From Arch Grants cohort companies and the wider St. Louis startup community
Arch Grant awardee: 2022
Picking out stocking stuffers — those little “surprises” nestled inside one of the most infamous holiday decor staples ever, is often a drab experience that leaves many feeling uninspired. This year, reimagine the possibilities with a unisex perfume that’ll really wow your loved ones.
PunkStar by MOODEAUX invokes an inner fearlessness to rebel against the status quo and rock your own world. Juicy dark fruit tinged with a hint of saffron smolders alongside incense, rose and peppery cedar leaves wrapped in leather, combining both feminine and masculine auras for supreme depth and richness.
What we love: Made to help “Flaunt How You Feel,” multi award-winning, indie fragrance label MOODEAUX turns accessorizing your mood into mindful self-care through longer-lasting, skin-nurturing eau de parfums and body-care preparations backed by scent science.
“We are The Girls Company and we make period cramps suck less because your life shouldn’t stop when your period starts. Period.”
The Girls Company offers a portable, all natural, long lasting and comfortable solution to period cramp pain. It is made up of a band with six pockets going all the way around. Thin and disposable heat pouches are inserted into the pockets.
What we love: The wearable band comes in cute packaging and some fun stickers are included, so it makes a great gift! If anyone you know experiences period cramps/back pain, this product will enable them to still go about their lives on their period.
“You wear it underneath your clothing (you can wear it with leggings, jeans, a bodycon dress, anyting!) and the heat lasts for 8-10 hours. It allows people with period cramps to go about their day instead of being tied to an electric heating pad or microwaveable rice pack!”
“Golden Gems is an inclusive, safe and approachable space with gifts, apparel and accessories that reflect just that.”
Golden Gems is a lifestyle brand that designs and sells accessories, apparel, stationery goods, and home decor. All of their products exude their mission of inspiring and empowering you to live unapologetically, take up space and live life on your own terms.
All of Golden Gems’ products leave a lasting impression, and make you walk away feeling like you can take on the world being your authentic self. With messages like “Take a Deep Breath and Remember Who the Hell You Are” to “Don’t Let the Bastards Get you Down” to “Make Cool Shit, Take No Shit” – there is literally a vibe for everyone.
What we love: With hundreds of products to choose from, Golden Gems is sure to have something for everyone on your list – and even better, you’ll be supporting a small, women-owned business this holiday season!
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we mean serious business. We vet every step of our supply chain so that you’re not just getting the best tea in the world (according to us); you are getting the best tea for the world.”
Big Heart Tea Co. is on a mission to make healing herbs and teas more fun and more accessible. Certified organic or direct trade ingredients, wrapped in packaging made from plants (not plastics) and printed locally in St. Louis.
As the holiday season approaches, the quest for perfect gifts that radiate luxury and sophistication is in full swing. At Lux & Nyx, a woman and minority-owned brand, believes that opulence should be accessible to all. They offer a selection of beautiful and luxurious pieces caters to every budget, ensuring that you can gift in style, elegance, and quality.
What we love: Lux & Nyx offers many budget-friendly gems for those who appreciate the finer things without breaking the bank. Plus there’s some lavish gifts to splash out on your significant other too!
Wine Tote: The perfect gift for wine enthusiasts, adding an air of elegance to their collection. Get it at $38 and $48.
Purpose Backpack: A unisex backpack combining functionality with undeniable style. Get it at $95.
“As a college athlete at Saint Louis University, I was always looking for a product that not only helped me recover but also tasted great. I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for and I created Seoul Juice blending ingredients in my dorm room.” – Luis Manta, Founder of Seoul Juice
Seoul Juice is a premium hydration beverage made from Korean Pears, with a taste similar to that of a light apple juice. Invented in a dorm room, by founder Luis Manta, this healthy beverage brand has become the drink of choice for athletes such as Jordan Harris, Sam Howell and Haley & Hanna Cavinder.
Made with only 3 ingredients and packed with electrolytes (400mg of potassium per bottle/about the same as a banana) and only has 14g of sugar per serving (0g added sugar/half the sugar of apple juice), Seoul Juice helps replenish electrolytes and recover from physical activity or a night out.
