Gift giving doesn’t always come easy during the holidays. Not everyone can say, “I’ve Got 99 Problems, But a Gift Ain’t One.” Yet, luckily for those still looking for ideas, several students and recent alumni have swooped in to reduce the stress that comes with Christmas. From sale alerting, mobile shopping apps to gift recommendation sites, they’ve helped develop them all just in time for you to start wrapping those mounds presents to tuck away under the Christmas tree.
Added bonus: On top of the 13 student-run startups below, Raiz Labs has curated a list of the “10-Must Have Apps for the Holiday Shopping Season,” NoshOnIt has rounded up the “9 Food Apps You Can’t Live Without This Holiday Season” and BostInno’s own holiday expert Lisa DeCanio has dished out “17 Awesome Boston Vendors on Etsy.” So, start shopping!
Student and Alumni-Run Startups Making the Holidays Easier
Delightfully — Co-founded by MIT Sloan student Jason Shin, along with James Barabas and Gina Luciano, Delightfully allows shoppers to hand-wrap their online gifts. Throughout the season, the company has also been providing tips and tricks on BostInno to help you through the holidays, including great gifts for men and DIY mason jars.
giftplum — giftplum recently launched as your online gift shopping concierge. The company was co-founded by Harvard Business School classmates Jono Schafler and Krista Nylen, who have been working alongside former Pratt Instructor Noah King, now a senior social media strategist at Hill Holiday. Through the platform, users can describe who they’re looking to buy a gift for, decide what vertical they’re looking to buy the gift in and then set their price range. giftplum then produces a series of gift recommendations.
DASHED — What sounds better than getting a Christmas tree delivered straight to you door in 45 minutes or less? Philip Dumontet, the Boston College alum behind DASHED, has added some festive fun to his food delivery service. Click here to not only order trees, but tree stands, garland, wreathes and poinsettias, as well.
SaleSorter — Co-founded by siblings and Harvard alumni Thayer Meicler and Peter Christodoulo, SaleSorter is a free location-based, GPS-enabled iPhone app that allows users to see what physical retail stores around them are hosting major sales events. Shoppers can browse stores by map or by list, as well as search by category, and then be notified of promotions happening at their favorite stores.
ShopAdvisor — Developed by Evoqu, a company co-founded by Babson alum Lior Nir, ShopAdvisor is an app that serves as an easier-to-carry shopping list. Users can save gift idea purchases for later straight through their smartphone. Once any items are listed, the app keeps track of any change in availability, status or price and then alerts the user.
Birchbox — Birchbox co-founders and Harvard Business School alums Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp were already conveniently bringing the best beauty, grooming and lifestyle products to your door once a month. During the holidays, they make shopping even easier by recommending gifts for her and him. Just take a peek at Birchbox’s Holiday 2012 Gift Guide.
Candy.com — Have someone on your shopping list with a sweet tooth? Cousins Greg Balestrieri and Joe Melville, both Suffolk alums, created your solution—the “go-to destination for everything candy.” Candy.com sells more than 6,000 different items from 500-plus manufacturers.
For the fashion-forward in your life, here are six more options:
Rue La La — What fashionista doesn’t love a little Rue La La during the holidays? Browse the company’s website or iPhone and iPad application for a curated selection of clothing, accessories, gourmet food, travel and more, all up to 80 percent off retail price. Sound too good to be true? Thank the company’s founder, a Boston University alum, Ben Fischman.
Njabini Apparel — Founded by Northeastern senior Michael Behan, Njabini Apparel is a microenterprise that employs disadvantaged and disabled women in Kenya. The women help create scarves, bags, home goods and accessories, all while going through Njabini Apparel’s business and financial training program, so they can soon start their own companies.
Ministry of Supply — Comprised of MIT grads, the Ministry of Supply team will become one every well-dressed guy’s best friend (the second best friend is below). The company has created a line of impressively-engineered dress shirts and undershirts made of moisture-wicking fabrics with antibacterial coating that are also wrinkle-free. Say goodbye to sweat stains!
Blank Label — Nothing drives a woman crazier than her man decked out in shirts that just don’t fit. Co-founded by Fan Bi and Danny Wong—who attended Babson and Bentley, respectively—Blank Label allows men (and the loves of their life) to customize every detail of their shirt, including the style, fabric, stitching, lining and cuffs. Even better? Men have different sizing options, ranging from collar, chest and sleeve to shoulder, midsection and length. What sounds like a merrier Christmas than a better dressed Boston?
Gemvara — What kind of girl is going to say no to something sparkly over the holidays? Co-founded by Matt Lauzon and Jason Reuben while at Babson College, the customized jewelry site was recently named one of “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”
Kyoto Jungle — Located at 50 Gloucester Street, just off Newbury, Kyoto Jungle is a concept store that was started by streetwear brands Green Street Vault and Annie Mulz, representing a mix of Emerson and Northeastern alumni. During the holidays, they’ve hosted “25 Days in the Jungle.” They have, and will, be offering 25 different promotions over the 25 days leading up to Christmas.
For a closer look at each of the startups, check out the photos below.