The cultivation of the coffee bean as a drink was first developed by people living in the East African mountains of Ethiopia, according to National Geographic reports. The cultural and social folkways that have arisen around drinking this hardy brew makes selling associated specialty items such as coffee mugs a feasible business enterprise in most marketplaces. While a visit to most major retailers' kitchenware departments will reveal the specialty mug market as competitive, design uniqueness can become your competitive advantage.
Make or buy unique mugs. If you do not know how to make mugs, enroll in a pottery class to learn how to design and make custom mugs. Draft out a mug design and have the specifications developed by an artisan as a commission or from a manufacturer for large orders. Alternatively, develop an inventory of unique mugs from the works of artisans who make mugs and other suppliers with a wide selection of mug designs.
Sell at kiosks or a store front. Determine the feasibility for a specialty mug shop in your community. Remember that a retail store will require a large quantity of specialty cups inventory. While a kiosk has a much lower inventory demand, it also has a corresponding lower income potential than a retail shop.
Sell to retailers. Distribute coffee mugs to retail shops by offering wholesale prices for specialty mug inventory. The reduction in unit price for distributor-wholesalers is typically recovered by the gain in the quantity of an order.
Sell on-line. Develop the new business enterprise and launch a website to sell directly to the public on-line. Set up on-line shopping carts for each retail item for credit and debit card purchases. Unique coffee mugs can also be sold at on-line auctions or through "buy it now" features of on-line retailers like eBay.com.