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Shop DC-made products "nicely" with this locally made app

A sampling of available treats on Nicely

On-demand gift-giving service Nicely has made accessing D.C.’s latest brands more convenient for small businesses and those who love shopping local.

Whether for a special occasion or just because, individuals order baskets of simple treats through the Nicely app. Items are shipped in the D.C. region within 24 hours with free shipping.

Most of Nicely’s vendors have operated for two years or less, work out of incubators - such as Union Kitchen and Mess Hall - and have been reliant on distributing wholesale or at seasonal markets. “D.C. has a lot of really great small businesses that need to be supported,” says Whitney Jones, Nicely CEO. “We wanted to work with people who are looking for alternate ways to sell their products and Nicely is one way they can do that.”

To date, Nicely has partnered with 15 small businesses. Baskets typically include products from one or two vendors. The Fruit & Nut Duo, for instance, includes a bag of Honey Crisp Cinnamon Apple Chips by Fruitcycle and a bag of Sweet & Spicy Pecans by Cajun Meets Asian. For coffee lovers, the Coffee and Biscotti Duo includes a tin of Cardinal Roast Whole Bean Coffee or Waypoint Roast Whole Bean Coffee made by Compass Coffee and a package of 3 large Chocolate Chip Biscotti by BakerMan Dan.

During the holiday season and Mother’s Day, Nicely added flowers from a local floral shop to its inventory. And just in time for summer, the Sweet Fruity Cocktail Mixer Kit includes a bottle of Pineapple Tumeric Shrub, 2 mason jars, 2 vintage paper straws and cocktail recipe cards courtesy of Element [Shrub].

Since its debut in December 2014, orders have continued to double each month, says Jones. The shipping model has also expanded to include nationwide deliveries online.

The company’s non-profit component has donated a percentage of sales to organizations like Food & Friends and all unused products are given to Miriam’s Kitchen.

“We are now trying to expand in terms of bringing partnerships with companies and corporations,” says Jones who notes recent bulk orders of custom gift baskets as a significant part of the company's growth in sales. Partnering with hotels and organizations hosting conferences is also a great way for out-of-towners to get a taste of the city.

“What a lot of people really like about Nicely is that our baskets are wholly D.C. made,” she says. “So they like when somebody comes into town to say ‘here, look at this--these are products that are made here in D.C., this is what D.C. is about’.”

Read more articles by Christina Sturdivant.

Christina Sturdivant is a native Washingtonian who's always watching and writing about the latest cultural, community and innovative trends in the city. She's interested in people and companies that create equitable opportunities for longtime residents and transplants alike.
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