24 Manufacturing Startup Ideas

Automated manufacturing equipment.

Starting a business in manufacturing can be tough. If you’re not exactly sure which niche you want to work in, you may not be 100% sold on starting in the industry at all. However, there are plenty of great startup ideas that you can use to help people with the issues they have every day. Whether you like to work with small parts on a lathe or you prefer to make toys for those with disabilities, you can find a niche in manufacturing.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best manufacturing startup ideas to help you find one that suits your professional goals. You may be surprised by how many opportunities there are — remember, these are just a few options!

Startup Ideas in the Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing is important not only because of what it makes for people but also because of what it makes possible for people all over the world. From designing furniture to developing tools, you have an opportunity to create the items that people need each day.

We have put together this list of startup ideas in the manufacturing sector that are trending right now. Continue reading to discover the perfect business endeavor for you.

1. B2B Manufacturing Platform

Do you want to connect manufacturers with businesses that need to buy products? If so, creating a business-to-business (B2B) manufacturing platform could be a great idea. It requires a little knowledge of apps and software, but with the right background, this startup could solve problems for manufacturers and businesses alike.

To make yours successful, think about the kinds of items the businesses or manufacturers you want to represent work with and pair them up within a niche. Medical supplies, toys, furniture, and other goods are all on the table.

2. Handcrafted Developmental Toys

For a startup to help those with disabilities or perhaps children, you could work with handcrafted developmental toys. These kinds of toys help children or intellectually disabled people learn new skills. 

Create products that help with walking, talking, or eating, for example. These kinds of toys can solve real problems and help make people’s lives better.

3. Furniture Design Software

Manufacturers love to produce good wares, and people love to buy them. There’s a middleman there, too — the designer. 

Your company may want to focus on creating furniture design software. From custom design platforms to software manufacturers can use in the factory, there are plenty of options.

4. Wholesale Gift Baskets

If you want to create a unique startup that helps people in a specific niche, another option is a wholesale gift basket company. You can work with wholesalers to get your products, and then you can assemble baskets for consumers. 

You could also be a wholesale gift basket manufacturer, focusing on producing the kinds of items people want to buy and shipping them out in select groups of products. The options are endless.

5. Printing Presses

People love to create all kinds of printed materials, and your business can capture some of that audience. You could produce magazines, books, or newspapers as a printing press. 

You could also create tools for others in your industry, such as printing press parts or software. To be successful, think of the kinds of printed items you want to make that people are looking for now.

6. Herbal Medicines

Herbal medications are popular among those who don’t use Western medicine for themselves. Herbal medicines are also popular among those who practice Chinese medicine and other kinds of alternative therapies.

You can fill a specific need by producing valuable herbal medicines at your manufacturing facility. Whether you choose to create herbal mixes for massage or for alternatives to those used to treat people’s mental health, for example, you could create a startup that produces exactly what people are looking for.

7. Appliques

Appliques are patches that can be sewn or glued onto products. They’re often created by those in the textile industry.

You might consider jumping into the applique niche yourself. Your venture could produce custom appliques for small businesses, appliques for school events, or other kinds that your customers request.

8. Leather Accessories

Producing leather accessories can make your business a valuable resource. You’ll be looking to purchase leather, make new designs, and sell those designs to customers (either individuals or other businesses). 

Consider a startup that buys directly from butchers or farms — you can trade organically to be even more unique. Custom accessories are another option to think about offering as you gain experience.

9. Touch-Free Dispensers

One interesting niche of manufacturing involves the production of touch-free dispensers. These dispensers can stick on walls or be put on stands, and they automatically distribute a product like soap or hand sanitizer. 

With the uptick in the use of these products, now is a good time to start working in this niche. Producing unique kinds of touch-free dispensers for home, school, or work could be a viable route to success in manufacturing.

10. Construction Materials

The construction industry is always changing, but one thing that is true is that it is always in need of base materials and simple manufactured tools and parts. If you can manufacture nails, screws, and custom products like siding or metal pieces in unique colors, then you may have found your niche.

For your company, think of the construction materials you can make or customize. Then, decide if you’ll sell to the public or to businesses — you could have a large audience.

11. Handmade Wine Racks

Whether you love wine yourself or you know that wine storage can be a big problem for commercial wineries, one of the areas you could get into in manufacturing is handling the production of wine racks.

You could focus on custom racks, commercial racks, or racks of a specific material (wooden or metal). For this niche to work for you, reach out to local wineries and wine companies to see what they’re looking for.

