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  • Meet the Maker: Hope Klocker and Jules Vranian of Sweet Jules Caramels

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Hope Klocker of Sweet Jules CaramelsHope and her sister, Jules Vranian  were born into a family of culinary pros and restaurateurs, and have built one sweet business using only natural ingredients, sourced from around the world. We wanted to know more about Hope's journey as an business owner and what advice she has for those just starting out on their own entrepreneurial journey. 

    Meet the Maker of Sweet Jules Caramels

    Ho do you get around creative roadblocks?
    Caramel as a base is receptive to an endless number of flavors so we really don’t have blocks with creativity. Our problem is more what “not” to make! We make caramels in a dozen flavors now.

    Best creative advice that you ever received?
    You need to know what your ingredients have to offer in flavor, texture, and smell. Apply creativity and expert technique when those qualities speak to you.

    Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Will Carswell of Zen Art Puzzles

    commenter_zenWhen you think of puzzles, you think of 1,000 pieces, finding the corners, and taking hours to complete it. Zen Art Puzzles buck the traditional stereotypes. Each puzzle is laser cut from premium birchwood here in America. They're just a few hundred pieces and you can try to find the corner pieces, but there may be six of them. With piece designs ranging from traditional jigsaw to moose silhouette, Zen Art puzzles give you an imaginative way to relax.

    Will Carswell, one of 23 puzzle makers in the U.S. talks about the intricacies of each puzzle and the care he and his company put into each piece of his business from manufacturing in America to using eco-friendly materials for each product.

    videostillv1_zen

  • Meet the Maker: Mo Seetubtim of The Happiness Planner

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Mo Seetubtim of The Happiness Planner. Happiness is what most of us want more of. And Mo made a daily planner that doesn’t just focus on ticking off a to-do list. It helps you find the good in the everyday. Hear Mo on how she handles creative blocks and how her happiness-boosting business has grown.

    Meet the Maker of The Happiness Journal

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    Sometimes you try so hard to figure out an idea, but it wouldn't come out and then you have a "bing" moment when you're in the shower! This has happened way too many times that I don't stress over creative blocks anymore. I know when it comes, it comes.
     
    I also use Evernote to take notes–shower notes, stuck-in-traffic notes, insomnia notes. Then, I can look back to those ideas again when I feel like I'm ready to start writing or working on the project.
     
    Usually I would go on the internet and search for articles related to what I want to write about or design. Reading different articles and seeing other people's point of view usually give me an idea to a certain extent. I'd jot down the key points that I like and I would ponder upon them later so I could extend on those points.  If by that point, I still feel stuck, I would go for a walk, hit the gym, play the piano, or just go get some food from a cafe I've never been to before.
    I don't try to force myself out of creative blocks much. Usually when you're stressed and busy, it's hard to let your creative juices come out. You just wait until you relax and the light bulb moment will come on unexpectedly.
     
    Best creative advice that you ever received?
    You have to have one single core idea or message. That's one big thing I learned in advertising. You can't tell people that your product is good for A, B, E, H, M, S, and Z. You have to tell your customers that your product is good for A and expand on the A point to A1, A2, A3. At least in one ad, there needs to be only ONE key message or core idea. Otherwise you confuse the customers and they don't remember what you truly stand for.
     ...
    happiness journal
     
    What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    Determined, creative, strategic.
     ...
     I've always been very determined since little. If you ask my parents to describe a trait I possess, they'd say "determination" (I actually asked them that last time I was home). I've always been a high achiever since back in kindergarten. Being self-actualized makes me happy. I set high goals for myself to achieve and I almost always achieve them. I'm very focused and determined. And I know the value of hard work  and the power of one's willpower and focus. These have proven to me so many times that if I pour all of my heart and soul into something, it will come out however amazing I want it to be. But if I half-heartedly do something, the outcome might be mediocre and not pleasing.  Though, I cope with disappointments well and take them as lessons. My point is if you want to succeed in something great, you have to be very determined.
      ...
    Creative. I always think about how I and my brand could be different. Differentiation is key to everything–getting your brand and message out there, getting recognized, and becoming liked. You can't attract others or stand out if your product or your brand looks like everything else out there because then you're just another X brand. You need to be creative with the attributes of your brand–from functionality to aesthetics.
      ...
    Strategic. I am pretty strategic in my thinking (both in life and business). In life, that is what helps me turn life experiences into wisdoms (which I then pass onto our readers/customers). In business, I always think strategically about the industry, the market, the brand, and the customers. What do/did the other brands do that help them become successful? What are their marketing and business strategies? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can we do something different and become superior? Strategy is when you think one or two steps ahead of the game.
    Meet the Maker Mo Seetubtim Quote
     