What we love: Honestly… it’s great for exercise but Seoul Juice is a delicious hangover cure too! Look out for it at United Provisions and all Straubs, Dierbergs, and Schnucks locations.
Bask & Bloom Essentials creates non-toxic, restorative hair care products to address dryness, breakage and hair thinning in women and new moms after up to 2 years postpartum. Their products work together to restore fullness vibrancy and luster for all types to flourish.
What we love: Combining Bask & Bloom products gives a 4-n-1 solution for new moms during and after postpartum, with complete hair wellness in mind. These include reducing breakage/hair fall out, protection from external aggressors, optimal moisture and nourishing scalp care that textured hair requires, which results in fuller stronger, hair.
Top Tutors for Us offers a unique and impactful service that makes for an ideal gift for Black students. They specialize in pairing Black high school students with Black college tutors from top universities, fostering a deeper understanding and connection in the learning process.
What sets Top Tutors for Us apart is their focus on standardized test preparation, including PSAT, SAT, and ACT, along with academic tutoring. Their service provides significant improvement in students experience; on average, students in the ACT prep program increase their scores by 4.1 points.
What we love: This service helps students maximize their potential in a supportive and understanding environment. By sourcing tutors from top universities across the country, ranging from Harvard to Howard, Top Tutors for Us not only addresses the need for cultural competency in education but also promotes personalized learning experiences tailored to each student’s needs.
St. Louis based direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand, Summersalt, offers giftable loungewear, activewear, pajamas and sweaters for everyone on your gift list! Serial entrepreneurs Lori Coulter, Reshma Chamberlin and team bring you wardrobe essentials that are comfortable enough for the journey, and stylish enough for the destination.
Summersalt launched in 2017 with swimwear made from recycled materials at a $95 price point — designer quality swimwear without the designer price tag. Since then, the brand has launched multiple categories including loungewear, knitwear, sleepwear and activewear.
In the few short years since its founding, Summersalt has built a loyal following of customers, influencers and celebrities, while garnering praise from leading fashion media including ELLE, Vogue and People, among many others.
What we love: Like all good modern fashion startups, they’re big on data. Summersalt took over 1.5 million body measurements from 10,000 women to inform their sizing fit.
We also love how future-forward they are in using recycled materials to create the fabrics and product packaging – closet impact entrepreneurs in every sense!
Traditionally, Islamic art is used to inspire contemplation. Through stimulating reflective thought, Mahnal founder Shayba Mohammed creates a pathway towards embracing a slower, more intentional life.
Mahnal is a collection of contemporary brass jewelry that studies natural forms and elements to inspire contemplation. This includes silhouettes in nature, the repetition of lines in architecture, or how light plays against texture.
The collection is made exclusively of solid brass, which in its beautiful yellow aged tone “pays homage to the adornments of antiquity reimagined for modern woman.” Brass metal oxidizes and develops a patina with time as it’s worn that takes on an almost ‘living’ finish, and the durability of brass further echoes its inherent ability to transcend time.
What we love: With the Arabic naming and organic imperfections, each piece is imbued with an identity all their own. Mahnal sheds light on the gentle, insightful, and poetic beauty of Islam and the Arabic language and each piece has a meaning inspired by research and meditation to bring a message of encouragement, positivity, and enlightenment to carry as a reminder for the wearer.
Did you know that nail polish is toxic? But not DEMIblue, which is 10-Free and Vegan Friendly so she is safer for you and your kids.
Created by Michelle Robinson DEMIblue Vegan-Friendly Nail Polish Collection is here to shake up the nail care industry. She offers you a healthier alternative to conventional nail polishes known to contain toxins linked to cancers.
She explained to EQ that, “DEMIblue nail polishes are considered long-lasting and do not require the use of UV energy or drills that DESTROY the nail. We offer over 28 alluring colors as well as top coats, soy removers and cuticle & nail oil pens…all enriched with vitamins to promote nail growth.”
Pure Vibes Peppermint Body Cleanser is infused with botanicals. Washing with the thick gel, produces a light, soft lather and the minty herbal perfume is a great way to focus and bring awareness to what your body needs.
