Making & Selling Keychains: The Accessory Surging in Popularity

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by Erin Schollaert

Updated

Keychains are a vital part of everyone’s lives, even if we don’t think about them.

The average person loses at least 3,000 items in their lifetime, and a keychain can ensure that our car and house keys aren’t one of those.

Since this is an industry that will always be needed, many are curious about what types of keychains to make and sell to this massive market.

Recently people have turned to artisan styles, and learning how to make and sell resin keychains has become incredibly popular.

So if you want to be a part of this industry and possibly make some major money, here’s everything you need to know!

How much can you make selling keychains?

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You can make a surprising amount of money selling keychains! As a matter of fact, keychains can even be a great item to resell if you don’t want to make them from scratch.

The following are two business owners who can make a living off of creating and selling unique keychains, going in very different directions with their business to ensure they make an income they can live off.

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Success Story (Example 1)

YouTube creator Meg Dion is vocal about making and selling keychains as her main source of income. She creates resin keychains that are molded to look however she wants and often include items like dried flowers and metal art.

So if you’re an artist, this can be a fantastic way to make money with art skills.

Meg makes a luxury-adjacent look by using rose gold, gorgeous color combinations, and unique design ideas.

She currently prices her keychains at $20 USD, ensuring that she can sell plenty of them since this is an easy price for many, although she only makes about half of that back as profit.

Dion says she prices low because it ensures that she can sell enough to make the profit she needs for her time and work.

Success Story (Example 2)

Another YouTube creator and entrepreneur, “As Told By Jaz,” is the owner of the keychain shop Badmouthed Bruja and recently made over $30,000 in one month by making and selling her unique keychains.

The key to her success is creating unique and interesting art that works well as keychains and speaks to the people who buy.

Most of her inventory is enamel-based and uses a great mixture of color and cultural iconography. She understands her audience and ensures to sell what they want the moment they want it.

These are two very different types of keychains, so it’s more than possible that as long as you can make a niche for yourself, you’ll be able to gain an income making keychains as well.

How much do keychains sell for?

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Keychains sell for a large range of prices, depending on what materials they’re made out of, how attractive they are, and whether they’re attached to a known brand or not.

Therefore, when considering selling keychains, it’s a good idea to think about what type of product you’re most interested in creating since this is something you’ll more than likely have to make again and again.

The average keychain sells for anywhere from $1-$15, with some luxury brands like Apple offering keychains for as high as $35.

Cheaper keychains are often plastic dog tag style, with one or two colors printed on the tag. More expensive ones have cute or unique looks or something special that makes them stand out from the rest.

Custom keychains, which are another popular item, often sell between $10 to $20, offering buyers the chance to have identifying information, or personal messages, put onto the keychain so they can be located if these are lost at any point.

Is there a market for keychains?

Keychains are a unique and interesting item that’s hard to pin down in any one market.

However, when you break it down into its pieces and many different types of keychains you can purchase, the image becomes a lot more clear.

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One of the most popular keychain types in 2021 has been resin keychains, and the epoxy resin market is set to grow by 7% within the next six years. Resin keychains have been selling on eBay like hot cakes.

This means that getting in now with resin keychains can give your company the chance to grow with this industry and possibly make even more money as it does.

Another industry that heavily influences how well keychains sell, especially in the later months of the year, is the personalized gift industry. Marketing professionals use keychains in many creative ways during this time as well.

If you offer personalized or customizable keychains, you’ll get to take part in this 31.63 billion dollar industry that’s set to continue to grow by another six percent within the next six years.

Although custom keychains can take longer to produce, you can charge more for them and offer them as an extra item within your shop.

What types of keychains can you make?

You can create multiple types of keychains; each has its perks and flaws, but which you choose will entirely depend on what style interests you and what you want to make for several years to come.

Types of keychains include:

  • Charm keychains are keychains that have cute nick nacks or bobbles like metal teddy bears or plastic planets attached. These can be combined with any other type of keychain to make one worth more.
  • Dog tag keychains are often plastic but can be metal and are shaped in the familiar dog tag style with images or information printed onto them.
  • Metal etched keychains are popular because they’re sturdy and won’t melt or get damaged from sunlight or water. In addition, these can be customized or can have unique images carved into them.
  • Resin picture keychains allow you to use a metal or plastic base, place an image on it, and pour resin on top to seal it. This creates a slightly domed surface on top that protects the picture and looks almost 3-D.
  • Leather keychains are classic, bringing a retro idea of a hotel key or a car dealership keychain. The awesome thing about these is that you can put unique images and designs into them through leather pyrography.
  • Resin charm keychains are popular because you can use molds to create unique letters, shapes, or other items that can hang from keychains as a charm. These often go for two to ten dollars.
  • Carabiner keychains are made by attaching a carabiner to them, these are often customized in color or by etching into them to make them unique.
  • Fabric strap keychains are popular because they’re attractive, can be looped around the wrist, and have fun designs sewn into or printed on them. These often sell for eight to fifteen dollars.
  • Button photo keychains are made using the same front and metal frame that would usually go on a button but instead attach it to a keychain. This is a sturdy and long-lasting type that can go for around four to six dollars each.

