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Gifts For Men

Gift Guides

Gifts for Men: 12 Must-Have Artifacts for the Man Cave Dweller

October 11, 2015

*Editor’s note: This list might look a little familiar, since we brought you Man Cave Must-Haves last year. Don’t worry, we updated it with some of our latest picks, so you’ll be sure to uncover the perfect artifact for your favorite man cave dweller this year, too!

Gifts for Men: Must-Haves for the Man Cave Dweller | UncommonGoods

Many years from now, when archaeologists of the distant future excavate the sites of  21st century man caves, they’ll get a glimpse into the daily life of today’s modern man. We want them to take a look at the artifacts they find and be amazed. But before future archaeologists can be amazed by their findings, it’s up to us to make sure those man caves are fully loaded with all of the coolest things. It’s also up to us to make sure that our modern-day men are totally blown away by the holiday gifts they get this year. Help the man cave dweller in your life create a truly impressive domain with these must-have goods.

Kinetic Gear Key Holder item 26826_zoom1

1. Does he retreat to his man cave when he’s gearing up for a big game or winding down from a long day? Either way, he’ll need a place to stash his keys.| Kinetic Gear Key Holder

 

 

Single Malts of Scotland Tasting Map | UncommonGoods

 

2. The first thing visitors to any man cave notice (aside from how the bar’s stocked) is the decor. Keep it as classy as it is manly with this Single Malts of Scotland Tasting Map.

Stoneware Nacho Plate | UncommonGoods

3. Ordering pizza is good, but a home-cooked meal is better. (Yes, nachos for dinner = totally acceptable when it comes to man cave dwelling!) | Stoneware Nacho Plate 

 

Chillsner | Beer chiller | UncommonGoods

4. The guy on your gift list is already cool, his beer should be too. | Chillsner 

Beer Opening Glass | UncommonGoods

5. Some things just go together. Like beer and man cave or bottle opener and pint glass. | Beer Opening Glass

Deep Sea Sand Art item 16016

6. What’s more tranquil than a cave? Watching sand slowly fall into beautiful, unrepeatable patterns while relaxing in a man cave.| Deep Sea Sand Art

Das Horn | UncommonGoods

7. It might not be a mastodon tusk, but we’re pretty sure your man cave dweller will appreciate it anyway. | Das Horn

 

BottleLoft item 26421

8. That mini-fridge can only hold so many six packs, but thanks to the BottleLoft, so many is a couple more than before.

Lune Light item 30362

9. The discovery of fire added the first light to the dark dude den. The Lune Light adds light, color, and extra cool.

 

Reclaimed Fire Hose Mat | UncommonGoods

10. Dudes need doormats too. This one is is full of rugged charm. | Reclaimed Fire Hose Mat

Mini Beer Pong | UncommonGoods

11. Traditionally, drinking games mean the winner gets bragging rights and the loser gets a hangover. This Mini Beer Pong set is complete with smaller cups, so game night means sampling a selection of brewskies without overdoing it. But the winner still gets bragging rights.

 

12. He might like to spend alone time dwelling in his cave, but he knows there’s a great big world beyond its walls. Help him celebrate his favorite places out there with City Skyline Wooden Routings.

 

More Gifts for Men | UncommonGoods

 

 

Gift Guides

Funny to Fantastic: Our Favorite Father’s Day Gifts

May 28, 2015

Father's Day Gift Guide | UncommonGoods

Father’s Day gifting has gone through some changes since it was officially designated a nationwide holiday in 1972.  Twenty years ago, Dad might have been hoping for the latest tabletop “Screen Phone” from Rolodex. Now, according to Yahoo Finance, Dad just wants steak. Nothing against 90s technology or your dad’s favorite grilled foods, but we think you could do so much better on his special day! We’ve gathered our favorite gifts that will make your favorite guy laugh, smile, cheers, and high-five all while the grill is warming up.

From all of us at UncommonGoods, we wish you and your loved ones a Happy Father’s Day!

