San Diego is a start-up city. In fact, last year saw a record number of new tech-related businesses. America’s Finest City even has a non-profit organization called Startup San Diego that supports entrepreneurs, a searchable online directory of local start-ups by San Diego Startups List, and a whole week where thousands of entrepreneurs gather to be inspired at the San Diego Startup Week (June 18-22, 2018).
To show our support, we rounded up the top innovators behind the creative success of San Diego. So, support local and shop these products this holiday season – and all year long!
Here in sunny San Diego, we think skin protection is pretty cool. So, it’s no wonder this local sunscreen company blossomed from our fair city. Founder and CEO Chris Birchby launched the start-up in 2002 after his parents were diagnosed with melanoma. COOLA uses as much organic, sustainable, locally-sourced and cruelty-free ingredients as it can in its line that now includes an array of skincare products. The company also donates to the Melanoma Research Alliance and Healthy Child Healthy World.
Seen today on beaches all over the world, this wetsuit brand began in 2006 when founder John Campbell introduced Japanese-made limestone-based neoprene to produce a lighter, faster-drying, and longer-lasting wetsuit. The company strives to blend art and function and has added streetwear and accessories to its product lines. So, even if you don’t surf, you can channel the vibe of Matuse (see their website for the name’s meaning in poem form).
This San Diego company, founded by four former Logitech workers in 2014, is the new evolution in headphones. The first 3D-audio smart headphones, the Ossic X headphones automatically calibrate to the size of your head, the shape and size of your ears, and the distance between them. They also track your position in space, so the sound always seems to come from the screen you’re watching, even if you turn away. They were the youngest startup to be accepted by EvoNexus, the tech incubator, and raised their target $100,000 in 2.5 hours on Kickstarter.
In 1974, two young high school grads made and sold six guitars under the name Westland Music Company in El Cajon. Today, Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug’s company, Taylor Guitars, has 500 employees and produces 500 guitars a day. In 1992, they moved to a bigger facility in El Cajon. They are the number one manufacturer of acoustic guitars in the country, and you’ll see their guitars in the arms of musicians including Dave Matthews, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, and Katy Perry.
The Honest Kitchen
San Diego became even more pet-friendly in 2002 when PB-resident Lucy Poskins cooked up an idea for a business from her homemade dog food. The first FDA-approved 100% human-grade pet food in the country, the company’s dehydrated dog and cat food products advertise a range of health benefits to pets. Visit their website for customer testimonials and super-cute pet pics.