12 Ways to Shop and Support STL Startups This Holiday Season

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

The holiday season is in full swing, and right now you might be scrambling to find meaningful gifts for loved ones.

Instead of re-gifting last year’s reject presents, you can choose to be a bastion of local businesses. This year, purchase unique gifts sure to create lasting memories—all while supporting the burgeoning startup scene in St. Louis. We’ve tapped some of the great local companies (all Arch Grants Recipients of past and present) who can help you check off everyone on your list.

For the person who deserves personalization:

Photo courtesy of Greetabl

How often have you penned a heartfelt sentiment in a card, only to have it end up in the recycling bin? With Greetabl, you can customize and express what is in your heart and reach the people on your nice list. Recall your shared moments, write prose and send a 3D, displayable token of your affection coupled with great curated gift items inside.

For the fashionable, yet casual, Midwestern folks in your life:

Photo courtesy of The Normal Brand

The Normal Brand 
With its pulse on the sensibilities of what matters to people “in the middle,” The Normal Brand has created a clothing and accessory line that combines fashion with flexibility and wearability: perfect for a backyard campfire or holiday antiquing.

For the upwardly mobile friend with piles of IKEA catalogs:

Photo courtesy of Artifox
Photo courtesy of Artifox

Most contemporary furniture seems not at all concerned with contemporary needs. Desk space in particular is difficult with multiple devices all in need of charging. Artifox has created a series of furniture pieces that combine clean design with pragmatic use—and we love them for it. Their solid, walnut hardwood Desk 01, which features desktop openings for iPads, built-in charging stations and a small leg hook for your work bag, is perfect for the tech-driven go-getter on your list.

For the people who consider their dogs to be their children:

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 3.04.21 PM

The folks at Wondermento like to blur the lines between real and virtual life. And if there is any area in which that kind of fantasy would be welcome, it is the arena of pets and crazy pet parents. The gift of WonderWoof is perfect for the dog-obsessed relative who brings the family pet to all of the Christmas gatherings. It combines a tracking device with social media, keeping your pooch as tech-savvy as you are.

For the person who can’t say no to adventure:

Photo courtesy of Hyde Wingman.
Photo courtesy of Hyde Wingman.

Hyde Wingman
In recent years, the popularity of outdoor activities like stand-up paddling, adventure racing, kayaking and other water-based excursions has expanded. People who likes to push the limit can now do so with increased confidence if you gift them the Hyde Wingman. The sleek yet expandable life vest means that thrill-seeking buddy can really test his comfort zone and still be safe.

For the Ironman-crazed woman in your life:

Photo courtesy of Triflare

You might know this specific type of overachiever: By 5am she already has her pool workout complete. By the time you check social media at work, she has Instagrammed photos of her latest pair of shoes—the ones she ran in for 15 miles. The Ironman craze is real and Triflare is here to make sure your triathlon-obsessed friend can add some fashionable statements to the early wake-up calls.

For the fashionable and socially conscious people in your life:

Photo courtesy of Made for Freedom

Made for Freedom
This season more than ever, a lot of people will be wishing for a better world around the holidays–even the most cynical of us. Now, you and your loved ones can support global equality for women while bestowing hand-made, awesome accessories and clothing to friends and family.

For the I’m-just-not-a-morning-person friend: 

Photo courtesy of Chrona Sleep

Chrona Sleep Elite 
That colleague who is dragging into the morning staff meeting and yawning at 3pm may be a good candidate for the Chrona Sleep Elite. It is a technology-based solution that acoustically modifies your pillow and allows for deeper sleep—even if that sleep time is only four hours.

*Currently still for pre-order.

For the family with a newborn:

Photo courtesy of Pacidose
Photo courtesy of Pacidose

Half of the time, a baby actually does not receive the right amount of medication—have you ever tried juggling medicine and a crying baby? The new parents on your list will love this medication dispenser and pacifier in one. And that new niece of yours is more likely to be silent for “Silent Night.”


Looking other ways to support local companies? Check out some ways to enhance your shopping with these STL startups:

Support diversity:  Tuloko
Tuloko is a directory of black-owned businesses and events in a given area. To help increase the success and enhance diversity in a region, check out some of their featured deals and events.

Stop wasting time looking through coupons: Benjamin
Get deals on great stuff that is customized to your needs with Benjamin. This app for iOS scours the Web to bring you the best deals on brands and items you care about. You are given a deal and you have one minute to decide.

Fuel your shopping: Start Right
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially if your day includes a lot of shopping. So get a boost from a Start Right breakfast–wholesome, tasty goodness available at Lucky’s Market in St. Louis. Though not an Arch Grant company, the founders received an Arch Grant for another startup.