Father's Day Gift Guide | UncommonGoods

Funny Gifts (Dad Jokes, Anyone?)

Your dad might not know what “lol” or “rofl” means, but these gifts will be sure to make him burst out loud into embarrassing coughing, snorting, crying laughter.  

Face Mug | UncommonGoods

 

It’s about time to pay your Dad back for all of those times he told you that you put your foot in your mouth. | Face Mug

Eye Glasses Holder | UncommonGoods

No more searching around trying to figure out where your pops put his glasses! | Eye Glasses Holder

6 Pack Beer Soap Set | UncommonGoods

From chocolate stout to pumpkin ale, each Beer Soap is made from scratch with pure, traditional ingredients. Cheers to a “Hoppy” Father’s Day! | 6 Pack Beer Soap Set

What I Love About Dad By Me Book | UncommonGoods

 

You can fill it with sweet memories, or write in your best Mad Libs style jokes. We’ll let you decide. | What I Love About Dad By Me Book

Man Cave Must-Haves

Whether your dad’s domain is the basement, the garage, or just his own closet, these finds will give his man cave a well-earned upgrade. 

Custom Repurposed Guitar Picks | UncommonGoods

 

Even if your Dad can’t jam like Jimmy Page, these coin guitar picks have been used by musicians for a century because of their unique tonal qualities.  | Custom Repurposed Quarter Guitar Picks

The Many Varieties of Whiskey Wood Engraving | UncommonGoods

Whether his buddies prefer Irish or Scotch, bourbon or moonshine, this homage to whiskey will be sure to become his favorite showpiece at game night. | The Many Varieties of Whiskey Wood Engraving 

Barnwood State Side Tables | UncommonGoods

More than just a place to put his morning coffee, these state side tables will be sure to conjure up Dad’s best storytelling. | Barnwood State Side Tables 

The LP Encyclopedic Print | UncommonGoods

Because he might not ever get rid of his prized vinyl collection. | The LP Encyclopedic Print

The Popcorn Bowl with Kernel Sifter

Dad shouldn’t have to deal with those kernels that just couldn’t get it together. | The Popcorn Bowl with Kernel Sifter 

Dad Deserves a Cold One

Your pops works hard, so if he’s the type who enjoys popping the top of a brewsky when it’s time to kick back, he’ll love these beer and booze accessories. 

14th Century Beer Stein | UncommonGoods

 

Dad’s proven that he’s a Renaissance man. Show him you appreciate everything he does with a 14th Century Beer Stein.

Beer Brewing Kit | UncommonGoods

 

If Dad’s more of a DIYer than a pick-up-a-6-pack type, an Oktoberfest Ale Beer Brewing Kit is sure to make him smile. (Even though it’s only June!)

Home Brew Journal | UncommonGoodsOnce he gives the Oktoberfest a try, he might just become an all out brew-thusiast. Help him track his homemade craft beer creations with a Home Brew Journal.

Boiler Maker Set | UncommonGoodsYour proud papa always encouraged you to give everything you try your best shot. Now he can give his favorite beer a shot of his best whiskey. | Boiler Maker Set 

 

Drink Chillers | UncommonGoodsIf beer’s not Dad’s thing, but sipping a fine spirit is just his style, he might enjoy having a drink “on the rocks” in style. | Drink Chillers

Whiskey Tasting Kit | UncommonGoods

 

Whether Dad prefers whiskey, whisky, scotch, or bourbon, he’ll have fun sampling them all and taking notes on the whole “experiment” with the help of a Whiskey Tasting Kit.

MVD: Most Valuable Dad

No one can replace the guy who first taught you how to catch, ride a bike, or play a fair game. These picks will let him know that he’s the ultimate MVP of your life.

