From florals to footwear, we’ve got gift ideas for the special people in your life covered. Look to one of these alumni-founded businesses to wrap up your holiday shopping this year, all while supporting your fellow La Trobe University alumni. We know you’ll find something for everyone on your Christmas-list below!
1. Go Green this Holiday Season with Coconut Bowls
Alumnus Jake McKeon was ending six months of world travelling when he was inspired to make a difference. Although he’d had an exciting adventure, he had also gained the bitter understanding of how enormous the issue of plastic pollution had become.
Jake's research revealed that billions of coconut shells went to waste annually as a by-product of the coconut industry. He envisioned a sustainable solution — repurpose these natural shells into bowls, reducing the need for plastic, and allowing them to return to the earth through composting when their lifespan ends.
‘I look at my time at La Trobe as somewhat of a business apprenticeship. The fundamentals of business management, accounting, marketing and economics were learned during my degree, and an elective on entrepreneurship was one of the core influences in me starting my entrepreneurial journey.’
La Trobe University alumni can use the discount code ALUMNI20 for 20 per cent off all items at Coconut Bowls this festive season.
Jake completed a Bachelor of Business (2010) at La Trobe University.
2. ‘Say Cheers’ to family tradition with gin from Hillmartin Distillery
When Melbourne entered yet another lockdown in 2020, Gavin – Hillmartin’s head distiller and co-creator – decided to fulfil his lifelong dream of making spirits. He and his daughter, alumna Amy Shaw, began experimenting with gin-making in the family shed, soon becoming obsessed with distilling and flavour experimentation. It was after they created their first batch of Orange Squeeze that both of them knew they had to start sharing their gins with the world.
‘A degree in International Business at La Trobe has provided me the perfect foundation for my career. Today it supports me in making sound decisions whilst growing my own business, Hillmartin Distillery.’
La Trobe alumni can use the discount code LTU10 to receive 10% off all orders from Hillmartin, valid until December 20 2023.
Amy completed a Bachelor of International Business (2013) at La Trobe University.
3. Step into comfort and style with State of Solace
State of Solace is a podiatrist-owned shoe store located at 27 Beewar St, Greensborough. Podiatry alumna Kate Heslop recognised how difficult it was for clients to find shoes that were good for their feet and also looked good.
As a professional podiatrist, Kate tired of seeing clients wear inappropriate footwear that was causing pain and sometimes even damage. She decided to make it easier to shop for functional, fashionable footwear and help people to find that ‘State of Solace’ when looking for suitable shoes.
‘La Trobe gave me such a great start in my career, not only with my Podiatry degree, but my networks that started at university and are still great connections to this day. My degree gave me so much knowledge about feet and podiatry that opening State of Solace was really an extension of this and how I could further help the community find comfortable and fashionable footwear at the same time.’
You can use the discount code LTU15 at the checkout to receive 15% off all orders from State of Solace this November.
Kate completed a Bachelor of Podiatry (2012) at La Trobe University.
4. Give the gift of empowerment through The Beautiful Bunch
Alumna Jane Marx founded The Beautiful Bunch, a floral delivery service and social enterprise – working, specifically with young women from refugee backgrounds. This group faces some of the most significant challenges to entering the workforce and The Beautiful Bunch provides a safe, welcoming, supportive and gender-informed work and training environment for them. As a team, they create and sell beautiful floral arrangements while building the skills and self-confidence they need to achieve their dreams.
‘My degree honed my critical thinking skills, encouraging me to approach persisting problems from new perspectives, which has been so important in my entrepreneurial journey! It also inspired me to think creatively about how I could address universal problems at a local level, which is exactly what I am doing as Founder and CEO of The Beautiful Bunch.'
This year, The Beautiful Bunch is creating merry and bright Christmas wreaths, available for pre-order now. They are stunning hanging displays of dried native blooms interwoven with fresh foliage and carefully selected focal elements, completed with a luxe ribbon. Selling out almost daily, ordering a wreath is the perfect way for you bring festive spirit to your home while supporting the important work that The Beautiful Bunch is doing.
Jane completed a Bachelor of International Relations (2010) at La Trobe University.