Examples of Manufacturing Business Ideas Are you good with your hands? Do you prefer to make something instead of buying it? A Manufacturing business idea could be the opportunity for you.

By Nicole Crampton

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


There are many small-scale manufacturing business ideas that can you can convert into a sustainable and profitable business. There's a market for you whether you're launching a manufacturing business that makes shoes, wigs or cosmetics.

Here are 10 examples of manufacturing business ideas that can give you insights into starting your own manufacturing business:

1. Baked-goods

If you love to bake and create new and interesting edible treats, this could be the manufacturing business for you. If you can't afford to open a permanent location just yet, you can launch your business online and start delivering to your customers.

Before you get busy baking, here is an example of a successful business you can learn from:

Business Name: The Gingerbread Lady Bakery

Website: http://www.thegingerbreadlady.co.za/

Established Date: 2015

About the business:

The Gingerbread Lady Bakery focuses on making cakes that have nostalgic homemade flavours, with a contemporary twist on every flavour and design.They specialise in stylish buttercream cakes, fresh French macarons and other sweet confectionary.

Related: 11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas

Their mission is to offer their customers delicious, beautiful and memorable sweet treats for any occasion.

Innovative business offering

In addition, they are sought-after for their gourmet cupcakes, and they also specialise in beautiful wedding candy tables. By focusing on and being specialised in a niche selection they ensure their offering is backed by more experience and technique than their competitors.

2. Shoe Manufacturing

There is always a demand for shoes, but everyone has their own tastes and you'll need to make shoes that appeal to a large market. Here is an example of a shoe manufacturing business that you can gather insights from to ensure your business remains profitable and sustainable:

Business Name: Bolton Footwear

Website: http://www.bolwear.co.za/

Established Date: 1859

About the business:

Bolton Footwear in the 1990's focused its activities on footwear to concentrate and expand that portion of the business. They are now one of South Africa's foremost footwear companies, focusing on defined market niches, competitively priced and manufactured from high quality materials.

Innovative business offering

Additionally, Bolton Footwear is committed to the environment and the surrounding communities it operates in. It also supports several local non-profit organisations and community activities.

3. Grape Wine Production

Do you have land available to you? Are you in the right region to grow grapes? You could start your own wine label. Before you start planting your new crop, here is a manufacturing business you can learn from to ensure the profitability of your new business:

Business Name: Namaqua Wines

Website: https://www.namaquawines.com/

Established Date: 1947

About the business:

Namaqua Wines aims to care for and extract only the best from their vineyards. They make each wine with the same attention to detail, and each yield gives the unique expression of its environmental conditions.

Innovative business offering

Related: 25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Since 1992, Namaqua Wines have been exporting their wines abroad to increase their customer base and reach a larger target market.

4. Soya Chunks Processing

Soya chunks can be one of the most profitable food processing businesses you can start with a modest capital investment. If this sounds like the manufacturing business idea for you, you'll need to research your competition before you launch.

Here is an example of a manufacturing business you can learn from before you start your business:

Business Name: Irwing

Website: https://www.irwingsoya.co.za/

About the business:

Irwing focuses on producing a range of wholesale soya bean products including soya mince and soya grits. Once produced they also make it widely available to blue chip businesses and those involved in the food manufacturing and agricultural industry.

Innovative business offering

Irwing has expanded its range to also offer high-quality soya animal feed to the livestock and poultry markets. This allows them to increase their customer base and ensure they have multiple revenue streams.

5. Candle Manufacturing

For many in South Africa candles are the only source of light during the evening, considering the increase in load shedding and power outages over the past few years, candles will continue to be in high demand.

Here is an example of a successful manufacturing business you can gain insights from before you launch your business:

Business Name: Soy Lites

Website: https://www.soylites.co.za/

Established Date: 2007

About the business:

Soy Lites started in a small room and has grown into a manufacturing entity with 7 permanent staff. They continue to focus on educating consumers about the advantage of soy candles, which is part of their growth strategy.

Innovative business offering

In addition to their candle products, Soy Lite also manufactures body and massage soy balms, and package various raw materials. They also offer African Botanical oil blends, hydrosols and soy wax crayons.

6. Cosmetics Manufacturing

Do you love make-up? Does it excite you to start your own cosmetics manufacturing business? Then maybe this is the manufacturing business for you.