Baseball Game | UncommonGoods

Take me out to the board game! | Baseball Game

TPC Sawgrass Golf Ball Cufflinks | UncommonGoods

As a kid, you imagined that he could shoot a hole-in-one better than anyone else’s Dad. Even if you can beat him at his own game now, these cufflinks will keep him looking dapper all season long. | TPC Sawgrass Golf Ball Cufflinks

Chicago Marathon Map | UncommonGoods

Whether he’s a devout runner or a loyal spectator, the Chicago Marathon Map will be sure to capture the energy he loves about any race. (Also available for New York and Boston!)

Baseball Stadiums Tie | UncommonGoods

A nostalgic piece for any true baseball fan, no matter which team he’s rooting for! | Baseball Stadiums Tie 

College Stadium Art | UncommonGoods

If he can’t be there to watch the game, this 3D tribute to his favorite stadium will make him feel like he always has home field advantage. |  College Stadium Art 

Gadgets for the Geeky Guy

When your father’s a fan of gizmos and tech toys it can be hard to beat him to the next new thing. Ensure he’s surprised with these uncommon geek-chic goods that are definitely different than the ones he’s already picked up at his favorite electronics store.

 

Kinetic Gear Key Holder | UncommonGoods

You’ve been gearing up to start looking for a great Father’s Day gift. Congratulations, you already found it! | Kinetic Gear Key Holder 

Solar Powered Charger | UncommonGoods

 

Sometimes gadget geeks are also outdoorsy types. The Solar Powered Charger and Light is perfect for the tech-savvy dad on the go.

Modular Space Science Kit | UncommonGoods

Does Dad love to tinker? Complete with 12 electronic and mechanical modules, 5 NASA lesson plans, and 10 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities, the Modular Space Science Kit might just be his dream gift.

 

Grill Master Favorites

He’s skilled with a spatula and quick with the ketchup, so show Dad  you can’t wait to see what he cooks up next with one of these picks to help him kick off BBQ season.

Tabletop Party Grill | UncommonGoods

A big backyard BBQ is always fun, but sometimes firing up a full-sized grill isn’t necessary. For those occasions, the  Tabletop Party Grill is perfect!

Four in One Grill Utensil | UncommonGoods

Dad’s already a pro at searing, flipping, and cutting. This handy tool makes it even easier for him to man the grill. | Four in One Grill Utensil

Yard Dice | UncommonGoods

A flame-kissed meal is just the beginning when it comes to outdoor family fun. Keep the backyard party rolling with Yard Dice.

Beer Jelly | UncommonGoods

The flavors in our Beer Jelly Set  aren’t just for spreading on bread! Each can also be used as a delicious grilling glaze.

Beer Opening Glass | UncommonGoods

Mastering the grill also means minding what’s sizzling. Let dad enjoy keeping an eye on the feast-in-the-making without having to abandon his station to hunt down a bottle opener | Beer Opening Glass


Fantastic Gifts

The  “#1 Dad” mug you got him when you were 12 still holds his daily morning coffee. Every crayon drawing and construction paper card you ever made him is stashed in his desk drawer. He calls you by your childhood nickname, even though you’re all grown up. (And you don’t mind.) If you’re looking to go all out on something great for your fantastic father, give one of these fantastic gifts a try.

Do Good Hammock | UncommonGoodsDad’s good at many things, and he’s not ashamed to say that napping is one of them. Help in do it in colorful comfort with a Do Good Hammock.

tree penWhat better to symbolize how he’s been there for you through the years as you’ve grown than a Tree Ring Pen?

Deluxe Shave Set | UncommonGoodsMaybe he likes a clean shave. Maybe he sports a champion dad ‘stache. Either way, he’ll dig this Deluxe Shave Set.

