Students at the University of Utah's Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute can purchase snacks and meals at the cafe on the main floor on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

December is a difficult time of year for students. While studying and stressing over finals, they worry about stretching their time and dollar a little farther than usual to buy holiday gifts for friends and family.

To find gifts, however, students may not have to drive, bike or walk as far as they think. Students at the Lassonde Institute have developed their own businesses offering unique products and services that not only fuel the local economy but, according to Lassonde spokesperson Thad Kelling, also make great holiday gifts.

Students from outside Utah can give friends and family back home a taste of what it’s like to live in the Beehive State with the Utah Box. On the product’s website customers can select which of the 25 available items unique to Utah they want to include in the box. Boxes may contain five, seven or 10 items. Boxes ship free to anywhere inside the continental U.S. as well as to U.S. military installations overseas.

At the Lassonde Institue, students will find multiple clothing companies, including INK Menswear, Evok Clothing and True Gentleman Clothing. INK aims to provide ties that foster confidence in their owner by having a sleek, professional design for the tongue and a flashy design for the tail. Evok Clothing is a company that wants to send a message to the fashion industry. With their wide range of unisex clothing items, they hope to show that fairly sourced clothing can still be both fashionable and affordable. The nationwide brand True Gentleman offers made-to-order suits. Customers don’t have to visit a storefront, however, as the company comes to your home or office for measuring and fitting.

The Lassonde Institute on campus is nearly complete on Wednesday, August 24, 2016
The Lassonde Institute on campus is nearly complete on Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Entrepreneurs at Lassonde don’t only create innovative products, they also develop innovative service systems that hope to raise industry standards. One company, Utah Maids, makes cleaning service more convenient and efficient as it allows customers to book their cleaning appointment online. Utah Maids provides gift cards that apply to any of their services, which range from picking up dirty clothes to cleaning the inside of a fridge.

Purchasing from student entrepreneurs not only helps students at the U make a name for their businesses, but also enriches the economy that we all participate in.

“These students face the same problems and challenges that the one reading this article does,” said Kelling. “They too need local support, purchases and feedback to grow. These companies matter and we can help them grow to the next level to not just benefit them, but the local economy as well.”

To check out all of the products and services offered by students at the Lassonde Institute, visit



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