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  • Meet the Maker: Lee Mallahan III of Tadpole

    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.

    We recently caught up with Lee Mallahan III, the inventor of Tadpole tape cutter. He's sharing some advice he's learned along his entrepreneurial journey and giving us a glimpse at his next invention.

    Meet the Maker of  Tadpole Tape Cutter

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    I grew up on an Island so I spent tons of time as a little boy building cities in the sand! I wanted to be an architect.

    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    Don't wait for the perfect time.  Just make sure things are right and go for your dreams. We are only here for a little while!

    Meet the Maker of Tadpole Tape Cutter

    What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
    If it is to be, it is up to me!  Meaning when you decide to jump all in on a project, from inception to making your first sale, you should be 100% the driving force to see it through at every level.

    What has surprised you most about starting a business? Or this biggest challenge?

    Big retail may want and like your product, BUT most are making decisions today for what will be on their shelves 8 months from now.  I say: See It, Buy It, and Sell It today!! They move a little slower.

    What has been the most rewarding part of starting a business?
    Creating jobs in America and in our community.  Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Bonnie Taylor of The Negg

    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 were catching up with Bonnie Taylor, the Maker behind The Negg. Bonnie invented a hard-boiled egg peeler after a frustrating experience peeling eggs. After some prototyping and research at her local library, she cracked a solution and her product was born. Hear more from Bonnie on what it's been like starting a business and what advice she has to share with other Makers just starting out.

    Meet the Maker Bonnie Taylor of The Negg. She shares what it's like starting a business and advice for other Makers just starting out.

    What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other Makers?
    To give one is impossible. There are many many pieces of advice. Things we've learned–take your pick. :)

    1.You can't go into this halfheartedly. Any invention needs your full attention. To think you can take it on as a part-time job would be a mistake. Only if you want to make a partially successful project.

    2. Other makers are out there who are eager to help you through the process. Talk to them.

    3. It's a big leap to actually follow through with an idea. Get your prototype, apply for a patent, and then show your invention to your family and friends and watch their reactions. We had that “ah ha” moment with The Negg. That feedback was invaluable and helped us take the leap.

    What other things do you love to make?
    An eagle on a par 5. Yes I am a frustrated golfer. Talk about creating! Every time you hit an errant shot you have to create a plan for recovery. Golf is creation on steroids.

    Meet the Maker Bonnie Taylor of The Negg. She shares what it's like starting a business and advice for other Makers just starting out.

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    Manufacturing and selling product has so many pieces. It requires so much more than just the product. Instruction sheets, boxes, shipping boxes, customer service and on and on. At times the learning curve is a vertical line. Continue Reading

  • 10 Dorm Essentials To Help You Master College Life

    Heading off to college and making a packing list? Whether you'll be living on-campus or sharing a place off-campus, these unique products will help you decorate your dorm, stay organized, and enjoy your new space. We've rounded up our favorite dorm room essentials that will help you master your new college life.

    We've rounded up our favorite dorm room essentials that will help you master your new college life.

    1. Iced Beverage Sleeves

    If you're not a coffee consumer now, you very well maybe once you get to college. Let iced drinks quench your thirst (and fuel that study session), not your hands by using these iced beverages sleeves. To-go iced drinks are now drip-free, thanks to this neoprene drink sleeve.

    Buy Now: $15.95

    We've rounded up our favorite dorm room essentials that will help you master your new college life.

    2. The New Generation of Bean Bags

    You'll want a comfy place to hit the books, and a Yogibo is the perfect addition to any study space. Sink into these snug chairs and cushions—the near-frictionless beads are packed in soft, stretchy spandex. It conforms to your body, like a hug.

    Buy Now: $239

    We've rounded up our favorite dorm room essentials that will help you master your new college life.