Pan Am Boeing 707 Bottle Opener | UncommonGoodsThis bottle opener was once part of an airplane, making giving it the least cheesy way possible to say, “Dad, thanks for being the wind beneath my wings.” | Pan Am Boeing 707 Bottle Opener

 

Father's Day Gift Guide | UncommonGoods

Gift Guides

Gifts for Men: 14 Designs that the “Man Who Has Everything” Doesn’t Already Have

December 11, 2014

Gifts for The Man Who Has Everything That He Doesn't Already Have | Gift Guide for HIM | UncommonGoods

In a world with endless options, some of us suffer from some form of analysis paralysis. We over-think the pros and cons of our gifts, fearing buyer’s remorse or another oversight. This is especially true when we encounter those guys on our wishlists who appear to own every cool thing ever made. Whether he’s a modern-day Renaissance Man, or just a distinguished hoarder, he is completely immune to any fear of committing to a collection of very useful, fashionable, well made things. And why shouldn’t he? You only live once! But fear not! No one has it all and it’s not impossible to find him a gift he wouldn’t want to add to his collection. We’ve picked out 14 cool and unique items that will be sure to impress that special man who seemingly has everything.

 

Cloudy Day Toilet Paper Storage | UncommonGoods

1. Rain or shine, the guy who has it all should never find himself out of stock! Now if only he would remember to leave the toilet seat down. | Cloudy Day Toilet Paper Storage

 

Stone Drink Dispenser | UncommonGoods
2. Sticks and stones will break his bones, but they will also make for a very sophisticated drink dispenser. | Stone Drink Dispenser

Whiskey Wedge | UncommonGoods
3. Cheers to whiskey on the rocks that isn’t watered down! | Whiskey Wedge

Beer Opening Glass | UncommonGoods
4. He doesn’t always drink beer, but when he does, he’ll prefer the Beer Opening Glass.

Seven Deadly Sins Pilsner Glasses | UncommonGoods
5. Whether he’s lusting after a cold one, or indulging in the gluttony of a third, these witty glasses will ensure that his bros won’t lose track of their brews at the next house party. | Seven Deadly Sins Pilsner Glasses

Wise Beer Growler | UncommonGoods
6. It would be wise to gift this companion before the next beer run! |  Wise Beer Growler 

Boombox Touch Speaker | UncommonGoods

 

7. He has the newest smart phone, but does he have a smart speaker? |  Boombox Touch Speaker 

Foodie Dice | UncommonGoods

8. From his beloved Vitamix to his people-pleasing pasta maker, we know he’s got his home cooking routine down to a science. Shake things up by introducing this uncontrolled variable to his foodie lab! | Foodie Dice

Literary Cufflinks | UncommonGoods

9.  Help him suit up like a gentleman and a scholar. | Literary Cufflinks 

iPad Foosball |UncommonGoods

 

10. He already has the iPad, but we doubt he has a bunch of those little wooden soccer guys lying around!  iPad Foosball lets him transform his tablet into a Foosball table in no time.

Fixie Pizza Cutter | UncommonGoods

11. If he’ a pizza fan, he’ll love it. If he’s a pizza fan and a cyclist, he’ll love it even more and  burn off the extra calories during his next ride. Double win. | Fixie Pizza Cutter

Magnetic Bike Lights | UncommonGoods

12. Speaking of biking–really cool, super strong magnets first. Uh, we mean “safety first.” In this case, it’s actually both. | Magnetic Bike Lights

Laser Projection Keyboard | UncommonGoods

13. Why yes, that is a futuristic Laser Projection Keyboard with motion sensing technology that turns any flat surface into something that looks like it was pulled from a sci-fi film.

Men's Military Field Grooming Kit | UncommonGoods14. Good hygiene is one of the things the guy who has everything already has, so he’ll love this collection of high-end men’s toiletries. He’ll also love that they come in a real, upcycled US Army supply can, because that’s just cool. | Mens Military Field Grooming Set

 

Gifts for The Man Who Has Everything That He Doesn't Already Have | Gift Guide for HIM | UncommonGoods

