It’s the first day of summer in Australia and the season for shoppers angrily squeezing into overcrowded shops for last minute gifts is here.

Businesses around the country are all vying for some of this Christmas spend, but StartupSmart has come across some Australian startups that are offering gift-givers something a little different.

On-demand cards that help artists and charities

  • Startup: Cardly

This startup, aiming to bring the “warm and fuzzy” back to card-giving, lets users send specially curated cards to loved ones and colleagues in the US, UK and Australia.

Cardly, co-founded by Patrick Gaskin, Tom Clift and Matt Buttrey, works with a small group of artists who design the cards and earn a commission on each one sold.

The platform’s proprietary technology also lets customers doodle in the cards for a personal touch.

Cards are printed on-demand at local post agencies.

“Our ambition is to ultimately say that we’re completely carbon neutral,” Gaskin told StartupSmart.

“[We also] want to reward great artwork and artists.”

Cardly recently introduced charity cards to its menu to support non-profits like the Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) Foundation, which provides music and yoga therapy to people with cancer.

One of them was 11-year old Pippa Rea who passed away from brain cancer in 2015. Her creative spirit now lives on with her artworks converted into cards on Cardly.

Gifts for global equality

  • Startup: Femeconomy

This startup, co-founded by former corporate executives Jade Collins and Alanna Bastin-Byrne, offers shoppers an Ebay-like platform with links to everything from clothing and jewellery to cars and electronics.

The difference, however, is each business on the platform is led by women.

“We have researched 2000 consumer brands across a range of categories to identify which of those meet our criteria of either 30% women on the board of directors or 50% female ownership,” Collins told StartupSmart.

Read more: How this ‘Ebay with a twist’ startup is working to change the stats on gender equality

“The change that we’re trying to make is we think if there were more female leaders in companies, that’s actually what changes culture,” Collins says.

“If you help women, that will change the community.”

Something for adults

  • Startup: Vävven

Founded by former engineer Jacqueline Haines, this impact-driven startup is an educational e-commerce platform offering not only ethically manufactured sex toys and goods, but a wide range of information and stories on pleasure, sexual health and reproductive rights.

Read more: What keeps Australian entrepreneurs up at night?

A third of all Vävven’s profits will also be directed to non-profits fighting for sexual and reproductive rights.

“These are issues that should be solved within my lifetime,” Haines tells StartupSmart.

While its doors are yet to open, you can sign up for an invite to its upcoming digital launch.

“This could turn into a movement,” Haines says

Pre-loved fashion near you

  • Startup: Shedd

Shedd lets shoppers skip the last minute shopping mall rush altogether by connecting them directly with nearby sellers.

The fashion app, which is free to download, provides a marketplace for pre-loved goods where users can easily sell and buy unwanted clothes to people who live near them.

“Shedd was born to enable guilt-free shopping,” says Shedd founder Alex Hutley.

“The Shedd product enables people to buy more of what they want, because the app creates a sustainable cycle of reselling the items that they have fallen out of love with – extending the lifecycle of fashion.”

An innovation for children to thrive

  • Startup: Reach & Match

This innovative educational kit has been developed out of university research by Reach & Match founder Mandy Lau.

“Reach & Match is an inclusive education kit empowering children with and without special needs to learn inclusively in a mainstream setting,” Lau tells StartupSmart.

The kit lets children learn by playing with sensory mats and blocks printed with braille.

Lau, who won a $10,000 scholarship at this year’s Creative Innovation conference, designed the kit to empower children with vision impairment and complex needs.

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