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Author Archives: Amy

Marketing Communications Associate at The Grommet

  • An Ode to a Classic Car: The 1964 AMC Rambler

    AMC Rambler, The Grommet ------------------------------------------------The Rambler in all of its glory.


    There are many "cool" aspects of working at The Grommet, yet one particular perk is access to our very own vintage, 1964 AMC Rambler. We're a company that represents the Maker Movement and nothing embodies the essence of this movement more than an old car made during Detroit's heyday. The Rambler isn't just for show though, it's in full working order and has made trips all over Boston to take employees to and from. Before The Grommet was founded our Co-Founder and CEO, Jules Pieri, drove it every day as her sole means of transport. This old car has given us a lot over the years but as it goes, it's time for us to say goodbye. We're giving it a proper send-off with due respect here on our blog today and retelling some of its history and stories from those who've been behind the wheel.

    The 1964 Rambler was made by American Motors Corporation and was actually a compact model (despite how big and clunky it seems to us today) and a brand new way of thinking for AMC in the late 1950's.  This smaller and sleeker car was seen by AMC executives as the company's salvation during poor sales and competition against Chevrolet and Ford. Their bets on it luckily paid off and sales skyrocketed. It allowed American Motors to reach the height of their prosperity in the 1960's before another inevitable financial downturn. Given that close to 100,000 of these cars were sold, many people likely enjoyed its wide turns and rumbling engine as much as we did. It took thousands of people to where they needed to go and created life long memories.

    Read below for a few of our own.

    AMC Rambler, The Grommet ------------------------------------------------Cool shot of its signature


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  • How to Get PR for Your New Business

    How to Get PR | Tips from Makers

    Building a business is hard, and if you're new to entrepreneurship, it can be difficult to learn on the go. There are so many aspects to think about and while you might have your head down building the best business you can, it's crucial to look up and ask yourself "once I build it, will they come?" The truth is getting them in the door also takes a lot of work. One crucial aspect of attracting the press and customers your young business needs is PR and Marketing. It's what helps you build your brand, drive awareness and gets people in the door shopping. However, the challenge for many Makers is that PR is just plain hard. 

    For a new business, those initial sales are critical. A strong marketing campaign will help and today we're going to touch on the importance of Public Relations. PR is something that everyone knows they need, yet few know how to successfully go about it. It's a skill that includes reading relevant news daily, making relationships and creating strong content that attracts reporters and consumers. One of our Grommet Makers, Michelle Isrow from Undercover Tape, has a natural knack for attracting press to her product. When I first spoke with Michelle, I was surprised and thrilled to see that Undercover Tape had been featured in high level publications like Real Simple and Daily Candy. She went on to describe all the hard work she put into getting those press hits and we're sharing many of her tips here today. Read more below for our conversation about PR for new businesses.

    How to Get PR | Tips from Grommet Maker, Undercover Tape Michelle and Michele, Co-Founders of Undercover Tape


    You were lucky enough to earn high level coverage on your own. That is no easy feat. How did you do it?

    My business partner, Michelle and I are proud of the press we've received. It's been a lot of hard work and persistence. I began my PR journey with the help of a good friend named Google. Parents are the biggest customer base for us, so I scoured the web for sites that I thought would attract these moms and dads. I searched for editors contact info and sometimes I had to correspond with several people before I was put in touch with the right person. I then sent emails weekly until I received a response. Some said they didn't have a meaningful spot for us and others asked to contact them at a later date. I kept a log book of all these publications that I'd spoken with and a calendar so I knew when to follow up again. When I was lucky enough to receive a sample request from them, I made sure that I didn't just throw one in a bag and send. I made the presentation perfect so they would be as impressed as possible. After 6 months of persistence, I was able to land Real Simple. Daily Candy was a bit easier and took about 2 months to finally ink a piece on Undercover Tape.

    Once the press was live, what benefits did you see? Increased sales or web traffic? Were they immediate results or more long-term? 

