Manufacturing business ideas

51 Ways to sell your own products

Design and make a selection of fancy dog collars and coats.
Items like these can be made from various fabrics and leathers. Produce a range of sizes for different breeds of dog. Have them carded and packaged in cellophane bags for display. Sell through pet shops and mail order advertising.

Design and make knitwear for babies and young children.
Research current trends to see what sells best. Consider using knitting machines for producing items in small quantities and sell through baby shops, childrenswear outlets and by mail order.

Make coffee tables in wood using attractive glass-covered tabletop designs.
For example, use reprints of ancient geographical maps or floral designs. Alternatively, use small attractive wall tiles or a mosaic design. Sell your finished products through local furniture retail outlets.

Make and sell pine bathroom fitments.
Items such as towel rails, toothbrush and toilet paper holders, bathroom cabinets and even bath panels are not beyond the skills of a good amateur carpenter. Kitchen accessories such as spice racks and plate racks are also worth considering. The nice thing about pine is that it can be stained in a variety of colours to suit a customer`s colour scheme.

Design a range of comfy beds for pets.
Although there are various designs already available, you may be able to come up with something new that might catch on and find a space in the market. Sell your designs by mail order and through pet stores when firmly established.

Use wood logs to make rustic bird tables, bird boxes and feeders.
Look at the designs already on the market and make yours better or different. Set up a small production line to make them in quantity and supply garden centres direct. If you`re not too ambitious, and just want to make some occasional extra cash, sell them at car boot sales.

Design and make colourful quilts for children.
Use your imagination and come up with a range of designs that you think will sell well. Ask a number of children what kind of design they would like to have on their quilts. Combine their ideas to produce something new and exciting. Sell your designs by mail order, through shops, or your own market stall. If you can`t make the quilts yourself, employ part-time workers to make them for you.

Produce your own range of electrical leads.
Find a supplier or manufacturer who can supply you in bulk at discounted prices. Put together sets of extension leads in various sizes and number of sockets. e.g. long leads with one socket for gardeners and do-it-yourselfers, 2-way and 4-way sockets for indoor electrical appliances etc. If you`re a whizz at soldering, you might also consider producing a variety of audio and video leads. Package your products in cellophane bags with a stapled header card advertising your product and business name. Sell through hardware stores or market stall.

Produce a series of audio disks that feature copyright free music.
These would sell to amateur video makers and businesses such as restaurants who play background music. Promote your recordings as mood music and ensure that each track creates the right type of atmosphere for it`s intended use. Instrumentals work best. Advertise your CD`s and cassettes in video magazines and suitable trade publications.

Design and manufacture wooden souvenir items to sell through gift shops.
Items such as letter racks, book-ends, coasters, place mats, etc. Incorporate photographs of scenic beauty or well known landmarks into the design.

Set up a business making a range of self-supporting hammocks.
These can be made using strong metal or wooden A-frames linked together. Sell by mail order or supply garden centres at trade prices. Have illustrated leaflets printed for each model.

Start a business making fibreglass models for commercial use.
These models would be used for promotional purposes. For example, a large ice-cream cone could be used alongside the company sign of an ice-cream shop or manufacturer. Or how about a large bowling ball to represent a ten-pin bowling alley. The possibilities are numerous. If you think you have the skills or knowledge to set up this kind of business then make a business plan first and do some market research. Customers can be found through canvassing commercial and industrial outlets.

Design and make fashion clothes.
If you`re artistic with a good fashion sense, you can design your own range of clothes for men or women or both. Have your designs photographed using attractive models and sell them direct from your own website on the internet. Or through shops who are willing to sell your designs. Suggested reading: Pattern-making for Fashion Design

Design and manufacture giant soft toys.
Children love to see giant teddy bears, tigers and elephants, and the multitude of other possibilities. And although not all parents are willing to pay the extra price for the extra-large versions, toy stores love to display them. Produce a set of designs and samples. Create a catalogue and price list, and send them out to prospective buyers.

