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This year, we launched our Quality Makers series as an inside look into the DTC world through the eyes of the talented individuals shaping it. Founders have shared their highs and lows and life lessons with our TQE community -- and we were elated to check back in with them (and several others!) ahead of a busy holiday season.
Behold: our first-ever Quality Makers gift guide, featuring holiday picks from the movers and shakers at DEUX, Partake Foods, APL, Golde, Snif, Brightland, Parachute, and Italic. If you aren’t confident that you can disrupt entire industries like they have, well, at least you can gift like they do…
Sabeena Ladha (Founder, DEUX):
“My love language doesn't tend to be gifts, but for some reason seeing the reaction on the receiver's end, especially when you nail a gift, sparks so much joy. For me, gifting is less about the object, but more about the detail of the thought. Whether it is something a friend mentioned in passing or a beauty product my mom looked at but would never buy for herself, the gift itself is more a nod to say ‘hey, I'm thinking about you, and I see you & love you.’”
- DEUX Holiday Pack ($65): We learned very quickly last year that packs are the perfect price point and boujee (yet fun) gift during the holidays, so we spiced it up...literally. It includes Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread Snickerdoodle, and newly-launched Sugar + Spice -- plus gold holiday cookie cutters and a gold cookie scoop.
- Truff (from $17.98): Fan-favorite hot sauces make the perfect gift for a foodie (or aspiring foodie).
- Goody: The app that makes gifting easy. From succulents to Carbone pasta sauce, Goody nails the options!
- The Skinny Confidential Ice Roller ($69): A fool-proof go-to for friends (or my husband), it’s functional, solves a real problem, and is Instagrammable.
Denise Woodard (Founder, Partake Foods):
“It's so wonderful to see the holidays through my 6-year-old daughter's eyes. I also love the wonder and excitement of gift giving. There's nothing better than watching a loved one open the gift you've picked out just for them. It's a way I show love and appreciation for the people in my life throughout the year, but it's just so special around this time of year. I'm also deliberate with where I spend my money, because as a small business owner I know how meaningful and impactful support is when you're starting out and growing. Though Black women are starting businesses 1.5x more than the national average, we received only 0.27% of the funding raised in 2019. (Women founders received 2.7% total.) That's why, I'm gifting from the myriad of high-quality products I love created by Black and brown women.”
- Brightland - I gifted their Minis set to our team in 2020, and I think they're perfect for super foodies and amateur cooks alike.
- McBride Sisters Wine - They're doing this great "12 Cans of Christmas" :D Look at those coozies!
- 54 Thrones - Any of the Butters. No words. Trying is believing.
- Partake - We just launched a limited number of tins full of our Signature Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies just in time for holiday gifting!
NJ Falk (Managing Partner, APL):
“The joy of gifting for me has always been about love or the Latin word caritas which embodies putting others first. Finding just the right gift that matches a person’s interests or passions in life is something I find so enjoyable. It’s my way of saying thank you in the most personal way possible while spreading joy.”
- Clutch, The World’s Thinnest Charger ($49.99): Nothing is worse than a dead phone and literally nothing is better than this stylish portable charger trio. (And yes, it fits in your clutch.)
- Monogrammed Courant Valet Tray ($175): The perfect bedside home for anyone’s essentials.
- APL Lusso Slides, TechLoom Bliss or APL Streamline Running Shoes: APL Lusso slides ($175) are the height of luxury and comfort, TechLoom Bliss Tri-Tones ($220) have striking metallic accents, and our new Streamline Running Shoes ($300) are the perfect gift for serious runners.
- DEMARSON X NJ FALK VAX PIN ($185): This collaboration is a special moment for me. It’s all about celebrating Health, Hope and Humanity and all proceeds will be donated to Mercy Medical Center, NY. Be Bold. Be You.
- A donation to a charity close to someone’s heart: Some past donations include the Women’s Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), I Stand With My Pack (for animal lovers), One Tree Planted where one dollar plants one tree, BABY2BABY which helps children living in poverty with basic necessities, and the Shelter Partnership which collaboratively solves homelessness.
Trinity Mouzon Wofford (Co-founder, Golde):
“Gifting is all about that moment of delight — the joy in knowing someone was thinking of you when they saw that item. I love gifting little things to friends and family, especially when so many of us haven’t been able to hang much in person lately.”
- Restorative Oil from Esker Beauty ($40): It has carrot-seed oil, which isn't too heavy or greasy, so it can be used year-round, and it smells absolutely incredible. Even though it's light, it's really luxurious.
