The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for the perfect present? These Columbia Business School entrepreneurs have you covered.    

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It’s that time of year again — time to stress about finding the right gift for each special someone on your list! That is, unless you turn to the creative wisdom of Columbia Business School’s business innovators. From windowsill gardening kits to chocolate-making workshops, alumni-founded companies offer a range of gift options that are sure to satisfy everyone on your list — even those who have everything!

For the City-Dwelling Gardener

Urban Leaf

Launched by Nate Littlewood ’17 and Rob Elliott (’15SEAS), Urban Leaf aims to make cities a little greener — and gardening a bit easier — with the World’s Smallest Garden, a hydroponic planter that allows you to grow herbs in your apartment using just your own empty bottle. Made entirely in the US using biodegradable and recycled materials, the World’s Smallest Garden feeds and provides water to your plant for up to a month at a time — making the process fun, easy, and affordable. Now even the city-bound chefs on your gift list can wow dinner guests with homegrown greens like sweet basil, purple basil, or lemon balm. ($8-22;; use code CBS10 for 10 percent off.)

For the Dapper Dresser


When it comes to smart-casual style, an untucked button-down shirt is the linchpin that holds it all together. But button-down shirts aren’t made to be worn this way — and oftentimes, it shows. So Aaron Sanandres ’07 and Chris Riccobono ’07 founded UNTUCKit, which offers men’s, women’s, and boys’ styles designed to look great when worn free and loose. Sanandres and Riccobono did extensive research into the ideal length (not too short, not too long) and proper hemline (rounded, not square) to ensure that each shirt offers the perfect “cool guy” fit. (Men’s styles, $68-$109;

For the Frequent Traveler


Give the gift of style, function, and convenience on the go with luggage from Away, co-founded by Steph Korey ’15 and Jen Rubio. The chic brand offers sleek, lightweight, (only 7.2 pounds!) hard-shell rolling suitcases with thoughtful touches like built-in USB chargers and TSA-approved combination locks. Because the brand is direct-to-consumer — inspired by Korey’s and Rubio’s time at Warby Parker — the suitcases also pack a ton of quality at an affordable price. Snap up one of the two icy-blue options from the limited-edition winter collection and wish your loved one bon voyage! ($225-$295;

For the Aromatherapy Addict

Red Flower

Founded by Yael Alkalay ’97, Red Flower combines wellness and beauty in potent botanical bath and spa products that are biodegradable, biocompatible, vegan, and cruelty free. Give an extra-special person on your list the new limited-edition Rose Renewal Set, created in collaboration with Well+Good magazine. The set features the Red Flower Illuminating Rose Collagen Renewal Serum; Red Flower Moroccan Rose Petal Topped Vegan Candle; a rose-quartz crystal; and Red Flower Illuminating Rose Crystal Facial Acupressure Massage instructions. The trio of products, paired with the massage technique, will melt away stress and illuminate skin — just in time for New Year’s Eve. ($124 for the set;

For the Chic-Shoe Lover


How many times have you been dressed to the nines at an outdoor event and your heels begin to sink into the grass like you’re caught in some shoe-eating quicksand? Put an end to ruined heels with Solemates, special protectors for your favorite pumps designed by Becca Brown ’07 and Monica Ferguson ’07. The original, patented Solemates High Heeler was featured on Shark Tank and comes in single pairs or packs of three. Build out your gift with additional accessories like the Blister Blocker anti-friction balm or Freshen anti-bacterial shoe spray, or opt for a gift set like the Heel to Toe or SOS Ultimate Rescue, which packs a full suite of products. Give the gift of happy feet! ($12 for one pair of High Heelers;

For the Stylish Long-Distance Walker

Thursday Boot Company

Self-proclaimed “boot country” compatriots Connor Wilson ’15, who hails from Colorado, and Nolan Walsh ’15, from Nevada, noticed a problem. All the boots they tried on fell into one of two categories: too clunky for work, or too delicate for fashion. It didn’t help that the quality and prices were also vastly polarized. So they founded Thursday Boot Company, which offers high-quality, fashion-forward yet affordable shoes that can take a beating and keep on marching. (After all, the boots were built to handle Wilson’s and Walsh’s busy, pavement-stomping lives in New York City.) With ethically sourced materials and handcrafted quality, it’s no surprise that Thursday Boot Company’s shoes have walked their way into all 50 states and nearly 60 countries in less than three years. ($149-$269;

For the Jet Setter

Fly Louie

Traveling is great but can be a hassle. Give the traveler on your list a gift card to Fly Louie, the revolutionary platform that pairs fliers with empty seats on charter flights along a select and growing number of routes — so your loved one can skip the security line and fly in comfort for the price of a commercial airline ticket. Fly Louie, which was founded by Julia Takeda ’18, launched this summer with flight options between New York and Nantucket. This summer, it continues to offer service to Nantucket residents traveling off the island while it develops additional New York-based routes for 2018. ($100 each toward flights, which range from $350-$650;

For the Luxe Bag Lover


Given today’s packed social calendars, we’re often updating our wardrobes with day-to-night looks. What if we could do the same with our handbags? That’s where Coyn, founded by Jacqueline Harman ’11, comes in. Like the little black dress, Coyn leather totes are made with an eye to timeless, high-quality style that can easily transition from everyday wear to weekend swankiness, and last for multiple seasons, so your gift recipient will always be in vogue. The flagship bag, the Everyday Tote, is made from 100 percent Italian leather and features a laptop sleeve, bottle holder, key strap, and two side pockets. ($345;

For the Chocoholic

Voilà Chocolat

Indulge your loved one’s taste for crafting — literally — with a chocolate-making class from Voilà Chocolat, founded by chocolatier Peter Moustakerski ’04. Moustakerski founded the company in 2014 after seeing how guests at his daughter’s arts-and-crafts–themed birthday party thoroughly enjoyed the process of being creative, so he thought to meld that experience with the magic and deliciousness of chocolate. Voilà Chocolat offers an extensive menu of confection-crafting opportunities with both Moustakerski and a nationally recognized master chocolatier and pastry chef from France — sure to sweeten the holiday of anyone on your list. ($32-$65 per person;

For Those with a Sweet Tooth


Filling up on holiday treats might be a given this season, but now you can satisfy your sweet tooth without packing on major pounds thanks to Smashmallow, an on-the-go marshmallow snack. Founded in 2016 by Jon Sebastiani ’12 (of Krave Jerky fame), Smashmallow marshmallows are made with organic sugar and all-natural ingredients and have just 70-90 calories per serving. The gluten-free snack comes in seven tantalizing flavor “mash-ups” like Candy Cane, Cinnamon Churro, and Root Beer Float. A perfect stocking stuffer! ($4 for a 4.5-oz bag;

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