Walking down First Street in the Kendall Square area to the CambridgeSide Galleria mall, you probably wouldn’t realize that there’s a great alternative for your holiday shopping based right across the street.
You shouldn’t try to actually go in there, though. The company, CustomMade, offers an online marketplace for ordering unique, customized items (such as jewelry and furniture)—and is one of a number of startups in the Boston area that would love to help with your gift-buying this season.
3D Doodler Printing Pen. Courtesy of Somerville startup WobbleWorks, the 3D printing pen ($99) lets users create their own 3D plastic objects or designs (without a need for technical knowledge).
Box Brew Kits. At-home beer-brewing kits that come with all the necessary supplies and ingredients and have a really classy design (starting at $159).
ReFleece — iPad sleeves and e-reader cases. This MassChallenge alum recycles clothing and fabric into accessories such as iPad sleeves ($36), e-reader cases ($32) and small travel bags ($29-$33).
Clio Speaker. “Invisible” bluetooth speaker made of acrylic glass ($349). The design aims to help the speaker blend into any environment, and it comes in three colors: silver, dark bronze and charcoal.
Ministry of Supply — temperature-regulating clothes. This Boston startup leverages the type of phase-change materials used in NASA spacesuits, to help ensure that wearers stay at their ideal body temperature. The clothes include dress shirts (starting at $98), jackets ($268) and dress slacks ($138).
ArtLifting Prints. This MassChallenge grad connects homeless, disabled, and otherwise disadvantage artists with consumers. ArtLifting sells their artwork through their website and through partnerships with local stores. There are a number of different styles of art, some in the form of iPhone cases and greeting cards as well as prints.
Fortified Bicycles — bike lights “built for urban environments.” This Techstars alum offers bike lights “that last forever,” including Aviator ($65, pre-order) and Afterburner ($45, pre-order). The company also offers an anti-theft bike headlight line, Defender ($49, order online). Also offered at a few local shops (you can search for dealers here).
Lumen Smart Bulbs. These bluetooth-controlled LED bulbs ($59.99) can be controlled from your phone. Set the bulbs to change colors, wake you up slowly, and turn off when you leave the room via an app. Tabu products also sells Lumen strips, which are the same basic idea except with LEC color light strips.
Hexy DIY Robot Kit. Hexapod robot kit, comes with step-by-step tutorials on how to build and program it. (And once it’s built, it dances.) It’s $250, which is, according to the website, 1/10 of the cost of other hexapod robot kits.
Grove Labs — easy-to-use indoor growing system. Definitely a bigger commitment here, but could still make a great gift for your green-thumbed parent, child or friend. Grove (based at Greentown Labs in Somerville) is requiring a $350 deposit, and the full price of the system starts at about $1,000; systems will be delivered in February (I recently covered the launch of the Grove early adopter program).