something like a gold bar necklace. This I would treat as a personalized item. Simple engraving addition, you probably already have other engraving just with a different saying. This is also done on a small item.

personalized gold bar necklaces on Etsy

Here’s a different potential buyer. They are requesting your create a double stranded, Swarovski crystal beaded necklace for a wedding with a heart pendant. Right now, you only offer single stranded necklaces and only tear drop, not heart pendants.

You would need to source additional materials to complete this project. You would also be creating a completely different design from those you already carry. Your buyer may also want to make additional changes, ask for photos, etc.

With the personalized necklace, you will probably only be able to add a small up-charge for the addition, where as with the custom beaded necklace, this would be a full design change and a lot of added labor, warranting a larger price tag.

Learn more about how to price your products here.

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The pros and cons of personalized and custom products

Pros of Personalized Products

  • Simple changes increase average order value
  • Little additional time investment

Cons of Personalized Products

  • More time invested
  • Could incur potential issues, such as misspelled names, etc.

Pros of Custom Products

  • Generates new product ideas
  • Fills slow periods in sales

Cons of Custom Products

  • Very time consuming
  • Potentially underprice your products

* Note with custom products, you can run into larger scale issues. An example here would be under estimating the cost of additional materials, labor and time involved. Custom products can also have unexpected costs if a mistake is made because this is not a standard product. You don’t make this on a regular basis, therefore, you would need to purchase additional materials again, most likely, at your expense. You may also need to order different shipping supplies including boxes and packing materials if this product is larger than your standard product line.

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Why you should add personalize and custom products to your online store?

Even though there may be some downsides to adding these type products to your existing online business, there are still many advantages. Here are a few.

Custom and personalized products add to the revenue for your business. It increases your businesses income.


This can be especially helpful during times of year when you experience slower sales. This happens with every business. We all have slow selling seasons.

For one of our businesses, we will take on custom or larger scale or time consuming projects during slow times.

An example of selling seasonality is wedding season, which typically runs from March to October. Your shop would likely be much slower December through February as there are far fewer weddings during those months in the U.S.

Another example are shops that sell holiday decor items. You won’t be selling many Halloween and ghost-themed products around Valentine’s day.

Higher margins and profit

As mention before, you should be charging more for personalized products and custom orders. Pricing your product should include the time involved and the additional cost of materials.

A quick example.

Buyer request – change a silver plated chain to a sterling chain. Cheaper silver plating chain costs $5. A sterling silver chain costs $10. You charge the buyer the additional costs.

If using the 4x pricing formula, $5×4 =$20; where as $10×4=$40. You have doubled the price of the item just by using an upgraded material. You’ve now personalized this item for your buyer. You didn’t do any additional work, therefore, the only real difference is the quality of the materials.

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I’ve seen this done in many jewelry stores online. Offering a personalized selection of materials like necklace chain options, stone options and so on.

Sizing options are also a type of personalization. Some people will want a different sized product to fit their preferences such a necklace chain length.

You can quickly increase your business profit by just offering personalizations and upgrades to existing products.

In the case of custom products, please do your homework before giving out a quote to your potential buyers. Be sure to properly figure your costs. I’ve made this mistake myself in the past. I use a custom spreadsheet for calculating quotes.

You can get one similar to mine here.

I also don’t suggest buying materials before the buyer makes the purchase. That just spells trouble if they back out unexpectedly and want a refund. Don’t get stuck with unusable supplies.

Overall, adding personalize items to your online business is a great way to boost your income. Just be cautious, calculate all the costs involved and get to making.

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Hi. I'm Melissa Talbott. Long-time seller on Etsy since 2013 with multiple shops on Etsy and several other E-commerce websites. I enjoy helping makers and small business owners create profitable businesses they love that also provide an income that supports their families on their terms.

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