Locally Made Artisan Souvenirs Now Available in Airport Vending Machines

Travelers prone to procrastination rarely wind up bringing home decent souvenirs. Fact is, shopping for legit, last-minute trinkets at the airport isn’t easy. Most options are lame, generic, and over-priced. Startup SouveNEAR is looking to upgrade the experience for these same travelers with a clever repurposing of disused vending machines around the U.S.

souvenear newark
Souvenear in Newark.

SouveNEAR’s concept is so simple that it’s a wonder no one thought of it before. The Kansas City-based company repurposes neglected and nonprofitable vending machines as tiny gift shops. The machines are rebranded and stocked with 100-percent locally sourced artisan crafts and knickknacks. Travelers can browse a variety of small, easily packable trinkets including hot sauces, chocolates, handmade jewelry, woodblock prints, and even small pieces of art. Some machines even carry T-shirts.

The company actively seeks out new artisans at craft shows and online — craftspeople who are making items that uniquely showcase their hometown. They then partner with select artists to purchase their works in bulk or to commission entirely new works exclusively for SouveNEAR. The hard part has been finding pieces that fit well into a vending machine.

The key is that every souvenir is locally made wherever it’s sold. This was an essential piece of the business for SouveNEAR’s founders who found it depressing that many “local” souvenirs are emblazoned with a city or state name, yet offer none of that destination’s story or spirit. In an interview, co-founder Tiffany King told Startland News, “We both had that experience of being travelers and trying to grab something at the last minute and we couldn’t find anything other than, you know, something stamped with the name of the place, and we both had a real interest in giving back to communities and the difference it could make.” They admit the vending machine idea was merely an afterthought, though it turned out to be a rather clever one.

SouveNEAR currently runs a total of 12 machines in a handful of locations around the country, including Newark Liberty International Airport, Kansas City International, and Oakland International. Plans are in the works to expand to an undisclosed East Coast airport later this year, with additional locations to be announced in 2019.

Travel

Casa de Campo Resort and Villas is the Perfect Place for a Guys’ Getaway

Everyone from the likes of Jay-Z to Michael Jordan to former President Bill Clinton, Drake, and honorary dude Rihanna have stayed at (and no doubt loved) Casa de Campo Resort and Villas.
Food & Drink

9 Fresh IPAs to Sip Right Now

And we mean right now — remember to drink IPAs fresh as possible.
Food & Drink

Brown-Forman Introduces New Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve Bourbon

Seeing as the brand is an homage to coopers, the barrels themselves play a large role in distinguishing the new bourbon.
Culture

The Best Resistance Bands for Every Kind of Workout

Not all of us have room for an extensive home gym set-up, in which case you want to invest in versatile and compact pieces, such as resistance bands.
Travel

5 Under-the-Radar Travel Destinations to Visit in 2019

Based on our intuitions and what makes each destination worth visiting in the new year, here are the best unexpected travel destinations of 2019.
Travel

Inside the World’s 5 Sleekest Capsule Hotels

These accommodations are cheap, contemporary, and coffin-like.
Travel

Top 7 Travel Trends to Watch for in 2019

From trekking active volcanoes to digital nomadism, here's how we will travel in 2019.
Travel

Magnificent Castle Hotels You Can Actually Spend the Night in

Dragons and alligator-filled moats not included.
Auto

Camp in Style with FIM Caravans’ Migrator Off-Road Travel Trailer

Take your bedroom, kitchen, and shower everywhere you need them.
Travel

Easily Give the Gift of Air Travel with Skyhour

Think of it like Venmo for air travel, but the booking capabilities of Kayak.
Travel

A 71-Year-Old Frenchman Is Crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a Giant Barrel

In true French style, he's packed foie gras and bottles of wine to boot.
Travel

Pre-Disaster Tourism: 5 Iconic Places to See Before They Disappear and How You Can Help

Many of the world's greatest natural wonders are disappearing — fast.
Travel

Flying Nest Is a Shipping Container Hotel Designed to Travel the World

All the essentials plus eye-popping views without having to get out of bed.
Auto

World’s First All-Electric, Eco-Friendly Motorhome Could Debut in 2019

Early adopters won’t be embarking on any hardcore, off-grid road trips to the Grand Canyon — yet.