These days, staying hip is a full-time job. Shopping local is cool but where, exactly, you’re spending your dollar bills is constantly changing. Gifting something unique is awesome, but damn if that’s not more effort than I have to give sometime. In enters two DC startups, looking to shake up the shopping scene in a few different ways. Between helping wannabe (or exhausted) hipsters find the best of the best in terms of local goodies and curating gifts so that you can keep your title as perfect friend/daughter-in-law/neighbor or whatever, these startups are coming to the rescue by way of quick, painless (and kind of fun) shopping.

Welcome and Wishes

Welcome and Wishes is a startup thriving off the fact that people (like me) are tired of hunting for the perfect gift.. And while it will always be tempting to slap your signature across a check and be done with the hunt once and for all, this startup offers a just as easy (but not as much of a cop-out) alternative.

Tali Cohen moved to DC from NYC over two and a half years ago, and when she did, she did so with the desire to be a gifting guru for District dwellers and those living outside of the city’s limits. Welcome and Wishes is a gifting service that creates and ships curated gift boxes, most with an overarching theme. While Cohen was originally pounding the pavement in the world of banking, she tells Technical.ly that she was drawn to wanting to do something creative.

While Welcome and Wishes wasn’t created on a whim, the brand came to fruition almost overnight. The project was launched hastily in December 2015, and as a result, wasn’t reflective of the level and quality and professionalism Cohen wanted to portray. Fast forward to today’s times, and Cohen has a shiny, relatively new website and plenty of curated goods worth gifting. A lot of the company’s initial business has come from corporations, but Cohen is hoping a recent rebrand will help entice more independent consumers. Some current gift options available include:


The Clean Slate gift box ($130): includes Silver Needle White Tea, Herbivore Detox Bath Salts, Forumulary 55 La Nuit Sparkling Bath Tablet, Formulary 55 Sea Mineral Body Polish, Aenon’s Charcoal Exfoliating Face Marks, and 42 Pressed Soy Wax Candle.


Whimsy & Wonder Newborn gift box ($130): includes a knit blanket, flower fabric headband, and Little Miss Austen Pride & Prejudice book


Raising the Bar gift box ($140): includes The Pineapple Co. Brass Shot Glasses, Carry on Cocktail Kit, Shrub District Just Grapefruit shrub, Cotton & Glaz coaters, a rose gold bottle opener and Sugarfina Olive Martini Olive Almonds

Shop or Not

This DC startup is shaking up the shopping scene isn a different way. As of March of this year, they were working out of 1776, a long way from where the company first started in Los Angeles. The backbone of the Shop or Not team consists of Kate Myers and Kelly O’ Malley who were determined to do “something that would cut through all the noise.”


In order to move swiftly toward that goal, the pair created a startup that slides right into consumers text inboxes. Once you sign up, Shop or Not will send you a picture of a food product each week. Not just any food, though – Shop or Not exclusively sells hyper-local foodie goodness. The desire is for customers to become exposed to products that they might not otherwise know about, all the while supporting small businesses across the US. All of the items are under $20, and you can just reply back to the text message with a yay or a nay to make a purchase or pass.

Examples of what you might find in your in your texts include wholesome meal bars made in California, nut butters, chocolates, and more. In the future, the startup plans to go beyond scrumptious snacks into other categories – perhaps indie fashion finds for under $100. But, for now, make room in your pantry…you’re going to want to be hungry!

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