Austin Inno's 2021 local gift guide: Options for reading, eating, riding – Austin Business Journal

We all have our interpretations of the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan. But its roots date back a couple decades to local businesses including BookPeople and Waterloo Records, and it is largely about buying local.
In that spirit, Inno is back with a holiday gift guide that features products made by Austin-area startups.
We’ve also sought to embrace what Google and U.S. Black Chambers Inc. call “Black-owned Friday,” which seeks to highlight Black-owned brands. The national rollout of that promo featured T-Pain, Nappy Boy Entertainment and other celebrities, along with products from companies including Austin’s Black Pearl Books.
And, let’s face it, many of us spend hours trying to find this or that to fit with the needs and wants of our friends and family. And, often, all our friends and family want is a surprise that tells them we’re thinking of them. What better way than keeping it local at a time when Austin is facing more outside influence than ever.
Austin has more locally made products than we could ever fit in one list. But we’ve tried to curate items that we think are fairly easy to give as gifts and highlight relatively new brands. Let’s dive in…
Moon Ultra
This local startup’s primary product is a lighting device that attaches to your phone and provides a variety of high-quality lighting settings to nicely illuminate your video conference calls and selfies. It made Time Magazine’s list of best inventions in 2020, and earlier in November the startup landed new investment from TV personality and author Steve Harvey and his daughter, Lori Harvey. The startup was founded by Edward Madongorere and Dishen “Dixon” Yang.
LAMIK Beauty
Makeup might be a tough gift to pick out. But LAMIK Beauty has a unique edge. It makes vegan makeup with natural and organic ingredients for multicultural women. Founder and CEO Kim Roxie named LAMIK for “Love and Makeup in Kindness.” It offers a full lineup of makeup products, and it has gift cards to take some of the stress out of selecting something for that special someone.
Black Pearl Books
This independent bookstore focuses on building community through diversity, equality and cultural awareness. The shop, located inside Ten Thousand Villages at 4803 Burnet Road, has a curated selection of books, audio books and other merchandise. It offers online shopping and curbside pickup, and it carries popular new titles like Louise Erdrich’s “The Sentence.” It also has a holiday gift guide to help you find a great gift.
Founded in 2016 by Rebekah Jasso Jensen, Sanara is a plant-based skin care company with strong influence from Latin American botanicals. Jensen started developing the products in her kitchen as a way to help manage her plaque psoriasis. The company sells skin oils, bathing products, candles and more. And it has gift sets to give friends or family a little bit of everything.
Made In
This cookware company has gained widespread attention in recent years for its growing line of pans, knives, baking pans and cookwares. The startup, co-founded in 2017 by Adam Bridegan, Chip Malt and Jake Kalick, has raised about $8.3 million. It pitches itself as selling professional quality products at an amateur price. It has Black Friday specials already available on its site.
If you’re going big with your gifting this year, an electric dirt bike could be just the thing for the rancher, hunter or outdoors enthusiast in your life. It currently has two dirt bikes available and recently launched its four-wheeled utility terrain vehicle lineup. In addition to the vehicles, it has a line of accessories for those who already have a Volcon bike. The company recently began trading on the Nasdaq.
BigHer Impact
This recently launched book and toy startup helps kids learn to enjoy chores. It has a focus on family and gender equity through responsibility. It was founded earlier this year by CEO Ashley Kegley-Whitehead, who was previously co-founder and creative director at Buie & Co. Its primary product is a book called “The Checklist: Character-Building Chores for a Fun, Productive Day.” It also offers puzzles and T-shirts.
Think of this company as kind of a Stitch Fix for babies and kids. Its subscription kits have a personalized assortment of six or seven outfits that are delivered when your child grows into new sizes. Its clothing is made from organic cotton. Cubbiekit was founded in 2020 by Salwa Khan, a former business strategy and customer analytics manager at Austin-based Kendra Scott.
Radical Girl Gang
This startup curates women-owned brands in clothing, accessories, home goods and wellness. The concept for this startup began while founder Bre Cruickshank was working at Nike corporate headquarters and wanted to do more for female empowerment. She has grown it into an online marketplace showcasing women-owned companies selling everything from T-shirts to sunglasses to home decor. Radical Girl Gang has featured more than 75 emerging brands and women entrepreneurs, and guarantees that at least 50% of the brands it features are owned by women of color in an attempt to boost marginalized founders. Cruickshank was one of Austin Business Journal’s 2021 Profiles in Power winners.
Finally, check out links to a few of Austin’s many CPG startups offering tasty treats and delicious drinks that could be great picks for small gifts, stocking stuffers or just a little something extra for your holiday platters:
Happy shopping, y’all!
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