What we love: Pure Vibes is a worker owned Co-Op! Pure Vibes creates essential products that are intended to help you live well, feel well, and they live up to their co-op mission by focussing on the collective of People, Community and Planet to make a larger impact on the world around us.
“The Normal Brand is a fashion company creating casual wear that is versatile and durable, with a rugged aesthetic and elevated style.”
Like all good startup stories, there’s usually a garage or a parent’s basement that plays a leading role in the formation of the company. The Normal Brand is a casual wear lifestyle brand started by a group of brothers from the Midwest —in, you guessed it, their parents’ basement. Now they have three stores in the St. Louis area and are growing nationwide.
The inspiration was born out of a need for ‘a normal shirt’ that was both casual, stylish, and could hold up to the occasional hunting trip. With styles ranging from sweaters to lightweight plaids, they offer the perfect laid back style for both men and women.
What we love: For everyday fits that are both casual and stylish, anything Puremeso (their signature fabric). It’s insanely soft, durable, and comes in multiple cuts – henleys, hoodies, you name it. For a more fitted look, it’s hard to go wrong with one of their button downs, which come in tons of novelty patterns.
Boosa Tech, a consumer tech company run out of Chris Reimer’s house since 2017, offers a power bank external battery (Lithium-Poly Ultra High Capacity 10000 mAh) housed in a sleek looking form factor for under $30 dollars.
The idea came to him when he noticed a growing trend in consumer behavior: an increase of phone use draining batteries faster than ever and the anxiety users feel about it. “There’s even a word for it,” Reimer told EQ, “nomophobia- the fear (irrational or otherwise) of losing connectivity or power in one’s cell phone.”
By leveraging existing technology, he was able to start shipping in only 10 months of product development. Now Boosa offers an entire product line of portable power banks to charge any and all of your devices.
You and your friends assume the role of JUMPERS, and blast your way through subterranean alien hives in chaotic run-and-gun 2D platforming action. Up to 4 Players band together to kill aliens, avoid traps, collect treasures and lost relics. Win the final battle against the hive queen to save the galaxy!
What we love:Remember Contra? Or Metroid? Hive Jump pays homage to those classic video games by mashing them together and using procedural generation for limitless mayhem. It’s a frantic and fast paced four-player fun that will have you quoting movies like Starship Troopers and yelling like Corporal Hicks in Aliens, “Game Over Maaan! Game Over!”
Crashlands is a procedurally generated adventure-crafting RPG driven by an epic story arc which can be played 1-player or 2-player couch co-op. Available on Switch, Steam, Android and iOS, Crashlands is made by multiple award-winning St. Louis video game company, Butterscotch Shenanigans (who also developed Levelhead, which is also a great St. Louis gift idea but we’ve not had a chance to play it yet).
From the moment gameplay begins “you’ll be thrust PELVIS-FIRST into an insane tale complete with a cast of personality-bloated characters.” Break down the resources of the planet, discover new recipes in the process, and BUILD ALL THE THINGS. Craftables get ever more elaborate and ridiculous: harvest using bombs, put your pet on a Laser Leash, and flip your lid on enemies.
What we love: It’s honestly very funny, which is a rare thing for video games these days. The scripted dialogue is amazing and will have players chuckling to themselves at ‘stoopid’ and goofy jokes like an immersive game of The Simpsons or Rick and Morty.
Flipstik is the “As Seen On Shark Tank” phone accessory that has all of St. Louis buzzing in 2020. Based on NASA technology, Flipstik lets you stick your phone to virtually any flat surface for hands-free use anywhere.
Flipstik is a technology company that uses NASA’s adhesive research, to create consumer goods, beginning with their namesake product The Flipstik, which allows you to stick your phone to… well, almost anything. This enables hands-free selfies, zoom conferences, hands-free Youtube or Netflix viewing on planes and trains, and hands-free GPS use while in any vehicle.
Designed and developed by Akeem Shannon, an entrepreneur born and raised in St. Louis, “The Flipstik” is a customizable kickstand that attaches to your phone cover and allows you to stick your phone to nearly any flat surface for hands-free use by utilizing their trademarked “Synthetic Setae” adhesive. It holds up to 2 lbs and can be cleaned with soap and water or alcohol pads, making it reusable and washable 1000s of times!
