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  • Meet the Maker: Ken and Cyndi Freeman

    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 continuing this series to further share the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as Makers and entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.


    Next in our Meet the Maker series, we sit down with Ken and Cyndi Freeman, the Makers behind Vermont Rolling Pins. With patience and intuition, Ken hand-turns each rolling pin in his mountainside workshop as his watchful eye brings out the wood’s character. He sands until the pin reaches a satiny finish, then seals it with a protective beeswax mineral oil that enhances the natural beauty. Ken and Cyndi have built a successful business with these heirloom quality instruments (which are made to be used–and admired–for generations).

    We recently caught up with them to learn more about their lives as Makers and what doing business is like.

    VTRolling

    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    Ken wanted to be a professional baseball pitcher and I wanted to be a photographer.

    What are your best tips for building a successful business as an entrepreneur?

    Our advice for entrepreneurs is to be self motivated, work hard, and be interested in ideas and in marketing them.

    Meet the Maker: Vermont Rolling Pin

    What Maker tool can you not live without?

    The lathe

    Meet the Maker: Vermont Rolling Pin

    What has been the most rewarding part of business for you?

    Working together in a family business, creating a wonderful product, and meeting amazing people across the USA.

    Words of wisdom for other Makers? Any books or resources you'd recommend?

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  • 7 Gifts For The Baker In Your Life

    Do you have a few bakers in your life? We're all looking to give the most unique, thoughtful gifts and for those who love cooking or baking, the following seven products will please any baker (novice or pro). Who knows, you may even find a few things that will help you step up your own baking game.

    Gift for Bakers | Sassafras

    ...Sassafras: Bread Dome

    Some of the best holiday dishes include tasty bread either as a side dish or for dipping to your hearts delight. When the bread is fresh out of the oven, it makes the meal even better and will surely win over family and friends. The Sassafras Bread Dome is a great gift for your favorite Baker who wants to serve up a big holiday meal, or have at the ready for some snackingShop Now

    Middlebaker - Best Gifts for Bakers
    ...
    Whether the baker on your list is an accomplished one with years of experience or just starting out, it can be hard to get it just right, especially on the inside. Middle Baker is the perfect, functional gift that will bake perfectly inside and out, and be appreciated for many meals to come. Shop Now
    ...
    ...

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  • Meet the Maker: Carmen Taylor Rogge

    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 continuing this series to further share the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as Makers and entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.


    In this installment we're catching up with Maker Carmen Taylor Rogge, a Florida-based Maker who has changed the way we think about party decorations (for the better). Carmen is the Creative Director and Founder of The Flair Exchange which makes all products from scratch in their Maitland, FL studio, using locally sourced materials and American-made tissue paper and balloons.   We recently caught up with Carmen to learn more about her view on being a Maker and turning her hobby into a fast-growing business. 

    Meet the Maker: Carmen Taylor Rogge

    What's the best creative advice that you ever received?
    ...
    I've heard a lot of people say 'Just do you' and while that's great advice, sometimes we don't know what 'you' is. In discovering my creative style, I've come to realize that you just have to try a bunch of stuff until you feel really comfortable with one style. You aren't born with a creative style, it's something that takes time, nurturing and practice. If you don't know what 'you' is yet, just keep playing and one day you'll figure it out.
  • Retailer Spotlight: Larkellen Boutique is Hot in Reno

    You’ll feel right at home when you visit Larkellen, the Reno boutique run by mother-daughter team Debi and Mimi Canfield. Discover unique gifts and personal treats from small Makers, including some of their favorites from  The Grommet Wholesale
    What's special about Fa-So-Latté
    For both Debi and Mimi, Larkellen is a labor of dedication and love. Debi grew up in her parents’ antique and shoe shops, where she learned the importance of the right merchandise—and how it’s displayed.“In choosing our shop’s name, it all came down to family,” says Debi. “Larkellen is the street I grew up on in Los Angeles and where my parents still live to this day.”
    Larkellen's favorite Grommets:
    SoberDough
    1
    SOBERDOUGH
    For the baker or beer drinker in your life. This quick and easy-to-make bread is a big hit with our customers.
    2
    NAPA SOAP COMPANY
    We love our men, and want to pamper them as much as we pamper ourselves. A years’ worth of shave gel with fantastic scents, a cool cup, and an awesome brush.
    Napa Soap Company
    Stu's
    3
    STU'S BLOODY MARY MIX
    We live for a good Bloody Mary and this kit helps you create the perfect drink.
    4
    PORTLAND BEARD COMPANY
    We might not have beards but we love our men who do. This is manly and rehydrating . . . even better that it is made in Portland, Oregon.
    Portland Beard Company
    Vestiges
    5
    VESTIGES
    Nobody loves their state more than us Nevadans. These state-specific kitchen towels make a high quality hostess gift at a great price.
    6
    MY CUP OF CAKE
    It takes all of our might not to run home and bake these little cups of goodness...
    My Cup of Cake
    Larkellen hours and location
    Are you a retailer?
  • On the Road: Connecting Makers and Retailers

    The Grommet Wholesale Team has (finally) returned from a tour of the best trade shows across the country and despite nearly a month straight on the road, we’re reporting back energized as ever.

    The tour gave us the opportunity to share the stories behind the products on The Grommet (with Retailers) while growing our Grommet community in every direction. Along the way, we also had the privilege of meeting many Makers in person, hearing their stories first-hand, and learning how we can help shine the spotlight on their unique creations.