Manufacture imitation wooden beams.
Obtain a small number of real wooden beams, preferably oak, and make fibreglass moulds from each one. These moulds can be filled with polyurethane foam, with a suitable colour additive, and used to reproduce copies of the original. You can then sell them by mail order or through selected diy centres.

Start a business making shower curtains.
Using a selection of colourful waterproof materials, aluminium tubing, and plastic curtain rings, you could quite easily manufacture your own brand of shower curtains. Poles used to support the curtain should be adjustable to fit different size bathrooms. These can be made similar to the extendable clothes poles found in some wardrobes. Package your designs in a box and sell them through diy shops and bathroom centres.

Design and make stencil kits for d.i.y. decorators.
The type used for adding flowery patterns etc., on walls. Check to see what the latest designs are on the market and try to come up with something different and original. Package and sell your own brand of kits through d.i.y. hardware and wallpaper stores.

Start your own business designing, making and selling bath robes for men and women.
Design them with a special motif. Contact all clothes shops and department stores that sell nightwear to see if they will stock your designs.

Design your own range of personalised mugs.
The type which have a variety of popular names printed on them. Have yours produced by a pottery firm who can supply and print your designs in specified quantities. Find a supplier of suitable display racks or a firm that can make them up for you. Have them placed in gift shops and other suitable outlets.

Design and make ottomans for children’s bedrooms.
Use colourful fabrics that appeal to children. Ottomans make excellent storage places for bed linen or as a place to store the childrens` toys. Aim to sell them through furniture stores and shops that specialise in bedroom furniture and accessories.

Start a business making and selling waterproof cushions for garden furniture.
Many types of garden seats are purchased without cushions included, which often means they aren`t as comfortable to sit on as they could be. A business selling custom-made waterproof cushions should be able to find plenty of customers. You could also make replacement covers for sun lounges, which become too worn or dirty to clean. Advertise in home and garden magazines and sell by mail order and through local advertising.

Design and manufacture work overalls.
If you have experience in the clothing business, either through factory work or shop management, you should have enough inside knowledge to know what equipment is required to set up a small production line in turning out overalls suitable for various type of businesses. Orders can be taken for custom-made designs, including sewn-on business logos or identity tags. Start by canvassing local production firms. Expand the business by taking on extra staff and purchasing more machinery.

Make and sell fancy dress animal costumes.
These could be full-size adult or children’s costumes in a variety of designs. Costumes can be made for pantomines or carnival processions, as well as private fancy dress parties and other functions. Some costumes can be hired out, as well as being sold. Advertise your service in the Yellow Pages, on the internet and through magazines specialising in leisure and entertainment pursuits.

Start a business selling loose cushion covers and arm rest covers for three-piece suites.
An assortment of attractive designs can be made, either for individual custom-made orders or a catalogue of standard non-exclusive designs. Custom-made orders will obviously be more expensive, as standard designs can be made from material bought in bulk at higher discounts. Advertise your service in local newspapers and through mail order.

Manufacture and supply a range of wooden gates in various sizes.
These could be tall side and back door gates, small single garden gates, small double driveway gates, as well as large garage gates and even field gates. You don`t need to be an expert carpenter to get started, you can employ someone else to do the elbow work while you organise the marketing side, getting orders through canvassing and advertising. After all, most successful businesses are built up through good managerial skills, not through doing everything yourself.

Make and sell denim clothes and accessories.
If you`re a dab hand at sewing, consider making denim bags, hats, purses, money belts, shopping bags or even waistcoats out of denim. Items made to a high standard will sell through clothes shops and market stalls. Canvass suitable outlets when you have a set of samples and designs to show.

