Get Started
Printful Blog logo
Creative services
Photography services

Blog / Ecommerce platform guide / How to Sell Mugs on Etsy: Your Guide to Success

Ecommerce platform guide

Printful Blog

Master the art of ecommerce

Launch your own print-on-demand business

Sign up with Printful

No upfront fees • No order minimums • 345 premium products

Printful Blog

Blog / Ecommerce platform guide / How to Sell Mugs on Etsy: Your Guide to Success

Ecommerce platform guide

How to Sell Mugs on Etsy: Your Guide to Success

How to Sell Mugs on Etsy: Your Guide to Success
Agnese Zimele

By Agnese Zimele

10 min read

Have you ever looked at your mug while sipping coffee and thought about its design? Would you make it different, more interesting, more personalized?

If you answered yes, it’s your cue to start selling custom mugs online. After all, personalized mugs have long been a popular way for people to express themselves and give others a special token of their love.

This demand is unlikely to fade away soon. With print-on-demand services and large online marketplaces like Etsy right at your fingertips, you can quickly launch a custom mug business and reach thousands of customers worldwide.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a quick guide on how to sell mugs on Etsy, from exploring your niche to designing and successfully listing your mugs on the platform.

Is Etsy a good place to sell mugs?

To decide if Etsy is the right platform for selling mugs, it’s important to assess both the competition within this category and the demand for similar products on the site..

Etsy is one of the most popular online marketplaces for selling custom products. It boasts nearly 90M buyers and 5.4M sellers worldwide.

When looking at the search results for the keyword mug, you can find over 2M listings, while personalized mug amounts to 288K items, with many of them having a 4.9 to 5.0-star rating.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Etsy

This makes Etsy a highly competitive but attractive marketplace for custom tea or coffee mugs. With optimized product titles and descriptions, competitive pricing, and outstanding customer service, you can build a decent customer base and run a successful Etsy shop.

Read also: How To Sell Mugs On Amazon: A Complete Guide (2024)

Printful logo
man with jacket
Printful logo
Create and sell custom products online
Let’s go

How to sell mugs on Etsy in 7 steps

Are you excited about selling your own custom mugs online but don’t know how to go about it? We’ve compiled a 7-step guide that includes everything you need to know about how to sell mugs on Etsy.

Let’s dive in and get your store up and running in no time.

1. Identify your niche

The first step in developing your online mug business involves defining your target market niche. You can’t serve all customers at once, so think about which groups seem more appealing and profitable to you.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Etsy

A good rule of thumb is to go through popular keywords on Etsy and see which ones are doing well in sales and customer reviews. For instance, one of the first keywords that pops up when typing coffee mug is coffee mug funny. You can start from here and try other themes that come to your mind.

Focusing on holiday-inspired designs will bring you seasonal sales, while name mugs will be a great gift choice all year round. You can also create mugs for fans of particular TV shows, famous artwork lovers, or couples who’d love to drink coffee from matching cups.

Just remember to use the existing designs only as a source of inspiration. Copying them will lead to copyright infringement and the subsequent end of your Etsy business. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules protecting intellectual property before creating your designs.

2. Research competitor designs and pricing

Once you’ve defined your target niche, it’s time to get deeper into competitor research. Look at Etsy listings under your topic and analyze the best-selling and trending products.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the designs and listings available now? Can you spot opportunities where your products could outperform the competition? Maybe there are particular things customers especially value or, alternatively, there are areas where their expectations are not yet met.

a collage of images of mugsSource: Etsy

Another aspect of competitor research is pricing. Of course, you’ll want to earn money by selling mugs, but you shouldn’t price your products way above the market level. Customers won’t overpay if they can get similar coffee mugs for less.

Use search results for guidance and jot down a price range you should aim for. Consider shipping costs as well, and leave some room for potential discounts. You’ll be able to refine the price once you know all the production costs and Etsy fees.

3. Select mugs for your designs

During your competitor research, you probably noticed that certain prints and designs are more commonly used on specific types of mugs. For instance, mugs made of durable materials will be most often used outdoors and would be suitable for a beautiful image of mountains.

The three most popular types of mugs are ceramic, travel, and enamel mugs. They are all available through print-on-demand services like Printful, so you don’t have to worry about production or inventory and can select the mugs that best suit your niche.

Ceramic mugs

Ceramic mugs are among the most popular coffee mugs, and there’s a reason why. They are fairly sturdy, versatile, and good at preserving the heat of your drink.

While heavier than other materials, these mugs are comfortable to hold. They don’t impart any additional flavor and look great with different designs.

Travel mugs

A travel mug is the right choice if you’re targeting frequent travelers or those who enjoy drinks on the go.

Made of stainless steel, they can hold both hot and cold drinks. They’re usually larger than regular mugs and have a spill-proof lid, making them easy to carry around.

Enamel mugs

Enamel mugs are similar to travel mugs but more lightweight, durable, and Instagrammable. Enamel mugs will speak to the hearts of outdoor lovers.

They’re designed to retain heat, but may also be trickier to hold as the handle gets hot instantly. Enamel mugs are likely to be the preferred choice for frequent hikers who prioritize saving weight and space, and who don’t want to worry about their mugs breaking or the print fading too soon.

Printful logo
man with jacket
Printful logo
Create and sell custom products online
Let’s go

4. Create designs

At this point, you have an idea for your mug designs and target customers  on Etsy. Now, it’s time to bring those ideas into reality.

If you’re not a designer at heart, hire a freelancer or try a web app like Canva, which has a vast database of different templates, icons, and images for creating designs. You can also use royalty-free photos from Shutterstock or Unsplash and add some text or your logo. 

To avoid extra steps, you can go straight to the Printful Design Maker where you can play around with colors, patterns, images, and graphics to create your mug designs.

