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  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Graham Wasilition of Chateau Spill

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    Graham Wasilition is an entrepreneur to the bone. With his engineering background, the Austin, Texas native co-founded a liquor distillery company then co-founded Château Spill, the red wine, grass, blood, dirt and every-other-kind-of-stain remover. He continues to run them both. I catch up with him at the Las Vegas Market trade show where he was exhibiting Château Spill with our Wholesale team.

    Graham discusses the balance it takes to run not only one company but two, the exhilaration he experiences being on the road meeting customers, the daily challenges of running a business, and the exciting future he sees for Château Spill.

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    Like what you hear? Listen to the rest of the Meet the Maker Podcast series here then rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes

  • How to Raise an Entrepreneur: 3 Makers Share Their Stories

    With the era of working for a single company for 40 years—and then receiving a pension when you retire— generally behind us, the word “entrepreneur” has started commonly referring to the many who start small businesses, become consultants or freelancer.

    It inevitably raises the question, “What makes an entrepreneur? Is it nature, nurture, or both? Can parents raise their children to be entrepreneurs?”

    As the father of two teenage children—and at the start of a new school year—I have an interest. What will my kids’ future look like? What will make them the happiest when they embark on a 50+ year work career?

    In my lifetime I’ve known a number of entrepreneurial folks, but there wasn’t anyone around them to encourage it—or, worse yet, people around actively discouraged their entrepreneurial thinking.

    Colleges and universities now have educational tracks to try to teach it. National organizations—like Kauffman and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship http://www.nfte.com—address how to foster young entrepreneurs.

    The Grommet recently launched three products developed by the under 18 set (you can find more of them in our Underrepresented Entrepreneurs category). We wanted to know, what did these kids’ parents do to help them—and what did the children find most helpful as they became entrepreneurs?

    Kid Entreprenuers

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    Teenager Robin Sydney and her mom, Marian Heymsfield, recently launched their Adult Coloring Posters coloring poster set on The Grommet. Robin and Marian color together to take a break from electronics and relax at the end of the day. They created detailed posters to encourage more people to get creative and unwind.

    Mom Marian says, “Inspiring confidence is the most important. That and the understanding that what you do in creating items is important and helpful to both the consumer and the Retailer. That your role is very important to everyone’s success.”

    “My mom always inspired me to be who I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do,” says daughter Robin. “When it came to creativity, I always had art projects, did coloring contests, and had craft kits all over my room. I loved it. We didn’t really watch TV and the arts was my true outlet.

    “Robin continues, “My mom made sure to give confidence to my sister and I, so we would know that we could do anything we dreamed of—no matter the challenge. When we started our company, through her inspiration to me, I felt like I could do anything. I then instilled the same confidence she had placed in me in her and she realized that she, too, could do anything. My mom’s creativity sprouted. There are so many times my mom says, ‘I can't believe what we are doing together.’ It is so cool!”

    “Honestly, I think in our situation my daughter was the parent in the teaching role and I was the child learning from her!” says Marian.

    “I love working with my mom. I trust her completely. I am the dreamer and she is the realist. I say, ‘We should do this...’ and she is like, ‘Yeah, but…’ Together, it is perfection. Each of us comes up with ideas and together we work to make it feel perfect for both of us. We represent both the mom and the kid when approaching products. I think it makes it perfect for all ages and generations.” Continue Reading

  • Support Makers Whose Values Align With Yours

    The Grommet is a place where you can shop by your values to make more impactful purchases. Look for these value symbols on the Grommets we launch.

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    Here’s the place to find unique products made in the USA. These American-made products create jobs and opportunities for local communities.  Discover our Made in the USA products.

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    Shop by Values: Made in the USA
    Sustainable Living
    Discover eco-friendly products and accessories, including organic clothing, all-natural health and beauty aids and green jewelry designers. See all Sustainable Living products.
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    Shop by Values: Social Enterprise
    Handcrafted
    Explore handcrafted products, personal creations and one-of-a-kind items from artists around the world. If you’re the type of person who enjoys spending a day at the craft fair, learn how we're committed to the preservation of craft. We support local artisans, and we strive to help readers discover and buy handmade items online from these gifted entrepreneurs. Discover Handcrafted products.
    ...     Continue Reading

  • Buyers, Keepers: Our Made for a Lifetime Category

    We all know that if you buy something made with solid workmanship or quality materials, it’s going to last longer.

    But most of us have been on the verge of buying something and trying to decide if we should buy the less expensive product and hope it lasts—or should we spend a little more, knowing it will last and won’t have to be replaced . . . maybe ever?

    As our CEO Jules Pieri recounted in a recent Medium post:

    “Growing up in Detroit, my autoworker dad was firmly committed to buying the very products he built. He extended that behavior and his values to other household purchases. With four kids and one blue-collar income, we admittedly lived paycheck to paycheck. Yet my parents believed, ‘We don’t have enough money to buy cheap stuff.’ They saved up to buy quality, or did without.”

    Starting today, “Made for a Lifetime” joins The Grommet’s Personal Values categories of Crowdfunded, Handcrafted, Independent Makers, Made in the USA, Philanthropy, Social Enterprises, Sustainable Living, Tech & Innovation, and Underrepresented Entrepreneurs.

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    Much like the rising ‘Buy me Once’ movement in the U.S. and Europe, many Grommet community members value high-quality, durable products. They want items that are made to last—and they’re willing to pay a little more for this benefit.