- Calm Tea from Sounds ($19): Calm Tea from Sounds is a lovely organically-sourced, ultra-soothing herbal blend. It has ingredients like chamomile, lemon balm, and skullcap that seriously help me unwind when I need a moment of peace! I love sipping this straight up or with a touch of honey.
- Golde Superwhisk ($24): Superwhisk is Golde's USB-chargeable latte frother. We launched it last year as an accompaniment to our latte blends — a way to help our customers make the perfect café-quality beverages at home – but it has become a star product all on its own. It’s seriously powerful, and I use it daily to make everything from matcha lattes to superfood coffee boosted with Shroom Shield.
- Grapefruit Soap from Palermo Body ($12): Hot take – I love bar soap. There's lots of terrible bar soaps out there, but this one is phenomenal and I can really tell the difference in my skin after using it for about a year. Controversial, I know, but I also use it on my face! It's ultra-gentle and doesn't irritate my eyes one bit.
Bryan Edward (Co-founder, Snif):
“I just love giving gifts to people. It makes me happy to make someone else happy, like a reverse love language. This year, some gifts that I'll be sharing with friends and family are…”
- ASRV AW Collection (from $58): For the athlete or fitness enthusiast
- Snif Candle Bundle ($0 to try, $120 if all 3 kept): For the home decor guru in my life
- Malbon Nike Collection (from $42): For the golfer in my life
Aishwarya Iyer (Founder, Brightland):
“To me, gifting this season is the perfect time to celebrate those you love and appreciate, and is a moment to be grateful for everything you have.”
- Brightland Festive Capsule ($170): Includes Brightland’s AWAKE, ALIVE, PARASOL, RAPTURE, The Couplet, The Spout, and The Mini Whisk.
- Parachute Home x Osea Shower Mist ($16): The Energize mist features notes of ginger, lime and sweet orange for energy, and the Calm Shower Mist features bergamot and Bulgarian lavender essential oils for a restful sleep.
- Olive & June Nail Polish (from $8): At home manicures, perfected.
- Brightland Artist Capsule ($150): Featuring Brightland’s ROSETTE garlic olive oil, LUCID lemon olive oil, ARDOR chili olive oil, and ARISE basil olive oil.
Ariel Kaye (Founder, Parachute):
- Vintage Linen Bolster Pillow ($89): One of our newest decorative pillows, this will completely elevate and transform your bed. It’s modern and sleek and really makes a statement.
- Cloud Cotton Robe ($99): You can NEVER go wrong with a robe. Worn after the shower or all day this is a gift that keeps on giving! I will be gifting the robe in Bone and Dusk to all my girlfriends this year.
- Ceramic Mug ($40): What’s better than waking up to a fresh cup of coffee in a beautiful, ceramic mug? Our new collaboration with Jono Pandolfi is really something special. I love the creamy hues and the thick walls of the mug that keep my drinks hot.
Jeremy Cai (Founder, Italic):
“For me, gifting means letting someone know they're appreciated and cared about. At the same time, I know it can be a stressful time for those who are giving gifts - from being busy during this time of year to thinking about the cost of gifts. And that's one of the main areas we think about at Italic - people should be able to gift high quality products, but not at exorbitant prices that hurt their wallets. We believe people are happier, healthier, and more fulfilled when they can afford to live well (and give gifts).”
- Leather-Trimmed Nylon Travel Tote ($120): Made by Grandview, who has been creating fashion handbags for over twenty-five years for brands like Away, BOSS, and ISM.
- Initial Pendant Necklace ($250): An everyday favorite, this necklace is made of cruelty-free diamonds and solid 14k White Gold.
- Serene Cotton Towels ($45): Made by Terry & Loop, who has manufactured for Lacoste and Calvin Klein in the past, these towels are made with sustainability and innovation in mind.
- Vallon Ribbed Cashmere Throw ($145): Brands like Burberry, Max Mara, and Prada have also used Lambhorn, a self-sustaining and ethical manufacturer of high-quality knitwear.
- The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley ($16.99): One of my favorite books!
- Educational Insights Circuit Explorer Deluxe Base Station ($59.99): At Italic, technology is paramount. I love seeing kids have a passion for tech at an earlier age.
To these inspiring founders: thank you for all the work you are doing to create sustainable, equitable, and beautiful products for fanatics like us. And to our wonderful community -- join us in showing them some love and support this holiday season. Happy holidays and happy shopping from Team TQE!