From artisanal crafts and tasty treats, to cutting-edge everyday home solutions and gaming adventures, Hamilton’s Gift Guide showcases the creativity and ingenuity of our community.

In this season of giving — and to help you find the perfect gift for that person who has everything — we’re offering you both shopping inspiration and the opportunity to support Hamilton and Kirkland alumni, students, and parents. To get you started, Hamilton magazine is pleased to introduce you to several of the alumni entrepreneurs and the exceptional items you can find in our gift guide.

Nancy Ross K’71

As a little girl, Nancy Ross K’71 loved nothing more than combing through her grandmother’s jewelry box searching for treasures. When she got a little older, she’d save her babysitting money to buy small wearable antiques — stack rings were a favorite long before becoming the trend they are today. That passion for coming up with the perfect way to accessorize led her to a career as a jewelry designer, consultant, and styling advisor. She also serves as an adjunct professor at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

Ever appreciative of the education she received on College Hill, it came as little surprise when Ross proposed an idea for marking the 50th anniversary of Kirkland’s Charter Class — commemorative rings. “The Kirkland College Everlasting Eternity Ring honors the founding principles of a Kirkland education: growth and knowledge for each stage of a woman’s life noted in the symbolism of the apple and the apple blossom, with a small diamond in the center of the blossom to signify eternity,” she says.

Because Ross loves the flexibility and style of stacked rings, she came up with a second option as well, which can be worn with the eternity ring or separately. “The Kirkland College All-Blossom Eternity Band Ring features a small diamond in the center of each blossom,” she adds.

When the Kirkland rings were made available for sale during Reunion Weekend, it wasn’t long before Hamilton graduates felt a little envious. That’s when Ross recreated a third option: the Hamilton Enduring Eternity Band, which features “the key symbols of Hamilton College: Alexander Hamilton’s tricorne hat and the Chapel steeple, each with a small sapphire in the center of the motifs. The design is in honor of the Hamilton motto to ‘Know Thyself,’ with the mission to prepare graduates to effect positive change in the world,” Ross says.

Saying Thanks!
For her work on the Kirkland Charter Class 50th Reunion Planning Committee and marking the occasion with the commemorative rings, Ross was awarded a 2022 College Key Award, which “recognizes alumni, parents, or friends of Hamilton who have performed a service or activity that has directly benefited a specific volunteer program or the College.”

Where You’ll Find It
Each of Ross’s rings is custom crafted in the precious metal of your choice, responsibly sourced, and made in New York. Individuals can personalize rings with their initials or year of graduation. To learn more, contact Nancy Ross K’71 at nrossco@aol.com.

Though he once had his doubts about whether this would work, Shriver says, “I can now proudly look at my inventory and team, knowing that all of this originated from an idea and a drawing in my notebook and the belief in myself.”

Shriver’s Hamilton experience gave him an advantage from the start. “Having learned Chinese during my time at Hamilton has been absolutely crucial with my work in the supply chain,” he says. “Early on, many manufacturers shied away from a complicated product, but by speaking Mandarin with one, we quickly developed a friendly relationship that allowed them to take on my project.”

How It Works
Sweetflexx was independently tested by Yale University’s John B. Pierce Laboratory in a proof-of-concept study. The testing involved two 30-minute walks on a treadmill with and without the resistance leggings on separate days. Results showed that wearing Sweetflexx for a day resulted in an extra 255 calories burned when compared to the control.

Shriver’s entrepreneurial skills earned him the grand prize at Hamilton’s 2018 Pitch Competition. He also won the 2017 CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Award and the 2018 Orthopedic Foundation’s Innovation Award, and has been featured in Forbes, POPSUGAR, and In Touch.

Bradley Gifford ’15

When Bradley Gifford ’15 was entering high school, his pediatrician discovered that he had unusually high blood pressure and was at risk of hypertension. An active lifestyle and some adjustments to his eating helped, but Gifford was still eating mostly processed foods high in salt and sugar. It wasn’t until he was at Hamilton, where he played on the basketball team, that he began realizing the real impact his lifestyle choices were having on his physical and emotional health.

After graduation, Gifford started paying more attention to what he was putting into his body and the subtle ways more or less of certain foods made him feel, sleep, think, and move. Inspired by each new discovery, he joined a lifestyle-focused fitness company called Dogpound where he oversaw social media and marketing. He also made some discoveries. “The wellness industry is flooded with products that are designed to conjure feelings of FOMO but rarely provide people with the real tools they need to meet their goals sustainably,” he says.

That’s when Gifford decided to start at the beginning — breakfast. He created Spoonful overnight oats to give busy people an option for combining taste, health, and convenience. “Delivering a fresh, delicious, nutritious breakfast is no easy task, but we believe Spoonful is the breakfast you deserve to help you get to where you want to be every single day,” he says.

Spoonful’s products are vegan, dairy-free, antioxidant and probiotic-rich overnight oats with 15-20 grams of protein. The company carefully sources ingredients free of preservatives and artificial sugars and sweeteners, and works with chefs, dieticians, and food allergen specialists.

