How to Start a Tumbler Business – A Step-by-Step Guide (2024)

Have you ever wondered how to start a tumbler business and make money? You’re in the right place. We’ll show you how you can start and set up a custom tumbler business from scratch.

Tumblers are drinking containers; their material can be stainless steel, plastic, glass, or ceramic. Giving them an attractive epoxy painting and sublimation design are the popular ways.

According to a research report of (lucintel.com) the US tumbler market is experiencing steady growth, projected to reach a value of USD 1.9 billion by 2028, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 8.8% (2023-2028).

lucintel: us tumbler market size

In this post, we’ll discuss the following:

  • Basic market research
  • Master the art of design.
  • Pick the perfect supplies.
  • Business setup process
  • Marketing strategies

A successful launch hinges on knowing the proper process and steps. If you’re considering starting a tumbler business, there’s never been a better time to jump in.

How to start a Custom tumbler business?

start a tumbler business

1. Conduct market research.

Designing a tumbler requires skills, creativity, and painting supplies; it is a simple business model, but one still needs to understand the selling, marketing, and business setup process.

Decorated and custom tumblers have become a popular trend as people are attracted to unique and personalized designs. It gives a beautiful look, uniqueness, durability, and sustainability, which is the main thing that grabs the attention of people.

Before starting the business, conduct proper research to understand the different types of tumbler designs, types of tumblers, competition, market demand, opportunities, etc.

First of all, understand your target customer base, know their need and interests, and also analyze the demographic (age, gender, location, lifestyle, etc).

Focus on identifying the right customer base.

Here are some quick steps to define your ideal Tumbler buyer:

Understand the demographics:

  • Age: Are they teens, young adults, professionals, or retirees?
  • Location: Urban, suburban, or rural areas?
  • Lifestyle: Analyze their lifestyle, income, and interest.

Dive into Psychographics:

  • Interests: Sports, travel, art, or sustainability?
  • Values: Eco-friendly, health-conscious, or socially responsible?
  • Personality: Bold, playful, or minimalist?

Observe their Habits:

  • What do they drink? Coffee, tea, smoothies, or water.
  • Where do they go? Work, gym, travel, or home.
  • How do they shop? Online, in stores, or at craft fairs.

You can research using market research tools, analyze social media and industrial publications, and check market reports (IBISWorld, Statista) and surveys (Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, Google Trends).

2. Develop your skills

custom tumbler

Making money by selling tumblers is an easy and creative process that also requires proper preparation, planning, research, and dedication.

Develop your designing skills, learn how to paint, what supplies are required, how the process works, safety precautions, and best practices. d

Before starting painting, here are some points to consider:

  • What are your interests and skills? (painting, crafting, design)
  • Do you have a specific niche in mind? (pop culture, nature, inspirational quotes)
  • What kind of customer are you trying to reach? (young adults, professionals, pet owners)
  • What’s your budget for supplies and equipment?

The next important point is to learn the different techniques of tumbler design and follow the popular Trend, focus on customer demand, and choose a technique according to your choice.

  • Epoxy resin: It provides a glassy finish, best for a stunning effect like (glitter swirls) which make it highly attractive. Read – Glitter tumbler DIY tutorial.
  • Alcohol Inks: This technique is used to create unique watercolor-like designs that are suitable for makers and attract buyers. 
  • Vinyl Decals: This process is also best for clean lines, precise designs, and in terms of affordability, which makes it a popular choice for tumbler painting. 
  • Acrylic Painting: It is best for creating detailed designs, layering, and stenciling. 

Growing Trends: 

  • Hydro Dipping: The mesmerizing patterns and unpredictable nature of this technique create unique pieces and cater to customers seeking eye-catching designs.
  • Sublimation: This transfer method allows for vibrant and permanent printing of photographs or designs, perfect for personalized gifting or brand representation.

Watch the YouTube tutorial to learn the Tumbler sublimation process.

Depending on your target customer, skills, resources, and budget, you can select a design technique. Also, understand the pros and cons of those methods before deciding.

Skills for Tumbler business:

develop skills

If you are considering the custom tumbler business, you’ll need some skills.

For great tumbler designs, blending creativity (visuals, illustration, typography, branding) with technicality (design software, printing, material knowledge, business skills) is important.

As well as basic knowledge in photography, social media marketing, understanding online presence, and good customer service for success.

Where to learn the skills?

You can explore different resources for learning the skills.

Get Formal Education: 

Enroll in a graphic design, illustration, or digital media program to learn basic design, software, and technical skills. 