    3. Outlet Adapter with USB

    Don't fight over outlets. This USB adapter cube has two USB ports, four outlets, plus four travel adapter plugs for the ability to power up in most countries. Use it in your dorm and take it with you on that study abroad trip.
    Buy Now: $17.95

    Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Julia Bitton of Dr. Fedorenko True Organic

    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 Julia Bitton of Dr. Fedorenko True Organic to learn a bit more about her organic skin care company. There are actually two doctors at work in this family company. Dr. Julia Fedorenko Bitton and her mom, Dr. Larissa Fedorenko, first created the Bug Stick to fight mosquitos and ticks at home in New York. They’ve since paired their backgrounds in dermatology and holistic medicine to helps bodies in other ways—and always naturally.

    Meet the Maker Dr. Fedorenko True Organic

    What would be the name of your biography?
    Hustle + Heart will set you apart!

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    I wanted to become veterinarian when I grew up, but soon after, I have discovered that I was allergic to pretty much every animal on earth; so when I actually grew up, I became a naturopath, and later I was able to reverse almost all of my allergies.

    Meet the Maker Dr. Fedorenko True Organic

    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    Success is in the tiny steps. The steady progress. The calm focus. The disciplined persistence. We’re brought up to admire the guy who cuts the red ribbon, but not the one who lays the bricks. Our society is overly eager to celebrate overnight success, but not to encourage daily commitment. Resist instant gratification and build your brand for a long haul–even if it means recognizing and celebrating progress on your own. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Barry Freeder of CouchCoaster

    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 Barry Freeder, the inventor of CouchCoaster–an adaptable drink holder that drapes over the arm of your favorite place to sit. Its weighted sides keep your glass balanced and secure. 

    CouchCoaster

    First UK consumer show (March 2016)

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    Growing up I spent much of my time on creative pursuits like drawing, painting and ‘inventing’, although the latter was generally confined to building marble contraptions from whatever my mum was about to throw out. Looking back, these were early signs of a passion for design, however, I was also obsessed with playing soccer, and like many teenagers wanted to one day imitate my heroes on the soccer pitch!

    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    Follow your passion and not a career path. You’ll spend most of your life working so understand what motivates you most of all in life. Start by identify your talents and try and turn them into a rewarding job or entrepreneurial venture. Have confidence in yourself and your ideas, but don’t get lost in the emotions or romance of building anything from scratch unless you can objectively say it has a solid foundation. Continue Reading

  • The Future of Made in the USA

    This week we’re celebrating Makers with products Made in the USA. At The Grommet, we see American manufacturing through the lens of the final product. So we recently attended a conference held by the Urban Manufacturing Alliance to see the progress being made in American manufacturing on the ground floor. Here are the issues we dug into.

    Access to Capital.  2.7% of female founders receive VC funding and it’s even less for minority business owners. The group advocated for alternative methods of financing like crowd funding and impact loans that have more generous results and are very effective in lifting small businesses off the ground.

    Physical Space. To combat this issue, cities and facilities are meeting in the middle. San Francisco has begun rolling out modular manufacturing spaces and across the country, micro-factories are popping up for companies looking at producing smaller batches of products before full-scale production.

    Education. Creating a product has never been easier, but many Makers enter the manufacturing world with limited knowledge. Manufacturers are being trained to help Makers understand this new realm regardless of their background. For the next generation, schools are focusing on technology and entrepreneurship programs. Two examples of that happening in Boston: BUILD and Fab Labs 4 America.

    Inclusivity. Entrepreneurship and the American Dream are evolving on a cultural level so policymakers and business leaders must make inclusivity a priority. Minority business owners seek representatives that look like them at the decision-making table. The more hurdles they face, the less likely they are to succeed and make an impact on their community. Beyond economic, it’s a trust-building issue. As the business world grows more diverse, that trust becomes more vital.

    There is plenty more he can and will dig into. If you have any stories or resources, we'd love to hear about them.

    And now, here are some of the American-made products from our site that are helping to make more American-made products possible.