What we love: Akeem created his reusable “Synthetic Setae” adhesive from NASA research, which was based on the feet of geckos – how cool is that? Even cooler, Akeem is a Shark Tank Winner.
And even cooler than that, Snoop Dogg had his mind blown when he saw it, calling it “The Sticky Phone”. With its innovative gravity-defying features, we are sure Flipstik will delight you and your family just as it has done for Celebrities and Sharks!
“Generation Mindful (GEN:M) creates tools, toys, and programs that nurture emotional intelligence through play and positive discipline.”
Did you know that through positive reinforcement and modeling, children can be taught social and emotional skills in much the same way as they learn to read and write? The catch is that most adults need tools and guidance to accomplish this.
Arch Grant Recipient, Generation Mindful (GEN:M) creates tools, toys, and programs that nurture emotional intelligence through play and positive discipline.
The Time-In ToolKit is a guided resource that nurtures social and emotional skills in children and adults alike via play and positive discipline. The many play-based activities in the ToolKit are easily adapted for use in diverse settings and with children of diverse neurological abilities.
What we love: It’s a product borne out of personal experience. As Suzanne Tucker, Founder of Generation Mindful, explained to EQ, “When I got my strong-willed child, time-outs were ineffective. I needed a different method. I needed something in a box, with instructions, a video, and a community to hold my hand.”
The müvbook is designed for strategic planning, allowing you to prioritize and focus on what is most important so you can be the best version of yourself, both personally and professionally. It provides a systematic approach to goal-setting, prompting you to determine priorities, identify limiting factors and focus on solutions.
It is designed to assist you in focusing your energy and unleashing your full potential. When your energy is focused, your momentum builds, moving you closer to achieving your goals.
Created by the director for the local startup grind chapter for the last couple years, Lisa Adewusi is the founder of Müv, marketing company in St. Louis that works with innovators and companies with a mission for change. She also is a founding member of What Drives Winning, a national movement around character development and high performance in sports.
What we love: The müvbook is a tool to help you take control of the present and master the art of productivity. It is more than a planner or a notebook; it is a formula for success.
We love Lisa’s concept that it’s not a book… it’s a space. The müvbook is a place where you can declutter your mind, break down your vision and goals, and incorporate them into your daily life.
Isn’t it shocking to pick out a greeting card these days and see they’re all upwards of $7 each? And for what…a piece of paper? Enter Sweeter Cards: the first-ever greeting card with gourmet chocolate tucked inside.
Founded in St. Louis in 2019 by Stacy Stahl, Sweeter Cards celebrates more than 20 different occasions throughout the year with a bar of sea salt caramel dark chocolate that is actually to die for. The idea brings innovation and taste to the gift-giving world all for under $9.
This year, enjoy 5 different holiday designs that make for the perfect card, stocking stuffer, teacher gift, client appreciation, and more. (Disclosure: We got some and we were really impressed by The Dream Team Energy Bar as an idea for fun gifts for your team – especially as there’s room to enclose some cash, a check or a gift voucher which is what employees want the most, let’s be honest!)
What we love: On top of being a sweet, creative and delicious way to send love, Sweeter Cards’ chocolate is proud to be Fair Trade certified too. They also use only the finest, natural ingredients, and the chocolate has no artificial flavors or colors, no preservatives and no hydrogenated oils. Did we mention it’s also the best chocolate we’ve ever had?
Getting a handwritten letter in the mail is a rare joy these days. Greetabl has taken the magic of snail mail and created a well-designed gift that is a perfect solution for a ‘thinking of you’ this holiday season. In their own words, they have, “solved that awkward problem when a greeting card is not enough and flowers or a traditional gift is too much,” which they call The Gifting Gap.
The ‘Greetabl’ is a fold out gift box that’s customizable with a print, photos, and a message. You also get to pick a small gift to fill your Greetabl. Gifts range from candles to nail polish and the starting price point comes in at around $15.
What we love: Their Holiday Gift Guide is full of pre made suggestions to make gift giving simple and easy. The Warmest Wishes Greetabl comes in a merry everything print with a cup of cocoa inside, making his is an ideal gift to send a friend, co-worker, or anyone to make them feel extra special this season. We already have our eye on the nautical crew socks and the brass flask for some of our favorite elves.
