Holiday Gift Guide: Shop small with veteran owned companies

by Nicholas Karnaze

Christmas gift guide veteran owned businesses

Gifting season is coming in hot and we’re taking this opportunity to showcase some amazing veteran owned businesses creating products – and jobs – that will make any American proud. From beard care to booze to spices and pet accessories, our gift guide has something for everyone on your list.

 

1. But first, coffee

Anchor Coffee Roasters


Anchor Coffee Roasters launched in October of this year. Founded by two U.S. Navy veterans in Annapolis, Maryland, these two salty dogs are producing some seriously delicious coffee. If coffee is your bag, Anchor Coffee Roasters won’t disappoint. One dollar from every bag sold is donated to veteran and community organizations. If there is one thing Senior Chief knows, it is how to make one fine cup of coffee. Use code STUBBLE15 for 15% off your holiday order.


2. But what if it’s one of *those* mornings? Time to kick your coffee up a notch

Hotel Tango Distillery

Hotel Tango Distillery was co-founded by a former Reconnaissance Marine #YUT and produces some seriously serious spirits. I’m seriously drunk right now. But in all seriousness, this company warms our hearts...and I’m not just talking about the gin, vodka, rum, ‘shine, bourbon, whiskey and limoncello they produce. Hotel Tango is the first service-disabled combat-veteran owned distillery in the country. Get some!

 

3. Now that we are awake, it is time to face the day

Beard oil | stubble & 'stache


Humble brag alert...you didn’t think we’d leave ourselves off this list did you? Feeling good and looking good go hand in hand. Level up their daily grooming routine with award winning beard and skincare products from stubble & ‘stache. Stubble & ‘stache was founded by a Marine Corps Special Operations combat veteran in honor of his fallen Raider brother. Not only will their skin look good, you’ll feel good knowing that a percentage of net profits are donated to organizations helping those men and women suffering from the mental wounds of war. After a week of using this stuff your pretty face will be Hollywood ready...just like every Navy SEAL we’ve ever met.

 

4. Express yourself

Liberty Socks

You can tell a lot about a person by the socks they wear.  Liberty Socks was founded by a U.S. Army disabled combat veteran with one simple belief: American made patriotic apparel can accurately depict American history. If you love America, you’ll love these socks. You’ll also love that they donate a percentage of their profits to support K-12 college prep after-school programs. Nothing better than learning to stand on your own two feet.


5. No socks? No problem

Combat Flip Flops

They say Rangers lead the way. While most Marines snicker at this, when it comes to flip-flops this moniker rings true. Combat Flip Flops was founded by two Army Rangers with a simple mantra: “Business, Not Bullets.” Their offerings have grown well past flip flops and we love everything they make. Join the Unarmed Forces and take pride in knowing that every product you buy puts an Afghan girl into secondary school for a day. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

 

6. Morning wood: Not just for your bedroom

Flags of Valor

It’s hard not to be overcome by pride looking at the handmade wooden flags created by Flags of Valor. Each flag is made by a combat veteran and they only use parts and tools made right here in the US of A. Founded by an Air Force combat veteran, Flags of Valor supports numerous veteran organizations. This is another flag we’ll always salute.  


7. Now it is time to get out the door and face the day head on. Grab your sword...and plough?

Sword & Plough

Sword & Plough was founded by two sisters, one an Army officer, from a proud military family. Sword & Plough turns repurposed military surplus materials into one-of-a kind bags, backpacks, jewelry and accessories. Their inspiring mission is to empower veteran employment, reduce waste and strengthen shared civil-military understanding. If that wasn’t enough, they donate 10 percent of net profits to veteran initiatives. Bravo Zulu ladies, Bravo Zulu.

 

8. Do you like it spicy?

Rumi Spice

Any chef worth their salt knows the power of saffron. The queen of all spices is literally worth its weight in gold. Interestingly enough, Western Afghanistan produces some of the world’s finest saffron. Rumi Spice was founded by three military veterans with nine collective deployments to Afghanistan. They employ more than 300 women in Herat, Afghanistan, and source this amazing spice from local Afghan farmers. If you have a refined palate on your holiday list, you can’t go wrong with Rumi Spice.

*while your author is a knuckle-dragging Marine, he knows that saffron is not actually spicy. It has a complex flavor that is semi-sweet with a hint of bitterness...just like the personality of most veterans.


9. So you think you’re fancy now, huh? How about some afternoon tea

Rakkasan Tea Company

Rakkasan Tea Company was founded by an Army combat veteran with the vision of importing tea from selected estates in post-conflict countries as a way to promote peace and economic growth. All of their teas are pure and organic, with no added flavors.


10. Pair some chocolate with your tea

Harper Macaw

Yeah, tea and chocolate pairing is a thing. Google it. Harper Macaw was co-founded by a former U.S. Marine and produces some seriously delicious chocolate made with cacao responsibly sourced directly from farmers in Northeast Brazil. They blend state-of-the-art technology with traditional European methods to produce some of the finest chocolate we’ve ever tasted. With every bar of chocolate you purchase, 20 square feet of deforested rain forest is restored. That’s a pretty sweet deal.


11. As delicious as chocolate may be, don’t let your pup eat it! Treat them to something else…

Puppy Momma

Puppy Mama was founded by Army veteran Theresa Piasta whose life was dramatically changed for the better by the love of a 13-pound ball of furry puppy happiness who helped her get through significant PTS related pain. Puppy Mama started as an app with the mission to create a more dog-friendly world and to advocate for the healing power of canine therapy. It has since grown to include an online store where you can buy some of the best accessories for your best friend. Make no bones about it, if you want the best for your pup, Puppy Mama is your one-stop shop.


12. Now it's time to curl up with a good book and a beer

Level Zero Heroes

New York Times bestseller Level Zero Heroes tells the story of Marine Special Operations Team 8222 and their time in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan. Written by fellow Marine Michael Golembesky, Level Zero Heroes teleports readers to close quarters firefights in Afghan villages and missions to capture key-terrain from the Taliban in the unforgiving Afghan winter. You’ll experience the hopelessness of being pinned down under a hail of enemy gunfire and the earthshaking quake of a 2000 pound bomb as it levels a fortified enemy position. My palms are already sweaty, mom’s spaghetti...wait.


13. Calm your racing heart with a pint from Honor Brewing Company

Founded by veterans and family members of service members who paid the ultimate price, Honor Brewing Company brews up a delectable array of beers sure to please the beer snob on your list. Honor Brewing doesn't stop there. They have a Tribute program where you can submit a fallen hero to be honored. Each honoree represented is featured on a distinctive Honor Brewing Tribute Tap handle, which features a mini-sculpture of well-worn combat boots. The tap includes customized dog tags in their name.

Honor Brewing Company Tribute Program

As Honor Brewing beers launch across the country, they designate special Tribute Tap locations within a 50-mile radius of where the honoree grew up. Once the tap is in place, Honor will let the families know the locations where Honor beers are on tap – the locations you can go and raise a glass in their honor. Cheers!

Please help spread the word about these amazing job-creating, veteran owned businesses by sharing this post.

Not seeing your favorite veteran-owned business on this list? Help get their name out there by leaving a comment below.

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Nicholas Karnaze
Nicholas Karnaze

Author

Warfighter turned entrepreneur. Founder, stubble & 'stache. Grooming expert. Skincare nerd. Marine Corps combat veteran.




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