    The Grommet Wholesale - Connecting Makers and Retailers Kellye Kamp from “Butter” - reinventing the high-end drool-worthy kitchen - opening in Dallas Summer ’15

     

    We’ve put a lot of energy into teaming up with shop owners who are helping the world “Buy Differently.” Their business ideologies and appreciation for independent Makers directly correlates with what we live and breathe at The Grommet.

    Take Dr. Lynn Murray at Pittsburg State University. Not only does she teach business practices in a hands-on way by hosting a campus store, she is now carrying an array of Grommets. Her students have been introduced to our mission and welcome the challenge of creating a “Buy Differently” sales environment in their corner of the world. We look forward to seeing what they accomplish with their Grommet-stocked shelves.

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  • Meet the Maker: Joe Maiellano and Jack Hubbard

    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 continuing this series to further share the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as Makers and entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.


    In our next installment we're catching up with Makers Joe Maiellano and Jack Hubbard, two self-described alcohol enthusiasts from Washington, D.C., who created the HomeMade Gin Kit  launched here on The Grommet in June of 2013. Joe and Jack thought about starting their own distillery, but decided that teaching people to make gin was more doable and equally inspiring (we're so glad they did).

    Meet the Maker - Joe Maiellano

    What business lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

    Passion is important. Passion for more than your product (although that is super important as well). You need a passion for perfection and growth. Its important to never be satisfied and always know that you can do better.

    Meet the Maker: Homemade Gin Kit

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?

    When we started it was a constant fire drill. We had to grow very fast after the New York Times review and we were forced to expand quicker than was prudent. But we had to do it. And as a team, we figured everything out. And when we did make mistakes (shipping, logistics, etc.) it was important to us to be honest with customers. We were surprised how willing customers were to forgive and accept an apology for a missing package or other issue as long as the apology was done genuinely and we took the right steps to remedy the situation. Unfortunately, too few companies act that way but it creates a real opportunity for companies with good ethics to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

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  • The (Make Make Make Make) Maker Movement Soundtrack [Shake it Off Parody]

    Makers gonna make… and we made a music video. When the pop music world gives you a gem like “Shake It Off,” you’ve got to make a parody (right?). Well at least for us, it made these recent snow days a bit more bearable.

    The Grommet team is all about good stories, good products, good videos, and (after hours) a good jam session, so why not throw it all together? Press play to catch our team and cast of Makers, making and shaking … 

    to this. sick. beat.

    ...

     ...

    Want to learn more about the Maker Movement? Check out our Maker Movement infographic.

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  • Maker Update: Lifestraw.

    Every time you make a purchase or share the story behind a product on The Grommet, your support helps our Makers grow.  We often hear about the exciting things that come after their launch day and we plan to share these stories with you as well. After all, it is your support making such a big impact on their businesses and lives. We recently heard from our friends at Lifestraw about life since Grommet launch —here's what's new. 

    Lifestraw

    Since launching on The Grommet, sales took off and last October Lifestraw donated $300,000 worth of water purifiers to Kenyan schools. Thanks to you, 157,000 schoolchildren will have clean drinking water for the next five years. And Lifestraw is setting its sights on helping communities in Asia and Latin America.

    When you purchase a Lifestraw, you become a real lifesaver. That’s the impact of Buying Differently.

    To learn more about Lifestraw, watch our video here.

  • The Family That Works Together, Stays Together

    Here at The Grommet, we know first-hand that becoming a successful Maker and entrepreneur is hard work. It takes skill, relentless dedication, and a bit of luck. It also takes a village. For 16% of our Makers, that village is their own family. Working as part of a family business is a unique and interesting experience yet it's not for everyone. There are always challenges when running a business and working with family that can sometimes make it even more difficult. Yet for those who do make it work, they make it work very well. We asked a few of our Makers who happen to share a last name with their co-workers what it's like to work with family and how they've found success and happiness together.

     

    family owned business - Vinrella

    "Working together can bring you even closer and forge strong bonds, but only if you bring out the best in each other. Plain and simple, the energy has to be right. We happen to work really well together for a variety of reasons but we believe deeply in each other and our unique abilities. We grew up in different generations so we often have unique, fresh ideas that the other wouldn't think of. That's beneficial"

    Sheri & Nicole Hammonds- Mother / Daughter team and Makers of Umbrella in a bottle, Vinrella

    family owned business - Pilgrim Waters

    "Working together is like finding the missing jigsaw piece, Keith and I are true opposites: I work from a point of view that there are no limits...throwing my heart in to a new idea and  metaphorically setting sail. Then Keith  chorales  us in to an organized and productive harbor so we can be focussed and methodical which enables us to  grow our business. Being equally motivated and sharing different aspects of the business is more and more gratifying and makes us truly happy."

    Keith and Susy Waters - Husband / Wife Team and Makers of Pilgrim Waters

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  • Valentine's Day Gifts for Kids

    Looking for unique gifts ideas they'll love? Make your little one's Valentine's Day extra special with these gifts geared for kids. When you give a Grommet, each one has a story. The thoughtfulness is built right in.  

    Valentines Gifts for Kids

    Mountain Melodies

    The Mountain Melodies thumb-harp is elegantly designed and crafted in the United States from polished cedar. With the included songbook and its intuitive design, you will be playing and experimenting with your own music in no time. Shop Now

    Valentines Gifts for Kids

    Marblue

    These fun, bright, affordable Headfoams are child friendly, mono-body headphones with an 85-decibel limit for safety. And they’re built to last from EVA foam. Shop Now

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