Everything You Need to Start a Customization Business This Year

Everything You Need to Start a Customization Business This Year

If it feels like everyone and their cousin is buying personalized products these days, that’s because they are.

These days, we want everything customized. From shirts to cutting boards to tumblers and even our shampoo, it’s fun to have things tailor-made.

Around half of Gen Z and millennials said they planned to give a personalized gift in 2023. And the global personalized gifts market is nearing $4 billion, which is a lot of money to go around.

Perdonalized gift

All that to say: Now is the perfect time to start your DIY customization business. Whether you plan to customize tumblers, shirts, home items, or other creations, you’ll need a few things to get started.

That’s why, in this article, we’ll help you start your own customization business in two steps. First, we’ll share the top 4 customization methods so you can pick the right one for you. Then, we’ll share everything you need to prepare to get started.

And as a bonus, we reached out to our MakerFlo community of crafters and asked some business owners to share their experiences with us. You’ll find their insights throughout the article!

What Kinds of Things Do People Customize?

The crafters in our community create custom tumblers, shirts, home decor, cutting boards, coasters, badges, keychains, photo gifts, wind spinners, mousepads, glassware, pens, car fresheners, corn hole sets, coin holders, and more!

“Its always an awesome feeling seeing the customer's reaction to their personalized item that’s been crafted just for them.” —Shannon Allen, owner of Bling Your Things in Seminole, FL

Things to customize

How Much Money Can You Make?

The key to making money with a customization business lies in the way you set your price. If you can use affordable materials and work efficiently, then create a unique product that people are willing to pay for, you can make a significant profit per item.

Finding a profitable product can take time and effort, but the great thing about customization is that you can try new things until you find what works with your skills, matches your passion, and serves the needs of your local community.

Related: How to Start a Successful Tumbler Business: 23 Expert Tips

We asked our survey participants how much they charged for each type of product. Here’s what we found:

  • Sublimation tumblers: The sublimation crafters we surveyed price their tumblers anywhere from $10 to $55. From that, they turn a profit of $5 to $40 per cup. Some establish a certain percentage for their profit margin, ranging from 20% to 40%.
  • Sublimation shirts: One business sells shirts for $20 each.
  • Other sublimated items: Other prices our crafters mentioned include $15 for four coasters, $10 for a mousepad, and $5 to $20 for wind spinners, depending on size.
  • Epoxy tumblers: The crafters we surveyed charge anywhere from $10 to $35 or more for an epoxy tumbler. At the upper range of prices, they can earn up to $25 in profit per tumbler. Rhinestone tumblers, a type of epoxy tumbler, earned businesses more money on average. A couple of businesses we heard from sell custom rhinestone tumblers for $75 to $150. That generates $65 to $85 in profit per cup.
  • Customized pens: One business mentioned selling epoxy or sublimated pens for $10 each. They offer a discount when buying in bulk.
  • Laser-engraved tumblers: Businesses reported prices of $25 to $50 for a laser-engraved tumbler. One business reported a profit margin of 30% to 40% per tumbler.
  • Other laser-engraved items: One business sells engraved keychains for $5 to $8 and coasters for $6. Another adds a laser fee of $10 to $20 to the product price. Another includes a 70% profit margin on all laser-engraved items.

Please keep in mind that these answers may not be representative of the entire market. These are individual responses. Prices may vary widely depending on the crafter’s location, product type, and season.

“I love getting to use my creativity to make items others enjoy.” —Jennifer Lanier, owner of Crafty Jen in Holly Springs, GA

Starting a Sublimation Printing Business

starting a sublimation printing business

What it is: Sublimation printing is one of the simplest crafting methods out there.

You simply print the image with a sublimation printer, then transfer it onto an item with heat. The ink seeps into the material, and the paper peels away without a trace.

This method creates some of the most beautiful and photorealistic designs, which you won’t see with most other printing methods. The downside is that sublimation ink only works with polyester materials, poly blends, or items with a sublimation coating.

Learn more: Read our beginner’s guide to sublimation printing to understand the ins and outs of this method. Also, learn why we recommend buying a true sublimation printer over a converted one.

What you can make: Some of the most common items made with sublimation are tumblers, t-shirts, hats, and flat items like tea towels and coasters. See more sublimation ideas in this article.

What to prepare for a sublimation printing business:

  • We recommend our Epson F170 Sublimation Kit, which includes:
    • The Epson SureColor F170 Sublimation Printer
    • Sublimation Paper
    • Sublimation Ink
    • Heat-Resistant Tape
    • Heat-Resistant Glove
    • 12 Starter Blanks for customizing
  • MakerFlo Sublimation Oven or Heat Press
  • More Sublimation Blanks that you want to practice with
  • Butcher Paper (optional, for pressing in a heat press)
  • Lint Roller (to remove lint and dust before transferring)

[product=epson-f170-sublimation-bundle]Pick up the Epson F170 Sublimation Kit that sets you up with a printer, supplies, and blanks.[/product]

Want to get started with sublimation for a more affordable price? Pick up our Sublimation Mini Starter Kit and Mini Heat Press and get started for less!

