A great thing about old wine bottles or even glass jars is they are a great resource to practice etching on. A while back, I experimented with some designs that I laid out in my software to create an anniversary themed stencil which was then etched on a wine bottle, as you can see in the photo.
Besides the idea of getting a second use for scrap glass that would normally be thrown in the trash or recycled, I wanted to share some business ideas that I was planning to implement when I experimented with this project. If you etch as a hobby, this may interest you as well because you can give them as gifts to friends and family.
This business/hobby idea is something I never got around to so I wanted to share it with all of you and hopefully it will help you. The idea is etching wine bottle gifts and it can be extremely profitable!
And if you have a physical shop, you can etch used bottles and fill them with dark colored water just to display potential ideas to get customers intrigued. Showcasing various experimental project ideas can get customers thinking of ideas.
Markets to serve
A few great markets to focus on are:
- Company achievements & awards
What kind of profit margin?
The first thing I suggest you do is search online for businesses that already do this and see how much they charge. You can search Google for keywords like “personalized wine bottle etching“, “etched wine bottle” or “custom engraved wine bottles.” I found most prices to average about $75-140 per personalized wine bottle. I am not sure how much it costs to purchase wholesale wine but my ballpark guess is the profit would equate to about $50-100 per etching. That’s not bad, considering it might only take 30 minutes to an hour to do each order. It could be even less if you have a good production system set up and became efficient with practice.
What kind of business potential?
Let’s look at the big one for example: Weddings
According to Wikipedia here, there are about 2.5 million weddings in the US each year and spend over $53.4 billion in 2013. I then researched the county where I live and my local government documented over 4,540 weddings in 2011 alone. So if I only marketed to my local area, sold to 10% of those weddings with a profit margin of $100, that would equate to 454 orders and a profit of $45,400 per year.
My guess is the collective total amount of possible additional work in the other smaller markets would be 25% more.
How to do this legally?
I never got into researching all the details about what is required to legally get into this business, but I assume you would need a state liquor license to sell etched wine bottle gifts. As you may know, those can be hard to acquire. One way around it might be to have your clients bring in the bottle and only provide the service of etching it. Another would be to network with businesses that has a liquor license, including wedding establishments and work as a contractor with them.
How to ramp up this business?
First, I advise you to network with wedding venues, wedding planners, florists, bridal shops, bridal expos, wine shops, any establishment that has a license to sell alcohol, etc.
Then, connect with the owners by:
- befriending them and asking if they are okay with you leaving business cards for customers interested in your services
- asking them if they would promote you for a commission. To make it worth their effort, I suggest around 15%-20%, plus or minus 5%, but that depends on the negotiation. Some owners might be interested in less the 10% and others might only be interested in over 30%.
- asking them if they would be willing to market the etched wine bottles, sell it to the customer and pass the work to you as a contractor at an agreed percentage of the sale. This is one of the easiest routes to take because you only have to focus on etching according to the design details passed onto you. You don’t have to worry about time consuming customer service and sales. The only downside is the owner could eventually outsource the work to someone else or hire someone internally in the future. Good relationships with the owner diminish that possibility though.
I hope this post was helpful and got you thinking of ideas to make your successful. If you have any questions or other great business suggestions, please leave them below. Thank you
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