In our minds at Inc., this is clear: The best gifts are ones made with passion and pride, which generally means that they've been made with the company founder close at hand. To that end, we've rounded up four extraordinary, innovative products that could have come only from entrepreneurial makers. Any or all would make great presents for the people on your holiday list, including your favorite client (handcrafted chocolate) and an adrenaline-junkie relative (a wearable sports camera).
“The Zulu’s glow doesn’t just improve safety. it also illuminates the artful, iconic shape of the bicycle.”
Forget about reflectors. The Zulu bike from Pure Fix cycles is coated with weatherproof, phosphorescent paint activated by sunlight. Ride it (or park it) for one hour in direct sun for an hour of glow-time after dark. The 9 fixed-gear bike has a frame of high-tensile steel and 700 x 28 tires designed for speed and comfort in urban settings. As a college student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Zach Schau noticed more people riding fixed-gear bikes, or fixies, which appeal to cyclists looking for a simple design and low maintenance. After graduating in 2010, he founded Pure Fix cycles with two former classmates and his brother. The 18-employee company, which is based in Burbank, California, generated million in revenue in 2012. It sells a variety of fixed-gear bikes and accessories on its website and at more than 400 independent bike shops around the country.
“I looked around at my piano, guitar, and all of my instruments, and they were all made of wood. I couldn’t think of a better material for headphones.”
There’s no shortage of fancy headphones on the market. But LSTN’s Cherry Wood Troubadours stand out from the pack. The 0 head-phones feature cherry wood casing reclaimed from flooring and furniture companies, and a gold-plated plug. And, for each purchase, LSTN makes a donation to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which provides hearing aids to people in need around the world. Music lovers Bridget Hilton and Joe Huff founded LSTN in West Hollywood, California, last year. the company now sells head-phones and accessories online and in stores around the country, including Fred Segal and independent record shops.
"We are making chocolate on a human scale, constantly
tasting it every step of the way."
Rick and Michael Mast made chocolate as a hobby until 2007, when they quit their day jobs (Rick was a chef, and Michael was in finance) to open Mast Brothers in Brooklyn, New York. Today, the brothers and their 35-person staff handcraft organic, artisanal chocolate bars in their 2,500-square-foot factory in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. The bars are made from organic beans sourced from Madagascar, Belize, Papua new guinea, and the Dominican Republic and shipped to the U.S. by sailboat. Yes, sailboat. They are available at mastbrothers.com and in specialty stores worldwide for about each.
"With GoPro, you are part of the content. You get to see yourself having
the experience, which is surprisingly rare." —Nick Woodman
Designed for extreme shooting, the GoPro hero3+ Black edition features a new wide-angle video mode and 25 percent more battery life than its predecessor. The 9 unit weighs 1.4 pounds and includes a 3.9-inch- square waterproof case, a mount, and a three-way pivot arm. Nick Woodman was inspired to create a wearable sports camera during a surfing tour of Australia and Indonesia. In 2002, Woodman founded GoPro in Half Moon Bay, california. The 560-employee company now sells cameras, mounts, and other accessories worldwide.
Check out a video shot with GoPro cameras.