Make and sell wooden coat racks with brass hooks.
Here`s a simple product that almost anyone can do with a few simple tools. Pieces of wood about 2ft x 6in (60cm x 15cm) and chamfered edges can be stained or coloured and have four brass hooks screwed to them to make rather elegant hall coat racks. Similar designs can be used in various sizes and shapes for different rooms. A further possibility is to make upright coat and hat stands in a modern design using 2 x 2 timber. With a little imagination new design ideas can be dreamt up to produce something out of the ordinary. One idea that springs to mind, which I saw in a catalogue recently, was a vertical coat stand that was made and painted to look like a giant pencil. A great idea for a children’s room.

Make and sell big soft hand puppets for children.
Use your imagination to create a range of your own designs. Like the Muppets and Sesame Street, your designs could vary in size from medium to very large. Approach toy stores to sell them in quantity or by mail order through selected magazines.

Design and make humorous novelty caps to sell through souvenir shops.
These might include way out designs such as giant eyes growing out on stalks, or a miniature oasis with palm trees. Let your imagination run riot. Simpler designs with funny messages could also be added to the range.

Start a business making and supplying leather belts to mens and ladies fashion shops.
Belts in different colours with a variety of buckle types could be made in different styles. If you have never tried making leathergoods before, contact a craft supplier to find out what is involved and what materials are available.

Make and sell wood dog kennels and scratch posts for cats.
These are items that are not too difficult to make by someone with a little woodworking experience. But they are also the type of things that are always in demand by pet owners who are quite happy to pay for them rather than attempt to make them themselves. Other wood items such as rabbit hutches and bird cages could also be considered. Sell your designs through pet stores or by mail order from advertisements placed in pet magazines.

Design and make doggie quilts for dog baskets.
For someone who prefers sewing to working with wood, here`s another idea for pet lovers. For dogs (or cats) with their own basket, a soft warm quilt is one way to pamper them, using designs which add a nice touch. For instance, a quilt for dogs could have a cover with printed pictures of bones or various breeds of dogs on it. Other designs can be left to your imagination. You could sell your products by mail order or through pet stores.

Design, make and sell maternity wear for expectant mothers.
Here is an area of clothing where your designs will be up against less competition, but could still be sold through numerous outlets throughout the country. It`s also an opportunity to provide good designs by mail order through selected magazines, with a more easily identified target readership.

Make and sell leg warmers, scarves and woollen hats for children.
Using colourful designs which appeal to children, your products can be sold through children’s clothes shops and department stores with a children’s clothing section. Start small selling through local shops at first, then if successful, expand your business by taking on extra workers and more efficient machinery.

Make and sell wooden stilts for children.
Here`s a simple idea for anyone who likes making things from wood. Children love to play on stilts, and to make it more interesting you might try to come up with some unique and colourful designs, rather than plain wood. For example, painting black and yellow stripes on them like the colours of a honey bee, or painting lizard scales on them, or alternatively, try adding something extra such as flashing lights which look great in the dark.

Design and make wood climbing frames for children.
Try to produce inventive designs that encourage children to use their imagination. For example, some frames could be made in the shape of an aeroplane, or a rocketship. Paint them in attractive colours and sell them through a mail order catalogue.

Start a business making and selling mirrors.
You could start by putting mirrors into various frames of standard sizes to enable you to purchase stocks of mirror glass in discount quantities. Sell them direct from a stall or at trade prices to various shops, if you can get big enough orders. Further possibilities might include the supply and fitting of large mirrors into peoples bathrooms and bedrooms to create the illusion of larger rooms. You might also consider finding a trade supplier of mirrored wardrobes and supply and fit these as well.

Manufacture a range of headboards for beds in traditional and classic designs.
Padded headboards and wooden headboards are probably the easiest type to begin with. Also consider expanding into making complete beds such as single and double slatted pine beds, bunk beds and even four-poster beds. An industrial unit would be ideal for such a business. Start by making contacts and taking orders from small furniture shops and work your way up.

Design and produce a range of novelty candle holders.
Various designs can be made from wood, metal or resin, depending on your preference. Sell your designs through craft suppliers or make your own candles as well and sell through gift shops.