Related: The Ultimate 101 List Of SA Business Ideas To Get You Started

Before you start mixing colours and solutions, here is an example of a manufacturing business you can learn a few strategies from to ensure your business remains sustainable and growing:

Business Name: SwiitchBeauty

Website: https://swiitchbeauty.com/

Established Date: 2014

About the business:

Rabia Ghoor started SwiitchBeauty from a 4 square meter area in her bedroom at 15 years old. Since then the SwiitchBeauty team has grown to 6 permanent staff members and countless products.

Innovative business offering

The strategy that Rabia Ghoor attributes to their initial and ongoing success is their social media presence. She started her marketing strategy by becoming a social media influencer in the South African beauty industry.

This positioned her as an industry expert, and when she could introduce more products, she already had a fan-base to introduce them to.

7. Wigs, Weaves and Hair Extensions

If you have the interest, experience and skills to manufacturer high quality wigs, weaves and hair extensions you can tap into a growing market. There is a constant demand for wigs, weaves and hair extensions, so if you can offer a high-quality product, you'll have plenty of customers.

Before you launch your business, you'll first need to know what your competition is doing. Here is an example of a manufacturing business you can learn from:

Business Name: Erabella Hair Extensions

Website: https://www.erabellahair.com/

Established Date: 2017

About the business:

Erabella Hair Extensions focuses on having the highest quality hair extensions, made from 10A grade, 100% human hair, allowing their customers to use heating tools as if it were their own hair. They offer easy and free shipping depending on their customers location.

Innovative business offering

They offer a variety of hair extensions from clip-in hair, to wefts and fake lashes. They also offer reseller options for salons, as well as training for those who want to know how to insert hair extensions.

8. Towel Manufacturing

There will always be a demand for towels as people continuously use them. You can manufacture, plain, pretty and customised towels in large numbers, for a minimum investment.

Related: 10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

Before you launch your manufacturing business, here is an example of a successful towel manufacturer you can gain insights from:

Business Name: Towel Warehouse

Website: http://towelwarehouse.co.za/

Established Date: 2006

About the business:

Towel Warehouse started out as a factory outlet store selling second-grade towels. It has now grown into a leading supplier of towels to small and medium sized business within the hair, beauty and hospitality industries.

Innovative business offering

Towel Warehouse focuses on small and medium sized business that use towels and linen as part of their offering. Their stock availability has meant that even their competitors have had to buy from them to meet demand.

9. Carpentry

There is a continuous high demand for homemade, custom items. If you have carpentry skills you can start your own manufacturing business making anything from furniture, decorations and containers. Before you launch your start-up, here is a manufacturing business you can gain insights from:

Business Name: Durban Joinery

Website: http://www.durbanjoinery.co.za/

Established Date: 1987

About the business:

Durban Joinery has built up its name in the construction industry as a manufacturer of quality wooden architectural pieces. They pride themselves on using a "no short cut" approach to the crafting of their products.

Innovative business offering

To reassure clients of their quality they are invited to their workshop so that new and repeat customers can see their quality and services for themselves.

10. Jewellery manufacturing

Customers are looking for unique, one-of-a-kind items, and jewellery is no exception. You can start a lucrative business by manufacturing jewellery.

Business Name: Eternity Manufacturing Jewellers

Website: https://emj.co.za/

Established Date: 1985

About the business:

During three decades in operation, Eternity Manufacturing Jewellers have acquired an extensive knowledge and expertise, through training and developing a group of specialist craftsmen. Their team consists of specialist goldsmiths, silversmiths and diamond setters.

Their goal is to ensure they consistently exceed their customers expectations by creating unique designs.

Innovative business offering

To ensure they handle every aspect of their customers' piece, they have all their own staff, equipment and material, which means customers never need to wait for a third party to complete their part of the project, and the piece never leaves their premises at any stage during the production process.

Related: 20 Innovative Business Ideas Doing Well Overseas (That Could Make You Money In SA)

Wavy Line
Nicole Crampton

Entrepreneur Staff

Sales Enablement - Content Developer

Nicole Crampton is an SEO specialist who contributes to Entrepreneur.com/za. She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa and has continued her studies with a Creative Writing degree from UNISA. Nicole has completed several courses in writing and online marketing, and continues to hone her skills and expertise in digital media, digital marketing and content creation.

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