Online Resources: 

  • Online Courses: You can learn from (Skillshare, Udemy, and CreativeLive); these are the best platforms for learning skills. 
  • YouTuber Tutorials: Many talented content creators on YouTube offer free tutorials from basic to advanced; you can learn everything from this platform. 
  • Blogs and Website: You can read blog posts, articles, and textual tutorials for learning.

Community and Mentorship: 

Join online communities (Reddit, Facebook groups) and connect with experienced creators. 

Practice and Independent Learning: 

Practice and Independent Learning: Self-learning, practice, experimenting with different materials, and learning from mistakes are the most important to gain experience.

So, continuously learn and put in your dedication and hard work to make more creative designs.

During the practice process, start by buying basic supplies (buy some blank tumblers and painting kits). It takes time to develop expertise, but give time in practice; over time, your creativity will refine.

Buy equipment and supplies.

Before you invest in any supplies, take some time to understand your skills, interests, and budget. Once you have a clear picture, you can create a targeted list of the materials, tools, and supplies you’ll actually need.

Here is the basic list of tumbler designing supplies information; depending on your requirements, you can consider.

Supplies for sublimation printing:

  • Sublimation printer & ink
  • Sublimation paper
  • Heat press
  • Heat tape/adhesive spray
  • Sublimation tumblers
  • Heat resistant gloves
  • Butcher paper
  • Computer & design software

Optional option:

  • Tumbler turner
  • Sublimation wraps

Equipment and supplies for tumbler designing:

Basics:

  • Tumblers: Choose high-quality, double-walled, stainless steel tumblers in various sizes and shapes (20oz, 30oz, skinny, etc.).
  • Blanks: If you’re using vinyl or sublimation, you’ll need blank tumblers with appropriate coatings.
  • Epoxy Resin: If you’re adding a glassy finish, choose two parts: epoxy resin and hardener. Consider UV and food-grade options depending on your designs.

Design Materials:

  • Glitter and Mica Powders: For vibrant effects, invest in high-quality glitter and mica powders in various colors and sizes.
  • Alcohol Inks: Create stunning watercolor-like designs with vibrant alcohol inks.
  • Paints and Markers: Acrylic paints and permanent markers come in handy for details and smaller designs.
  • Brushes and Sponges: Different brushes and sponges help with applying paints, inks, and epoxy.
  • Sandpaper: Use fine-grit sandpaper to prep the tumbler surfaces for better adhesion.

Tools and Equipment:

  • Heat Gun and Torch (optional): A heat gun helps cure epoxy and shrink wrap, while a torch can create fire effects on inks.
  • Gloves and Safety Equipment: Protect yourself with gloves, masks, and goggles while working with epoxy and fumes.

Optional Advanced Tools:

  • Tumbler Turner: This rotates your tumbler while you work, saving time and ensuring even application.
  • Mixing Cups and Stirrers: Measure and mix epoxy and paints with dedicated cups and stirrers.
  • Safety Razors: Use for removing vinyl scraps or imperfections.
  • Transfer Tape: Helps apply vinyl designs seamlessly onto the tumbler.
  • Vinyl Cutter or Heat Press (optional): If you’re using vinyl, consider a vinyl cutter or heat press for creating and applying custom designs.

Consideration: Choose a ventilated workstation for the tumbler designing, because there are many chemicals are used on the process. Always wear safety gloves and glasses.

Tumbler With Handle and Straw

Stainless steel tumblers: These are the most popular choice due to their durability, insulation properties, and ease of customization.

3. Write a tumbler business plan

business plan

Write a solid business plan with a proper structure that builds up the foundation of a startup. It helps, like a GPS, provide a roadmap to make the venture successful.

No matter the business size, industry, and business type, having a well-written plan is helpful.

The recommendation is to create an easy-to-understand plan for your tumbler business; with research, add the essential points in the documented plan.

Thinking too much can stall progress. Instead, capture your vision in a clear and concise plan, no matter how big or small your idea. Start with a simple notebook or explore convenient online templates. A basic plan gets you moving, and you can always refine it later.

A Tumbler business plan should include the following:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Product Description
  • Competitors Data
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Marketing strategy
  • Pricing Plan
  • Operational plan
  • Financial Projections
  • Management Team
  • Exit Strategy

These are the basic outlines; follow the (U.S. Small Business Administration) guide to learn the basics of writing a business plan and its process.

4. How much does it cost to start a tumbler business?

If any person thinks of starting a business, then the first thing that comes to his mind is the startup cost and financial budget.

It is a good idea to know the startup cost because if you do not know how much the cost will be required, then it won’t be easy to buy all the equipment and supplies on the right budget.

For estimating the investment, define the business size (small scale or large scale), supplies, commercial space, rental fees, legalities, marketing cost, inventory, ongoing expenses, etc.