Make and sell wedding dresses.
A talented seamstress could make a good part-time income from creating high quality wedding dresses working from home. Designs can be based on the customers own individual taste from a range of existing designs or custom-made. You can either work for yourself or for an established bridalwear shop. If you`re really ambitious you could always make it your goal to open your own shop and work full-time.

Design, make and sell aprons in various styles.
Cookery aprons, woodworking aprons, waitresses` aprons are some of the immediate options that come to mind.. Designs can be frilly, chequered, humorous or practical. But the main point is, there`s a wide range of possibilities. For someone with sewing experience this could be the perfect small business to set up. Products could be sold through various shops or direct to businesses such as hotels and restaurants who require these items of clothing.

Make and sell oven gloves and ironing board covers.
Simple ideas, but when sold in quantity to retail outlets, a small business could easily be built up into a very profitable business in a fairly short time.

Start a business manufacturing stone slabs and wall bricks for gardens.
For someone with plenty of energy, this is a business which can be started part-time, at little cost, and quickly develop into a lucrative full-time business. To get started you simply need a few moulds and some raw materials for mixing and casting. As a place to work, a large garage or small rented unit would be ideal to start with. It can get a little bit messy, so you`ll need a place where you`re not going to be disturbed. Your finished products can be sold direct to the public from an illustrated leaflet, and by advertising a delivery service. Or when you can reach a regular high volume of work, through various building and gardening supply firms.

Make and sell novelty clocks.
It may surprise you that making your own clock designs is not as complicated as it sounds. Inexpensive clock mechanisms, complete with hands can be purchased and used in any type of picture design you can think of. There`s already been star trek clocks, exotic car clocks and numerous other designs made using simple flat picture backgrounds on a wooden base. Plates with pictures have also been used to produce clocks on plates. If you can think up something new and interesting, theres no reason why you couldn`t make and sell your own range of clock designs.

Design and produce a range of car seat covers and car boot liners.
Once a set of basic templates are produced to suit a variety of seat designs, it`s mainly a choice of which materials to use. Industrial sewing machinery will be required and a reliable source of material suppliers. Sell your products direct by mail through illustrated display advertisements in selected car magazines.

Produce and sell home decor products in plaster.
Items such as ceiling roses, doorway arches, columns, statuettes and even fire surrounds can be produced using plaster moulds. Check the internet for suppliers of equipment and materials. Create your own catalogue of products and sell by mail order and local advertising.

Design and make small fluffy animals that double as air fresheners for cars.
Design them so that they hang on a chord or spring and stick to car windows using rubber suckers. Sell them via ebay or on a wholesale basis direct to car accessory shops and petrol stations.

Make and sell your own brand of honey or jam.
Design your own label, find a reliable supplier of glass jars, package and sell your products through small retail outlets until you can establish a reputable business and good profits. If you want to expand further, and sell a higher volume through supermarkets, plough your profits back into the business by setting up a production line and taking on extra staff as well as investing in suitable machinery. Suggested reading: Jams, Preserves and Other Edible Delights

Make and sell your own brand of sauces.
As an alternative to the previous example, you might try producing your own sauce mixture, and package it in bottles. Obviously, as with any form of food manufacturing, a good knowledge of food hygiene and preparation is essential. Follow the same procedure as previously described by canvassing small retail outlets first, then larger food stores when turnover reaches an appropriate level.

Set up a business making and selling small wood products.
For example, tidy trays, tool boxes, bread boards, candle holders, mug trees etc. Using a suitable woodturning lathe and a few power tools, a capable woodworker could quickly set up a small manufacturing business turning out products in various types of wood for selling through hardware stores and gift shops. With a range of high quality products you might also consider supplying a chain of larger stores. Supermarkets and department stores usually have a section which sells these type of products.

Make and sell upholstered footstools.
Another idea for the woodworker who also has some experience of upholstery. Not as popular as they used to be, but still a saleable commodity. Good quality designs can be sold through small furniture stores and department stores.