A perfect way to celebrate teams, Bold Xchange curates a thoughtful gift box selection of craft products from black-owned, women-owned, and local St. Louis brands. Every order comes with guaranteed 3-day delivery.
Check out the Bold Xchange gifting catalog for everyone on the team. You’ll find everything from face masks and personal care products to coffee and tea and each one includes a handwritten gift note with your custom message.
What we love: Co-founder Danielle Deavens personally tries every brand before it gets listed on Bold Xchange, “sometimes with the help of the growing Bold community.” She also mentioned a Bold community rewards program that means “special rewards make every purchase more special than the last”.
Shine In All Shades Empowerment Coloring Book is all about shinin’ with you and for you with powerful affirmations, diverse images of queens like you and the fun and creative self-care vibes you didn’t know you was missing. Their best-selling Coloring Book empowers you to create as you relax, PLUS, you can color it, cut it, and frame it!
This WEPOWER cohort company has partnered with Blick Art Materials and HelloPureVibes.com to bring you the ultimate relaxing holiday gift set. Grab one yourself or someone special, as they are offering FREE Priority Shipping with all bundles, which also includes a coloring pencils and a frame and a bunch of other stuff so you can properly give and get some creative shine this holiday!
What we love: Shine In All Shades is truly a one of a kind empowerment coloring book series that UNAPOLOGETICALLY shines a light on the full spectrum of diversity in our communities, specifically women of color.
The Magic Room Brand mission is to fearlessly inspire musical creativity with a focus on high-quality products, design-forward thinking, and social responsibility for musicians who care about how they make what they make.
First and foremost, their drumsticks are made with 100% bamboo grass and guitar picks (a composite of bamboo and other plant fibers) are built to sound amazing. These are the tools musicians use to improve the world, so it’s a big deal to Magic Room Brand founder Vijoy Rao that they’re designed and crafted with the same care you put into every beat, every note.
“Musicians are hard to shop for (sorry, not sorry),” he explained to EQ, “When you’re doing something you love, you shouldn’t have to compromise. Sound. Strength. Sustainability… because deforestation is dumb and that plastic mountain in the ocean is terrifying, all MRB gear is made out of natural materials that are 100% biodegradable.”
What we love: It’s pretty rad that all Magic Room Brand gear is 100% biodegradable and environmental impact is front and center to their product. Gift that musician in your life a monthly subscription of drumsticks and/or guitar picks, or hit up the one-time shop. This season, get them something that reflects them as much as their songs.
Even your four-legged friend deserves a special treat this season, right? Riley’s Organics makes USDA certified organic treats that will make Fido the envy of all the dogs in the neighborhood. They even went the extra mile and have them baked in a Human Grade US bakery.
According to their website, “These treats are so good and so healthy that we can eat them ourselves. If we would not eat them, why should our dogs?”
This means zero guilt when your kid accidentally helps himself to your dog treats! Winning at parenting just by buying only the best for your dogs.
“Native Pet only uses responsibly sourced clean label ingredients, chosen for their power to help your pet feel best. Building on our own passion, we work with veterinarians and nutritionists who understand how a good diet promotes a lifetime of wellness.”
Native Pet is an Arch Grant recipient company focused on clean eating for pets. They told EQ that “they never compromise on what goes into it, which is why your dog will get the most out of it.”
Their pet food product is developed around 3 things: taste, nutrition and limited ingredients. Native Pet only use 7 ingredients (or less) in their formulas because “our pets deserve to eat clean.”
They make sure pets get that rich, protein-forward flavor they love. They partner with leading vet nutritionists who ensure their whole food formulas pack a punch when it comes to benefits.
Their probiotic supplement gets real results when it comes to your dog’s digestive wellness and gut health. It’s a powdered mix of probiotics and organic prebiotics that help promote good gut bacteria.
What we love: Native Pet keep the ingredients to a minimum and source from the USA and Canada. Fewer ingredients. More benefits. The founding team noticed a lot of fillers in their pets’ food…and decided to do something about it.