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Consumer Watch: For holiday shopping, check out gifts made by military spouses

Nov. 27, 2013 - 08:46PM   |  
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If you have a special military spouse on your holiday gift list, why not consider a unique, military-themed product made by companies owned by ... military spouses?

Not only might you find ideas that will elicit smiles from the recipient, but you’ll be supporting military spouses who, in many cases, have carved out businesses as careers that have moved with them from one military assignment to another.

These ideas, which come from some of the companies that received the Top Military Spouse CEO awards from, will get you started on your shopping journey:

Nomades Collection,, was created by five military wives. The company sells custom sterling silver charms representing many installations, the military services and other themes. For example, the Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., charm, which sells for $45, is a pair of sterling silver dice inscribed with Nellis AFB on the back. An F/A-18 charm goes for $38; a Ranger Tab charm for $49, a Gold Star flag charm for $50. A “combat boots” charm sells for $42.

Nomades also sells key rings for $18, and a variety of bracelets and necklaces, coasters and other items. All are made in the U.S. You can shop its online catalog, or search the website to see if a consultant is located in your area.

R.Riveter,, was created by two military wives. They sell leather and canvas handbags that are custom-made by military spouses from recycled military materials such as tents, blankets and uniforms.

They can also create handbags from a specific military uniform.

Their classic line of handbags is named for famous military spouses, including “Mrs. Abrams,” “Mrs. Lee” and “Mrs. Grant.” The most popular is the “Mrs. Bradley,” a messenger-style cross-body bag priced at $239. Handbags are generally upward of $200, but they also sell smaller items, such as clutch purses ($30), dog collars ($42), leather card holders ($40), sunglass cases ($50) and key fobs ($20).

Lock-n-Load Java,, was created by a military spouse and her retired soldier husband. They sell coffee, cocoa and gear such as mugs, mouse pads and water bottles. Some examples of their coffees include a 12-ounce bag of “Armory Select Hazelnut Cream” for $12.25, and a 12-ounce bag of “Task Force Zulu Single Origin Costa Rica” for $13.95. They also sell T-shirts, hats and other apparel, including some for kids, as well as gift certificates.

The company also offers coffee for deployed troops. You can design a package for as little as $20 to send to your own deployed service member, or you can select “ship to a random unit,” and they’ll send it to a deployed unit that has requested coffee.

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