Gift Guides

Gifts for Men: 16 Picks to Make Any Sports Fan Cheer

December 4, 2014

Gifts for Men:  Picks to Make Any Sports Fan Cheer | UncommonGoods

Wherever you go, you’re likely to encounter some kind of sports fan, whether it be soccer, football, or NASCAR. Yet, this demographic tends to be very misunderstood. When you’re only at the Superbowl party for the gametime food, it’s easy to wave off the cheers and groans, and think to yourself “calm down, it’s just a game!” But then you decide to tag along to your first live game. And you start to understand the rush of being surrounded by 90,000 people in a stadium. As you witness the intense bond between fans and observe the deep rivalry between the teams, you realize that it’s not just a game, but a way of life. At the core, sports inspire the dedicated players and amaze the loyal fanatics. We know that the sports fan on your wish list lives for this adrenaline. We picked out 16 gifts that will remind him of his favorite pastime and feel that familiar rush all over again.

 

The Mug With A Hoop | UncommonGoods

1. Slam dunk some Cheerios or go for that 3-point mini marshmallow shot! Made with the philosophy that “the world would be better if we could play with our food,” the The Mug With A Hoop makes snack time its own kind of sport.

Golfers BBQ Set | UncommonGoods

2. Two classic weekend activities combined in a three-piece stainless steel BBQ set. | Golfers BBQ Set

Home Plate Paperweight | UncommonGoods

3. Wise words from the Sultan of Swat, the King of Crash, the Colossus of Clout, the Great Bambino himself! |  Home Plate Paperweight 

Snow Ski Wine Rack | UncommonGoods

4. Because it’s important to get some R&R after a full day of shredding the slopes. |  Snow Ski Wine Rack 

Hockey Puck Bottle Opener | UncommonGoods

5. Official game pucks get a second life as bottle openers in this clever gift for hockey fans. | Hockey Puck Bottle Opener 

Runners Hip Pack | UncommonGoods

6. The last thing a runner needs is a cracked cell phone screen in mile 13. | Runners Hip Pack

iPad Foosball | UncommonGoods

7. No more waiting for the bar’s broken foosball table to be free! | iPad Foosball 

Portable Table Tennis Set | UncommonGoods

8. He’ll be up to Forrest Gump’s level in no time! | Portable Table Tennis Set

Desktop Golf | UncommonGoods

9. When he’s longing for an afternoon on the green, this desktop game will ease his blues. Extra bonus: No caddies necessary! | Desktop Golf

 

Desktop Bowling | UncommonGoods

10. If the alley is more his style, don’t spare him this find! | Desktop Bowling

 

Baseball Stadiums Tie | UncommonGoods

11. Sketches of demolished ball parks adorn this must-have accessory for any baseball fan. | Baseball Stadiums Tie

Chris Craft Longboard | UncommonGoods

12. Gnarly craftsmanship and classic design make these personalized longboards the “wheel deal.” | Chris Craft Longboard 

Ticket Stub Diary | UncommonGoods

13. Whether it’s his first time at Fenway Park, or the championship tournament that he miraculously won tickets to, every sports fan has that one game he’ll never forget. | Ticket Stub Diary

Collegiate Football Stadium Cufflinks | UncommonGoods

 

14. A much more handsome alternative to wearing his college team’s jersey during date night. | Collegiate Football Stadium Cufflinks 

A Great Shot Personalized Art | UncommonGoods

15.  Add a touch of classy to his favorite game-watching room with this dapper, eye-catching piece. | A Great Shot Personalized Art 

Ballpark Blueprints | UncommonGoods

16.  Now he’ll know his team’s home like the back of his pitching hand. | Ballpark Blueprints 

 

Score more winning gifts for sports fans | UncommonGoods

 

Gift Guides

Uncommon Gifts for the Urban Lumberjack

November 23, 2012

The Urban Lumberjack may reside in the city–a forest of concrete and steel–but that doesn’t stop him from embracing his manliness. No one’s really sure exactly what his chin looks like, since it hasn’t been without a beard in years. He looks great in a flannel. His stocking cap is his favorite accessory, and to him, calloused hands aren’t a problem, they’re just the result of a good day’s work. He’s ruggedly handsome; sophisticated, yet street smart; and stylish in a down-to-earth fashion. Sure, he’s not always easy to shop for, but if you’re pining to find the perfect gift for this masculine metropolitan man, one of these city-chic gifts with outdoorsy appeal will surely get you out of the woods.

