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Author Archives: Mike

Content & Community Manager at The Grommet

  • A Guide to Kicking off Your Summer

    The unofficial start of summer entertaining is right around the corner. A long weekend and nice weather mean you can finally fire up the grill, get outside for some backyard games, and enjoy an appropriately chilled adult beverage. Let us help.


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  • 6 Tools to Make You a Better Gardener

    The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the biting cold is warming into a temperate bliss. Spring is here. If you’re a green thumb, you’ve probably thought ahead about your garden game plan and now that the ground is thawing, you can put that plan into action with the help of these Grommets.


    gardening tools: MaxBit garden hole digging drill bit

    Maxbit - Garden Hole Digging Drill Bit

    Digging a hole can be tedious, but MaxBit makes it simple and satisfying. The drill bit is perfectly sized for planting seedlings and bulbs. You can’t help but feel a little cool as you easily prep your garden for plants in a matter of minutes.

    Shop Now - $39.95+

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  • Meet the Makers: Kara Dyer & Sara Argue of Storytime Toys

    Technology is entrenched in our lives. It makes things easier, more efficient. It streams endless entertainment and knowledge in seconds. But with unfiltered access comes the need for a filter. We put our phones away at dinner and close laptops in meetings. As with any stimulant, moderation becomes the name of the game.

    That game is an especially tricky one for parents to play. In a world increasingly reliant on technology, how do you expose kids to the right amount while also using more hands-on, even screen-free, methods of learning?

    That question is one of the reasons we visited and profiled Makers Kara Dyer and Sara Argue of Storytime Toys for our Meet the Maker series. It's a question at the heart of their work helping young children develop the foundations of critical-thinking, problem-solving, and imaginative play with no technology at all.

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  • Meet the Maker: Claire Cheney of Curio Spice Co.

    You know a spice shop when you smell it. The collection of aromas knocks your head back. As we walked into Curio Spice Co. to meet its founder, Claire Cheney, for the latest installment of our Meet the Maker profile series, we collectively suffered whiff-lash.


    With each breath, your sense of smell shifts into overdrive, teleporting you around the world in a millisecond. Cambodian peppers, Sri Lankan cinnamon blends, and herbs from local New England farms create a truly sensational experience — one that Claire hopes is brought home to your kitchen. 

    She wants to help cooks of all experience levels be more creative. To wow their friends and family. In fact, she actively encourages it with her own friends and family by giving them spice blends as gifts. More than anything though, she wants you to know these spices and where they came from. The farms, the farmers, the region, and their collective impact on the product in your hand. That’s what impressed us the most. 

    Copyright Danny LeBlanc Photo

    Curio Spice Co. is a Public Benefit Company, a business designed to make a positive impact on society and the environment. That mission touches every aspect of the final product.

    90% of her ingredients are certified organic and half are Fair Trade. This practice works double time by reducing CO2 emissions and meeting labor, social, and environmental standards set by FLOCert, in addition to being a superior product. Even the spice tins and lids are American-made and recyclable to limit their global carbon footprint. 

    Claire sources spices from local farms in regions she’s visited — Vietnam, Greece, Madagascar, Japan — partnering with farmers and producers in the area to ensure the product stems from outside the commodity spice market. She pays more for spices grown responsibly to combat exploitation that's run rampant in spice trading for decades. She also sources from women-owned businesses and spice co-ops contributing to female education and improved livelihoods. 

    She works with farms in her own backyard to ensure a fresher product. She teaches workshops for kids as part of school programs and for the public at her shop. All are focused on teaching them the origin of the spice and the cultural heritage it represents. 

    Curio Spice Co. has products with stories upon stories behind each. We’re thrilled to help Claire share them with you on The Grommet. And we count ourselves lucky that her store is just a 5-minute walk from our office.

    To learn more about Curio Spice Co., shop our entire collection of spice blends and gift sets. 

  • Meet the Maker: Michael and Wells of Rogue Industries

    We shine a light on great ideas and the people behind them. We tell their stories. In our product videos, Q&A’s, and podcasts, we try to uncover the inspiration, struggle, and ultimate success of that Maker. But the only true way to capture a story is to meet the subject in their environment.

    And so we are thrilled to announce a first in a new Maker profile video series: Rogue Industries.


    We started with a Maker close to home, literally. Rogue is a 90-minute drive from our office in Somerville, MA. Michael and Wells Lyons and the five-person crew behind these American-made front pocket wallets, set up shop in a renovated B&B Colonial Farmhouse in Standish, ME. 

