Editor’s note: This feature is the second in Startland News’ five-part holiday gift guide — presented in 2023 by nbkc bank — showcasing Kansas City makers and their products. Check out the featured maker below, then keep reading for five gift ideas to get started.
Kansas City’s time in the spotlight this year — whether because of its Super Bowl championship, the NFL Draft, the coming 2026 World Cup, or Taylor Swift’s headline-grabbing romance with Chiefs tight-end Travis Kelce — gives local makers a lot to work with, Aidan Hall admitted.
The young entrepreneur — founder of KC Handmade Goods — is among those capitalizing on the popstar-turned-hometown girlfriend frenzy with his “In My Kansas City Era” tee.
“Taylor Swift has a huge following and fanbase, and now that she has associated herself with Kansas City, I saw it as an exciting opportunity to create something new,” Hall said. “I love creating new products that share the excitement of Kansas City.”
Hall — an Iowa State University student from Johnson County who won this year’s East Central Kansas Under 30 Entrepreneur/Businessperson regional award from the Kansas Department of Commerce — said part of his success has been tapping into whatever is exciting in KC, he said.
It’s an important tactic during the holiday season, as businesses like KC Handmade Goods look to end the year on a high note that rivals the decibel level of Arrowhead Stadium.
Some of Hall’s favorite Christmas memories are rooted in the development and growth of the KC Local Holiday Market, a side project aimed at boosting his fellow entrepreneurs. He launched the holiday retail opportunity in 2020 as a virtual market to help other local makers during the pandemic.
It now has grown to an in-person event in November with more than 50 vendors.
“Each year, I have had the privilege to work with other area small businesses and sponsors to put on a shopping event to kick off the season focused on community and supporting local businesses,” he explained. “I still remember the first year of this event, being unsure of what the turnout would be, walking outside, and seeing a parking lot overflowing with cars and shoppers.”
It’s important to support nearby makers and businesses during the holiday season, Hall emphasized, noting data from the Small Business Association that says consumers can keep 25 percent more of their money in the Kansas City community by shopping locally.
“Not only are you keeping your dollars local,” he continued, “but you experience a personal relationship with the maker — your neighbor — when you purchase something from a small business, a relationship/experience you can’t get from large corporations. When you’re supporting local makers, you’re also purchasing something unique — it makes the gift even more special.”
Keep reading for more locally made gift ideas that diehard and bandwagon fans alike can root for.
5 gifts for sports fans (including Swifties in their KC era)
For the non-bandwagon fans: KC Handmade Goods At the K tee — $25
With the Kansas City Royals shopping for another stadium location, now is the time to celebrate Kaufmann Stadium and the memories it has given us. The crown scoreboard and the outfield fountains are synonymous with the K.
For the newbie Chiefs fans: KC Handmade Goods In My Kansas City Era tee — $25
Loving him was red like Chiefs Kingdom! This short-sleeved, red-lettered white t-shirt (and your Kansas City pride) will never go out of style.
Click here to shop KC Handmade Goods online.
For the non-bandwagon fans: Sandlot Yardball — $40
There’s just something nostalgic about playing catch and this ball — hand-sewn right here in KC — allows you to play catch without needing a glove. It’s perfect for throwing around at a tailgate, at the office, or with your kids in the backyard.
Available at Sandlot and Made In KC. Click here to shop Sandlot online.
For the newbie Chiefs fans: Sandlot New Heights hat — $28
You’d be a jamoke not to gift this dad hat to your favorite 92-percent-er! Sandlot Goods is the only local company that manufactures its hats right here in Kansas City. The company has teamed up with Homage to celebrate the Kelce Brothers’ popular podcast.
Click here to shope the hat on Homage online.
For the non-bandwagon fans: Nickel & Suede/Cherry Co. collegiate collection — $54-56
Two of Kansas City’s powerhouse women-owned businesses have teamed up for this stylish collection of officially-licensed accessories for fans of KU, K-State, and Mizzou. These leather earrings are a slam dunk for college basketball season.
For the newbie Chiefs fans: Nickel & Suede/Cherry Co. No. 87 jersey earrings — $47
Whether you’re the cheer captain or living life on the bleachers, these gorgeous leather earrings are end game for your tailgate OOTD.
Both collections are available at Nickel & Suede. Click here to shop online.
For the non-bandwagon fans: Squints Apparel All Weather Fan Royals tee — $25
This t-shirt is perfect for the fan who was “Raised Royal” and cheers for the team rain or shine. There’s nothing fair-weather or bandwagon about them.
For the newbie Chiefs fans: Squints Apparel Mr. Swift tee — $36
No Mr. Perfectly Fine-vibes here. This is the tee for Swifties who think Taylor made that boy famous.
Mr. Swift tee available at Made In KC. Click here to shop Squints Apparel online.
Bonus stocking stuffers
For the non-bandwagon fans: Carly Rae Studio Kansas City Embroidered Heart Hat — $32
This hat is perfect for the sports fan who cheers for all the KC teams. It pairs perfectly with royal blue, red, navy blue, and teal.
For the newbie Chiefs fans: Carly Rae Studio beaded bracelets — $14
No gift guide linked to Mr. and Mrs. Swift would be complete without a nod to the most in demand piece of jewelry of 2023. Carly Rae Studio has made the friendship bracelets. Take one home and trade it. Looks like you won’t be on your own this holiday season, kid.
Available at Made In KC. Click here to shop Carly Rae Studio online.
For the non-bandwagon fans: Sharp Tooth Studio KC Teal and Red banner — $40
The Kansas City Current is making history right here with the first purpose-built stadium for women’s sports and this canvas banner with hand-cut, wool-felt letters is ideal for the fan who can’t wait to cheer from the stands of CPKC Stadium.
For the newbie Chiefs fans: Sharp Tooth Studio KC Red and Gold banner — $40
If you’re buying a gift for a new fan who isn’t quite ready to go public with their Chief’s love story, this banner is a subtle way to say (or scream) “1-2-3 LGB” every time Travis makes a fearless dive toward that holy ground that is the end zone.
Available at Made In KC. Click here to shop Sharp Tooth Studio on Etsy.
About nbkc bank
At nbkc, we’re making banking what it should be: simple, transparent, and efficient. And we’re doing it across all of our services — checking, savings, business accounts, loans, and more. Simply said, what you see is what you get. Great customer service, awesome rates, and smart technology backed by smarter people. Named the strongest large bank in the Kansas City area1 and voted a Kansas City Business Journal Best Place to Work for six consecutive years. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 409631
1 From an analysis published on April 17, 2023, by the Kansas City Business Journal, comparing all banks with a presence in Kansas City and assets of $1 billion or more. The study used 2022 year-end data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to evaluate banks on eight metrics which, together, reflect banks’ financial wherewithal.