Cardboard Moose Head / Wooden 6 Pack Beer Tote / Pancake Plate / Mushroom Kit / Wood Tie / Upcycled Tent Dopp Kit / Penny Bottle Opener / The Man Can Grooming Kit

Design

Fit to be Tied: Bethany Shorb’s Designer Drive

July 16, 2012

Bethany Shorb photo by Achille Bianchi, © Achille Bianchi

Bethany Shorb may be the founder, CEO, and principal designer at Cyberoptix TieLab, the fashion-forward brand that’s sold ties to all 7 continents (yes, even Antartica!), but despite her role as the woman in charge, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Bethany still creates every single tie herself.

“To date, I’ve hand-screenprinted over 100,000 neckties, all by hand, with no automation, machines or even a press! I have to admit having quite a buff right arm to show for it,” she told us.

That’s an awful lot of ties since she launched her company in 2006, so how does she do it? She takes inspiration from everything around her, draws on her background in fine art, and has a little help from some, as she says, “studio bees,” who assist with shipping, customer service, website update, and keeping an ample supply of take out coming into the studio during busy times.

Bike Chain Tie photo by Luke Copping, © Luke Copping

This busy studio, a buzzing center producing artistic fashions admired all over the world, isn’t located in New York, Paris, or Milan. After receiving a BFA in sculpture, with a concurrent concentration in photography from Boston University (in the city where she was born) Bethany made the Motor City, Detroit, her home.

“I’ve been based in Detroit for thirteen years now,” she said. “I chose to move here to go to graduate school [receiving a MFA in sculpture, also with a concurrent concentration in photography, from Cranbrook Academy of Art ] and also chose to stay immediately after finishing. I realized there was vast opportunity here that diverged from the traditional New York gallery or art educator path. With the low overhead that basing a studio practice in Detroit affords, it also in turn enables one to take financial and aesthetic risks that one would not be able to take were money tight, student loans looming, distractions abound and space cramped. With access to a large amount of space, I was fortunate to be able to ramp up my production scale as soon as there was demand and in turn grow my business very quickly.”

Photographing and Screen Printing, Photos via Bethany Shorb

Bethany believes that customers are “tiring of disposable culture,” and finds that “increasingly people want to buy into a story, not just a product. They want to buy from real people making real things with real histories…” and Detroit doesn’t fall short when it comes to real people producing these memorable goods.

“Detroit’s makers provide that accessible story while also providing a product that fits the client’s needs,” Bethany explained. “Along with a great sense of community, Detroit is a wonderful home-base to make things.”

Perhaps Bethany’s love for Detroit will shine throughout her upcoming solo show at Metro-Detroit’s 323 East Gallery, which opens this October and uses reclaimed materials from the commodity that made Detroit famous. “Recently I’ve been exploring a series of screenprinted work on metal, paired with reclaimed automotive emblem text; and a series of sculptural pieces made from deployed airbag fabric,” she said.

Of course, the thriving art community in Bethany’s city isn’t her only source of inspiration. Her design ideas come from everything from current trends to the desire to reboot antiquated styles by giving them a modern flair.

Cyberoptix TieLab Studio in Detroit, Mich., Photos via Bethany Shorb

She described a few places where she finds those sparks for new designs: “While I can still sometimes get caught up with the immediacy of pop culture (running an internet-business means I’m plugged in, non-stop), I like to look toward objects and ideas not made in the last five minutes, including natural history, medical ephemera, and Victorian botanical drawings and architectural renderings. Some of my favorite days are spent in dusty museum cabinets of curiosities or looking back at retro-future projections of what people thought it may look like in a hyper-stylized year 2000.”

