As exciting as it is to launch a new product here on Daily Grommet, for us, it gets even better when we get to see how the world reacts to these innovative ideas and passionate entrepreneurial stories. For our partners, a Grommet launch is just the beginning of some well deserved attention.
We’ve recently shared that several of our Grommet partners had entered in the Mission: Small Business challenge— a program sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial to help small businesses across the US by awarding up to 12 individual $250,000 Grants (you can see all 12 winning companies here). Many of you helped us rock the vote and spread the word for these great companies (thank you!) and today we are happy to share some exciting news!
Grommet partner Vinnibag reached out to us with some very exciting news -- they won a Mission Small Business grant! Out of 70,000 companies this mother and daughter duo is one of the 12 companies being awarded a $250,000 grant. We were pretty fired up for them and had to ask them some details about their experience:
What were you thinking when you got the news that you were a winner?
I love this question. I was driving home to San Francisco and my mom (Elizabeth Scarbrough, CEO of Ellessco LLC) called and asked if I was in a "safe area" to listen to some news. When she said "I just got a fed-ex package...I think we just won Mission: Small Business" I started screaming "What? What?" and then started to cry... I cry a little just talking about it because it was such an amazing feeling. So to answer your question, I was thinking a mixture of "what, what" and then shock, and appreciation. We worked really hard on the grant application. And our qualifying 250 votes did not come easily. After that, we just sent out all the positive energy we could, and put it in fate's hands. I still can't believe it.
-How will this grant help shape your business? Future plans?
The Chase Bank and Living Social grant will help us increase capacity and will help tremendously with new product development. We have multiple products in the pipeline that will follow VinniBag's tradition of innovation, social/ecological sustainability, and USA production. As far as what these products are ... stay tuned! :)
-What did you take away from this Mission Small Business experience?
Oh wow, so much. Hope, gratitude, faith, respect.... I could go on and on. But what really stands out is myelevated appreciation for the community of small businesses in America. This opportunity gave us (small businesses) a platform to connect with friends, family, and strangers and to "meet" each other. I was overwhelmed with how many requests I personally received, and how many small businesses I believed deserved to win as well. It was fun to be involved in a contest where you wanted to vote for your competitor.
-Any other thoughts?
Yes, we want to thank our friends, family, customers, vendors, fellow small business owners, and everyone else that has encouraged us every step of the way. The highs and lows of owning a business are inevitable, and we would never have been able to make it this far without them. Also a big THANK YOU to Chase Bank and Living Social for creating this program, and awarding us money to grow.
A big congrats again to our Grommet partner and stay tuned, we'll be sure to share the new products they roll out with next!