    VideoStillV1_Jamstik

    1. Mobile guitar lessons

    Made in South Dakota, Jamstik+ lets you learn how to play the guitar at your own speed. The guitar neck complete with strings and frets plays through your iPhone, iPad, or Mac with free downloadable lessons.
    Continue Reading

  • 7 Ways to Master the Grill

    It's grilling season time and if you're looking to become the master of the grill, these seven products will get you one step closer. From innovative ways to clean the grates, to shaping the perfect patty, these products will help make grilling easier and more enjoyable.

    The Grommet discovers seven products that will turn you into a grill master this summer. The best BBQ tools and gadgets for your next cookout.

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    1.Barbeque Cleaning Tool

    Put an end to grimy grates and metal wire cleaners with an all-natural scraper grill cleaner that molds to your grill for custom cleanup. It's customizable and Made in the USA, too.

    Buy Now: Starting at $19.95

    The Grommet discovers seven products that will turn you into a grill master this summer. The best BBQ tools and gadgets for your next cookout.

    2. Lift and Carve Shredding Fork

    Shred meat or lift and carve roasts like a pro. These American-made meat shredding claws have super sharp prongs and a durable, ergonomic design.

    Buy Now: $12.95

    The Grommet discovers seven products that will turn you into a grill master this summer. The best BBQ tools and gadgets for your next cookout.

    3. Double Helix Grill Brush

    This bristle free BBQ brush cleans your grill, safely. There are no metal bristles that could shed and end up in your food.

    Buy Now: $15.95

    Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Sigmar and Tom of Lovetuner

    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.

    Makers Sigmar Berg and Tom Rohner created Lovetuner. It holds a  single-note flute that plays 528 Hz–a tone believed to have  positive effects on our minds and bodies. With Sigmar’s talent as a designer and Tom’s skills as a spiritual lightworker, they created this Made in the USA necklace to hold some calming influence close at hand. We recently caught up with them to hear a bit more about their entrepreneurial journeys. 

    Meet the Maker Lovetuner

    Best business advice that you ever received?
    Be stubborn in following through with your ideas.

    What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create, and make?
    I love the idea to make this world a healthier, happier, and more peaceful place. Continue Reading

  • 12 Made in the USA Pet Products

    Looking for the best products for your four-legged friends? We've discovered (and thoroughly tested) 12 Made in the USA pet products so you don't have to. From things your pet needs everyday, to special treats and fun toys, there's something  here for every dog and cat.

    Made in the USA pet products - Silidog

    Silent Pet Tag

    Having identification tags on your pet’s collar is always a good idea, but, boy, can they be noisy. These silicone pet tags are jingle-free, fade-free, and full of personality. Customize these silicone dog tags for your furry best friend.

     

    Made in the USA pet products - Whisker+Box

    Compression Cat Box

    If you've got a cat, you know they love snuggling up in small spaces. This Made in the USA, collapsible compression cat box is just the right size for your cat to get cozy—and it's much cuter and more functional than a cardboard box.

     

    Made in the USA pet products - West Paw Dog Beds

    Handcrafted Dog Beds

    These machine washable dog beds are the best bed for your dog—and the earth. They're easy to machine wash and dry and are Made in the USA of eco-friendly materials. Continue Reading

  • Talking Week of Making with The Grommet Founders

    jules joanneThe National Week of Making is an annual celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit. It highlights "the diversity of Makers big and small, young and old, urban and rural" throughout the country. It honors the DIYers, tinkerers, inventors, and innovators.

    You probably know someone who fits into one of those categories. This week — and for the rest of the year — you can join the Nation of Makers in supporting, engaging, and promoting individuals and organizations who are creating the next generation of products and opportunities for Makers of all ages.

    This week also marks the three-year anniversary of the inaugural National Maker Faire at the White House where The Grommet co-founders, Jules Pieri and Joanne Domeniconi, unveiled The Grommet Wholesale.

    On this rebroadcasted episode, Jules and Joanne discuss what prompted the start of The Grommet and the struggles and triumphs of building it, the power of an engaged community, their experience at the National Maker Faire, and the future of the Maker Movement.

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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

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  • As featured in:

  • Today Show
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  • The New York Times
  • Fortune
  • Inc Magazine