Once Bethany has a firm image of the design in her head, she doesn’t spend a great deal of time “ruminating on other versions.” Always thinking about how the vertical shape of the tie influences each pattern, she begins manipulating photos from her own camera or digitally assembling the pieces that will eventually be the basis for a unique illustration.

“Once I think it’s about done, I’m pretty old-school about printing it out on tabloid-sized paper and just holding up the finished design over a few different necktie sizes on a lightbox and then burning it right to screen once it’s the correct size, ” she said. “I’m not a fan of rulers.”

Her aversion to rulers certainly hasn’t stunted the quality of her work, and we’re thrilled to offer several Bethany’s latest creations. When asked which of these designs is her personal favorite, she was a little indecisive, but answered with two options that happen to be on our favorites list as well.

Beer! Hops Tie. Photo by Bethany Shorb

“I’m definitely guilty of being seduced by the new, so probably my most recent design, [the Bike Chain Tie] is my current favorite,” said Bethany. “I’m also particularly drawn to the more pattern-based designs, ones that look like a traditional necktie motif, but have a little something extra hidden within the pattern that you might not realize is there until up close to the wearer. The Beer design is a near second – ties proclaiming one’s affinity for the tasty beverage are not always the most elegant, so I enjoy being able to put a different spin on the often less-than-classy beer tie.”

Finally, after giving us a look into her creative and technical process and providing a little prompt to those who aren’t quite sure which stylish tie to purchase first, Bethany also left us with a bit of advice on seeking an education in art and aspiring to build a business in art, design, or even another seemingly unrelated field.

“I like to think that my schooling in art taught me how to design and see in a holistic manner, rather than the simple mastery of a particular craft, technique or tool,” she said. “I firmly believe a quality art education can be applied to any discipline.” She went on to explain, “I’m completely self-taught in screen printing aside from one messy afternoon session on my friend’s kitchen table.” Evidence that learning the basics, and keeping an open mind when looking at the big picture, can go a long way.

Maker Stories

From Soup to Scents: Hart Main’s Man Candles

April 3, 2012

Having a great idea is only the first step in building a successful business as a product designer. Hart Main took that step when he was just 13 years old. Hart’s idea came to him while his sister was selling heavily-scented candles in common fragrances for a school fundraiser. He took a whiff of the wax and wondered why no one was making candles in scents that everyone could enjoy.

Now, the young entrepreneur and his family are not only running a business producing Man Candles, candles with less perfumed, flowery smells, they’re also helping to feed the hungry.

Hart is pretty busy, with his business, school, and the swim team, but he took a moment to tell us more about his candles, donating soup, and how kids (and adults) with great ideas can follow in his footsteps.

Q.) What was it like starting a business at a young age?

I was 13 when I got the idea for ManCans, it was late October of 2010. I was really excited at first to get my ideas down on paper and then trying to find ways to accomplish them. At times, though, it can be frustrating when things don’t work out like you planed. Being young, and looking younger, also works against me sometimes. It’s hard to get some adults to take you serious. I can’t drive places without my parents so adults want to talk to them about my business instead of me. And I am not allowed to legally own the business, because I am a minor, so my parents currently own it.

Q.) What was the first scent you developed and why did you choose that scent?

A scent list was my first list of ideas that I wrote down on my laptop. I don’t remember what ones were at the top of that list, but the first three that we bought to start making candles were Fresh Cut Grass, New Mitt, and Campfire.

Hart making candles.

Q.) Why did you decide to make the candles in used soup cans?

I wanted them to be different than most candles you find at a store, in glass jars. This was another brainstorming process and I knew I wanted something that was recycled and easily accessible. We talked about pop cans, sports drinks bottles, and a few other things, but the soup can was just sitting there from the dinner the night before. At the time it seemed a perfect size and easily accessible and inexpensive. At that time there were no plans of donating thousands of cans of soup, that came out of necessity. Looking back, this was a really lucky find for the business, but it has become a core part of my business. All containers that have the ManCans logo on them are recycled food containers [from soup] donated to people who need a little extra help.