    Once the press was live, we did see many benefits including sales, retail inquiries, general customer inquiries and increased website traffic. We're happy to share any and all knowledge we have with other entrepreneurs who are just starting out. We see the key as not just one press hit here and there, but to keep it going, which isn't easy. We aren't using a PR agency or representative, so that makes things harder as we don't have those relationships already, but are building them as we go.

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  • The Field Is Ready - Let's Meet Our Teams! Part II


    We recently shared some thoughts from our first four teams from the Ready for Crowdfunding category who will be pitching at Fenway Park on Thursday, March 20th. All final eight teams will present their products and have the opportunity of a lifetime to pitch to press, businesses and other influencers. We're in full swing with the regular season and can't wait to meet our finalists. Below read more about the four finalists who won crowd favorite in the Ready for Market category.

    Repel Gear Active by Repel Gear, LLC

    Product Pitch Competition | repelgear

    Repel Gear Active are seat covers that dirt-proof your car to protect from everyday messes.

    What inspired you to create your product that you're bringing to Fenway on March 20th?

    As active people with children, we were getting in the car dirty and sweaty on a regular basis.  The same options were always available such as draping a towel over the back of the seat while hoping it didn't fall down and bunch up behind us or using a traditional seat cover that took several minutes to put on and take off.  There had to be a better way.  We decided to launch our ACTIVE Series Seat Cover, a comfortable and stylish machine-washable microfiber towel that easily connects to the headrest in a car.  Whether we're sitting on it,  it's under a car seat, or folded up in the console, it has proven it's value time and time again.

    What are you most looking forward to taking away from the event?

    We are excited about the event on March 20th for several reasons but most importantly exposure.  We have an affordable and practical product, we just need to get it to people.  We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to presenting a product that can make people's lives a little easier.

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  • The Field Is Ready - Let's Meet Our Teams!

    In just one week,  our final eight teams will converge at Fenway Park to present their products and have the opportunity of a lifetime to pitch to press, businesses and other influencers. We're in full swing with the regular season and can't wait to meet our finalists. Today we're telling our community a little bit about the teams in the first of a two-post series. Below read more about the four finalists who won crowd favorite in the Ready for Crowdfunding category.


    Bringrr and BringTags

    by Bringrr Systems LLC

    Product Pitch Compettion | bringrr

    Bringrr + Bring Tags is a phone charger and reminder device so you never leave your phone or belongings behind.

    What inspired you to create your product that you're bringing to Fenway on March 20th?

    It all started with our CEO's uncanny ability to forget his phone everywhere. He wanted a reminder device that could be left in the car and practically forgotten until it was needed. So we began to think of things that are always in your car...a car charger! This charger could notify people when their phone isn't with them. We then went a step further to think of other things people might typically forget or leave behind. So we created BringTags to easily attach to anything that could potentially be forgotten or lost.

    What are you most looking forward to taking away from the event?

    I believe we will take away many positive things from the contest, namely exposure and the experience of the event. I'm originally from north of Boston so I know that presenting at Fenway will be a memorable experience. The press will also be an enormous benefit that will help us grow Bringrr and gain more awareness. I can't wait!

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  • And the Oscar Goes To...Our Grommet Makers!

    The Grommet | Unique Gift Ideas

    Here at The Grommet, we provide our Makers with the right platform to take their businesses to the next level. When a Maker launches on The Grommet, they get much more than their name in lights. They receive the support of our community (YOU) who lifts them up and offers the recognition that will propel them into the next stages of their business. We see this time and time again, and it never gets old. Whether in a press mention, an award or simply a shout out for a job well done, we take great pride in knowing we have helped change the trajectory of a business.  

    So you can imagine our delight when three of our Grommet Makers were selected to be placed in this year's Oscars goodie bags. The stars who don't win this year will have the privilege of taking home the bags with the Academy's wishes of "better luck next year".  This year's 'swag bags' will include everything from high-end walking tours of Japan to our very own Grommet problem solvers. Not only will our Makers have the honor of knowing their favorite celebrities took home their products, but the press mentions are worth their weight in gold. Last year, one of our Grommet Makers, Gleener, who participated in the bags saw her web traffic increase by over 800% in the days after the event. To say she was thrilled is an understatement.