    What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
    Find your unique value proposition. A lot of people start a business just because they think it's a nice idea. A nice idea doesn't sell and doesn't last. You need to do something that you are truly good at and are absolutely passionate about. What is it that you are so uniquely good at that others can't compete with you? For me, it's my words of wisdom and my vision in life . I've always wanted to inspire people since I was little, to live a life of passion and purpose–it's the ethos behind our brand and our story. It will always be there. The way I think is ... uniquely the way I think. My voice is uniquely my voice. I have found my unique talents and I then mastered them and turned them into my calling that becomes the service I offer to the world. Find your unique talents and turn them into your unique value proposition.
     
    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    That if you create something that truly adds value to people's lives, your business will sell in itself. I never put much effort into advertising. Of course, we have content (blog posts and quotes) which you can say we use content marketing, but the content has been there way long before I started selling The Happiness Planner. I started writing those blog posts several years before I had the business idea. So it's very authentic. I didn't write those articles to sell something. I wrote them specifically because I wanted to share my words of wisdom and the lessons I learned in life. So it surprises me how well The Happiness Planner has been received given that I haven't done much advertising. And it's because The Happiness Planner truly adds value to people's lives so people want to tell their friends and family about it and recommend those they love to use it too. 
     
    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    10 years ago I was only 18. I just finished high school and was about to move to Australia. I would probably tell myself not to worry too much. You can make your dreams come true. There's no need to rush. Go one step at the time. You'll get there when the time is right. I was such an ambitious kid and I wanted to accomplish so much in life. But sometimes when you're young and are just starting out, you can be confused and not sure about the path you're taking - you might even be getting a lot of No's and face closed doors. It's okay to remember that even though a No always seems bad at the time, it's just a part of life. The right door will open when you find it. Just keep walking and learning more about what you're passionate and becoming the best at what you're good at. If you want to be successful, you have to be the best in your field. So keep building on your strengths and innate talents. 
     

    To learn more about The Happiness Planner, watch our video here.

  • Packaging Design Tips for Your New Product

    New consumer products are entering the market at an increasingly rapid rate. Thanks to crowdfunding platforms and the accessibility and affordability of prototyping, it’s never been easier to launch a product.

    What most entrepreneurs don’t realize is that after the PR and sales high of crowdfunding or initial run of success wears off, sales typically slow. If you find yourself at this point, it’s time to start planning for “what’s next.”

    Packaging Design

    Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Loree Sandler of Let Them Eat Candles

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Loree Sandler of Let Them Eat Candles. Loree Sandler invented something even better than birthday cake–edible candles. After testing hundreds of prototypes, she finally came up with the winning chocolate design. Her favorite part of building a business? All of it. Loree has a hand in every aspect–from cutting wicks to tempering chocolate (she even labels and ships out each box). 

    MTM

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.
    I’m inspired by fine craftsmanship and simplicity–for instance Shaker tools and furniture, and Georg Jensen jewelry. Paradoxically, I’m drawn to “outsider” artists who create obsessively layered work. I’m inspired by nature, by clever use of materials, by innovators (I’m heartbroken by the recent death of architect Zaha Hadid). Also, I love things that are unexpectedly graphic or quirk–I collect painted game boards and hangers.

    What other things do you love to make?
    I’ve dabbled with ceramics, hot glass beads, and letterpress. I love to bake and knit.