Every type of keychain is different and requires an extra level of work to create and sell. Although the most valuable is leather, this is because of the products that go into it rather than the demand.

How do you package keychains?

Luckily most keychains aren’t easy to break or bend in the mail, so packaging doesn’t have to be as hardy as it does for other products.

There are a few things to consider when creating your pins to sell them, though!

  • For eco-conscious brands, your packaging should continue to reflect this. You can do this best by having cardboard or thick paper business cards with no coating, using undyed paper to protect the keychain, wrapping it a couple of times, and then using paper packaging and paper tape. Bonus points if you’re able to work with an eco-friendly brand that does packaging so that you can advertise this for your company.
  • For cute branding, it’s okay to go glitz and glam! Multiple envelope companies sell envelopes in everything from holographic coating to attractive bright colors and patterns, so lean into your company’s brand a little. Consider how each part of your branding ties into the cute aesthetic you’re going for.
  • For stylish branding, the current trend is to use two to three-tone mailers in stark color differences. So this could be a navy blue envelope with mint-colored paper wrapping your keychains to keep them safe. Ensure that you have a logo that reflects a stylish and unique look.

If your company is newer and you’re on a low budget for packaging, in the beginning, you don’t have to lean into any styles or unique looks. Some online platforms will even handle the shipping for you, if you’re selling on Mercari for example.

It’s important not to pour too much money in until you’re also making money. Just ensure that your keychains are safely bundled in paper or bubble wrap and that they’re mailed out quickly.

Make sure that every package you send has a copy of your business card. This isn’t just for your customers, but it’s also so that if anyone asks about your keychains, they can hand off this card so others will know about it.

Tips to Make More Money Selling Keychains

Some people are still unsure whether this could be a money-making option for them, and that’s okay!

Selling keychains can work for people in all types of situations, whether you want to make money in college without a job or even earn extra cash on Instagram without showing your face.

However, if you want to make a lot of money selling keychains, it’s a good idea to consider thinking outside of the box so that you can offer unique products.

These are the best strategies to increase income while making keychains:

  • Create a niche for yourself within the market. Then, like the Bad Mouthed Bruha brand mentioned earlier, look at what you can do to set yourself apart so that you’re not just another brand to overlook.
  • Use social media to your benefit. This doesn’t simply mean advertising yourself, you should also use it to create a name and personality for your brand. Many successful small brands right now are able to gain the sales they do because of connecting with audiences. There are tags, communities, and fandoms dedicated to watching people create and sell items on Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram. Create your products, and connect with an audience to sell more.
  • Don’t be afraid to outsource. When you’re starting, you may feel the pressure to create everything from scratch yourself and build each keychain. It’s okay to outsource until you can afford to buy the machinery or tools needed to make your buttons from scratch.
  • Ensure the pictures of your items are enticing. Although every phone has a camera on it, that’s built to impress, that’s not enough. Instead, stage your items so that they look good and are eye-catching.
  • Advertise intelligently. Know where your demographic is, and advertise directly to them. You’re not going to sell a ton of keychains if you’re simply advertising on whatever site will take you. Instead, consider who will be buying your keychains, what interests they may have, and where you can promote that you know will deliver your product directly in front of possible buyers.

Can you sell fan-merchandise keychains?

This is an important question because people are more likely to spend money on something that shows off their interests.

Unfortunately, if you’re running this as a business and not a hobby, it’s a good idea to avoid using any licensed characters or art to create your keychains.

The waters are murky for fan conventions and expos since the artist alleys are full of people selling art they did of characters, but running a business based on licensed characters can be dangerous.

Disney is well known for sending DMCA takedowns and cease and desist orders when people use their characters or art.

If they feel like you’ve made a large profit off of their brand, they’re even known to skip these and go straight into suing a company for it.

When creating keychains, you must make unique pieces that can stand out on their own and avoid borrowing characters or art from franchises and companies.

Wrapping Up

If you’re willing to stick to it and understand the importance of putting out unique and high-quality pieces, you can make a living off of creating and selling keychains.

Get to know your market, ensure that you get your name out there, and you’ll be able to sell these items with ease.

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About the Author

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Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.