If you're feeling frustrated, trying to find the perfect gift for the person that has everything, remember this: they also have germs. Dirty phone screens. Plaque build-up. Feeling festive? Here are two inventions—with local ties, no less—that clean up actual problems, and come boxed for gifting.
Spruce & Co. Tech Wipes
Here’s a cringe-worthy stat: the typical smartphone is 18 times dirtier than a public toilet seat. EWWW! I tend to deal by denying. Jill Applebaum got resourceful. The Minnetonka native and recent Harvard Business School graduate teamed up with one of her classmates (and fellow germaphobe), Jill Ressler to create Spruce & Co., a company that provides “simple products for everyday healthy routines.” Their first product is plant-based cleaning wipes for tech devices. The wipes are free of alcohol, ammonia, and fragrance, and left my screen cleaner than it’s been in, well, I don’t want to think about it. They’re also USA-made. The holiday set includes 15 wipes and sells for $9.99. spruceandco.com
Boka: Toothbrush Delivery
Subscription boxes have been growing in popularity because: A. We’re busy. And B. It’s fun to open a box of stuff you probably forgot you ordered. But what if that box contained a toothbrush and toothpaste. A high design toothbrush and toothpaste, to be sure. But still, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Entrepreneur James Hagen, who took over his family’s Twin Cities-based dental supply company, is on a mission to disrupt the dental hygiene industry. “It’s the first thing we do in the morning, and one of the last things before sleep, but the industry is dominated by a couple of large brands and they don’t make very inspiring products.” So he invented Boka, a dental supply company with a focus on design and service. Boka toothbrushes come in pretty hues with charcoal bristles said to help to prevent bacteria. Hagen, who partnered with Minneapolis-based Zeus Jones on design and branding, set up Boka as a subscription service because, he says, most of us aren’t replacing our toothbrush often enough. The mint green Boka box includes new brush, beeswax floss made in Italy, and Boka’s mint toothpaste made with natural ingredients. Child and adult sizes available. An individual shipment is $14.50; annual subscriptions start at $49. Hagen hopes discriminating consumers will order for themselves, and as gifts. “No one expects to get dental products,” he says. That’s definitely true. The question is: will a designer toothbrush make them smile? loveyourboka.com