Hart opening cans to serve at a soup kitchen.

Q.) What’s your favorite ManCan scent at UncommonGoods?

My favorite scent is Fresh Cut Grass. I like being outside, playing baseball, and playing with friends, and it reminds me of that when I smell it.

Q.) Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

I get asked this question a lot through email from kids my age that want to start a business or make a difference. I try and answer their questions the best I can related to what they are doing, but I always tell them two things. 1.) Find a way to solve a problem with your business and people will buy your product. 2.) Find a way to give back to your community and they will support you.

‘Manly’ smells: New York Style Pizza, Sawdust, and Fresh Cut Grass

Hart’s creative candles are also available in Coffee, Campfire, and Dirt smells that men (and women) are sure to enjoy.

Gift Guides

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Guys

January 18, 2012

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and while chocolates and flowers are nice, we know that some fellas would probably prefer valentines that can’t be devoured and won’t wilt in a few days. These great gifts for guys are uncommon ways to show the special man in your life just how lovable he is.

Custom Map Cufflinks
If there’s a place close to his heart, you can help him wear it on his sleeve. Whether it’s the place you first met, a landmark where you shared a romantic moment, or another special location, these custom map cufflinks are an elegant gift with a personal touch.

Titanium Multi-tool Collar Stays
Perfect for the dashing gentleman, who isn’t afraid to use his hands, Titanium Multi-tool Collar Stays each feature a half-phillips screwdriver, a slotted screwdriver, a thread cutter, and a bottle opener. Thanks to these sleek little gadgets, your Mr. Fix-it doesn’t have to sacrifice style.

Ball Park Color Top Pens
Maybe you’ve had a great times at a ballgames together, or maybe he’s just a huge fan of a certain team. Either way, this gift is sure to be a home run. Made from the wood from salvaged stadium seats, these pens are officially licensed Major League Baseball collectibles. Each also includes a certificate of authenticity.

The Buck Stops Here Money Clip
Cash might not be a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, but a stylish way to stash that cash is definitely acceptable. Featuring a vintage 1984 twenty-cent commemorative stamp, this money clip tells him that your search for your one-and-only is over. The buck has stopped, and your relationship is right on the money.

Seven Deadly Sins Shot Glasses
Maybe he’s a bad boy, and you’re okay with that. Giving him this set of seven sinfully delightful shot glasses tells him that you like his wild side.

Cast Iron Tool Bottle Openers
Although they look and feel like the real deal, these cast iron tools are actually hand-forged bottle openers. If your guy is handy with a hammer, ready with a wrench, or prepared with pliers, let him know you appreciate his DIY home repairs and can-do attitude with a tool he can use as he kicks back and relaxes while enjoying a bottle of his favorite beverage.

Wood Tie
He has everything you look for in a partner. A sense of humor, great style, and he isn’t afraid to be a little different. Sure, silk ties are nice, but a wood tie is a way to show him that you really do like his uncommon look.

Fire Hose Wallet
Made from retired fire hoses, these sturdy wallets are a clever way to show your guy that he’s your hero.

Frog Prince Paperweight
You knew that one day your prince would come. Now that he has, you can thank him for giving you your very own storybook ending with this pewter paperweight. Of course, your Prince Charming wears many hats–so why shouldn’t he have fun changing the crown on his?

Pick Punch
You could give him a gift card…OR you could give him a device to help him actually use the leftover plastic when he’s spent the gift cards he got for Christmas. The Pick Punch® cuts functional guitar picks from credit cards, gift cards, and similar sheets of thin plastic, so it’s a great way to show your Valentine that he rocks.



Looking for more gift ideas for the ones you love? Check out our Top 10 Gifts for Husbands, Gifts for Boyfriends, Gifts for Wives, and Gifts for Girlfriends.

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