12. Laboratory Glassware

Laboratories need to know that the glassware they’re using won’t break under pressure and is manufactured to the highest specifications. If you want to create a new kind of glassware or think you can gain an edge with lab products, then this may be the niche for you.

13. Reusable Bags

If you want to help people go green and love the environment yourself, manufacturing reusable bags might be for you. Reusable bags can be made out of many kinds of materials, like bamboo or plastic, for example.

Consider making specific kinds of bags, like cold storage bags, or think about manufacturing bags for local grocers or vendors. There are plenty of outlets that need these helpful accessories!

14. Upholstery and Furnishing Fabrics

If you’re keen on creating unique fabrics and materials, you may want to look into running a startup that works with upholstery materials. Upholstery materials can be made into covers for sofas or for the marine industry. There are plenty of niche options to look into.

Consider the kind of upholstery you want to work with (leather, waterproof, organic), and then reach out to local businesses, like marinas or furniture companies, to find your first contract.

15. Organic Chemicals

From school laboratories to medical facilities, there are plenty of people who need access to organic chemicals and the mixtures made from them. However, these products do need to be made in safe places with safe procedures. 

If you have the capability to produce synthetic dyes, industrial gasses, pigments, or other products, consider opening an organic chemical plant for your startup. Or, focus on a specific chemical that you can deliver based on local needs.

16. Optical Components

Eyeglasses, as well as lenses for cameras and other kinds of products, have to be produced by someone. Why not you?

Your manufacturing niche could be working in optical components. Design transmissives, like filters and lenses, or reflectives. To stand out, consider manufacturing hard-to-find or customized lenses and optics.

17. Garden Planters

Everyone loves a good garden planter, especially when it can hold plants in a unique way. For your manufacturing startup, why not design planters for people to use at home or for business?

Some popular niches include quirky planters designed to look like pets, memorial planters, and raised beds. Think about who you want to help, and design planters that will fit that niche.

18. Coffee Roasting

Coffee shops have been growing in popularity over time, and it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing one now. However, one problem these business owners have is that not all of them want to roast their own beans. 

You can step in and help if you open a coffee roastery. Roast different flavors and formulas, then sell them to the coffee shops directly.

19. Battery Recycling

Small businesses, big corporations, and even individuals often use batteries. From lithium-ion batteries to button batteries, they’re almost everywhere. 

Your venture can make a difference and help people recycle their batteries. Whether you recycle them in-house or you create a transportation service to take them to recycling centers, there are plenty of niche options.

20. Musical Instruments

From students to professionals, anyone who plays a musical instrument needs to have one that works like it’s meant to. They might want custom options or colorful alternatives, too. Your startup could make big bucks in the right niche. 

From designing custom woodwinds to creating a new kind of musical instrument, the sky’s the limit. To get started, talk to musicians, new and experienced, about the products they use and what they think could be better. You may be able to create the next big product that all musicians turn to.

21. Lathe Machines

If you want to work in manufacturing but in custom orders, consider a startup using lathe machines. Lathe machines can make all kinds of amazing metal and wood products.

You can make bowls, baskets, parts for furniture, and more. Consider reaching out to small businesses or shops to see what’s in demand. Don’t forget, since lathes are in such high demand, you may be able to take on custom requests as you get your business into position and begin growing it within the local supply chain.

22. Papermaking

If you’re not into printing, but you do want to make unique kinds of paper for businesses, schools, and others, then you may want to look into a papermaking startup. The world is always looking for the next best kind of paper, whether it’s made from bamboo or another kind of material.

To make your business stand out in this niche, think about the kinds of paper that might be required. Thin transfer papers, baking papers, foils, bamboo papers, sketchbook papers, and others are all used all the time. You could specialize in making paper for artists, sculptors, business copy machines, or other situations.

23. Automotive Parts

If there is one thing that you can rely on, it’s the fact that cars will break down. Of course, mechanics, car manufacturers, and individuals will all need access to parts that they can use to fix their vehicles. 

Your venture could produce its own OEM parts for a specific company like Toyota or Ford, or you could create cheaper or specialized parts for specific vehicles. Whether you go B2B or business-to-consumer (B2C), you have options to make a profit in the auto industry.

24. Plastics

As a smaller startup, you might look through several ideas to see what you want to produce. One idea that you shouldn’t skip over is working in the plastics industry. The plastics industry sells containers or items made of plastic — those items can range from medical devices to everyday food containers. 

This process involves melting plastic and injecting it into your own molds, so you can be creative and come up with your own products. To be successful, consider all kinds of products like water bottles, shower curtains, toothbrushes, lunch boxes, and others.

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