Support Veteran & Military Spouse Owned Businesses This Holiday Season

Lauren Warner
November 21, 2018 - 12:48 pm

Image courtesy of Dreamstime

Now that you've made it through Thanksgiving its time to focus on finding the perfect gift for everyone. Trying to avoid the same old predictable gifts, maintain your status as the most innovative gift-giver and still stay on budget?

Have no fear. 

We're here to help and promote some of the most excellent military spouse and veteran-owned businesses to shop at this season. 

For the Fashion-Forward:

Combat Flip Flops: This veteran-owned company “makes cool stuff in dangerous places.” They sell not only flip-flops, but also shoes, clothing, and accessories. Some products are made in Afghanistan by war widows, others by Syrian refugees, and the Peacemaker jewelry is made in Laos from landmines dropped during the Vietnam War. Every sale helps send girls in Afghanistan to school or clear landmines in foreign countries. 

Knuckle Draggers Union: This “veteran-owned–patriot approved” apparel company offers patriotic designs on t-shirts and sweatshirts. Proceeds are donated to military and first responder organizations.

Mason Chix: Two military spouses (and best friends) started this company that sells custom t-shirts with Southern, inspirational, or state pride designs. A portion of all sales go to organizations that support military families.

She Swank Too: This Jacksonville, NC, marketplace features products from veteran- or milspouse-owned brands. Order online to support military entrepreneurs and small business owners.

If those shops didn't cut it for you, the number of veteran-owned apparel companies continues to expand. Check out Ranger UpNine Line ApparelEagle Six GearCombat Iron ApparelOscar Mike ApparelValhalla Wear or Painted Revolver. There's also a Veteran Exchange marketplace to shop from here

For those who love to Accessorize:

R. Riveter: Founded by two military spouses who know what its like to move a zillion times, R. Riveter is backed by Mark Cuban. With 30 employees at the flagship store in North Carolina, they also employ 27 military spouses who work remotely and send the finished pieces to the final assembly & distribution location. 

Pocket Square Heroes: Created by Marine Corps veteran Christopher Costa, the first line of pocket squares are inspired by military ribbons. He also has designs ready for civilians as well, including camouflage and the American Flag. There are Blue Line squares to represent law enforcement, red lines for firefighters. (For more information on this company, click here.)

Assault Forward: Founded by three Army Veterans based in the Washington D.C. area, they chose to show their pride of service and support of the military by displaying a reverse American flag in professional settings. You'll find tie bars, cuff links and pins here.

Hope Designs LTD: Lauren Hope is the military spouse, owner, and designer behind the jewelry of Hope Designs LTD. Featured everywhere from Military Spouse magazine to Second Lady Mrs. Pence, Hope Designs creates informal jewelry, branch specific and custom-made designs. (Use DAILYIMPRESSIONS2018 through December 31st to save 10%)

Sword & Plough: Featured on the Today Show and Oprah Magazine, this unique veteran-owned company that repurposes military surplus material into beautiful and durable handbags, backpacks, and accessories. They offer a military discount and donate 10% of proceeds to veteran causes.

Charliemadison Originals is a jewelry brand tied to three generations of military service and each bracelet carries a leather knot symbolizing the connection to the Navy. They donate 5% of their sales to organizations that support military service members and their families. (Use GIFTS20 through December 31st to get 20% off.)

For additional stores check out Khakuun DesignsNomadesBang Bang BallisticDesigns By Katie LeighCeltic ShieldNerissa Alford Designs, and Tara Hutch Jewelry

For the Foodies:

Compass Coffee: Created by two Marine veterans who bonded over coffee on deployment, this D.C.-based roastery offers coffee, tea, apparel and brewing equipment online as well as a 30% military discount in-store.

Alpha Coffee: Veteran and milspouse owned, this coffee and cocoa company ships nationwide with a storefront in Cottonwood Heights, UT. They donate coffee to deployed troops and dedicate a portion of all sales to military charities.

Dog Tag Brewing Foundation: Their goal is to help build legacies of our nation’s Fallen Warriors by partnering with Gold Star Families. You can support their mission through the purchase of Dog Tag Beer. 100% of Dog Tag Brewing, LLC profits will benefit charities created by Gold Star Families.

Rumispice: This saffron company was created by a team of veterans who visited Afghanistan at the invitation of Uncle Sam. 

Buddy’s Allergen Free: These cakes are the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for your friend or family member who may have a food-related allergy. Buddy Cakes are single serving allergen friendly cakes and frosting that take 1 minute in the microwave to make.  All of your favorite flavors are gluten, dairy, egg, peanut, soy, and nut free. Shipping is  (Use the code Milspouse for 15% off your holiday order.)

Mutt’s Sauce: The recipe was developed by a Vietnam veteran, who's Air Force granddaughter bottles and ships the sauce.