    Edible Candles

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    The cliché: ‘It’s not personal, it’s business,’ is entirely false for me. Every last detail from concept to creation is my work: cutting wicks, tempering chocolate, labeling boxes, and shipping product. Each decision is mine, successes and mistakes alike. How is this not personal? Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Adam Hizme of Guardian Bells

    Adam_Hizme_GuardianBellsAdam Hizme has had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was a kid selling candy bars to his classmates at school. So, years later, when someone walked into his motorcycle shop looking for good luck bells he didn't have, he naturally decided to make them.

    With Guardian Bells, Adam is living out his dream as an entrepreneur in a field he did not expect. I catch up with him at the Las Vegas Market trade show where he was exhibiting with our Wholesale team. He walks us through how he got started, the battles he faces from competition, and how he comes up with his hundreds of designs.

     

     

     

    CatalogV1_GuardianBells

  • Participate In Giving Tuesday, On Any Budget

    The post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy may be winding down, but as you finish checking off your gift list, consider joining in the Giving Tuesday movement.

    November 29th is the global day of giving. Following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is often overlooked, but since it’s inception in 2012, this movement grows every year. Celebrate with us and together we can make a real difference.

    Similar to Small Business Saturday, one of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. Giving Tuesday organizers share that helping others comes can come in many different forms. Give the gift of your time, donations, goods, or your voice. We’ve put together a list of nonprofits that we admire to get you started that fit any budget.

    Starting at the price of a cup of coffee

    Haiti

    You can provide relief to women and their families in rural Fond Des Blancs, Haiti recovering from Hurricane Matthew. Providing jobs, education, and healthcare, Haiti Projects empowers Haitian women toward self-sufficiency—strengthening an entire community in the process.
    Learn more about Haiti Projects, here.

    Starting at $10

    catalogv1_impact

    You can help lessen the financial and emotional burden for breast cancer patients and survivors. I’mpact One provides essential—but often missing—resources during treatment, recovery and beyond.
    Learn more about I’mpact One, here. Continue Reading

  • Shop Local, Shop Small on Small Business Saturday

    After the Thanksgiving leftovers have been packed away, the department store mania of Black Friday has died down, and just before Cyber Monday kicks the internet into a frenzy, the biggest shopping day in the country is happening in your backyard: Small Business Saturday.

    Small Business Saturday - The Grommet

    Last year, 95 million people spent $16.2 billion shopping small on Small Business Saturday. American Express, who in year’s prior had offered monetary incentives to cardholders on Small Business Saturday, pulled back on those incentives only to see small business customers increase.

    Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Spencer Quinn of FiberFix

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Spencer Quinn of FiberFix. The idea for a tape that would harden like steal came to mind during a routine visit to the doctor's office, when the physician relayed a story about how, instead of duct tape, he once used medical casting tape to temporarily repair his ATV. This sparked Spencer's interest to start experimenting on how he could use this same material to fix things. 

    Meet the Maker FiberFix

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    For as long as I can remember I wanted to own my own practice as a medical doctor, it took me several years in college to realize that what I really wanted was to own my own business.

    What three words best describe you as a Maker?
    Observant
    Patient
    Ambitious

    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    Challenge every assumption. Information and opinions flow freely with how accessible information is today. You really need to ask yourself whether the source you're receiving information is credible. You'll be surprised how hard it is to find credible sources today. Continue Reading

  • In or Near Boston? Check Out Our Pop-Up Shop

    If you’re living in or staying near Boston in November and December, come see some of our top Grommets in person by visiting our pop-up shop at 899 Boylston St. (It’s across from the Prudential Center in Back Bay.) Besides being able to touch the merchandise, you can get an early start on your holiday shopping without waiting for shipping.

    See how effective Peeps are at cleaning your glasses. Feel Cactus Scratcher hit that hard-to-reach itch. Take a whiff of Duke Cannon, Walton Wood Farm, and Clear My Head then explore the rest of Boston’s premiere shopping destination.

    The Grommet Pop Up Shop

    We have Nantucket’s TownPool to thank for setting up this see-it-for-yourself opportunity. They specialize in creating visual shopping experiences and we’re thrilled to be a part of this one.

    See you in Back Bay!

    If you pop in, snap a photo and share it with us on Instagram by tagging @TheGrommet. 

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  • As featured in:

  • Today Show
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