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Kate

Author Archives: Kate

Vice President, Discovery at The Grommet

  • 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.

    Made-for-a-Lifetime_Blog

    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

  • The Grommet Meets BEAMS

    Citizen Commerce - Grommet meets BEAMS

    One of the ways The Grommet extends the concept of Citizen Commerce is by pursuing new opportunities for our Makers. Seeing them grow their businesses and succeed is the main objective. We’re very excited to share our collaboration with the iconic Japanese lifestyle brand BEAMS and to share with you the collection of Grommets their team selected to be offered for sale through Rakuten Ichiba.

    Citizen Commerce - Grommet meets BEAMS

    BEAMS is well known in Japan for its carefully curated product selections. They have 30 different brands, and each one features beautifully designed retail shops that are merchandised by the look and feel of the products, making shopping a comfortable and delightful experience. They offer men's, women's and children's apparel and accessories, as well as home goods, luggage and music.

    Continue Reading

  • Innovation, will.i.am and Grommet scouting at CES

     

    Me (Kate) and Ian at CES 2013

    At CES two weeks ago, one of the events Ian and I attended was the Next Generation Innovators panel. We heard the forward-thinking thoughts of some very prominent start-up CEOs, who are working with new models and technologies that challenge the way we do things.

     

    They talked about connectivity, the potential of the cloud, information sharing, talent scouting and even manufacturing. They shared their thoughts on start-up culture (something near and dear to our hearts at Daily Grommet). David Liev of Bump said that in a start-up, the things you think will be hard (like creating a product) are easy, and the things you think will be easy (like growing your organization from a start-up to an enterprise) are really, really hard as you work to maintain your vision and create a new thriving organization in the world.

     

    Continue Reading

  • Five Most Interesting Products from NYIGF

    When we walk the floors at NYIGF, like most retailers, we're not just looking for great, new products.  For Daily Grommet, it all comes together with an exceptional design, good packaging, usefulness, and a terrific story.  We come home inspired, a little bit foot sore, and always excited to share our finds with the rest of our community (see what we discovered last year). 

     Of all of the amazing products we saw at the Javits this year, here are a small selection of our favorites:

    new products - seeds

    Hudson Valley Seed Library - A thoughtful gift for your favorite gardener. Ken Greene and Doug Muller have created an accessible and affordable source of fruit, vegetable and flower seeds from heirloom plant varieties.  Plus, their lovely Art Packs are designed by artists to express the bounty of heirloom gardening and are beautiful enough to frame on their own.

    nyigf - new products

    Hangups & Baggage - Kim Kamens'  large scale wall-mounted metal art sculptures replace a traditional wall hanging and become useful as a coat rack, a jewelry display, or even a mail or file holder.  Holding up to 140 lbs, these pieces are whimsical, graphic and functional. 

    Belle Helmets - This great collection was our Accent on Design Blogger's Choice pick.  Danielle Baskin hand paints her line of unusual bicycle helmets.  An artist by trade, Baskin is happy to accept custom work and wholesale orders.  Her helmets are fashionable and expressive, while keeping you safe on your bicycle or skateboard. (image via Belle Helmets)

    Gustav Reyes Bracelets - We were struck by the simple beauty of Gustav's bold wooden pieces, and when we learned that the machine he uses to fabricate them is the only one in the U.S, we were even more intrigued.  Reyes makes wooden jewelry that feels as light as air, and looks as lovely as the finest metalwork.  (image via Gustav Reyes)

    S'well Bottle - We couldn't help being pulled in by the colorful display at S'well.  Sarah Kauss created her line of double-walled insulated bottles because there wasn't anything like them available.  She wanted one good-looking bottle that could keep her coffee hot or keep her water cold.  In a S'well bottle, hot drinks will stay hot for 12 hours, and cold ones will stay super cold for 24 hours — a terrific problem solver. (image via S'well)

    Our Discovery Team would love to know your thoughts on these new products, which is your favorite?

  • New discoveries and old pals at the NYIGF

    Every year when the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) rolls around, everyone here at Daily Grommet gets a little bit excited (okay, a lot excited!).  We love to see all the great booths at NYIGF, catch up with old friends and of course make some new ones -- along with all our new discoveries (check out Jen's finds from last year).  The crowd this year was terrific.  Everyone had so much energy and enthusiasm, and were happy to tell us about all the great products they were finding, too!

