Shop local and support Ohio startups with the perfect gifts for your whole list
Holiday shopping can be stressful. Will your friends and family like your gifts? Will you get them something they already have? Are gift cards or electronics from a big-box store too impersonal?
Have no fear, Ohio startups are here to help.
In every corner of the state, innovators, creatives and tech geniuses are developing a wide variety of groundbreaking products. And what better use for their exciting ideas than filling out your shopping list?!
Of course, we can’t find them all, so help us add to our list below!
For the Gamer
The gamer in your life will have to wait just a bit for No Mercy, the new game from Multivarious, but your pre-order will fund a variety of innovations that are improving lives. From their Columbus home, Multivarious works on virtual reality programs that make hospital therapy bearable for children and physical therapy more interesting for adults.
For the Dog-Lover
What’s better than buying your dog-loving friend a toy for their favorite pup? From their impressive Ohio headquarters in Columbus’ Franklinton neighborhood, the dog-lovers at BARK produce funny, canine-approved toys, treats, chews and more. And if you’re feeling extra generous, Bark offers the monthly BarkBox to keep your loved one’s pup happy all year.
For the Caffeine Addict
Looking for a coffee-related gift with a local flare? At Cedarville-based Third Wave Water, they’re all about culture — oh, and making your coffee taste better. Their mineral packets perfect the makeup of your water for better tasting, more consistent coffee that will make anyone a morning person.
For the Gluten-Free Snacker
At The Toasted Oat, they believe gluten-free snacks can be just as delicious as their traditional counterparts. Created after founder Erika Boll was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the Columbus startup makes bags of soft-baked granola with flavors like cherry streusel and blueberry cobbler that Boll describes as a “deconstructed cookie.”
For the Aspiring Athlete
If you aren’t an expert at their sport, it’s tough to give advice to a young athlete — that is, until Apex Sports came around. The Cincinnati startup has developed a platform where former and current pro athletes help teach lessons ranging from fundamentals to high-level performance. With a variety of classes available, you can help your young athlete reach the next level.
For the Active Fashionista
At Jumper Threads, fashion meets performance. The Cincinnati startup is re-thinking the essentials in your wardrobe by incorporating innovative textiles into their undershirts, socks, outerwear and more, allowing better movement and breathability.
For the Doll Collector
At Cincinnati’s Healthy Roots, dolls are for everyone. Founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles drew from her own childhood experience to create dolls that look like girls of color, hoping to improve girls’ self-esteem and teach them about their style and hair. Based around the doll Zoe, the company’s products reach beyond the toy itself.
For the Fastidious Tooth-Brusher
When brushing your teeth just isn’t quite enough, the folks at Safewhite have you covered. The Columbus startup’s product, HaloSmile, is a peroxide-free, temporary whitening cosmetic kit that creates layer over the surface of your teeth for the whitest possible smile. This innovative product doesn’t change the natural state of your teeth and is free of bleach, peroxide or harsh chemicals that harm enamel.
For the Dorm Resident
Does someone on your list want to decorate their walls without leaving a trace? ShearGrip can help. Their products — like bulletin boards, paper and dry-erase film — are designed to stick to a variety of surfaces using special tech (inspired by gecko feet) that isn’t sticky or tacky, and can easily be removed. Use it to put posters, photos and more on those blank walls.
For the Futuristic PC User
Got someone on your list who thinks using a keyboard and mouse is old-school? Based in Mason, a Cincinnati suburb, Perceptive Devices has a solution for you. Their Smyle Mouse gives hands-free control of Windows devices, making it perfect for those looking to live in the future or those in need of improved accessibility.
For the Sharp-Dresser on the Go
Looking for clothes that can stand up to a hot or stressful day? Columbus SweatSeal wants to help. They consider themselves a fashion company — but one that’s working to eliminate pit stains. Their patented sweat-absorbing material will give added confidence to the professional who can’t afford to sit still.
For the Community-Oriented Artist
Columbus’ Fuse Factory is a nonprofit art and technology lab designed to promote the relationship between art and tech through hands-on workshops, art exhibitions and performances. Snag a ticket to a workshop for the artist in your life and help them connect to the exciting central Ohio art community.
For the Password Protected
We can all understand the plight of forgetting passwords. And at Cleveland’s Everykey, they’ve found a way to end the annoyance! Everykey replaces keys and passwords, enabling users to automatically unlock their devices, doors, vehicles and password-protected websites so you can stop hitting that “forgot my password” link.
For the Nighttime Jogger
Running in the dark can be dangerous, but with the glow of Noxgear, you won’t have to worry. The Dayton startup makes luminescent running gear, including shoulder reflectors, glowing vests and even a light-up dog harness.
For the App-Lover
Across Ohio, fascinating tech startups are developing applications that improve our daily lives and enhance our experiences. Here are a few TechOhio favorites to stuff your virtual stockings:
- Know someone with way too many clothes? Cladwell might be able to help. The Cincinnati startup has developed an app that helps you pick out the right outfit while paring down your overstuffed closet.
- If someone on your list is a regular volunteer, they might love the POINT The Columbus startup is working to make volunteering as easy as ordering food, and the app connects volunteers with their communities.
- Have an aspiring rapper on your holiday gift list? Rapchat can help launch their career. This free app, developed by two students in Columbus, lets users create freestyles and rap over their beats with the goal of removing hurdles to recording music.
- If the sports fan in your life needs a new way to follow their favorite team, Micro Fantasy might be just the app. The platform, developed in Cleveland, allows users to turn any game into a fantasy sport.