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  • The Grommet Meets BEAMS

    Citizen Commerce - Grommet meets BEAMS

    One of the ways The Grommet extends the concept of Citizen Commerce is by pursuing new opportunities for our Makers. Seeing them grow their businesses and succeed is the main objective. We’re very excited to share our collaboration with the iconic Japanese lifestyle brand BEAMS and to share with you the collection of Grommets their team selected to be offered for sale through Rakuten Ichiba.

    Citizen Commerce - Grommet meets BEAMS

    BEAMS is well known in Japan for its carefully curated product selections. They have 30 different brands, and each one features beautifully designed retail shops that are merchandised by the look and feel of the products, making shopping a comfortable and delightful experience. They offer men's, women's and children's apparel and accessories, as well as home goods, luggage and music.

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  • Hickies is Kickin' Off Their Newest Kickstarter Campaign

    Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 12.09.32 PM

    We always say that when our Makers succeed, we succeed. This is an integral part of our mission so when one of our Makers hits a milestone, we shout it from the rooftops and when they need support, we shout that as well.

    We couldn't be happier to see all the success that our Maker, Hickies has received over the past few years and they recently announced venture capital funding to grow their business even further. This is big news for them, but also for the consumer products industry as a whole since VC funding for those involved in the Maker Movement is less common. Hopefully this signals a shift in the industry and the interest of VC firms.

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  • Meet the Maker: Tippy Tippens

    Three years ago, we shared the story of one Maker and social entrepreneur on a mission to help with the  BP oil spill disaster in New Orleans. Tippy Tippens was a designer living in New York City who felt pulled to do something to help -- that's how BirdProject Soap was born. Today, we're catching up with Tippy to see how these little soaps have made a difference since their launch on The Grommet.

    Meet the Maker, Tippy Tippens on  The Grommet

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    Four years have passed since the BP oil spill disaster  and creation of your company, BirdProject Soap -- tell us, how are things different four years later?

  • Behind the Scenes: Spring Volunteering

    Spring Volunteering at The Grommet

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    Last Friday we had the pleasure of volunteering at the Somerville Community Growing Center, a local community space and garden. The site has become a center for both environmental education and cultural performances in Somerville. Initiated in 1994, it is a model for urban land use and collaboration between city government and local nonprofit and community agencies. This urban oasis was designed and built by local residents and is maintained by volunteers.
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    I have to say I am proud to work at a company that supports the local community with actions - not just words. This volunteer event kicked off The Grommet's volunteering initiative, where we spend some work-time helping our local community throughout the year. Our first go at it was very successful:
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    We sanded and painted the woodshed (designed and built by local students!)
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    Spring Volunteering at The Grommet
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    We learned how to properly use (and hold) garden tools...
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    Spring Volunteering at The Grommet
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    We stacked wood into giant piles... (harder than it looks, trust us...)
  • An Ode to a Classic Car: The 1964 AMC Rambler

    AMC Rambler, The Grommet ------------------------------------------------The Rambler in all of its glory.

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    There are many "cool" aspects of working at The Grommet, yet one particular perk is access to our very own vintage, 1964 AMC Rambler. We're a company that represents the Maker Movement and nothing embodies the essence of this movement more than an old car made during Detroit's heyday. The Rambler isn't just for show though, it's in full working order and has made trips all over Boston to take employees to and from. Before The Grommet was founded our Co-Founder and CEO, Jules Pieri, drove it every day as her sole means of transport. This old car has given us a lot over the years but as it goes, it's time for us to say goodbye. We're giving it a proper send-off with due respect here on our blog today and retelling some of its history and stories from those who've been behind the wheel.

    The 1964 Rambler was made by American Motors Corporation and was actually a compact model (despite how big and clunky it seems to us today) and a brand new way of thinking for AMC in the late 1950's.  This smaller and sleeker car was seen by AMC executives as the company's salvation during poor sales and competition against Chevrolet and Ford. Their bets on it luckily paid off and sales skyrocketed. It allowed American Motors to reach the height of their prosperity in the 1960's before another inevitable financial downturn. Given that close to 100,000 of these cars were sold, many people likely enjoyed its wide turns and rumbling engine as much as we did. It took thousands of people to where they needed to go and created life long memories.

    Read below for a few of our own.

    AMC Rambler, The Grommet ------------------------------------------------Cool shot of its signature

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  • What is Crowdfunding?

    Makers need more than a great idea, well crafted product, or solid business plan to get their companies off the ground -- they need capital. There are several ways to get funding for a business, however crowdfunding is a growing choice for many entrepreneurs out there.

    What is Crowdfunding

    What is crowdfunding?

    Crowdfunding is a funding method where  people (the "crowd") fund personal or business projects and ideas with their own money.  They essentially make a donation to a crowdfunding campaign in order to help a particular business or venture  get the initial momentum and the push it needs. It works like this: you post your project on one of many crowdfunding sites which have a large group of users, or "potential investors", and they will fund your project (by making a monetary donation) if they are interested.  Through crowdfunding sites, such as IndieGogo and Kickstarter, individuals are influencing the world by amplifying the impact of products and voting with their dollars.

    The Grommet is a natural next step for crowdfunded Makers. In fact, we've launched many products that came out of successfully crowdfunded:  Get it Right Spatulas, Skallops, and Monkeylectric (just to name a few). See them all here.

