Next Avenue Logo

Holiday Gift Items From Second-Act Entrepreneurs

Presents that cost under $90 — all from men and women who started new careers and businesses after 50

By Nancy Collamer

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? As Next Avenue’s blogger about work and volunteering, I decided to put together a gift guide for you with a second-act twist.

All the featured products are from entrepreneurs who started their businesses after turning 50; some of their products are designed specifically for people over 50, too. And none of the gifts cost more than $90; many sell for much less.

(MORE: For Late Bloomers, Unexpected Success Is Worth the Wait)

I think you’ll find something for everyone on your list, from your difficult-to-please boss to your 90-year-old mother to your loveable pooch. And who knows? These second-act stories might inspire you to start your own venture, which could be the most life-changing gift of all.

A Gift for Your Mom

Stylish bags From These bags are designed to be used with walkers, wheelchairs and motorized scooters. Owners can sling them onto those devices with the bags’ adjustable, detachable straps or they can carry them as regular shoulder bags or handbags. HDS Medallion bags come in a variety of sizes, colors and styles and retail for under $75 apiece. A portion of some sales goes to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

The Founders’ Second-Act Story: HDS Medallion is run by Carol and Bill Rady, a Connecticut-based couple who are former management consultants. The seeds for this business were planted several years ago when Carol’s then 99-year-old mother, Hazel Della Snodgrass, a self-described fashionista, broke her hip. Snodgrass couldn’t find a stylish way to carry her items while using her new walker, so Carol’s sister Sharon designed a stylish bag for mom. Once other women at assisted living facility where Snodgrass lived saw it, they wanted one too — and Carol and Bill realized they had a hit on their hands. So they abandoned retirement to serve other fashion-conscious women using mobility aids; Sharon is a designer.

A Gift for Dog And Cat Owners

Quirky pet products from This website finds unusual items for pets and pet lovers. It currently features tangle-free leashes, candy cane-themed pet beds, Hanukkah-inspired dog collars and cable knit designer dog sweaters. Prices range from $15 for a personalized pet photo ornament to $89.99 for a dog bed.

The Founder’s Second-Act Story: Nancy Dewar, 56, spent years as an account manager for national advertising agencies and a freelance consultant for fashion and consumer product companies. Last March, she combined her marketing expertise with her lifelong love of animals and started, with her dogs Moose-Muffin and Flip-Flop by her side. Dewar, who lives on the New Hampshire seacoast, recently found a story her sister wrote about her as a child that said: “Animals are her specialty. If there were no animals, I doubt that she could live!”

A Gift of Beauty

BOOM! by Cindy Joseph: This organic skincare and “pro-aging” makeup line features three essential and multipurpose makeup sticks, called BOOMSTICKS ($24) and BOOMSILK, an all-natural body moisturizer (4 oz. $32.00/8 oz. $48.00). The line is sold at the BoombyCindyJoseph site and in spas and boutiques nationwide.


The Founder’s Second-Act Story: For 25 years, Cindy Joseph worked as a makeup artist for supermodels and celebrities. But at age 49, while walking down a New York City street, her career transformed overnight. A casting agent spotted her and asked if she’d ever considered modeling. Days later, Joseph signed with the Ford modeling agency then quickly rose to supermodel status. In 2010, she turned her newfound fame into a business, launching BOOM! By Cindy Joseph, where she is chief executive. Now 61 and based in Yonkers, N.Y., Joseph juggles her role at BOOM! with modeling and blogging for Experience Life magazine.

A Gift of Good Taste

Artisan specialty foods from  Items include marmalades, sauces, jams, salt-cured fruits and fruitcakes. Prices range from $14 for sauces and jams to $65 for specialty fruitcakes.

(MORE: Career Shift: From Health Care Exec to Gourmet Food Retailer)

The Founder’s Second-Act Story: Robert Lambert, 64, of San Rafael, Calif., spent years working as a photo stylist, dessert chef and cookbook author. But memories of childhood visits to his grandparents’ farm inspired him to shift gears and create his eponymous gourmet food line. Lambert’s extraordinary one-of-a-kind indulgences are sure to impress even the most diehard foodies on your gift list. With such mouth-watering items as four-orange marmalade and hot ginger caramel sauce, you might just need to order a gift for yourself.

A Gift of a Good Night’s Sleep

Moisture-wicking sleepwear from The attractive line of nightgowns ($50 to $58) and pajamas ($55 to $65) was created for women suffering from hot flashes., whose slogan is “cool garments for hot women,” also sells moisture-wicking robes and shirts.

The Founder’s Second-Act Story: For most of her career, Haralee Weintraub of Portland, Ore., worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative. But eight years ago, at 51, her sleepless nights woke her second-act career. Treatment for breast cancer had thrown Weintraub into menopause with drenching night sweats and she couldn’t find anything comfortable to sleep in. So Weintraub created a prototype of a nightgown made from moisture-wicking material. After seeing the enthusiastic response from her breast cancer support group, Weintraub knew she had a winning idea. A percentage of every sale goes to breast cancer research. Weintraub also uses breast cancer survivors as models on her site.

Photograph of Nancy Collamer
Nancy Collamer, M.S., is a semi-retirement coach, speaker and author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement. You can now download her free workbook called 25 Ways to Help You Identify Your Ideal Second Act on her website at (and you'll also receive her free bi-monthly newsletter). Read More
Next Avenue LogoMeeting the needs and unleashing the potential of older Americans through media
©2024 Next AvenuePrivacy PolicyTerms of Use
A nonprofit journalism website produced by:
TPT Logo