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Gifts under the Christmas Tree: How Student Startups Can Surprise You

Gifts under the Christmas Tree: How Student Startups Can Surprise You

© Mikhail Dmitriev/HSE University

One of the most popular minors that HSE University students can take in their second and third years is 'Startup from Scratch'. With their teachers’ support, students launch their own business projects, including startups for tmaking and selling souvenirs and cosmetics, which can serve as nice New Year gifts.


Business idea:creating t-shirts that send a message—made from natural materials with a unique design.

Team: Yulia Tsareva, Victoria Solntseva (Faculty of Economic Sciences)

What to order as a gift: original high-quality t-shirts.

What makes this gift unique: each t-shirt carries a certain message, all sizes are available.

Authors' comments:

I have always wanted to connect my life with creativity and create my own business, which would bring not only income, but also pleasure. Creating a clothing brand that carries a message is just what I wanted. We put a piece of ourselves into every design!
Julia Tsareva

Contacts: website, Instagram

Project: Nameisflame

Business idea: making soy wax candles

Team: Anastasia Sapsay (Faculty of Economic Sciences), Dmitry Barabanov (student of Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics).

What to order as a gift: soy wax scented candles with wooden wicks.

What makes this gift unique: soy wax, aroma oils from the USA, crackling sound when burning.

Authors' comments:

Unlike paraffin, which is used in cheap candles, soy wax is not harmful to human health. We use natural aroma oils that reveal different scents. Wooden wicks crackle pleasantly when burning, creating an atmosphere of coziness and tranquility. Our candles will be the best decoration for your holiday!
Anastasia Sapsay

Contacts: Instagram

Project: Upcycle

Business idea: upcycled clothing and accessories.

Team: Mariana Rayt, Polina Pitigyina (Graduate School of Business), Ivan Grigoriev (Faculty of Economic Sciences).

What to order as a gift: new things sewn from existing ones; transformer chains created of many metal rings (can be worn around your neck, arm, or shoe).

What makes this gift unique: you can prolong the life of your favorite thing; the versatility of the transformer chain.

Authors' comments:

Our grandmothers used to know the art of patchwork—the technique of sewing things from scraps of fabric, and the idea of our project brings together eco-clothing and jewelry. It’s not about reuse, but about reducing the number of consumables. It’s beautiful, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly.
Mariana Rayt

Contacts: Instagram

Project: DECO

Business idea: graphic design, helping brands develop, attract new customers and use printing services.

Team: Artur Zenger (Graduate School of Business), Olga Kuzmina (Faculty of Economic Sciences), Maria Kiryushchenko (Faculty of Communications, Media and Design).

What to order as a gift: an illustration, a postcard or just covers for your current Instagram stories.

What makes this gift unique: unique design and low prices.

Authors' comments:

At the start of our project, I already had some experience of working with clients, and I noticed that many people have difficulties when they look for a printing house and then try to communicate with them. So, we got the idea of a startup—to help entrepreneurs by taking care of everything related to design. To help our customers save time and effort, we communicate with the printing house and manufacturers of eco-packages.
Maria Kiryushchenko

Contacts: Instagram

Project: 'Gift for your mental'

Business idea: products for relaxation

Team: Alyona Kiberova (Art and Design School, HSE University in St. Petersburg), Anna Kruglova (Faculty of Economic Sciences, HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod).

What to order as a gift: a box with accessories for anti-stress therapy and a brochure with practical tips from psychology bestsellers.

What makes this gift unique: it will help you organize your rest and relieve anxiety and stress.

Authors' comments:

Our project is for those who live in a world of deadlines, constant rush, and fatigue. We have prepared a care package for these people: fragrant soy wax candles, sea salt with soothing fragrance, and bath bombs. If you are a person who likes to watch something bubbling in your bathroom and not inside you, it's a good reason to find a couple of hours for a little trip to serenity. If, in addition to time, you feel like thinking over your life, you can use our cards with personal questions.
Anna Kruglova

Contacts: Instagram, website

Project: PINI—Taste and Atmosphere

Business idea: production of gastroboxes.

Team: Denis Rozhkov (Graduate School of Business), Anastasia Mitusova (Faculty of Communications, Media and Design).

What to order as a gift: a ready-made gastrobox with a taste of New Year.

What makes this gift unique: it will put you in a festive mood!

Authors' comments:

Warm up a cup of milk, throw a cocoa bomb in it, dip waffles or cookies in one of the sauces, and watch a New Year movie!
Anastasia Mitusova

Contacts: Instagram

See also:

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