Holiday Innovations


Exterior Lassonde Studios in Salt Lake City, UT on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. (Photo by Curtis Lin/ Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Claudia Robles

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is home to hundreds of student innovators. Many of them sell products they have created for the holiday season.

With finals in full swing just before the holidays, many students and faculty find they are suddenly out of time to find gifts for their loved ones. Fortunately, student entrepreneurs on campus offer a wide range of gift opportunities.

Purchasing these products, according to Lassonde, not only helps support fledgling student businesses, but it also bolsters the local economy.

There are a number of newly released student products to choose from. Among the most popular are backpacks, body scrubs, food seasoning, clothing, photography services and cell phone applications.


Boundary creates customized products for people with an on-the-go lifestyle. These products are intended to make life more comfortable. Products available include a modular backpack, key chains, thermal inserts, laundry bags and port kits that are sustainable and innovative. Laundry bags are made of hemp to be more environmentally friendly. Boundary’s products are meant to be functional while withstanding the wear of time and are made to meet high performance and environmental standards. The company’s products are meant to last a lifetime, and there is a repair center in Salt Lake City which will fix any damaged products.

The company raised $1.1 million through crowdfunding on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Backerit before the first week of August.

Products can be purchased at

Wegs Seasoning

Inspired by student Nathan Finch’s grandfather, Wegs Seasoning is a line of all-natural spices that are meant to encourage people to connect through cooking.

“One of my motivating factors is to inspire people to cook because it’s such an important part of life,” Finch said. “Cooking brings family and friends together while also bringing satisfaction to those who cook.”

The seasonings do not contain any MSG or artificial flavors, and each one is hand-blended and bottled.

“All ingredients are listed on the jar to make sure people know exactly what is in the seasoning, which is unique since many seasoning companies just list spices on their ingredients,” Finch said.

Customers can choose from seven different seasonings. Currently, the company offers discounted gift boxes that include three seasonings, and each box has a theme. There are veggie, pantry and meat lovers boxes. Among the most popular seasonings are the steak rub, vegetable seasoning and fancy pepper. Individual seasonings can also be purchased at a lower price. The company currently offers a 10 percent discount to U students, faculty and staff. To obtain the promotion code for this deal, members of the U’s community can email [email protected]

Along with the seasonings, cooking tutorials and recipe ideas are available at

Dirty Man Scrubs

Men who are tired of borrowing body scrub from the women in their lives can smell more masculine by using Dirty Man Scrubs. These coffee-based 8 oz. scrubs combine essential oils to clean and exfoliate the skin. The company uses coffee grounds sourced sustainably from cafes in Salt Lake City.

Those wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth after the holidays can drive through or dine-in at Thirst, a soda mixer and treats shop located in Salt Lake City with a mission to spread happiness. Thirst opened in summer 2016 and is on track to open three more locations, including one at the U.

Upon ordering, customers can choose the size and ice level — normal, extra or heavy. They have the option to order one of Thirst’s signature mixers, Italian soda or build their own drink by adding flavor shots, fruit puree and cream to soda. For those who aren’t a fan of soda, blended smoothies are also available. Drinks can be accompanied by one of four cookie options that are sold separately. Customers can purchase gift cards as a present for the holidays.

The menu and information on catering can be viewed at

Society Nightlife Card

Participants in Salt Lake City’s night life can now purchase a card equivalent to a fast-pass. The Society Nightlife Card is a black card that grants exclusive perks such as skipping lines, complimentary food and drinks, free cover charges and free show tickets. Card holders just have to show the front desk or their server the card to unlock rewards and be treated like a VIP. Apart from downtown Salt Lake, the card has expanded to work at locations in Park City, Reno, Boise and aims to soon include San Francisco and Phoenix. Card holders don’t need to worry about renewing memberships, because once they buy the card, they are members for life.

To read the list of participating businesses and included perks, events and prices, visit


For parents who can’t seem to find the right dress to fit their daughter’s personality, CurieWear hopes to be the answer. The company is named after the scientist Marie Curie, according to founder Hillary Whitaker. Products are STEM-inspired to match any little girl’s ambitions.

“CurieWear is all about inspiring girls to express themselves and what they love,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker hopes to encourage girls to be anything they want to be. CurieWear’s dresses come in science-themed prints, which include constellations, dinosaurs, bugs and astronauts.

Dresses are listed on CurieWear’s Etsy shop at

Off the Frame Photography

With a rising number of photographers in Utah, it can be difficult to distinguish between levels of experience. Off the Frame Photography is run by sophomore Makayla Hendricks, and she has had the business since she was 16 years old. Off the Frame recently became an LLC, and is focused on taking photos that are more than “just a moment.”

To book sessions and find pricing, check out Off the Frame’s Instagram page at or their website site at

For more gift ideas or information, visit

[email protected]