    And now for our Grommets who will be in this year's bags:

    DrainWig, The Grommet
    DrainWig - This handy clog preventer will allow any celebrity to really let their hair down.


    Objects With Purpose, The Grommet

     Objects with a Purpose - These natural, wearable candles will be sure to help them relax post-Oscars night.

    R. Murphy Knives, The Grommet


    R. Murphy Knives - Each of these knives is handmade in Ayer, Massachusetts. The precision and quality that goes into them is un-matched. Owning these knives is a privilege in its own right and these celebs are lucky winners!

    To get in the Oscar spirit, we've decided to give YOU a chance to win your own Grommet swag bag! 

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  • Extra Innings: An Update from MAX'IS Creations


    Our 2nd Annual Product Pitch Contest is less than one month away and our community is in full swing voting for their favorite product submissions. We’re excited to soon share the stories of this year’s winners, yet we are still following and supporting those who participated last year. Their story and journey certainly doesn't end at Product Pitch and we know there will be many great updates to come as they navigate through product development and launch.

    We also know our community is cheering them on and looking forward to these updates. One of our most popular finalists was  a young entrepreneur named Max Ash, who took home the win for community favorite. As a nine year old, he may be one of the youngest entrepreneurs around and has garnered lots of attention for his product MAX’IS Creations “Mug With a Hoop TM.” We recently checked in with Max and his mom, Jennifer to see what life has been like since winning the community vote at last year’s event.

    product pitch competition | The Grommet ---------------------------------------------Max and his product testing team


    First, a special note from Max:

    Hi everyone at The Grommet,

    Thank you for inviting me to Fenway Park to pitch my idea for a hot chocolate mug that lets you throw marshmallows into hot chocolate!  It’s been a really fun year.  What I’ve loved most about the last year is that I’ve made money selling my mugs!  It was really fun to go to Mudshark Studios to see them make my mugs.  I liked to see them put all of the parts of the mug together and I liked seeing all my mugs lined up.  I even got to sign some mugs while I was there!  I like getting boxes full of my mugs in the mail.  The hardest thing about the last year was seeing them be broken (a few mugs were broken during one of our shipments). I liked delivering my mugs to people and knowing that people paid me for the mugs. 



    new prodcuts | product pitch competition -------------------------------------------The finished (first edition) product


     Read on for our Q&A with Jennifer Ash from MAX'IS Creations

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  • Journey to Launch: Yoga by Numbers Part II

    yoga by numbers

    This is the second installment in Elizabeth’s journey to launch on The Grommet. To read the first, click here.

    During Thanksgiving of 2012, close to a year after her health crisis began, Elizabeth had been practicing yoga diligently as a form of recovery and started to form the idea for Yoga by Numbers in her head. By June of 2013, she had working prototypes and by chance, met the Grommet team at an event held at their offices.

    The rest as they say, is history. When asked to describe her relationship with The Grommet, Elizabeth says “…meeting The Grommet and working with them to bring my product to market was like pouring gasoline on the fire. They provided so much of the expertise that I needed, including guidance, connections and tremendously smart people.” She then went on to tell me that entrepreneurship can be a lonely, isolating thing sometimes and others warned her of that early on. She was able to avoid the bulk of that with The Grommet’s help she says. “There was always someone to talk things through with, or bounce ideas off if I needed. It’s been truly wonderful.”

    yoga by numbers

    Her journey to launch on The Grommet has been a blessing, but hasn’t been without its challenges. Like most entrepreneurs, Elizabeth experienced roadblocks along the way. Manufacturing, she says was her biggest hurdle. It was her goal from the beginning to make a mat using ethical practices from an environmental and labor perspective and she wasn’t going to compromise her own values (although she was given many opportunities to do so). She needed to figure out a way to manufacture the mat according to her personal standards and then be able to explain why it would be more expensive than some mats out there. “We are on par with high end, brand name mats, even though the YbN mat is wider than most, made of natural rubber, made in the US, and comes printed with our design, which is what facilitates home practice. But we can’t compete with cheap vinyl mats on cost alone.” Getting the message to consumers that they get a big return on their investment has been challenging, says Elizabeth.

