Holiday shopping for that special someone? We’ve got you. Look no further than these fantastic WashU student- and alum-founded companies for that perfect gift. From food to fashion to function, these are sure to please someone on your list.
WashU alum Amanda Zuckerman (B.A., B.S‘13) founded Dormify with her mom, Karen Zuckerman. As a first-year student, Amanda had trouble finding stylish decor items for her dorm room. Her experience prompted her to start a design blog, enlisting her fellow students to share their tips. This platform eventually became the online (and soon-to-be brick-and-mortar) retailer Dormify.
Perfect for: your BFF who just got a full-time job offer…but still needs that adultier adult in their life who knows how to file taxes or change a tire.
Perfect for: your friend studying abroad next semester. They’ll think of you every time they jet off to a new city.
$40 (on sale for $19)
Perfect for: your friend who likes to binge-watch Netflix. Holiday rom-coms are better when you’re snuggled in a velvety-soft blanket.
WashU alum Lori Coulter (MBA’99) co-founded Summersalt with Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin in 2017. In 2018 the swimwear company raised $6.1 million in a Series A round. This year, they added travel-related products to their line and introduced an online platform to connect women travelers worldwide.
Perfect for: your mom, who loves the finer things in life. Pair with a riveting best seller like Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies or Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and some fancy hot chocolate to really pamper her — she deserves it.
Perfect for: your friend who works in management consulting and travels across the country each week. Help them minimize their stress and stay organized in style.
Perfect for: your friend who lives for long runs through Forest Park or HIIT classes at Sumers Rec Center.
Third Degree Glass Factory
WashU alum and serial entrepreneur Jim McKelvey (BASc ‘87) founded Third Degree Glass Factory in 2002 as a state-of-the-art glass studio, education center and event space in St. Louis City. The transformed 1930s car dealership serves as an anchor for the neighborhood. Fun fact: McKelvey also invented Square. He came up with the idea after he lost a sale of a blown-glass piece at an art fair because he wasn’t able to accept credit cards.
Perfect for: your entire family on their next visit to St. Louis. According to a 2015 study by researchers from WashU and Cornell, experiences make gift recipients happier than more traditional gifts.
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Perfect for: your parent who is killing it in corporate America and prefers a smoother writing experience with no ink blobs on important documents. Plus, it will look great on their desk and they’ll think of you every time they use it.
$30 (ballpoint) & $45 (fountain)
Perfect for: your older sibling who finally has their own apartment and no longer needs to worry about moving every year. Hello, breakable vases!
$100 – $150
Bear-y Sweet Shoppe
Bear-y Sweet Shoppe, part of the Student Entrepreneurial Program (StEP), is one of many student-owned businesses on campus. Founded in 2015 by four undergrads, shares in the company are sold to underclassmen, meaning the business always will be student-owned and operated.
Perfect for: your pre-med friend who has lots of evening exams. Gen chem, bio, stats, calc and physics are definitely more manageable with “bear-y” sweet treats on exam day!
$15.99/$49.99 – $89.99
Perfect for: any candy-loving WashU student in your life! These are a great gift to keep on hand for that holiday gift exchange within your student organizations…or that awkward moment when someone on your floor unexpectedly gives you a gift and you weren’t planning to give them one. Also, you’re supporting on-campus entrepreneurship. Win-win.
$10.00 – $50.00
Alumna Sarah Mirth (M.Arch ‘10) founded Artifox with her husband Dan in 2014. The St. Louis-based company creates minimalist designs that are perfect for the modern urban professional using high-quality materials that help sustain both the products’ beauty and the environment. Artifox was recipient of a 2014 Arch Grant.
Perfect for: your dad who loves Saturday DIY projects like organizing the garage. This rack will save space and let him showcase his cool ride.
Perfect for: the bibliophile in your life who has more books than they know what to do with. Help them organize their collection with this sleek desk stand.