Calculate the necessary equipment, raw materials, painting kits, etc. Accordingly, you can get an idea of ​​how much the business will cost.

If you want to start from home – there is no high management cost; you will be able to manage the business yourself, and you can hire 2-3 employees together for help.

The initial minimum startup cost is around $2,000-$5,000, depending on your business scale and design method (sublimation, other custom painting).

Note: The cost is only estimated, depending on supplies, location, business goals, the budget can vary.

Arrange funds for your business.

Starting a tumbler business requires several pieces of equipment, supplies, and materials, such as bulk tumblers, painting kits, packaging kits, marketing materials, etc.

Also, we’ve already discussed what is needed for a tumbler business; for purchasing them, you need to arrange adequate funds.

If you have sufficient funds, then preferring self-funding can be the best and most straightforward option, but if you don’t have much budget, then explore potential funding sources.

Here are your funding options:

  • Ask your friends and family.
  • Government grants or loans
  • Use Crowdfunding platforms
  • Get traditional bank loans.
  • Consider an SBA business loan.

Also, there are a variety of ways to arrange funds; you can research and explore more different sources. Start from a small scale and learn the market properly; once you succeed, with time, you can expand your business.

5. Fulfill the business legal formalities

business legalities

Obtain the required licenses and permits for running a tumbler business in your specific location. Follow the state and local regulations; if the legal requirements are essential in your area, then they must be obtained.

Licenses and permits are not necessarily required in every state. Before taking any action, research the requirements where you operate and get guidance from a qualified professional, such as a business consultant or local accountant.

You can also contact a legal adviser or local business licensing office for specific guidance about legal formalities.

  • Business License (local or state)
  • Sales tax permits
  • Employment Identification Number
  • Licensing for specific designs (copyright)

For company registration, defining the business entity is an essential step. Also, you should select whatever structure you want to start with, depending on your budget and planning.

Register your business by choosing a legal structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation); when choosing a legal structure, consider tax, liability, and ownership.

Register as per the requirements of the state, local, and federal levels,

Information on licensing, permits, and registration can be found on the official website of the relevant state & country; if you want to learn more visit US Small Business Administration SBA website (for USA).

Note: Visit your state and country official website for finding legal information.

6. Choose a tumbler business name

Your business name is the first and most important thing to bring attention to your brand, so choose a name that creates a positive first impression for your business.

Many people face difficulties when choosing a good name for their business, company, or shop.

That is why we’ll guide you on how you can choose a name, how the name should be, and what the important things that you need to consider.

Make sure your startup name is small and unique. Also, you must have noticed that the old established companies are also small names; their names are often short and unique.

Most people don’t remember big names, so try to make the name short and creative.

Here are a few steps that can help you to choose an attractive name for your business.

  • Use the business name generator tool to find names.
  • Avoid using numbers, underscores, hyphens, and symbols.
  • Select a web-friendly, memorable, and unique name.
  • A domain name should be available to the business name.
  • Don’t use a copyrighted name (find unique)

Buy a domain name

How to buy a domain:

When you choose a name for a Tumbler business, if you get a domain name with the same name, then buy it too because you have to create a website on that name itself.

Domain name:  For example, if your business name is (Tumbler Art), then the domain should be (tumblerart.com); this is a simple way to register a domain name.

Domain extensions: While “.com” is common. Also, you can consider (.shop, .co, .us. etc.)

Where to Buy:

For a domain name, the best registrar, such as GoDaddy and Namecheap. Create your account and register a domain; the cost is around $5-$10+, depending on the extension.

7. Create a Packaging and pricing strategy

Packaging and pricing are key elements that can make or break your brand, influencing customer perception and purchasing decisions.

Packaging Your Tumblers

Packaging plays a crucial role in attracting customers and creating a positive impression of your brand.

Importance of packaging:

  • Brand perception
  • Boosts customer satisfaction
  • Drives social media engagement
  • Protects your products

For packaging, choose durable, visually appealing materials; make sure to add your branding (logo, brand details, social profile ID, and pricing on packaging).

Tumbler packaging Material:

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Paperboard
  • Plastic packaging
  • Foam and soft material
  • Use gift boxes

How to price custom tumblers

Pricing custom tumblers is not difficult but requires research to determine perfect pricing; you can review online e-commerce sites, offline store pricing, and social media to get an idea.

On Amazon, the custom tumblers’ pricing varies ($10-$50).

Before setting up the pricing, analyze your competitors and their pricing, product quality, designs, patterns, colors, packaging, etc.

9. Create a professional website

A website is essential for selling products, promoting business, and creating an online presence. Having a website is important for running your business as a brand.