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  • Journey to Launch: Yoga by Numbers Part I

    Product Launch | Yoga by Numbers Elizabeth in action as she shoots her first video.


    In a series of two installments, we’re sharing a special story of one of our Makers, Elizabeth Morrow, who recently launched her new product, Yoga by Numbers this month on The Grommet. An easy to learn yoga mat for beginners, along with an instructional DVD, this is Elizabeth’s first foray into entrepreneurship and below is a behind the scenes look at her story.

    In the early winter months of 2012, Elizabeth Morrow was a young, bright woman working as a human rights policy researcher in Boston. Like many urban dwellers, she lived in the culture of getting more done faster and scheduling her calendar with little room to slow down. She felt happy and successful. Then one day, everything changed. A major, unexpected health crisis hit Elizabeth fast and hard.  She was forced to learn how to slow down physically and emotionally. Fortunately, today Elizabeth is on the road to recovery and has her strong support system to thank. It was during this recovery period that she came to some realizations, giving her the opportunity to shift her life in a very positive, yet unforeseen way. A blessing in disguise, Elizabeth became an active yoga practitioner because it was a safe option for her to exercise in a low impact way during rehabilitation. She began to love how yoga made her feel, but didn’t always want to travel to a studio for class. Sometimes her schedule didn’t allow for it, not to mention the recurring expense. What she really wanted was the ability to practice at home if she needed. Yet she was new to yoga and didn’t know how to properly execute a down dog, let alone some of the other poses and postures. She needed someone there to guide her and correct poses if they were off, and DVDs didn’t provide the detail she was looking for as a newcomer. This got Elizabeth thinking about how more people could have access to yoga if home based practice was practical for beginners.  When I asked her what made her decide to go for it and officially pursue this as a business idea, she simply said, “I just went for it. I decided I was going to just figure it out.” And so she did.

    Product Launch Platform Posing for her photo shoot at The Grommet


     “I just went for it. I decided I was going to just figure it out.”

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  • Mother's watching you! And other fun finds at CES 2014

    consumer electronics show During a short break, the trio had some fun at the photo booth! Hint: those dice and hats aren't real.


    Last week, three members of our Grommet discovery team, Ian, Kate and Aaron, packed their sunglasses and most comfortable walking shoes for a flight to Las Vegas to attend the Consumer Electronics Show. If you're familiar with the tech world, you know this event is like the Superbowl for technology. It's the biggest and best event of the year and no one wants to miss it. While at the show, our team scouted for the newest, innovative products and got an overview of this year's biggest tech trends. With 150,000 estimated attendees and miles upon miles worth of show floor to cover, they were pretty tired at the end of each day. Yet talking with them about their overall experience, I sensed nothing but exhilaration and excitement from their adventure.

    Each January, there are thousands of articles, tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram pictures available for anyone who wants to keep up with all the happenings. I asked the trio about their experience to get a first hand look. Below you can read more about their take on the biggest trends coming up and some of their favorite products. Think these crazy gadgets don't apply to the average consumer like yourself? Think again and read more for what might be coming your way sooner than you think.

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  • EXTRA INNINGS: Updates from Blu2Green!


    This week, we're continuing our updates from some of our teams at our Product Pitch competition last March. We love watching how these companies are evolving and tracking their success!

    Below you’ll see some great updates from the Blu2Green team as they're in the midst of their very first crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo. If you feel strongly about their company, click "Contribute Now" on their Indiegogo page next to their video!

    They're educating us on just how much waste is created by hospitals each year. Did you know that over 1 million pounds of blue wrap you see at hospitals is thrown away each year? That's an equivalent to the weight of 250 cars! Learn more on their Indiegogo page here .

    We also got the chance to catch up with the team recently to find out how everything is going and what it's been like to launch a crowdfunding campaign (not an easy process)!

    Read more of our conversation below.

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