What Can You Sell On Etsy?

You may be considering opening your own Etsy shop and wondering, what exactly can I sell on Etsy?  Well, it’s a really common question even among veteran Etsy sellers. 

what products you can sell on Etsy

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One reason is simply because the answer continues to evolve as Etsy evolves as a platform, new technologies are introduced such as AI, etc.  

This has all changed over the last decade as Etsy continues to grow and expand as a marketplace. Our world has changed so much in recent years with advancements in technology making it easier now than ever to start your own e-commerce business online.

So, what can you sell on Etsy? 

Here are the main categories of items you can sell on Etsy.

Handmade products (physical products, print on demand, printables and digital products), craft supplies and vintage.

Handmade Products

What is a handmade product? 

It’s anything that you make, for the most part, by hand.  You source your supplies and create an item from it.  So, items like jewelry, fired pottery, artwork, screen printed clothing, home decor and furniture and so on are allowed to be sold as long as you made it.

woman knitting

Photo Credit

With that said, there are still some things that could very well be handmade that Etsy simply doesn’t allow and has put those items on its Prohibited items list. Check this list out to ensure you aren’t attempting to sell a no-no product.

Etsy also does not allow you to sell other people’s/brands’/businesses’ intellectual property.  If a company owns the copyright, it’s off limits unless you have a contract/license with that person or company to use their copyrighted materials.  So you can’t go throwing around words, like Velcro, Onesie, etc. in your listings. (Companies like Gerber, who has a copyright on the term “Onesie”, has given, on occasion, permission to use the term, but you have to contact those companies directly for permission.)  

Same goes with Disney… DON’T DO IT!  I’m warning you now.

As a rule of thumb, if a random stranger on the street can recognize the image, logo, phrase, etc. in a split second, you shouldn’t be selling it, without permission.

Print on Demand

There has been some debate among Etsy sellers for years about whether POD should qualify as handmade. And as it stands today, Etsy says yes.  POD is allowed on the marketplace.  

woman holding coffee mug

Photo Credit

So, what is POD?  POD simply means you have a part in the design process and contract out the production side of the manufacturing to a company that will create the item “on demand”.  

Ex.  You designed a t-shirt graphic.  Printful is your POD.  You connect Printful to your Etsy shop, or other e-commerce platform such as Shopify, and when an order for the t-shirt is purchased, the order information is sent directly over to the POD company.  The POD prints the graphic on the shirt, packages it and ships it out to the buyer.  Done!  

POD is great option for designers and artists who don’t want to deal with the hassle of inventory nor the shipping side of online business. 

Artists can design their artwork and upload it directly into the POD software, create listings and their done.  Other than the occasional questions from buyers and marketing, the Etsy seller has a hands-off approach with this business model.  

If you’re a designer and looking for that type of business, POD is a great way to go.

Printables and Digital Downloads

Printables and digital downloads is also another great hands-off business model that falls under the Handmade Products category. 


Etsy – “Digital Downloads” Search Results

With printables and digital products, the seller typically makes the products once, creates the listing with the digital file(s) attached, lists it for sale and can sell it over and over without having to recreate the item for each buyer.  Printables and digital products are called evergreen products for this reason.

These type products are also great forms of passive income, once the initial product creation is done.

Printables and other digital items have become super popular for graphic designers and other artists.  This printables could include artwork, templates, graphics and so much more. 

Etsy also now allows Digital Downloads to be “made to order”.  This would be things like custom printable wedding invitations where the seller would input all the wedding information for the buyer into their already-designed digital template and simply email sit to the buyer once complete. 

Some buyers like the idea of these made-to-order digital products as it can be a huge money saver and the buyer doesn’t need any technical skills to adjust the item on their own so Etsy has recently made adjustments to allow for this product type as well.

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Another question many people looking to sell on Etsy wonder is, Can I sell items that are not handmade on Etsy?  

Yes.  You can sell non-handmade items on Etsy, but they do need to fall into either the craft supplies category or the vintage category.

Craft Supplies

If you are considering an Etsy shop, I gander to say you have the crafty bone in your body so you know what a craft supply is.  Beads, ribbon, fabric, paper, yarn, and on and on.

stones and beads

Photo Credit

Etsy allows sellers on the platform to also be suppliers for other Etsy businesses, crafters and makers.  Party supplies could also fit into this category as well as possibly the handmade product category. 

You can check out what items are selling in the Craft Supplies category for additional ideas.


Etsy defines vintage as an item that is at least 20 years old. As of this writing, it’s 2023, so if it wasn’t made in this century, you’re good to go.  Items like old furniture, clothing, jewelry, etc.  I also think of vintage as if it’s older me, it’s vintage.  

old vintage camera and photos

Photo Credit

Etsy may require you to provide proof of its vintage status so be sure to have on hand things like manufacturer and manufacturing date, etc. Your buyers will also want to know this information as well so include it in your listing descriptions. You can read more about the Vintage Policy here.

Vintage sellers may have a little harder time gaining traction on Etsy as there is usually only one of each item so a listing won’t get a boost due to a recent sale since there was only one available, but with a good following of buyers, you can have a very successful vintage shop. 

See what’s available in the Vintage category now.

Use caution if you are selling an item that is “vintage inspired”.  These items would not fall under the Vintage category umbrella if they are not over 20 years old.  It’s totally ok to make “retro” designs and be inspired by vintage themes like the 1970s, but if you are creating it as a new product today, it would need to be listed in the handmade or craft supplies category, not vintage. 

Knowing what you can and cannot sell on Etsy is a must before you begin your journey on the path to being an Etsy seller.  You’ll have to take a moment and decide what type of products you would like to make, then decide if that product fits into a category that is allowed on Etsy’s marketplace.

If Etsy’s not quite your cup or tea, check out this article on other places to sell your products online and offline online.  

If the items you want to sell don’t happen to fit into the guidelines Etsy established, then have no fear, there are still tons of ways to sell your products, but Etsy just might not be the right fit for you right now.  
If you would like a list of specific items you can sell on Etsy, click here to see my list of 121 Product Ideas You Can Sell On Etsy article.

Are you thinking about starting your own Etsy shop??  Use this link to get 40 FREE listing credits!!

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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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