Tip: If you want to make larger items or invest in a larger machine that can grow with your business, we recommend the Epson F570 Pro Sublimation Kit!

“Personalization is what makes a gift really special. People with uncommon names or specific hobbies may have a hard time finding items that suit them and their lifestyle, so it’s nice to be able to offer that.” —Little Ms. Crafty Pants in Bosque Farms, NM

Starting a Laser Engraving Business

Starting a lazer engraved business

What it is: Laser engraving is a powerful crafting method that allows you to etch picture-perfect designs into metal, plastic, wood, and more.

The amazing thing about this method is that engraved designs can’t scratch or fade. They last much longer than other types of printing, and they look super cool, too!

Learn more: Check out our beginner’s guide to laser engraving.

What you can make: Some of the most common items businesses engrave are powder-coated tumblers, cutting boards, glassware, jewelry, and more. Get inspired for what’s possible with our mega-list of laser engraving and cutting ideas.

What to prepare for a laser engraving business:

[product=xtool-f1-fastest-portable-laser-engraver-with-ir-diode-laser]This high-speed and portable laser engraver is perfect for a new engraving business.[/product]

“I love crafting and doing things in my own time. It keeps my mind focused.” —Class with Sass Design LLC in Atoka, Oklahoma

Starting a DTF & DTG Printing Business

Starting a DTF & DTG Printing Business

What it is: DTG and DTF printing, also known as direct-to-garment and direct-to-film printing, are both exploding worldwide. Using a specialized printer, you simply print a digital image, either onto a transfer film or directly onto a garment.

They still require pretreatment and other steps to make them work. But they make beautiful, vibrant prints on many different materials and items.

As an alternative, you can buy pre-made DTF prints and simply press them onto your object of choice!

Learn more: Read our beginner’s guides to DTF printing and DTG printing.

What you can make: Practically anything. DTF can be used to make tumblers, clothing, decorative items, and more. DTG is used on fabrics like shirts, pants, and bags.

What to prepare for a DTF/DTG printing business (if planning to print from scratch):

If you will be buying DTF transfers, you only need a heat press, DTF-friendly blanks, and butcher paper.

Add the Epson F1070 to your cart

Add the Epson F1070 to your cart

“I love helping people create something memorable. Making their vision come to life so they have something they are going to love to give someone or keep for themselves.” —Lindsay Smith, owner of Etch You Designs in Grantsville, UT

Starting an Epoxy Crafting Business

Starting an Epoxy Craft Business

What it is: Epoxy resin is a special type of liquid adhesive that dries into solid objects.

We have quite a few epoxy crafters in our Official MakerFlo Facebook Community. That’s probably because working with epoxy is so much fun!

Learn more: Learn more with our intro to epoxy crafting, our step-by-step guide to making a glitter tumbler, and our list of epoxy ideas.

What you can make: You can cover things in it, like tumblers, pens, furniture, and more! You can make custom objects with molds and acrylic blanks and customize everything with glitter and pigments.

What to prepare for an epoxy craft business:

[product=flopoxy-epoxy-resin-hardener]Grab our specially-formulated epoxy resin kit, made with crafters in mind![/product]

“I love that I can schedule my days to fit around my son’s busy school schedule and take vacations whenever I want or need to.” —Nicki Ann, owner of Wild Cactus Co in Ennis, TX

🤩 More Starter Kits to Play With

Check Out These Starter Kits Under $150

Want to try a new crafting method without making a big investment? Here are some more fun craft kits, all under $150!

UV Resin Starter Kit

[product=uv-resin-starter-kit-1]Start making your own resin crafts with the UV resin starter kit.[/product]

👉 Learn more about UV resin

Sublimation Mini Starter Kit

[product=sublimation-mini-starter-kit]This mini sublimation kit includes all the supplies to press your own designs—no printer required![/product]

Hydro-Dip Starter Kit

[product=hydro-dip-starter-kit]Try your hand at hydro dipping with this starter kit![/product]

👉 Learn more about hydro dipping

“I love seeing customers faces light up when they see their custom orders.” —Jessica Wissler, owner of Wissler’s Crafty Wonders in Northglenn, CO

Final Thoughts

Customizing your own products is so much fun! And it can also be the start of a successful small business. We hope this list has shown you what’s possible and given you a clear checklist for setting up your own workshop! We can’t wait to see what you make ✨

Share your creations with us inside our Official MakerFlo Facebook Community, or tag us on Instagram or TikTok @makerflocrafts! We’ll see you there 🤩

Finally, we’d like to give a special thanks to these amazing crafters who took the time to share their insights with us. Thank you! ✨

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