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Making the effort to shop local can be harder with limited time and busy schedules—to cut down on the excuses we’ve gathered a list of local products and startup companies to calm your gift buying anxiety and get ideas for everyone on your list.
Maven Bath & Candle Co.
Maven is your local go-to for bath bombs, face masks, lotions, soaps and more! If you are familiar with Lush, this is the local equivalent with superior ingredients and products. The best part is it’s reasonably priced, homemade, and all natural. (Author’s disclosure: I may be typing this while burning the “Naughty or Nice” candle and wearing the detox face mask.)
These gifts make perfect stocking stuffers or, even better, round up a mix of candles, soaps and lotions to customize your own gift basket. There’s even a men’s line, with the bearded gents getting special attention with mustache wax and beard conditioning oil.
What we love: This store is a must for gifts and stocking up on all things bath and body. The soaps are all made in-house and come with names like ‘Winter is Coming’ and ‘My Boyfriend’s Shirt’. The candles make the perfect gift for just about anyone, and the new holiday scents are just what your home needs to smell like the season.
This St. Louis based company’s founding principal was to create a business that did more for people and products from beginning to end. This begins with responsible sourcing of products and materials, thoughtful-minimal designs, and ends with real lasting partnerships with charities that are solving systemic issues across the globe.
They produce a variety of products that are already sold in Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, and Walmart.com. Their latest is an ‘affordable’ heirloom-quality cast iron skillet, currently available on Kickstarter.
What we love: The new cast iron skillet available via Kickstarter is the perfect housewarming or wedding gift—or for anyone handy around the kitchen. By using a modern manufacturing process, they’ve replicated the best features of classic cast iron at a price point everyone can afford—just $25 for the first 500 backers, or $35 for Christmas delivery.
Check out the Greater Goods Cast Iron Skillet
Getting a handwritten letter in the mail is a rare joy these days. Greetabl has taken the magic of snail mail and created a well designed gift that is a perfect solution for a ‘thinking of you’ this holiday season. In their own words, they have, “solved that awkward problem when a greeting card is not enough and flowers or a traditional gift is too much,” which they call The Gifting Gap.
The ‘Greetabl’ is a fold out gift box that’s customizable with a print, photos, and a message. You also get to pick a small gift to fill your Greetabl. Gifts range from candles to nail polish and the starting price point comes in at around $15.
What we love: Their Holiday Gift guide is full of pre made suggestions to make gift giving simple and easy. The Warmest Wishes Greetabl comes in a merry everything print with a cup of cocoa inside, making his is an ideal gift to send a friend, co-worker, or anyone to make them feel extra special this season. We already have our eye on the nautical crew socks and the brass flask for some of our favorite elves.
Pick your favorites at www.greetabl.com
The Normal Brand
Like all good startup stories, there’s usually a garage or a parents basement that plays a leading role in the formation of the company. The Normal Brand is a casual wear lifestyle brand started by a group of brothers from the Midwest—in you guessed it, their parents basement.
The inspiration was born out of a need for ‘a normal shirt’ that was both casual, stylish, and could hold up to the occasional hunting trip. With styles ranging from sweaters to lightweight plaids, they offer the perfect laid back style for the men in your life.
What we love: The Henley, which comes in multiple colors is a great everyday shirt that’s both casual and stylish. The plaids come in all colors and offer a more fitted look. During the holiday season, The Normal Brand offers bundles handpicked by the designers to make shopping easier while saving the buyer 20%.
The Normal Brand sells online at thenormalbrand.com and through 250 independent retailers in 40 states around the US.
The holiday season is also resort season, which means winter beach getaways are right around the corner. If you or someone you know is headed for warmer temps, be sure and alert them to one of St. Louis’ newest direct to consumer swimwear brands.
Summersalt is made from recycled materials and has 4x the compression of your regular swimwear. (In other words, say hello to actually eating and drinking while wearing said swimsuit).