Just rememberwhether you use a royalty-free image or create one from scratch, make sure it’s high-quality. Otherwise, it will appear blurry or incomprehensible when printed on a mug.

a screenshot of a screenSource: Printful Design Maker

You can also use the Printful Design Maker to create mockups and see your design on different mugs in various sizes. It will help eliminate poor prints before production. 

Partnering with a print-on-demand and dropshipping company like Printful has a few more substantial benefits. Not only can you forget about production and inventory management, but you can also order a few mug samples to test your products in real life and make sure they’re up to your standards.

5. Publish listings

You have your design files tested and refined—you’re ready to show your creations to the world and start selling your mugs on Etsy.

Here’s what you need to do:

Create an Etsy store

You need to open a shop on Etsy to sell mugs or other products. First, create an Etsy profile if you don’t have one yet. After that, it’s a straightforward process where you should consider three main things:

  • Brandingyour shop name, logo, tagline, description, and banner should describe your products and express a certain vibe you want your brand to convey. If you offer coffee mugs with quotes or images from popular TV series, something like “TVShowMugs” could work.

a screenshot of a website

Source: Etsy

  • Creating the first listing—during the sign-up process, you’ll be prompted to create a listing. Don’t spend too much time here, as you can delete it later and push all your products directly from Printful. However, you’ll need to have an active listing to do it.

  • Payment methods—Etsy offers several payment methods, including PayPal, Apple Pay, and others. Think about the most convenient way how you’d like to receive money. We recommend setting up several methods to give your customers flexibility.

Connect it with Printful

Once you have your Etsy shop open, you can connect it with Printful. That will allow you to sync your products between the two platforms and facilitate the selling process.

If you haven’t done it already, create a Printful account and go to your Etsy Connect page. Authorize the access and return to your Printful dashboard and the Product template section where you saved your mug designs.

From there, you can add your mugs to the shop directly from Printful. All you have to do is fill out the product description and other selling details of your coffee mugs that will appear in your listing.

Publish your products

When you push the products to your Etsy account, they get automatically saved as drafts. That way, you can ensure that all the images and information appear correctly before publishing.

To start selling, go to your Etsy storefront and activate the products there. You’ll have to pay a small Etsy fee for every mug you publish in your shop. Use our guide to estimate processing and shipping times and costs and make sure they are similar to other sellers.

6. Optimize listings

Even though you’ve just launched your store on Etsy, the job is not done yet. To make sure your listings get in front of the right buyers, explore Etsy SEO.

While there are several things you can do to improve your rankings, start by focusing on a few key elements:

  • Relevant keywords—this applies to your product title, tags, and description. Etsy suggests using descriptive multi-word phrases instead of one-word keywords.
    You can employ the search box or specific Etsy-oriented apps and tools to find the keywords that best match your tea or coffee mugs. Remember to put the most important phrases in your title first and leave more details in the description.

    Make sure you cover a wide range of relevant search terms in your tags. For example, you can use kids mug, 1st birthday mug, and mug for kids if you’re selling a mug for children.

a screenshot of a phoneSource: Etsy

  • Sub-categories and attributes—when selecting a category for your mug, go for a sub-category (i.e. travel mugs) first. This will automatically get your product listed in the upper categories as well.

    Include as many relevant attributes as possible when submitting your listing. These are the elements people use to narrow down their search. The more specific attributes your mugs have, the more likely your products will appear in Etsy search results.

a screenshot of a phoneSource: Etsy

  • High-quality photos and videos—having captivating and appealing visual content attracts more buyers, improves customer experience, and results in better sales, which makes Etsy rank your listing higher in search results.

    Try to showcase your coffee mugs in the best light possible using different angles and displaying various usage options. If possible, add a video of your mug in a real-life setting. It will increase the time spent on your listing and help customers understand the look and feel of the product.

7. Keep adding designs to stay competitive

Opening your mug store on Etsy and getting your first sales may feel exciting and rewarding. However, the hard work begins after that.

To be successful on Etsy, you should always stay ahead of your competition. That means revisiting competitor research and creating new mug designs to meet demand and reach more customers.

a mug with a picture of a fox and a cup with a liquidSource: FuchsMaedchenStore

You can explore a new niche, tweak your existing design to fit a different mug type, or create complementary products. The important thing is to keep adding new products, as Etsy gives a short-term boost to new listings.

Printful logo
man with jacket
Printful logo
Create and sell custom products online
Let’s go


How much does it cost to sell mugs on Etsy?

As an Etsy seller, you’ll have to pay three types of fees:

  • Listing fees—0.20 USD for each item that you list on Etsy

  • Transaction fees—6.5% of your item’s price for every sale you make

  • Payment processing fees—for each transaction processed through Etsy Payments,  depending on the gross order amount

You may also pay subscription fees and pattern fees of 10 USD and 15 USD per month if you want to unlock a more premium Etsy experience.

To understand the final selling costs on Etsy and predict your profit, you may try our Etsy Calculator. Remember that can use several methods, including ads and other tactics, to boost your mug sales on Etsy and become more profitable.


Custom mugs are among the best-selling print-on-demand products. Now, you have all the information on how to sell mugs on Etsy, and you can easily tap into this market.

Do your research, create targeted, high-quality designs, and keep optimizing your listings. Partner with Printful to make your mug-selling business a reality from the comfort of your home.



By Agnese Zimele on Feb. 21, 2024

Agnese Zimele

Guest author

Agnese is a seasoned content specialist with a passion for running and traveling. She discovered her love for writing in high school and has helped multiple brands and individuals craft their stories ever since.

Agnese is a seasoned content specialist with a passion for running and traveling. She discovered her love for writing in high school and has helped multiple brands and individuals craft their stories ever since.