A website for your tumbler business is key for:

  • Showcasing & selling: Stunning visuals, online store, global reach.
  • Brand boost: Credibility, professionalism, community building.
  • Customer insights: Data for targeted marketing and improved strategy.
  • Direct sales: No reliance on others, control over profits and relationships.

Building a website from scratch requires technical and creative skills such as (Web design, Website Setup, Basic coding skills, WordPress knowledge, and Customization skills); these are only the basic requirements.

If you don’t know about website creation and SEO, then you must hire a web developer who will build a professional website for your business.

Basic steps to create a website for business:

  • Step 1: Choose a domain name
  • Step 2: Buy hosting
  • Step 3: Set up your website
  • Step 4: Create essential pages
  • Step 5: Promote your website

Step 1: Choose a domain name

For creating a website, the first step is to choose a domain name that should be relevant to your business or website topic (already discussed).

You can buy the domain name from popular domain registrars (GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc.).

domain

Step 2: Buy hosting

After you have chosen a domain name, the next step is to purchase hosting for your website.

There are various hosting providers available (Hostinger, Bluehost, Siteground, Hostgator). Also, you can research and choose one that offers reliable service and fits within your budget.

hosting

Step 3: Set up your website

Once you have purchased hosting, you can proceed with setting up your website.

This involves installing a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, which will allow you to manage and update your website content easily.

You may also need to configure settings and customize the appearance of your website.

Step 4: Create essential pages

After setting up your website, now is time to create essential pages such as the homepage, About page, contact page, and any other pages that are relevant to your business or website purpose.

Depending on your website’s purpose, add other pages like Services, Products, Blog, Portfolio, or FAQs.

pages

Step 5: Promote your website

Promote your website and utilize various strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing, and online advertising to increase visibility and drive traffic to your site.

Regularly update and refresh content on your site to keep visitors engaged.

By following these given steps and investing time in each stage of the process, you can create a successful website that effectively represents your brand or business online.

10. Best way to promote your business

Digital marketing and promotion are crucial for businesses to increase leads & establish a brand. With the rise of online shopping, it’s important to have a strong online presence or website.

For promoting your tumbler business, there are many ways to market & brand your service.

  • Social media marketing
  • Influencer collaborations
  • Community building
  • SEO optimization
  • Email Marketing
  • Free content marketing
  • Rund paid ads

Digital marketing, online marketing is the best and most effective way to promote a product or service through (SEO, Social Media Marketing, Paid marketing, Advertising, etc.).

Also, you can try that technique to grow your business and create a huge user base with an online marketing process.

Use those strategies to promote your products and provide the best customer service to grow your venture.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here are some related questions that people often ask about the business.

How to start a tumbler business at home?

To start from home, choose a perfect ventilated space, buy the essential supplies, design, decorate, and sell the personalized tumbler online or locally, research, and start with low-cost supplies.

How much does it cost to start a tumbler business?

Startup costs range from DIY-friendly ($100) to pro-level equipment ($2000+), depending on your desired customization methods.

Is a tumbler business worth it?

Yes, starting a tumbler business can be worth it and a profitable opportunity. Depends on your skills, goals, effort, market demand, competition, pricing, marketing, and strategies.

How big is the tumbler industry?

According to a report on digitaljournal.com, the global Tumbler market is booming! Valued at $614 million in 2021, it’s projected to surge to $954 million by 2027, thanks to a healthy 7.6% annual growth rate.

What is the cost of a tumbler?

The cost of tumblers can range between $1 for disposable plastic to $50+ for high-end, custom-designed stainless steel ones. It all depends on material, size, brand, and features.

Which material is used for the tumbler?

Tumblers come in popular materials, including plastic, glass, stainless steel, and even ceramic.

Final Thought

Starting a tumbler business is a profitable opportunity, as it gained popularity due to the growing functionality and aesthetic appeal demand.

The custom-designed tumblers have a targeted market and a huge customer base; additionally, as the online e-commerce industry is growing, selling tumblers is easier.

Before you launch your business, make sure to conduct proper research, identify your target audience, make a strategy, write a plan, and start with dedication.

Let me know if you have any questions related to the Tumbler business.

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Siddhant is the founder of this Guide Businesses blog. As a Founder and Lead Writer at GuideBusinesses, his insightful articles guide entrepreneurs toward success. Siddhant's passion for knowledge and dedication to building successful ventures and guiding beginners to provide the right path.

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Disclaimer: This guide is made to provide a general roadmap and guidance to get started a business, plush inspiration for you to start a business of your own. Our blog post is intended for general guidance. So, recommended to consult professionals for specific financial and legal advice. However, our contents are well researched and written by experts and professionals.

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