Summersalt debuted earlier this year from two St. Louis startup veterans, Lori Coulter of Lori Coulter Swimwear and Reshma Chamberlain of strategy and design firm January. They have already been featured in Forbes, Elle, Glamour, Vogue and more.
What we love: Summersalt suits offer up to UPF 50 protection, which means they have your back if you forget to reapply after an active day at the beach. But the best thing about the suits aren’t the many stylish and comfortable designs, it’s the price! All swimwear rings in at under $95.
To shop your perfect suit visit https://www.gosummersalt.com
The Benjamin App
At first glance, you may wonder what an app that offers personalized deals from brands like Nike and Patagonia has to do with shopping locally. The e-commerce company was an Arch Grants recipient and relocated to St. Louis in 2014.
The app is available for IOS and sources great offers from top brands and like Major League Baseball, Ray-Ban and Under Armour to name a few. The catch is users only have sixty seconds to swipe yes or no. Once the deal is gone, it’s gone forever.
What we love: Check out Benjamin’s ‘gift mode’, you can find the perfect gift with just a few taps. Share some details about your friends or loved ones – like gender, shirt size, favorite football team and let the suggestions come rolling in. The variety ensures you will find something for almost everyone on your list.
To join in on the fun, find the download link at benjaminapp.co, or search “benjamin deals” on the iTunes store.
Even your four legged friend deserves a special treat this season, right? Riley’s organics makes USDA certified organic treats that will make Fido the envy of all the dogs in the neighborhood. They even went the extra mile and have them baked in a Human Grade US bakery.
According to their website, “These treats are so good and so healthy that we can eat them ourselves. If we would not eat them, why should our dogs?”
This means zero guilt when your kid accidently helps himself to your dog treats! Winning at parenting just by buying only the best for your dogs.
What we love: Man’s best friend deserves the best!
This Arch Grants company has been churning out their top of the line treats since 2012 and Riley’s can be purchased at local Schnucks, Dierbergs, Lucky’s Markets or online at https://rileysorganics.com
Demestik by Rueben Rueul
St. Louis Fashion Fund alum and Arch Grants recipient Rueben Ruel brings his womenswear brand to the Midwest via Virginia and NYC.
Demestik offers made-to-order dresses and separates manufactured in the U.S. The line pairs traditional fabric and Holland wax cotton with classic yet modern designs, creating bold statement pieces and styles that easily transition from casual everyday wear to special occasion and evening attire.
What we love: If Beyonce is a fan, you should be a fan! Demestik has been featured everywhere from Vogue to Glamour and on countless fashion influencers.
Shop the collection at https://www.demestik.us/collections/all
From the St Louis Fashion Fund Incubator and most recent Arch Grants cohort comes handbag designer Allison Mitchell, who relocated her company from Texas to St. Louis after receiving the grant.
Her bags, crafted from exotic skins and hides from around the world, are manufactured and finished by hand in New York City. Lined in seasonal picks from the designer, the minimalist chic brand offers a polished, deconstructed look that makes a statement with unique shapes and exceptional materials.
What we love: Handbags and shoes, handbags and shoes. Repeat after me. This is the way to many a woman’s heart, and these handbags come in variations for every personal style .
You can purchase the bags directly from www.allisonmitchell.com
For the person that has everything, give the gift of an experience! Dabble is an online platform for discovering and hosting unique, local experiences, classes and events.
Get your group of friends together for a soap making class, yoga, pasta making,or whatever your fancy—Dabble will have a class for you and your squad. The best gifts are experiences that can be relived over and over again.
What we love: Make something, cook something, discover your community. It’s all possible with a variety of classes available in St. Louis and other cities like Chicago and Denver. The best part about buying a class through Dabble is the double whammy of supporting not only a St. Louis startup, but local makers as well.
More Gift Inspiration?
Ellen Prinzi is the founder and CEO of millennial travel company Olio City. If you want to give her the best gift of all this holiday season, follow Olio City on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Or, even better, download the app!