Heroes Vodka: First bottled on Veteran's Day 2011, this vodka was started by a Marine Corps veteran in honor of a fallen friend. A portion of the proceeds goes to organizations that support veterans. 

Savannah Sauce Company: Their product line includes hot sauces, ketchups, BBQ sauce, marinades, and other assorted sauces. Started by U.S. Army Veteran Tracey Richburg, the company allocates a percentage of profits from sales to help homeless veterans and veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. The company has developed a program, “Tiny Homes for Big Heroes,” to help the local homeless authority with building and furnishing tiny homes for the homeless in sustainable communities.

For additional options check out Merica BourbonBlack Rifle Coffee CompanyYoung G's BBQ SauceClassy Broads Coffee (Use code Gift2018 for 10% off your order.) 

Bottle Breacher: Not technically food...but useful if you're buying from Dog Tag Brewing, this bottle opening company is another "Shark Tank" alum. They feature a "Never Forgotten" section, which pays tribute to those who have been lost in service. Proceeds from those sales go to the charities designated by the surviving families. 

For the Techies:

Wallabox: The perfect stocking stuffer for phone fanatics and supports a milspouse business. A universal cell phone holder and wall mount, it comes with 3M removable, non-damaging strips, foam tape, and screws all included.

For the Homemakers:

Salted Vinegar: a military spouse company, offers a variety of personalized and monogrammed items, including insulated wine tumblers.

Pressed—A Creative Space is a milspouse-owned store in North Carolina that carries products made by other military spouses. Their online store can ship anywhere in the US and includes items ranging from t-shirts and coffee mugs to handbags and journals.

Similarly, check out Shop WesthouseOlivia George GiftsNomadic Nation ShopCoverLoveOak and Oliver Candle Co 

For those of you that need help post-PCS, check out Major Organizers. They can help organize your belongings and get you back on track. Major Organizers was started by Angela Cody-Rouget after serving in the Air Force for 13 years. Her network of experts will help you declutter your home.

For the Bookworms: 

Behind the Scenes: Is a collection of stories from military spouses who were all recognized as their branch’s Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) Military Spouse of the Year.

Taste & See Cooks: This cookbook memoir authored by Marta Rivera, a formally trained chef, Air Force brat, Army wife, and homeschool mom of twins, has close to 100 recipes plus her experiences and love of food. 

A15 Publishing: Veteran-owned and operated, this publishing company works to publish veteran and military family stories. Check them out for a list of their published works.

For a list of veteran authored books, click here.

For a full guide of military spouse authored books, click here

Rosie Planner: Rosie planners are designed specifically for military spouses, by 2 military spouses. Each 12-month planner includes military holidays, as well as checklists for PCS moves and deployments. 

For the Toy Fanatics:

Stuffed Squadrons: They offer adorable hand-knit planes that are customized to replicate specific military aircraft. If your service member flies in one of their models, this toy makes a perfect stocking stuffer for everyone on your list.

Rollors: The newest yard game to hit BBQ's and beaches, Rollors Players “roll” disks at the goal and points are awarded to the player/team that positions their disks closest to the goal. From conception amidst deployments to Iraq & Afghanistan, to testing prototypes after returning home, Matt Buttler's yard game utilizes the woodworking passion of local veterans by employing them to create the pieces for the game. 

For Your Four-Legged Friends:

TurboPUP. Founder Kristina Guerrero (call sign "Turbo") is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and proud recipient of two Combat Air Medals for missions flown in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Horn of Africa. She started TurboPUP because she wanted her dog to have a delicious Powerbar of his own. One thing led to another, and she found herself standing on the "Shark Tank" stage with an offer to help build her company. Today TurboPUP is available through these retailers and they donate five percent of profits back to veteran and animal support causes. Buy for your dog, buy for others dogs, just buy because this is a great company that helps you help others in the military community. 

Lola D’s Dog Treats: Owned and operated by a military spouse, Lola D's makes all-natural handmade dog treats and other Made in USA pet products. (Use GiftGuide18 by December 15th to receive 15% off your order.)

K9 Salute: Not only do they provide delicious dog treats that honor fallen K9 service dogs, but the company also donates to military and police K9 units, so they can buy supplies like protective vests for the animals. The veteran founder uses proceeds to help military veterans get service dogs.

Precious Paw Prints: Created by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Kiersten Carlin. They sell over 500 different products, from bandanas to collars, to help you and your pet cheer on your favorite team or just celebrate the holidays.

For those on Deployment: 

Troopster sends care packages to American troops overseas. You can personalize a box for someone with cards and letters, or make a donation. Since the boxes are packed by teams of volunteers, prices start at just $16—that’s less than the cost of shipping your own large priority box.

To find military family-owned businesses near you, check out The Rosie Network. For a full list of veteran-owned businesses, click here or here.

 

To share your feedback on any of the businesses on our list, or add one of your favorites contact us at [email protected].