    If you know of one that would be a great fit, please let us know about it in the comments below.

    If you're a Maker thinking of launching your own crowdfunding campaign, be sure to check out these crowdfunding success secrets from our Maker, Sunskis, before you do.

  • Grandmother Gifts Sure to Delight

    Finding Grandmother gifts can be challenging. But don't worry, we've done all of the hard work for you. These Grandmother gift ideas are sure to delight that special lady in your life.

    Grandmother Gifts - Coin Laundry Kitchen Towels

    The Coin Laundry

    From a Montana-based company called The Coin Laundry comes an assortment of towels that absorbs whatever Grandma dishes out while adding a touch of 1950s retro-style to her kitchen, bathroom, or bar.   Shop Now

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    Grandmother Gifts - Sweet Jules Caramels

    Sweet Jules Caramels

    These specialty caramels made with only the best natural ingredients sourced from around the world. Grandma wont want to share these silky-soft and buttery caramels -- but she shouldn't have to after all.  Shop Now

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  • How to Get PR for Your New Business

    How to Get PR | Tips from Makers

    Building a business is hard, and if you're new to entrepreneurship, it can be difficult to learn on the go. There are so many aspects to think about and while you might have your head down building the best business you can, it's crucial to look up and ask yourself "once I build it, will they come?" The truth is getting them in the door also takes a lot of work. One crucial aspect of attracting the press and customers your young business needs is PR and Marketing. It's what helps you build your brand, drive awareness and gets people in the door shopping. However, the challenge for many Makers is that PR is just plain hard. 

    For a new business, those initial sales are critical. A strong marketing campaign will help and today we're going to touch on the importance of Public Relations. PR is something that everyone knows they need, yet few know how to successfully go about it. It's a skill that includes reading relevant news daily, making relationships and creating strong content that attracts reporters and consumers. One of our Grommet Makers, Michelle Isrow from Undercover Tape, has a natural knack for attracting press to her product. When I first spoke with Michelle, I was surprised and thrilled to see that Undercover Tape had been featured in high level publications like Real Simple and Daily Candy. She went on to describe all the hard work she put into getting those press hits and we're sharing many of her tips here today. Read more below for our conversation about PR for new businesses.

    How to Get PR | Tips from Grommet Maker, Undercover Tape Michelle and Michele, Co-Founders of Undercover Tape

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    You were lucky enough to earn high level coverage on your own. That is no easy feat. How did you do it?

    My business partner, Michelle and I are proud of the press we've received. It's been a lot of hard work and persistence. I began my PR journey with the help of a good friend named Google. Parents are the biggest customer base for us, so I scoured the web for sites that I thought would attract these moms and dads. I searched for editors contact info and sometimes I had to correspond with several people before I was put in touch with the right person. I then sent emails weekly until I received a response. Some said they didn't have a meaningful spot for us and others asked to contact them at a later date. I kept a log book of all these publications that I'd spoken with and a calendar so I knew when to follow up again. When I was lucky enough to receive a sample request from them, I made sure that I didn't just throw one in a bag and send. I made the presentation perfect so they would be as impressed as possible. After 6 months of persistence, I was able to land Real Simple. Daily Candy was a bit easier and took about 2 months to finally ink a piece on Undercover Tape.

    Once the press was live, what benefits did you see? Increased sales or web traffic? Were they immediate results or more long-term? 

    Once the press was live, we did see many benefits including sales, retail inquiries, general customer inquiries and increased website traffic. We're happy to share any and all knowledge we have with other entrepreneurs who are just starting out. We see the key as not just one press hit here and there, but to keep it going, which isn't easy. We aren't using a PR agency or representative, so that makes things harder as we don't have those relationships already, but are building them as we go.

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  • Meet the Maker: Aymie Spitzer

    Here at The Grommet our mission is to put an end to nameless, faceless business and highlight the people and the stories behind the products we launch each day. And it's in that spirit that we're beginning a new blog series in which we can continue sharing the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    In our third installment we're catching up with Maker Aymie Spitzer. Aymie tells us that she has always been drawn to the beauty of vintage maps, particularity their hand lettering and ornate details. Inspired,  she turned her own hand lettering into a custom font to artfully adorn her wooden wall maps, necklaces and coasters. She founded Neighborwoods and launched on The Grommet last summer.

    Makers | Neighborwoods on The Grommet

     Read on for more of our Q&A with Aymie below.

     Maker Movement | Neighborwoods

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  • Pitches, Hits, and Home Runs

    Today was the big day, our 2nd Annual Product Pitch Competition. The Grommet, joined by a fantastic group of speakers and attendees at Fenway Park where we all gathered to find the next great Grommet idea. Eight teams, chosen by our community, pitched their ideas live for a chance to win a launch on The Grommet.

    Here's a look at our day in images. See all of the photos here on our Instagram feed.

     

    Product Pitch Competition

     

    Above: A few highlights of our day's events.

    Each of the eight innovative teams pitched their products and businesses to our team of coaches, but only two took home the win. Congrats to our winners!

    Ready for Crowdfunding category: O-Rings: Sensory Learning Playthings by INCREMENT (learn more about them here)

     Ready for Market category: Compost Shredder by ECOTONIX (learn more about them here)

    Stay tuned for more details on our two winning teams!

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