Types of Physical Product Businesses for Stay-At-Home Moms
Starting a physical product business is a great solution for moms who want to earn an income while staying home with their kids full-time. If you are creative and like to work with your hands and solve problems, you may be drawn to a physical product business.
I like big bows and I cannot lie
When I was a little girl, my mom loved to make bows. She’s make me the biggest most 80’s hair bows ever (late 80’s, guys, I’m young and hip and cool, I promise). Then she would sell them. In 1989 there was no internet or social media. It was word of mouth, unless she wanted to go selling them to stores and take out ads in the paper. She didn’t care to build out that business to make it a smashing success. This was all fine, because that wasn’t her goal. Her goal was a creative outlet and the fact that other people liked her work enough to buy it was just icing on the cake.
The bows were cute and my mom is a creative crafting genius (always has been) and I can only imagine what her world would have looked like if she could have been a young mom in 2018. I guarantee you she would have had a thriving custom bow business (or something like it) on Etsy. Her ratings would be flooded with 5 stars and thank you’s. Lucky for you, we are moms of littles now. Today. Our products can have an exposure all around the world.
You can scale a product based business
There are so many fulfilling aspects to owning a product based business. My favorite is probably the ability to scale the business. Because scaling means making more money. If you can sell 1 item, you can sell 10. If you can sell 10 items, you can sell 100. So on and so forth. If you can keep up with the production, you can make your product-based business as big as you want.
Types of product-based businesses
I’ll start with this, because I know so many stay-at-home moms who have product based businesses where they sell items they made themselves. My friend Katie sells the most beautiful custom hand-lettered prints on Etsy. I have another friend who sews baby-related items and sells them. These businesses are great because they are a creative outlet on top of being an opportunity to bring in some additional income for your family. The only problem is that your income is directly correlated with the amount of time you put into it because you are responsible for making the items. The bonus is that you can set it up to make them per order, so the investment is rather low. You only need to buy supplies if someone places an order (though it is nice to have some stock in your inventory for busier seasons).
These would be items you designed, but had manufactured. There is obviously a larger investment here than you would have if you were making the individual items one-by-one. Here you would make a design, source a manufacturer to make your designs a reality and then you would be in charge of all the shipping and logistics. I have a side hustle where I sell enamel pins for people who are RVing enthusiasts (weird, I know). I did physically make my pins, but I did design them and had them made by a manufacturer. Then I designed and created the packaging and control the client experience. I’ve seen people do this with everything from glasses to mugs to clothing and pretty much anything you can think of to create. Sara Blakely started Spanx with $5000 and a design. She had to find a manufacturer who would be willing to make her design a reality and then she ran the business out of her apartment until she could afford not to. Now she owns a billion dollar company that started in her apartment. So think big, mamas.
Amazon FBA is Amazon’s fulfillment program. Basically you can sell anything. Like almost literally anything and pay Amazon to store it and ship it when people order it. This is awesome because you don’t have to spend your days taping up packages and printing out shipping labels and driving to the post office. You get to stay home and run the other parts of the business, and watch as your product flies off their shelf with the ability to ship to your clients in 2 days. There are so many resources out there on the internet about this, so go ahead and google “How to start an Amazon FBA business” and you’ll get where you want to go.
Here is another way to sell physical products to people without the hassle of shipping and logistics. Drop shipping is where you have an online shop where you have products that you don’t ever touch. It is your responsibility to build and market the site, but the products themselves are manufactured, stored and shipped by another company. The profit margin on these items are smaller than other product-based businesses, but you assume almost no risk. For many drop shipping companies the products are only made as they are ordered and you only pay for the items if someone orders them. I’ve done this before and will likely open another shop sometime in the future, because it is a great way to bring in extra income for your family.
Are you the kind of person who finds the best stuff at thrift stores and garage sales? Upcycling or flipping products could be for you. This is where you would find new or gently used items at low cost and then sell them for a profit. I have a neighbor who does this with scooters and dirt bikes. He finds them for cheap from people who don’t know the value or didn’t take the best care of them then spends a little money fixing them up and resells them for the value he knows they are worth. You could also go find vintage clothing at thrift stores, then stylize them and photograph them beautifully which raises the perceived value by a lot and resell the same item for much more than you purchased them for, just because you were able to help your customer visualize the worth of the item. My sister-in-law goes to thrift stores and then resells stuff on poshmark frequently. She’ll casually share that she made $300 that day off stuff she invested $80 to purchase in the first place, giving her $220 profit. This is actually a super fun way to make money!