    Here are a few pictures I took with my phone while I was walking the show floors.

    NYIGF

    Hard to tell but it was both sunny and raining at the same time! This made for the perfect day to stay indoors and scout for new possible Grommets.

    knobstoppers at NYIGF

    Our pals at knobstoppers - their booth was packed! We learned that they have some new products in the works (we can't wait to see what they've been up to).

    Cool booth at NYIGF

    Design Legacy -- amazing stuff!

    Light up peace sign! Tori and I agreed that our tweens would go mad for this!

    MyDrap at NYIGF

    Remember Grommet find MyDrap? They were there too and their booth looked great!

    Another Grommet provided some interesting feedback.  We always wonder at the shows how much walking we actually do, and this trip, my Fitbit had the answer. More than 20 miles were logged in the two days I walked the show!

    In addition, the team was asked to judge the Blogger's Choice Awards for the third time, and we'll have more to report on that topic very soon (here's a quick look at this year's winners).

    Did you attend the NYIGF? We'd love to hear about what cool stuff you discovered!

  • "Where should I park my store?"

    At Daily Grommet, we have a new appreciation for the challenges of parking after a recent visit from the bGreen Mobile Showroom. Our office has a narrow shared driveway (which we have trouble parking in ourselves), plenty of street parking and a municipal lot nearby, too, but it gave me pause when bGreen's co-founder Barry Greenstein emailed me before our meeting with the inevitable, if unusual, question, "where should I park my store?"

    bgreen mobile showroomThe bGreen Mobile Showroom is a big and impressively green Fed-Ex style box truck, and Barry and co-founder Lee Schneider are selling eco and environmentally friendly consumer products and building materials right off the back of it. We watched from the window as Barry expertly maneuvered the Mobile Showroom until it was right out in front of the office and we all could visit with him inside. We learned that he's been driving all over New England -- hence his parking expertise -- to festivals and street fairs and to the homes of people interested in eco-conscious choices for tile and flooring, and they have examples and samples available right there. Barry and Lee also have a number of products available to purchase on the spot. In fact, they have several Grommets in the wild in the bGreen showroom, including Chicobag, ecosystem life journals, Twist, and Big Dipper.

    The bGreen team is working to raise awareness of green alternatives, particularly for home design and building materials, and they believe that it starts with small consumer products like cleaning products, re-usable shopping bags and notebooks made from recycled paper. We think they're on to something, of course. If you're in New England this spring, keep an eye out for the bGreen team. You can't miss them!

  • Spreading Confidence with Beads

    We talk with so many amazing people in our work on the Discovery Team, and today’s Grommet, Science Kits for Kids, came to us from finder Linda Waters who is also the founder of Back to Business and Confidence Beads. She met Connor Bernstein (the 16 year old inventor of Science Kits for Kids) at a business conference, and told us about his products. As we talked with her, we learned that she has a terrific story to share as well.

    Q: Linda, how did you get the idea for the Confidence Beads?

    A: I’m really a Career Coach and my company, Back to Business, was founded to help Moms get back into the workforce. I help people identify their natural strengths and re-invent their lives. It's so inspiring to see women go from almost a paralyzed state of "stuck" -- to being able to articulate their value, feel excited about their futures, and believe in themselves.

    Through my practice though, I've noted a huge lack of confidence among women. I've also seen women competing with one another, when really, we all have a story, and we could support one another better than many of us do. So, I just wanted to find a way to send confidence-boosting messages on a broader scale, to find a way to inspire women to be their best, and to give back.

    Q: Everyone can use a boost! Tell us a little bit more about the beads.
    Continue Reading

  • Op Yop, a toy revival

    Last summer, Jules met the founders of Op-Yop at the Detroit Maker Faire, and she wrote a piece for the Time Magazine blog that included Darcy Bronersky and her father Jim Bronersky who brought this toy back to market in 2010. The op-yop was a big fad in 1968, and when Darcy spotted the original molds for sale on Craig's List, a revival was born. Since early last year, Jim and Darcy have been selling the new op-yops at Maker's Faire and many other street fairs and events, and we've been lucky enough to play with it at Daily Grommet, too.