Don’t Forget The Toppings
The Toppings is a newsletter produced by Gifford designed to “sprinkle something on top of your regularly scheduled health and fitness content to examine the relationship between brands, consumer products, and our collective understanding of wellness. Spoonful will share pieces that present being well as the vulnerable learning experience it truly is with stories from relatable sources.”

Visit spoonful.life to view and order products, and sign up for the free newsletter.

Once upon a time on a sidewalk in New York City, sandwiched between hot dog stands and break dancers, there stood a cardboard box covered with clay jewelry made on College Hill by Jill Rosenwald ’83, who was standing nearby ready to make a sale.

An art major at Hamilton who studied ceramics, Rosenwald knew she enjoyed the hard work of creating things but didn’t necessarily envision a career in the field. After graduating, she stayed on campus and used the ceramics studio to make the jewelry she sold in the city on the weekends. Surprised by how well her items sold, the artisan was inspired to make other pieces like wall art and functional pots that soon caught the eyes of buyers from Neiman Marcus and Barneys. Today, she is owner and creative director at Jill Rosenwald Studio in Fort Point Channel in Boston, and her work can be purchased online and found at stores in more than 20 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the Caribbean.

Rosenwald and her colleagues are self-described “big champions of patterns and color.” Every piece of pottery is made to order — handcrafted on the pottery wheel then drawn and painted by their skilled artisans. They use a creamy white earthenware that provides a smooth white canvas for their colorful patterns. Each piece is finished with a coat of glossy clear glaze and a 14-karat gold rim.

Where You’ll Find It
Visit jillrosenwald.com … and if you’re looking for an endorsement, Annie Graves from Yankee magazine wrote in 2021: “Rosenwald’s handiwork is instantly recognizable in stores from Cape Cod to California. It straddles an almost impossible divide, managing to be both bold and noncombative. While these are ceramics with big personalities, they play well with others, too — not just each other, but also a client’s decor. Here are ikat-patterned bowls shaped like beehives, tapas trays that relax in a Delft blue haze, vases splashed with pink diamonds or chartreuse plaid. They embody positivity, a feeling of visual happiness.”

Mike Sennott ’09

Growing up, Mike Sennott ’09 often dreamed of playing video games that didn’t exist yet. Before, during, and after his time on College Hill, he worked tirelessly to bring the worlds of his imagination to life. That happened this August when he released Astronaut: The Best, an occult management adventure that uses procedural narrative to create a comedic moral laboratory for players.

Astronaut: The Best both looks and plays very differently from any other game out there,” Sennott says. “Players are charged with managing a proper space academy using lies, witchcraft, and hard work. Your astronauts aren’t just collections of stats: they’re screwups. Players must guide their procedurally misfit recruits through a rogue-lite web of scandals, challenges, and space-shatteringly meaningful choices. Turn them into national heroes by any means necessary or your bosses will see you dead in a ditch.”

Sennott has worked on games as a designer, writer, composer, engineer, and quality assurance lead, and has published other games for iOS and Steam. While earning a master’s degree in interactive media from the University of Southern California, he co-founded Universal Happymaker, a four-person studio dedicated to experimental narrative games.

Over the last eight years when they weren’t at their day jobs, the team chipped away at developing Astronaut.

Who Should Play?
According to Sennott, this game features “a strikingly offbeat art style inspired by midcentury cartoons and space race propaganda, thrilling middle-management gameplay, set behind a stately desk, a surreal world full of scandals, challenges, and space-shatteringly meaningful choices, and a sophisticated procedural narrative structure that ensures no two missions are ever the same.” The game contains references to both adult situations and deep-cut philosophy jokes and is not recommended for children.

Where You’ll Find It
Astronaut: The Best can be purchased via Steam for the PC and Steam Deck platforms. Search for it at steampowered.com.

Co-founders Sho Tasaki and Celia Yu ’13

For Celia Yu ’13, the mentors she met at Hamilton played a role in fostering her passion for Japanese culture and tea.

“I majored in psychology with a minor in Japanese and was fortunate to develop sincere relationships with Professors Masaaki Kamiya and Kyoko Omori. Their guidance and influence were instrumental in my decision to immerse myself deeper into the richness of Japanese language and culture by studying abroad,” Yu says, noting that others close to her advised against traveling to Japan due to radiation concerns following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. “My professors instilled in me the courage to carve my own path, to weigh the risks, and to be accountable for my decisions.”

After experiencing Japanese traditions and encountering the warmth of the people she met while abroad, Yu’s love and appreciation only grew. Senbird Tea was born in 2018 after she and co-founder Sho Tasaki traveled to Japan to visit family-owned farms and master craftsmen who taught them the art of making tea in small batches. Their collection includes organic green tea, herbal tea, and handcrafted teaware and exudes the duo’s steadfast commitment to wellness, sustainability, and community as they work to “deliver authentic and delicious Japanese tea experiences to tea lovers around the world.”