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  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Jen Perry of Jelt

    Jen Perry lives by a simple phrase, “If not now, when?” It wasn’t a motivational poster that made it her mantra, it was facing that question with her life on the line. When she was afforded a second chance at life she didn’t think she’d get, Jen put that mantra into practice and started a business that encouraged societal change.

    On this episode of the Meet the Maker podcast, we chat with Jen about the experience that led her to start Jelt, how important it was to work with local organizations and bring manufacturing back to her community, and what continues to excite her about the business.


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

  • A Salute to Our Veterans

    One of our values at The Grommet is to promote ‘underrepresented entrepreneurs.’ They’re Makers facing extra difficulties on top of the already immense challenges of bringing a business to life. One of the groups under this underrepresented umbrella: veterans.

    made by veterans

    Fundera, a small business loan service, notes one in seven veterans currently seek to be self-employed or own a small business. 2.45 million veterans already do and they’re contributing $1.2 trillion in sales to the country’s economy.

    According to Fundera, “the small business world would be a shadow of itself without the contributions of military veterans.”

    And yet, funding access remains elusive. Luckily, there are organizations we've partnered with that are supporting Veterans as well as Veterans who have cleared the funding hurdle to start their own business.

    Bunker Labs - Incubator for Veteran Entrepreneurs 

    While serving in the U.S. Navy, Todd Connor learned when you see something that needs to be done and you can do something about it, you don’t think twice. 25% of military veterans want to start a business when they come off of active dutyBunker Labs serves as a business incubator. With educational programs, networking events, and online tools designed to help leverage the skills veterans acquired while serving, it supplies the crucial elements every aspiring entrepreneur needs.

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  • Watch The Grommet Mentor Makers on Public TV Series Make48

    One of the things our community doesn’t usually get a chance to see is how members of The Grommet team guide, instruct, and mentor the Makers we work with as they bring their products to market. In 2017, our Co-founder & Chief Discovery Officer Joanne Domeniconi and our Director of Discovery Ryan DeChance were invited to be a part of a new public television series, Make48, — which gives a sneak peek into how we work with inventors and entrepreneurs.

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  • 8 Gifts to Celebrate Grandparent's Day

    It's National Grandparents Day, a formal opportunity to reach out and engage with another generation. If you have a special grandparent in your life you may even want to give a gift with them in mind. Here are just a few of the grandparent gifts we've found.

    The New York Times - A printed walk down memory lane

    Journey through a lifetime’s worth of news with this New York Times book. Provide a date and you’ll receive a leather-bound, gold-trimmed set of yearly front pages from that day every successive year. This collection captures a nostalgic snapshot of history in the context of their life.

    Shop Now - $99.95

    Nuheara - Lend an ear

    IQBuds combine a Bluetooth headset and noise-canceling headphones in sleek earbuds that enhance natural hearing. Now conversations at a noisy dinner table can be heard by everyone.

    Shop Now - $299.95

    World's Coolest Rain Gauge - Ready for rainfall

    Determining if plants and flowers have gotten enough water doesn’t have to involve guesswork. In fact, it can be a work of art. The World's Coolest Rain Gauge is a statement piece in the yard of any green thumb.

    Shop Now - Starting at $34.95

    Lake Art Cribbage Board - Game night, personalized

    The laser-cut, heirloom quality cribbage boards from Lake Art are a personalized way to play a classic game. What better way to count 15-6 and a run of four than along the shores of a favorite lake?

    Quick poll: Should we start a Grommet Cribbage League? Leave your answer in the comments. I am in, for the record.

    Shop Now - $69

    Peeps - Smudge-free vision

    Handkerchiefs are timeless, but they're not the best eyeglass cleaner. That title belongs to the NASA-inspired carbon cleaner that fits in your pocket.

    Shop Now - $14.95

    BANDI Wear - A pocket belt

    We can debate whether fanny packs are re-entering the fashion lexicon. But their practicality is undeniable. BANDI Wear fits all of that practicality into a slimmer, more vibrant pack.

    Shop Now - Starting at $28

    Precious Metal Prints - Completely unique jewelry

    Precious Metal Prints creates a beautiful and entirely unique keepsake. It comes with everything you need to take an impression of a grandchild's, friend’s—any special person’s—fingerprints or even a beloved pet's nose. The finished piece is a wonderful, personalized gift that belongs close to the heart.

    Shop Now - $79.95 

    Card Cubby - A deskside card catalog

    Whether it's at the office or the home, gift, business, and credit cards need organization and Card Cubby keeps them in a convenient alphabetical order so contacts are always within reach.

    Shop Now - $19.95


    Looking for something else?

    Don't worry, we have an entire collection of gifts for the grandparent in your life.

  • 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. At a conference held by the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, we were able 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 we 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.


    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.
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