Shopping Startups For Unique Gifts

Looking for a different kind if gift to give to that special person? Try shopping at a Chicago-based start-up for something different.

Mystery Tackle Box, a member company at 1871 Chicago, offers gift subscriptions for the fishermen and fisherwomen in your life.  Thousands of people subscribe to their monthly bait and tackle delivery service.  Or, if you’re looking for indoor fun, jump on the 3D printing trend and get a printer and all sorts of printing materials at Inventables, a Chicago-based hardware store for makers and designers.  Inventables raised $3M in series B funding last year.

Mystery Tackle Box is a monthly subscription service that introduces both beginner and expert anglers to new fishing lures and tackle. Photo courtesy of MysteryTackleBox.com

Mystery Tackle Box is a monthly subscription service that introduces both beginner and expert anglers to new fishing lures and tackle. Photo courtesy of MysteryTackleBox.com

According to Accenture, about 54% of shoppers have apparel on their shopping list this year.  Bucketfeet, part of startup accelerator Catapult Chicago, sells canvas shoes with artist’s designs through their online store.  Bucketfeet also opened a pop-up shop in Block 37 this fall.

Threadless is a Chicago-based company selling tee-shirts with designs from artists around the world.  It considers itself to be a creative community, and anyone can submit their art through the Threadless website.  The most popular designs are printed in the West Loop and sold online.  Threadless also sells hoodies, wall art, backpacks and some tech accessories — and they sell gift cards.

Threadless has paid money to over 1,200 artists worldwide. Photo courtesy of threadless.com

Threadless has paid money to over 1,200 artists worldwide. Photo courtesy of threadless.com

For mainstream retailers, holiday shopping is a chance to maximize year-end profits.  To capitalize on the holidays, retailers follow trends like ‘how much money consumers plan to spend on gifts’ and ‘what consumers webroom (research online and buy in store) vs. what consumers showroom (research in store before buying online).’

SMall, an organization that promotes products made by small manufacturers in Chicago, has a useful directory of small manufactures on their website.  Take a look at Chicago Comb, a startup company that sells laser-cut steel combs online.  The combs are manufactured and hand-polished in Humboldt Park.  Tired of flimsy, throw away men’s combs, co-founders John and Tedd started Chicago Comb because they wanted to create and sell a product of quality.

Finally, if you happen to be looking for raw materials this holiday season, check out Rebuilding Exchange, also part of SMall, for things like elevator salvage and reclaimed fir.

Happy shopping — Chicago startup style! ❒

[Top photo: Bucketfeet’s pop-up shop at Block 37 on State Street — across from Macy’s.]

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