Holiday gift guide: What local business owners have on their wish lists this year


Here are some creative holiday gift ideas for the small business owners in your life. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/BLOOMBERG)
November 25, 2013

Wondering what to give the entrepreneur in your life this holiday season? On Small Business asked a number of local business owners what gifts and gadgets are on their wish lists this year. Here’s what they told us. — Mohana Ravindranath and J.D. Harrison

Dannia Hakki

Co-founder and principal at Moki Media, a public relations firm based in Georgetown.

Wishing for: 11-inch MacBook Air, a lightweight laptop starting at $999.

“I’m constantly running around town from meeting to meeting with my clients. Often times, a client will ask me to pull up a recent press hit or they’ll reference an e-mail I’ve sent during the week. I can’t lug my 17-inch, heavy laptop to each meeting, so I’ve been dabbling with the idea of purchasing this mini, lightweight gadget for some time now,” she said in an e-mail.

Chanceé Lundy

Co-owner and partner of Nspiregreen, an engineering consulting firm in the District that handles transportation planning, environmental solutions and public outreach services.

Wishing for: Professional office organization services, rates for which generally start at around $50 an hour.

“With Post-it note reminders, forms to be filed and papers to review, a professional organizer can whip any office into tip top shape,” she wrote in an e-mail. “This gift would be perfect for the person whose attention to detail is lacking. Unfortunately a de-cluttered, organized office is a dream for far too many entrepreneurs.”

Jehiel Oliver

Founder and senior consultant at Aya Consulting, a financial development consulting firm based at the Hive, a co-working space in Anacostia.

Wishing for: Harman Kardon noise-canceling headphones, $239.95.

Oliver’s work takes him all over the world — recently, he’s been traveling to Nigeria to help women farmers improve their access to tractor leasing services. “From colicky babies on 15-hour plane rides to Fajr prayer call outside my hotel room window at 5:30 a.m., noise-canceling headphones are essential,” Oliver said in an e-mail. “Harman Kardon makes a great pair that also pass the style test when back stateside working in a noisy coffee shop or even back at the Hive (where our entrepreneurs are quite passionate and loquacious). These headphones are also cool because they can lay flat for easy storage in my computer bag, have a 40-hour battery life for long trips and they recharge via USB, so finding an outlet isn’t an issue.”

Ray Sidney-Smith

Web and mobile strategist for W3 Consulting, a digital marketing consulting firm based in Arlington.

Wishing for: Google Chromecast, a device that allows you to stream video from your laptop, tablet or phone to a television, $35.

“For the savvy small-business owner, the Google Chromecast represents an amazing sales opportunity,” Sidney-Smith said in an e-mail. “For retail businesses, you can use it to show video from your YouTube channel on a TV in your window or product displays. For service businesses you can take the Chromecast with you to show your presentations in boardrooms with TVs. And, you can take it home and stream your Netflix and YouTube videos to your regular TVs.”

Kimberly Brown

Chief executive of Amethyst Technologies, a quality assurance firm for global health labs in the U.S. and Africa, based in Baltimore

Wishing for: Pocket Projector Mobile, a small projector from Brookstone, $299.99

“I currently spend 50 percent of my time in Africa, and often have meetings with U.S. government agencies abroad to present our capabilities,” said Brown, who sells quality control services for global health programs, clinical trials, manufacturing and research. She might need to present to prospective clients any time, anywhere, so “this pocket projector will enable me to provide capability briefings with PowerPoint presentations and facilitate sharing data, showing the impact of our technical assistance on global health.”

Susan Gerock

Owner of Zoe Boutique, a women’s contemporary clothing store in Old Town Alexandria.

Wishing for: A gym membership, which start around $50 per month.

“As many small-business owners would tell you, we cut out all incidentals as we focus our time and money on building our businesses,” Gerock said. “The gift of a gym membership would be one of those little luxuries that we don’t give ourselves, and would go a long way to keeping us healthier and more focused.”

Antonis Karagounis

Owner of several District nightspots, including EchoStage, a concert venue in Northeast Washington, and Barcode, a lounge in Northwest.

Wishing for: HTC One 2 M8 smartphone, an upgrade to his current HTC One, rumored to come out in early 2014.

“This phone is my personal, mobile office — so the faster it works, the better I work. They also plan to upgrade the camera, which means I can snap high quality night life shots and upload my real-time concert images directly to our social media outlets. Whether it’s a shot of [the performer] Tiesto at Echostage or [singer-songwriter] Trey Songz at Barcode, the new HTC will help me better access my target market and our area fans,” Karagounis said.

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