We had a little fun this week with local startup CEO and funny guy Will Hardison, aka Elvis the Elf. In the video, we feature nine local startups making pretty awesome holiday gifts (You’ll love the ending!), but the list below includes a bunch more startup-y ideas. We make it easy for you to find unique local gifts AND support local startups.
Featured in the video above:
Nearsights Monocles of Durham, offering prescription and non-prescription monocles with several styles of frames for $49.99 and up. CEO Jim Berry took over the company from his father in 2012 and this year, moved it from San Francisco to Durham. Nearsights also earned a mention in The New York Times in March, in an article that called the eyewear “hipster chic.”
SimplyB Gluten Free of Raleigh. You might know this company by the name Betty’s Better Breads. Founder Betty Cogdell graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and participated in the Launch Chapel Hill incubator program. She also won the Carolina Challenge in 2013. In November 2014, in hopes of better distinguishing herself from the other famous baker named Betty (Crocker), Betty’s rebranded to SimplyB Gluten Free and released its first two products, brownie mix and yellow cake mix. They’re sold online and in several local stores for $8.99 each.
RiceWrap Foods of Raleigh earned headlines earlier this year for its Kickstarter campaign to get up and running a factory making frozen sushi rice wraps. The company’s mission is to make it easier for people to eat sushi at home, removing the challenge of cooking the rice, making it stick together and then rolling it. RiceWrap makes white and brown rice sheets and pillows (for sashimi). Cost is five sheets for $11 and 12 pillows for $5.
Lawson Hammock of Raleigh has earned props from Backpacker and Outside magazines for its Blue Ridge Camping Hammock, a patented tent hammock that can sit on the ground or suspended in the air, helping campers escape bugs and sometimes difficult terrains. The hammock retails for $170 and can be found at Great Outdoor Provisions or online.
FilterEasy of Raleigh is an online subscription service for air filters, automatically shipping new HVAC and furnace filters when they need to be replaced. Founders Thaddeus Tarkington and Kevin Barry graduated from The Iron Yard accelerator in Greenville, S.C. and then raised more than $300,000 from mostly local investors. Filters come in a few dozen different sizes and prices range based on size and number ordered.
CoffeeCrate is another online subscription service, just launched in Raleigh. It’s founders wanted to introduce more of the world to North Carolina coffee, so they created a monthly box with beans from three different roasters and a cookie and an option to give or get a new one monthly. Prices range from $23-$29 per month based on the number of months. The first shipment went out in December.
Nugget Comfort has developed the only couch made out of pool noodle foam. Founder David Baron dreamt up the idea as a student at UNC and created the couch in partnership with the local manufacturer Nomocor. Nuggets will be sold through furniture retailers RoomsToGo and Wayfair.com in 2015. But to order one for a loved one this holiday season (and get the discounted price of $249), contribute to the Durham startup’s Kickstarter campaign and get one of the first Nuggets ever made.
Mati Energy drinks might make the perfect stocking stuffer for early morning present opening. The Durham startup and recent NC IDEA grant winner is now selling its tea-based healthy energy drinks in Whole Foods stores across the Southeast, and now in six-packs in local startup spaces. Price ranges from $2.50-$2.70 a can.
The ELF is the quirkiest vehicle in Durham, made locally and distributed around the world by Organic Transit. It’s a solar, electric, pedal powered vehicle with a starting price of $5,495. Oh, and Jerry Seinfeld has one.
Other local startup gifts:
RUNAWAY. Love those DURM shirts? They’re designed and sold by Runaway Clothes, now with a popup shop open throughout the holidays in the heart of downtown at 106 Parrish Street. Snag a new tee or hoodie for the Durham native or transplant in your life. Tees and tanks are $24, hats $30, hoodies $50.
Artwear Designs is a Chapel Hill startup selling jewelry and apparel screenprinted with unique works of art. The mission of founders and recent UNC graduates Natalia Gonzalez Chavez and Lisa Marie Myers is to help artists get discovered. Jewelry is for sale on their website with prices ranging from $9-$22.
Deep South Mountaineering of Durham sells t-shirts and camping equipment like bug nets, hammock straps, wallets, tarps, hats and gourds, and soon, will offer the Alpine Hammock.
Barley Labs, the Durham maker of dog treats made of barley recycled from beer brewing, is the famous runner-up to the Small Business Big Game 2014 Super Bowl commercial contest. Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods stores throughout the state now carry the treats, as well as specialty retailers and other grocers. Don’t leave out your pup this holiday. Treat bags cost $2.49 and up.
Communigift is a Chapel Hill startup making it easy for people to adopt a family online. Select and buy gifts directly from merchants via the website and they are shipped and delivered to agencies and families in need across the state.
Bitcoin or altcoin. For an alternative gift, buy a loved one his or her first digital currency. There are several Triangle startups with their own Bitcoin alternatives. Check out this video we created after the region’s first Cryptolina Bitcoin Expo for ideas and options.
CompostNow is a Raleigh startup that delivers a starter bucket for composting and offers a subscription service that picks up your composted material and delivers it back as fresh soil. Price is $25 per month in the Triangle and $32 per month in Asheville.
Mamafrica Designs. Support the women entrepreneurs in the Congo by buying the wares distributed by this Chapel Hill nonprofit. Mamafrica trains women to support themselves and earn and keep jobs, and provides fair living wages as they make bags, accessories, home decor items and clothing that are sold to consumers in the U.S.