November 24, 2014
Holiday shopping is about to begin. The ads are everywhere, telling you just how early on Thursday – on Thanksgiving! – you can arrive to battle the Black Friday crowds. Well, don’t do it, I say. Support a Kickstarter on behalf of someone who would think that the product you’ve found is a really good idea.
You won’t have to leave the house, you can support industrious startups and entrepreneurs, and you can show someone that you really know what they like. Even better, I scoured Kickstarter to bring you some of the coolest ideas in a few categories. Check it out:
Food & Drink
The Age it Yourself kit – This is a kit for aging your own liquor to create your custom aged or darkened spirits and cocktails by using the creator’s blend of slow-grown American white oak. Michael Volz and Bryan Olson are looking to raise $10,000 by December 4 2014. You can delight your favorite booze aficionado with one or multiple kits, or for $250 or more you can get the bar kit to make larger batches.
Coffee CSA.org – To serve the best organic coffee in the most direct fashion, this group seeks to support coffee farmers around the world by connecting them directly to consumers. The campaign rewards are full of feel-good options to help the fair trade supporter and coffee lover in your life: plant a tree, get a full year CSA share of beans, name your own blend, or join the group in a visit to a farm in Nicaragua! This campaign needs $50,000 by December 31 2014.
The Lucky Shucker – Shucking oysters is actually pretty dangerous. I’ve had restaurant owners tell me that they have to carry special insurance for kitchen staff if they’re going to serve oysters. A shucker is always perilously close to hacking off a thumb or at least getting a good stab in the palm. That’s why this product caught my eye – Will Altman from South Carolina hand forged these shuckers from real horseshoes. It appears that for $200, you can get a box set in time for Christmas. Otherwise, wait until January for a $40 Lucky Shucker. The campaign already passed its goal, so get your seafood loving friend a unique tool for the kitchen by December 15 2014!
The Sunn Light – bring the sunlight indoors and promote healthy living. Continuously changing color and brightness in rhythm with the sun is what you get from this app-controlled LED fixture. Note: if you are wondering what I would like for Christmas, it’s this. I am all about paying attention to Circadian rhythms and how light affects our production of all the hormones and other good stuff we need for health. Delivery would be in time for my birthday, in fact. The Sunn Light is looking for $50,000 to meet their goal by December 19 2014.
Daisy Sensor – Aww, plants want to stay healthy! You’re monitoring everything else; have you thought about monitoring plants? I bet you know someone who wishes they could do a better job talking to their plants. The campaign says that it’s “a low cost sensor and mobile ‘game-like’ application designed to be fun and educational and give your plants a VOICE! The Daisy Sensor measures soil moisture, temperature, and light 24 hours a day and relays this information to your smart phone or tablet. With Daisy, there is no more guessing how your plants are doing.” There are all kinds of fancy ways to monitor how your plants are doing. This Kickstarter has a goal of $50,000 and they need a lot more love before January 11 2015.
MAID Oven – “Make All Incredible Dishes.” Here’s your Smart Home device to help with your chef skills! This actually connects to recipes on the Internet AND receives all of your personal data regarding what kind of food requirements, caloric intake, and health concerns you’ve got going on. This is actually a multifunction oven – convection, microwave, and top-heater – to help with just about any food you want to prepare. You know you’ve got a high-tech early-adopter who would love to outfit his or her kitchen with this thing. They’ve surpassed their goal, so get someone in on this gig in time for next Thanksgiving! The campaign ends on December 3 3014.
Toys For All Ages
Jumpy Smart Watch – This is an open-platform smartwatch just for kids age 5-8. This helps parents keep tabs, serves as a daily activity reminder, messaging center, and a wrist controller for some bluetooth toys. There is a $100,000 campaign goal on this Kickstarter, and they have until December 17 2014 to meet the goal. Most of the deliverable options are about $100 and will ship in spring.
Chip Electronics Kit – This is an educational kit that builds STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) skills. I love how this starts with a soldering project and moves on from there to weave in all aspects of STEAM so that kids can continue building, dreaming, building, and learning. Chip is the first little character in the Pixel Pals crew that is available for development. There are plans for the whole crew to have their own personality and characteristics. This is an amazing and awesome kit that every kid and every maker should have, so the campaign has met its modest $2500 goal already. But there are still a few days to get in on this Kickstarter. Order a classroom kit for your favorite teacher! Throw a Pixel Party for a great neighborhood group. There are so many ways to make good out of this awesome idea. Act on it by December 3 2014.
Ground Drone Project – Robotic mobility platform so that you can Build All of the Thingz! Who do you know, at any age, that wants to build in robotics and conquer challenges in locomotion? There are various rewards that you can pledge, including the kit, the chassis, a class, and additional accessories. This project is not yet funded, so go check it out to help make it to $25,000 by December 3 2014.
GeorgiosUSA Leather Goods – You know at least six people who would explode with all the feels if they knew you chose this campaign for them. Beautiful leather notebook covers! This is a small business started in 1963 that believes in craftsmanship and service. For $55 or $65, you can back one of their posh leather refillable notebook covers. This is just about the most beautiful, personal gift you could give your favorite thinker, writer, or creator. This campaign needs to hit $5000 by December 1 2014 so please go check it out quickly!
WiscoWood – I am partial to this one because I am a native of America’s Dairyland. And because I love beautiful, functional, handcrafted items. Upcycled wood and bicycle parts go into the construction of these wallets. These bad ass wallets. These makers, Matthew Poster and Dylan Hughes, are two friends that met over 15 years ago working together at a local bike shop. They want to help shift our lifestyle to less disposable, more upcycle. And I know that you have a few people on your Christmas list who agree. This campaign has a $3000 goal to hit by December 1 2014. Get a bookmark for $10 or one of many wallets for $35 each. To claim more than one reward, just contribute a total amount and message the team your wishes.
The Hoodie Pillow – We all know people who love hoodies. And we all know people of just about any age who could use a soft place to lean their head once in awhile. The folks who designed this kickstarter believe they have found “the perfect hoodie-to-pillow ratio.” You can show someone that you support their love for comfort by getting in on this campaign by January 2 2015. They’ve got a goal of $20,000.
Now, you really have the definitive guide to gifts for anyone on your list. And at the same time, you can share your love for crowdfunding, entrepreneurship, and the maker movement. Win!
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