These are Houston's top lifestyle innovation stories this year
2020 in review
Editor's note: As 2020 comes to a close, InnovationMap is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston innovation. When it came to the lifestyle innovation — whether that be B2C startups or real estate — in Houston, five stories trended among readers.
5 innovative gift ideas from Houston startups
Support Houston startups by shopping local this holiday season. Photos courtesy
The holidays are fully upon us, and in the spirit of giving, why not give a little business to local startups as you shop for friends and family this year?
Browse this year's roundup of Houston startup-created gift ideas below, and then click here to check out last year's gift ideas too for eight more options for you. Click here to continue reading.
New Houston tech startup launches to streamline afterlife planning
The Postage is a new company that uses technology to help ease the experience of afterlife responsibilities for family members. Photo courtesy of The Postage
Three years ago, Emily Cisek was struck with immense grief when she lost three family members back to back. She says she learned first-hand how arduous the process of wrapping up someone's life is and how it can take away from the grieving process.
"I saw the frustrations in my family," she explains, as she grappled with the passing of both her grandmothers and her cousin's young child.
Cisek says in that moment she thought, "Wow, there's got to be a better way so that people have a resource to get a plan and walk through the process so that when you do lose someone, there is a really easy way to manage that."
Cisek's realization planted a seed and she has the idea for The Postage, a digital platform that helps collect information and digital assets in one place to ease with affair planning. Click here to continue reading.
For women by women: New coworking space to open in Houston
SheSpace is planning to open in a new mixed-use facility just south of Interstate 10 near downtown. Image via shespacehtx.com
To Stephanie Tsuru, there is strength in numbers — especially, when women are involved.
"Women coming together is powerful," explains Tsuru, the founder of SheSpace, an all-women coworking space coming soon to The Heights that seeks to build a collective community of entrepreneurs and business professionals.
Mentorship and motivation were always part of Tsuru's purpose since the start of her career. Her background in healthcare and rehab gave her insight into how powerful mindset can be in a person's growth.
"I have always been involved and really driven by motivational psychology," she says.
Her affinity for mentorship continued as she went on to coach women in her own life. With her 35 years of life experience, Tsuru feels there is "no substitute for wisdom." Her passion for cultivating relationships and inspiring other women led her to want to create an environment where women could network and learn from mentors and peers. Click here to continue reading.
Houston rent prices rise as COVID-19 impacts local housing market
Houston rents actually rose in May. Sky Noir Photography by Bill Dickinson/Getty Images
The impact of COVID-19 has not been lost on the Houston housing market, with home sales dipping and rents rising. Here's a look at the current landscape.
In May, single-family home leases were up a solid 12 percent, notes the Houston Board of Realtors. This coincided with rising Houston rents.
According to Abodo's report, the median rent for a one-bedroom unit rose 0.51 percent month-over-month to $1,179, while two-bedroom rents gained 1.24 percent to a median $1,466. While one month's numbers don't necessarily mean a rental price spike, instead of Houston experiencing a COVID-19 price recession, we are currently seeing the opposite. Click here to continue reading.
Houston entrepreneur designs clothing that benefits skin health
Emeline Kuhner-Stout, founder of Élastique Athletics, wanted to create a product that was easy to wear and benefitted lymphatic health. Photo courtesy of Élastique Athletics
A few years ago, Emeline Kuhner-Stout, a French ex-pat, was figuring out life as a new mom in a new city. She found her new life in Houston to be sedentary and all consumed with taking care of her baby. Her only time for herself were her daily trips to the gym, and she wanted to make it worth her while.
"There were so many more things I wanted to do for myself, and I just didn't have the time," Kuhner-Stout tells InnovationMap. "It would be so much more efficient if there was a way to combine [elements] to make products that would perform for us."
She noticed at this time that people were starting to care about what they wear to the gym, and she was also looking into the causes of cellulite. Kuhner-Stout and her husband, Myron, who's a patent attorney, started doing some research and found that there weren't any products that existed at the confluence of activewear and skincare.
Élastique Athletics was born to fill that need. Click here to continue reading.