From Yu: “Our innovative, refillable tea tins are not just containers; they are an invitation to a fresher, more flavorful tea experience. Engineered to lock out moisture and light, they preserve the richness, aroma, and integrity of our teas, ensuring every cup brewed is as fresh and flavorful as possible.”

Tea Ambassadors
“We actively engage in educational tea tastings and educational sessions at various events, from pop-ups and Japanese markets to wellness engagements, and through partnerships with non-profit organizations,” Yu says. “We take pride in being an ambassador of tradition and cultural richness. Being proud members of ‘1% for the Planet,’ we channel a portion of our sales to environmental causes, a testament to our dedication to sustainability and our resolve to give back to the planet.”

Sandy Schirmer ’80

Sandy Schirmer ’80 was a big fan of the Slice-a-Slice of the 1940s and ’50s, a tool that could cut a slice of bread in half.

“It was a staple in our family kitchen that we used to make sandwiches and snacks,” Schirmer says. “With a house full of kids, it was especially good for making treats to take on picnics, to the beach, or on long car trips. Toasting bread before slicing it thin kept the outside crisp and the inside soft — meaning no soggy sandwiches in transit.”

When the Slice-a-Slice was no longer available, Schirmer envisioned creating an upgraded version. What began as a hobby turned into a business featuring the Nicer Slicer, a dishwasher-safe product made from 20-gauge brushed stainless steel that Schirmer says “improves taste while cutting calories and cost.”

Poilâne Endorsed
A few years ago, Schirmer won the opportunity to talk with a European chef and picked Apollonia Poilâne of the famed Poilâne Bakery in Paris. Poilâne’s family toasts their famous sourdough with two thin slices inserted in the same slot of the toaster, achieving the same result the Nicer Slicer provides. “She understood the tool immediately, thought it was quite cool, and very graciously talked to my team for well over an hour,” Schirmer says.

Order your own Nicer Slicer and find recipes and tips about using the product, at thenicerslicer.com.

Brett Mandel ’91

“We launched our efforts for Father’s Day just after the pandemic lockdown, which delayed inventory shipments and complicated our efforts to find suppliers and workers, but our high-quality products captured the imagination, and we were able to secure coveted MLB licensing just a year after we started selling, which dramatically expanded sales,” Mandel says.

Baseball BBQ products are also officially licensed by the Major League Baseball Player’s Association, which grants the company permission to put the name, number, and signature of any MLB player on their tools and cutting boards.

“After a 33-year-old career minor-leaguer made his major league debut, I posted a silly note on social media about how all of his fans could now buy Baseball BBQ products engraved with his name on them,” Mandel says. “His father made a purchase. It was incredibly moving to think that our little company would provide a keepsake for this man’s proud family to memorialize his brief appearance on a major league roster.”

Giving Back
A portion of every Baseball BBQ purchase goes to support Pitch In for Baseball & Softball, a non-profit organization that reduces barriers to play and promotes youth development by providing equipment to leagues, schools, and organizations around the world to start, continue, and/or expand their programs.

Mona Campbell ’85

For over a century, Mona Campbell ’85 and members of her family have embraced sustainable and organic farming practices as stewards of the historic Kristoferson Farm, located on Camano Island, a little more than an hour north of Seattle. When life circumstances brought her and her siblings back to manage the farm, Campbell, armed with a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard and a renewed appreciation for green spaces after living in New York City, began thinking about ways they could invite others to experience this place they loved.

Following her own zipline excursion in Canada, Campbell thought something both fun and educational could be a beneficial addition. After a few years of research, building, and implementation, they launched Canopy Tours Northwest, a zipline tour.

Canopy Tours was just the beginning for Kristoferson Farm. They then developed Terra Teams, a team-building program, and now welcome thousands of visitors a year for ziplining, team outings, lavender workshops, farm-to-table dinners, special events, wreath-making workshops, and more.

“One of the neatest things has been seeing these multi-generational families all zipping together, doing something new and different,” Campbell says. “It’s a beautiful thing to see happen. I didn’t anticipate that at all when we opened the business. Being a part of something that pushes people a little outside their boundaries and makes them feel empowered and have a new sense of self after is a wonderful experience for us.”

Shop Buff & Blue!

The Hamilton Gift Guide makes it easier than ever to shop products offered by Hamilton and Kirkland artists and artisans, brewers and winemakers, service providers, and other small business owners. Your support encourages their success and fosters the creativity and ingenuity found within our community.

There is no cost to be included in the guide, which is visible to the public, however listing is available only to businesses owned or managed by Hamilton College or Kirkland College alumni/ae, parents, students, faculty, and staff. New entries will be accepted throughout the year. 

Coming Soon ...

The Hamilton Small Business Directory will launch in 2024. This companion to the Hamilton Gift Guide will serve as a resource you can use to support Hamilton and Kirkland alumni-owned businesses in your local area, find restaurants and shops in cities you visit, or help you connect with alumni with similar interests. It’s another way we hope to promote small business growth and celebrate the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of alumni everywhere.

Published in Fall 2023 Hamilton Magazine

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