    It's the kind of toy people can't help but pick up to see if they can make it work. We can see why it was a fad! If you want to get one, go to www.op-yop.com. Here are two short clips I took when Anthony and Jules stopped by my desk to to try it.

    Here's Anthony

    And Jules

    As you can see, the revival of this retro toy puts smiles on the faces of many.

    Did you ever play with the original Op Yop? What other retro toys would you like to see make a comeback?

  • Grommet hunting at the Limelight Marketplace

    Recently, Jen and I traveled to NYC to attend the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) for a little Grommet hunting and other “official” business. We jumped right into the flurry of action walking all the booths and embarking on a fast tour of meet-and-greets. We must have walked for miles before we decided to head out to find a local restaurant for dinner. On our way to dinner, we stumbled into a lovely marketplace housed in an old stone church with beautiful stained glass windows called the Limelight Marketplace. Even from the outside, we could tell this place was special – perhaps it even housed Grommets just waiting to be discovered? We had to go in.

    Once inside, we both were overcome with a sort-of familiarity.  Wondering, hmmm had we been here before?  We realized that years ago, there was a nightclub in this old church -- with a couple of tough bouncers managing a long line outside the door and cages for dancers hanging from the ceiling -- but could this be the same place? 

    Once inside, we made our way through the charming building to the third floor, where we visited with Andrea of Jon Wye belts. Jon Wye has a proprietary (and patent-pending) process for tattooing leather and these make cool graphic belts (these belts even ended up becoming a Grommet). As we were chatting, Andrea was actually fitting and finishing belts by hand as we watched.  Based in the D.C. area, the company has leased space in the Limelight Marketplace as it considers its plans for growth and tries out the Manhattan scene. 

    After talking about her great designs, we began chatting about the Marketplace and Andrea confirmed our suspicion about the renovated building being that same former nightclub of years past. She even pointed out the cable that formerly held the dancing cages. We learned that the Limelight Marketplace opened just last spring after a $15 million renovation that kept the twists and quirks of the historic 1844 building while bringing to light the interior space.  It has been recreated as an upscale retail center for up-and-coming vendors as well as some established brands that have stores in other Manhattan neighborhoods.  The result is a balanced mix of goods and a terrific shopping experience.  

    It was a serendipitous stop on an amazing trip to the NYIGF. As for the nightclub memories, we'll let you guess which one of us may or may not have danced in those cages at the old Limelight nightclub!  

  • A Summer road trip and a little Grommet spotting

    My husband and I decided we'd hit the road at the start of summer for a classic family road trip.  We planned a driving tour; the first stop was a family wedding in Oswego, NY, then up to Lake Placid and on to Montreal and Quebec City.  We left the itinerary open, booking just hotel rooms, and otherwise leaving the days unplanned.

    There's the pain and the pleasure of the road trip, of course -- Will there be a bathroom when we need one?  Where to stop for lunch?  Do we have enough gas to get to the next exit?  Why is that exit not on my Google map? Are we there yet?  When will we be there?  How many hours is it?  Who's turn is it to pick the music?  Happily, in 24 total hours in the car, we only got lost once and just for a short time in a driving rainstorm, and there was little bickering among the troops.  Jeanne suggested a book on tape for the car, so Alice in Wonderland helped us along, too.  

    My family loves a great city walk.  Quebec City is particularly beautiful, and highlights included the Chocolate Museum, the Morrin Library -- originally a prison, then a college, now houses the only English-language library in Quebec , and a 90 minute cruise of the St Lawrence aboard the M/V Louis Joiliet -- so beautiful!  In Montreal, the Jardin Botanique was a huge hit, and Vieux Montreal captured our hearts.  We also loved the sound and light show at Notre Dame Cathedral, which highlighted the history of the city and truly showcased the beauty of the church.  

    My kids proved that they really know their Grommets, too.  They spotted Shainsware and Jishaku in the window of a store in Lake Placid and urged me to go in. "Mom, this is a Grommet store," one said.  "And there might be Grommets in there you don't know about yet!"  So we went in, and just maybe we did indeed find a future Grommet .... stay tuned!

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