According to the Nutrition Business Journal, sales of natural products in the U.S. reached $102 billion in 2008. Consumers not only want to purchase natural products for health benefits, but believe that they also contribute to environmental sustainability. Natural products are those formulated without artificial ingredients and undergo minimal processing. Products include natural and organic foods, health and beauty products, dietary supplements, “green” cleaning supplies and clothing of natural fibers. Natural products are big business and could be a lucrative online business, too.
If you are going to sell food products that you have made yourself, you will need to comply with state and local codes for the commercial production of food and obtain the appropriate license from your local public health department. Bringing a home kitchen up to code standards can be costly. However, you may be able to find a fully licensed, local restaurant kitchen that well rent you its space when it is not open. Homemade baked goods, jellies, jams, salsas, barbecue rubs and sauces, pickles, relishes, candy, spiced nuts and bottled fruits, using only natural ingredients, all have the potential to sell well. Start by identifying any fruits and products that are local to your area, and find ways to use them, to give your products an authentic, local flavor. Additionally, you can source natural products made by local farmers that you could sell in your online store. Perhaps there is a local beekeeper that would be happy for you to sell his honey.
Organic cotton, hemp, soy and bamboo are just some of the natural fibers being used to make ecologically sound clothing. If you can make clothes, you can source fabrics and make your own line of clothing items. Alternatively, you can find wholesalers that can supply you with suitable garments to sell online. Take a look at the Natural Clothing Companies website for ideas. Moms-to-be are increasingly seeking natural and organic baby products, and this may be an area of the market worth exploring.
While the US Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act defines what cosmetics and beauty products are, it does little to regulate the production process other than state that manufacturers must not use toxic or contaminated substances and must not mislabel products. Therefore, it is easy to create natural cosmetic, bath and beauty products to sell using herbs, flowers and oils. There are a number of useful publications that can help you learn production techniques, such as Julie Gabriel’s “The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrances” and Elizabeth Letcavage’s “Basic Soap Making: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started.”
Helen Harvey began her writing career in 1990 and has worked in journalism, writing, copy-editing and as a consultant. She has worked for world-class news sources including Reuters and the "Daily Express." She holds a Master of Arts in mass media communications from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.