    But what does “Made for a Lifetime” specifically mean? That The Grommet Makers represented in this new collection will honor a lifetime repair/replace warranty. You can identify these products by our new diamond icon—as these are products are “as tough as diamonds.” Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Tara Petrilli of Susquehanna Glass Co.

    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 Tara Petrill of Susquehanna Glass Co. Tara is part of this third-generation operation that has a 100+ year history of making etched glass in the USA. Susquehanna believes glass can have personal meaning and Tara is sharing a little more about her experience being a part of this long lasting company. 

    Meet the Maker

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.
    We're constantly developing new designs so, keeping a pulse on what’s trending on sites like Pinterest is a good starting point. Paying attention to advertising campaigns is also a good source of inspiration. Sometimes ideas simply pop into my head in the middle of the night.

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    I step away for a while or sleep on it. Approaching a block with a clear, fresh mind generally does the trick.

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    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    A veterinarian. So, not surprisingly, my favorite design theme is anything pet related. Continue Reading

  • Follow Every Grommet Launch on Snapchat

    Everyday we launch brand new products from Makers and there's only one place to see them live: Snapchat. Follow 'thegrommet' or scan the Snapcode below in the app to see behind the scenes footage, exclusive sneak peeks at future products, and daily launches in action.

    Here's a taste of what you're in for. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Mike Mallory of RAD

    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.

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    Today, we're catching up with Mike Mallory, the Co-Founder of RAD body massage tools. Mike (a biomechanics expert) and Dan McIntosh (a pro triathlete) put their brains and muscles together to redesign traditional body massage tools.

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    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    Ages 4-8, I wanted to be a garbage man (who doesn't want to ride on the back of a truck the whole day right?). By ages 8-14 I wanted to be an orthodontist, and past that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer. My background in mogul skiing and mountain biking (and subsequent injuries) brought me back to study anatomy and therapy very deeply.

    What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?

    I have a unique background in engineering, design, and the body–the trifecta of those brought me to the perfect role at RAD.

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

    The #RADLife isn't just about staying healthy and making great products, it's about hard work, task management, and picking up a broom if need be. Having a good product is just the ante for the game. Pushing it out into the marketplace takes discipline and an attitude for success; something my business partners have helped bring to the table in spades. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Cynthia Saito of Wrapadoo

    CatalogV1_WrapadooIt started while trying to wrap and dry her young daughter's hair. After too many unsuccessful nightly routines and plenty of conversations other mothers about their haircare experiences, Cynthia Saito noticed there were a lot of hair products on the market that dried your hair but that's it. She didn't see a product looking out for moisture balance or, most importantly, maintaining healthy hair. So she created one that not only solved a problem she faced with her daughter but herself and all women with long hair.

    Hear how Cynthia designed her hair wrap, Wrapadoo, and built her business, why American manufacturing was so difficult but so important in bringing it to life, and how The Grommet helped volumize her company.

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    Like what you hear? Listen to the rest of the Meet the Maker Podcast series here then rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes

  • Meet the Maker: Kami Darnell of Simple Sarongs

    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 Kami Darnell, the Maker behind Simple Sarongs. Necessity being the mother of invention, it makes sense that a mom came up with Simple Sarongs. Kami got the idea while playing with her children at the pool. She wanted something to throw on over her wet swimsuit that wouldn’t cling, fall off, or add bulk to her beach bag—or her body.

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    Tell us more about your design inspiration.

    My design inspiration has really evolved over the past few years, but I think my first strategy was designing to coordinate with as many swimsuit colors as possible.  And since nearly everyone owns a black swimsuit, I wanted an element of black in all the designs.  With my first collection I could only afford to mass produce three designs, thus they were very colorful!  That really stuck, but now I watch fashion trends, and pick the designs that will hopefully appeal to women of all ages.  For example, last year I also saw a lots of crochet lace (in both swim and daywear) and so creating my Boho Chic Lace sarongs was a result of that.  It also was a way for me to do a “neutral” and still be a fun design.

    Any trends on the horizon that might influence new designs? 

    I’m really excited about pom poms this year! Tropical will always be in the mix, so I like to watch trends in designs there, as well as other global influences like Indian wood block printing and Moroccan tile prints.  I’m also thinking about doing an artistic take on the American flag since so many summer beach vacations happen around national holidays.

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    How do you get around creative blocks?

    I use Pinterest and Google Images to search thousands of designs in the direction I’m going.  And I keep updating my Pinterest pages with inspirations all year long so I always have loads to pull from. Continue Reading

  • 10 Products MacGyver Wishes He Had

    Whether defusing a missile with tweezers or scaling a cliff with shoelaces, MacGyver makes do with what’s available to him. But if he had these dozen Grommets at his disposal, he could’ve saved himself some serious time and stress.

    Wazoo Survival Bracelet (starting at $37) is a 23-piece survival kit woven into a bracelet—equipped with everything from a paracord and liquid-filled compass to a firestarter buckle and fishing line. This wrist accessory perfect for following a group of fugitives through the wilderness or, you know, just camping.

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    Sure, constructing a trap to catch your enemies out of nothing but stray branches and a pointy rock is impressive, but it’d be much easier with Klecker Knives (starting at $10.95). Equipped with an axe blade, hammerhead, and knife, it doesn’t even need a handle to hold the blade. One of those stray branches will do.

    Instead of halting an electrical current with chewed bubble gum (gross), MacGyver could’ve used self-setting rubber Sugru ($22). It’s waterproof and adheres to metal, glass, fabric, and most plastics. It’s tailor made for patching a hole in a glass tube filled with poison antidote or stabilizing a frayed phone charger. Continue Reading

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