Our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

These unique products and services created by Columbia Business School entrepreneurs will make you the world’s greatest gift-giver.

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Are you known among family and friends as the one who always gives the perfect gift? Do you have a knack for matching your special someone with just the right item? Unique products and services created by Columbia Business School entrepreneurs help you retain your status as the world’s greatest gift-giver. (Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but not much.) From delicious foods sourced from artisans around the world to the newest Korean cosmetics to sleek skiwear, alumni-founded companies offer a range of innovative gift ideas for just about everyone on your list.


Blue Nectar Tequila: For the Spirits Lover

Blue Nectar Tequila: For the Spirits Lover

Bring a little south-of-the-border fun to any holiday party with Blue Nectar Tequila, founded by Nikhil Bahadur ’12 and his father, BN Bahadur. The award-winning tequila, available in four expressions (Silver, Reposado Extra Blend, Reposado Special Craft, and Añejo Founder’s Blend), is small batch, super premium, and focused on agave-forward flavor profiles indicative of “el valle” — the tequila-producing valley of Jalisco, Mexico. This artisan-created spirit earned a Chairman’s Trophy for “Best Reposado Tequila” in 2014, 2015, and 2016 at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Cheers to the holidays! ($49.99–$69.99; www.bluenectartequila.com)


DB Method: For the Fitness Enthusiast

DB Method: For the Fitness Enthusiast

Help a loved one get their rear back in gear after all those holiday treats with the DB Method, a biomechanically engineered exercise device that enables users to do the perfect modified squat, specifically targeting the backside for optimal toning, strengthening, and shaping. Creator Erika Rayman ’15 recommends spending 10 minutes on the machine three to four times a week, in intervals. The DB Method officially launched on November 2 and has been billed as the modern-day Thighmaster — to get your butt in shape for the perfect “belfies.” ($189 plus shipping; www.thedbmethod.com)


Goby: For the Gadget Lover

Goby: For the Gadget Lover

Give the gift of oral hygiene with Goby, the first-ever direct-to-consumer rechargeable electric toothbrush, created by Claire Burke ’15 and Ben Goldberg. The affordable Goby can be charged via USB port and comes with customizable subscriptions for replacement brush heads — you can get them every one, two, or three months, with free shipping. Subscription or not, the replacement heads cost $6 each. It’s a win for pearly whites everywhere! ($50 with subscription, $6/month for brush heads. $65 for the toothbrush without the subscription; www.goby.co)


Ollie: For the Devoted Dog Parent

Ollie: For the Devoted Dog Parent

Meal-kit subscriptions like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are all the rage these days. But those are for humans (minus the occasional table scrap). Now, Gabby Slome ’15 has founded Ollie, a subscription service for dog food that is made from human-grade ingredients. Customers provide detailed profiles of their loyal companion, including breed, age, and allergies. Ollie then designs a customized recipe of natural meats, fruits, and vegetables and delivers them straight to the (doggie) door, along with instructions for mixing them and measuring scoops for portion control. Bone appetite! ($42–$100/per two-week supply, depending on the size of the dog; www.myollie.com)


Orsden: For the Outdoor Sports Enthusiast

Orsden: For the Outdoor Sports Enthusiast

Just in time for winter-sports season comes Orsden, offering sleek and stylish performance ski jackets with premium technical specifications, sold direct to consumer. Founded by Sara Segall ’14 and her husband, the company, whose name name derives from the French word for snow bear, ours de neige, offers technical specs on par with bulkier and pricier jackets sold in stores. For women, there’s the Lift Jacket, which features a fashionable diagonal zipper, while men wear the Slope Jacket model. All are made from waterproof but breathable fabric and feature 120 g of insulation in the body and 40 g in the sleeves and hood. Jackets also include internal lining and dynamic insulation, along with internal stretch-cuffs, zippered underarm vents, and a helmet-compatible hood. Designed to keep skiers both warm and stylish as they go zipping down the black diamond trail. ($330; www.orsden.com)


SokoGlam: For the Beauty Junkie

SokoGlam: For the Beauty Junkie

In 2012, as Korean beauty products and cosmetics were taking the skin-care market by storm, David Cho ’15 and his wife, Charlotte, launched SokoGlam, an online marketplace for all things K-beauty. Charlotte, an aesthetician and expert on Korean beauty products, tests all the products, and the site features tips and tricks, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to undertake the 10-step Korean skincare routine. Korean beauty products are known for their unique ingredients, cutting-edge formulations, and eye-catching packaging, so a SokoGlam gift is sure to please the skincare and makeup lover in your life. (With hundreds of products, prices include $2 for one sheet face mask to $199 for a the 10-step beauty kit. All Columbia affiliates may use code COLUMBIAALUM to receive 15 percent off their next order; www.sokoglam.com)


Try the World: For the Adventurous Eater

Try the World: For the Adventurous Eater

Do you know a foodie who’d love a monthly box of goodies from around the world —perhaps chai butter cookies from Argentina or coconut flower syrup vinegar from Thailand? Sign them up for Try the World, a monthly subscription-box service founded by Kat Vorotova ’14. Each month features a chef-curated selection of delicacies sourced from a different country. The Signature Box subscription features a range of foods, including ingredients to cook with. The Snack Box option includes food that’s ready for devouring. For the holidays, Try the World collaborated with Michelin Guide to create a seasonal-delicacies box. If you’re in New York, visit the pop-up store in the Oculus in the World Trade Center through December 30. ($15–19/month for the Snack Box; $29–$39/month for the Signature Box, depending on quantity purchased; trytheworld.com)


Twillory: For the Clotheshorse

Twillory: For the Clotheshorse

Do a little good this holiday season with a fashionable gift from Twillory, a direct-to-consumer menswear startup co-founded by Harry Cederbaum ’94. In addition to engineering SafeCotton to create formaldehyde-free non-iron shirts, Twillory has launched Re:Purpose, a pilot program that allows shoppers to mail back gently used garments that the company will launder and donate to the jobless, homeless, and others in need through a partnership with CareerGear. ’Tis the season for looking chic — and giving back. (Two shirts for $89, prices vary depending on quantities purchased; www.twillory.com)


Wonderhood Toys: For the Real Estate Developer-in-Training

Wonderhood Toys: For the Real Estate Developer in Training

After meeting at Columbia Business School, Andrea Wenner Hollander ’05 and Solange Schipani ’05 set out to create a toy that would upend the traditional notion of how girls should play and inspire them to pursue their love of STEM subjects. Wonderhood Toys’ creative building sets encourage imaginative play and help kids practice hands-on problem solving while learning about architectural design and structural engineering. In one set, children can design a group of stores — including a candy shop, of course — as well as read stories and solve design challenges in their activity journals. ($29.99–$59.99 for a set, $9.99 for a set of figurines; wonderhoodtoys.com)


x.ai: For the Busy Professional

x.ai: For the Busy Professional

You know how it can take exchanging a dozen e-mails to schedule a half-hour meeting? Thursday’s out. Monday looks open, etc. You can hand that all over to a virtual personal assistant made by x.ai. Founded by Alex Poon ’06, x.ai’s AI personal assistant (which the company has named Andrew or Amy Ingram) takes over the e-mail back and forth that goes along with scheduling your own meetings. When someone e-mails you to set up a meeting, just respond and cc your virtual assistant, who can access your calendar and even knows your favorite places. Amy and Andrew will negotiate with your guest until they find a suitable time and then place the meeting on your calendar. All that’s left for you to do is show up and order the latte! ($0 for the free version, but there is a waitlist; $39/month for the professional version; x.ai)

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