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The 2023 Midwest Startup Gift Guide

The 2023 Midwest Startup Gift Guide

Shopping local can be a startup thing, too! 

This holiday season, if you're thinking about ways to shop small and local, here are some ways you can do that while supporting some startups in the Midwest.

(By the way, this is not an ad or sponsored content, just a few of our favorite things.)


Startup Gift Guide: 18 Midwest Startups to Shop at this Holiday Season

The Lip Bar

the lip bar products
Image source: The Lip Bar

For the makeup enthusiast, check out TLB’s products: vibrant lip colors, eye shadows, tinted moisturizers, caffeine concealers and more. Founded by Detroit native, Melissa Butler, The Lip Bar was born to create vegan, cruelty-free makeup products for all women, especially women of color who have been traditionally not represented in the beauty industry. The Lip Bar was recently named a top startup to watch in Detroit.

Healthy Roots Dolls

Yelitsa & Zoe (1)Image source: Healthy Roots Dolls

Another wonderful product founded to create more inclusivity for people of color is Healthy Roots Dolls, based in Detroit. Growing up, Yelitsa Jean-Charles couldn’t find a doll that looked like her, with natural curly hair. So she created Healthy Roots Dolls to help empower young girls, represent the beauty of diversity, and teach girls how to take care of natural curly hair. You can buy directly online, or you can also shop in stores at Target, Macy's and CAMP nationwide.


paintable pictures
Image source: Paintable Pictures

Paintable Pictures

One of "Oprah's Favorite Things" in 2023, Columbus-based Paintable Pictures is a super fun way to celebrate your pet. Upload an image of your pet, and it will become a paint-by-numbers craft project. Great for the pet lovers in your life — or yourself.



Image source: GoNanas

Founded by two best friends who met at the University of Michigan, GoNanas is a women-owned startup making top-notch banana bread mix. Vegan, gluten-free, and allergen-friendly, their mixes are healthy and taste amazing. 



Image source: Noxgear

For the runners and bikers in your life, Noxgear can be a great gift. The Columbus-based startup is making safety gear for nighttime activity. Their gear is secure, light-weight and provides visibility up to 1/4 mile. They also have vests for your dog, and bluetooth speakers!


summersaltImage source: Summersalt

Summersalt is a top St. Louis startup founded to make designer swimsuits without the designer prices. They've since expanded their offering to all kinds of inclusive and eco-friendly women’s clothing. Sweaters, loungewear, PJs, jackets and more, Summersalt’s products would make excellent gifts this holiday season. 



Image source: Breadless

Located in downtown Detroit and backed by Detroit Venture Partners, Breadless is changing the way we sandwich. They provide filling, healthy food with a mission to make good food accessible to everyone. Send a gift card, or treat a friend to a lunch date.


Really good boxed wine

really good boxed wineImage source: Really Good Boxed Wine

Based in Cincinnati, Really Good Boxed Wine is a startup selling, well, really good boxed wine. The idea is to take luxury wine and sell it in a more sustainable package at a better price. The wine also lasts longer after opening!



Image source: CoPilot

This top Pittsburgh startup to watch is more than a fitness app. CoPilot combines the personalization and accountability of a fitness coach with the power and flexibility of technology. Of course, tread lightly with this one as a gift (don't send a gift card to someone who hasn't expressed wanting to use a fitness app), or just grab a plan for yourself. Wellness is a great for treating yourself! 


The Lab Drawer

lab drawer - the body box
Top tech companies in Detroit: The Lab Drawer. Image source: The Lab Drawer

Founders Alecia Gabriel, Ph.D., and Deirdre Roberson, M.S., started The Lab Drawer to deliver quality STEAM experiences to underserved youth. While they're mostly a B2B company, you can purchase individual kits for the kids in your life. Whether they love science or are trying to get into it, these kits are fun and help kids see how science is used in the real world. 



stockxImage source: StockX

Looking for unique gifts from a Detroit startup? StockX might have what you’re looking for! As a multi-category marketplace for sneakers, electronics, collectibles, apparel, and accessories, StockX has a ton of amazing products. It’s great for your favorite sneakerhead or collector. 

“When people come to StockX, they’re not making an everyday purchase. They’re looking for a memorable gift, finding a collectible they’ve been hunting for, or shopping for something that brings them joy,” Shervin Moghaddam, Vice President of Strategy, said in an exclusive interview with StockX. “It’s a joyous experience, and we get to be a part of that.”



litter robotImage source: Whisker

The automated pet products from Detroit startup Whisker make great gifts for the pet parents in your life. The litter robot does the dirty work for you, and the cat lover in your life will love it. They also have automated feeders and premium kitty litter.


Cleveland Kitchen

cleveland kitchenImage source: Cleveland Kitchen

VC-backed Cleveland Kitchen is a food startup selling krauts, dressings, kimchi and pickles. Their raw, unpasteurized Kraut and Kimchi and first-of-their-kind Fermented Dressings and Marinades offer unique and powerful flavors — and they can be delivered straight to your door when you order online!



barkboxImage source: BARK

BARK is a New York and Columbus- based startup that sells subscriptions to customized pet boxes: durable toys, dental sticks, nutritious foods and more sent straight to your house every month. Whether you’re shopping for a dog parent or shopping for your actual dog (dogs get presents, too, right?) BarkBox is a great way to get those pet products.  



happiImage source: Happi

Founded in Metro Detroit, Happi is a collection of cannabis-infused seltzers ready for any occasion. This THC-infused drink is sold at retailers throughout Maine and Michigan and offers a light buzz without the hangover — sounds perfect for the holidays! You can buy from their site, or purchase a gift card.



wantableImage source: Wantable

Wantable is Milwaukee-based startup providing subscription fashion boxes. Their try-before-you-buy model allows you to get your “edit,” personally curated for you by a stylist. Take a quiz, choose your items, buy what you want, return the rest! Unless you have a style twin, the best way to gift this would be with a Wantable gift card.




FloydImage source: Floyd

Based in Detroit, Floyd is a furniture brand designed to keep furniture out of the landfill. Their products are built to last, be functional, and be beautiful. While you may not want to shell out two grand on a couch for your sister, their products (from sofas to beds, coffee tables to shelves, rugs to throw pillows) would make a thoughtful gift for someone really special. 



Image source: Bloomscape

Have a plant mom or dad in your life? Send them an indoor plant from Bloomscape, a Detroit startup that makes buying plants online — and caring for them — as easy as a couple clicks. 


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