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Tori

Author Archives: Tori

Director of Content and Community at The Grommet

  • 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.

    MTM

    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

  • 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.

    .
    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.

    rad

    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: 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.

    Simple Sarong Maker

    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.

    Simple Sarong patterns

    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

  • Straight from the Maker Trenches: Most Surprising Part Of Starting A Business

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs. If you've ever wondered what it's really like to start a company, you're in luck–our Makers are happy to share an inside look. Most of our Makers were everyday folks with a great idea—that became a business. Get a peek into the world of eight entrepreneurs about the challenges, rewards, and always-unpredictable path of building a company. We're constantly inspired by the business innovations and achievements of our Makers and thought you'd also enjoy hearing their honest answers.

    We couldn't pass up the opportunity to reach out to a few of them and get their answers to our burning question:

    What's the most surprising part of starting a business?

    Click each image or business name to learn more about them.

    How To Start A Company - Clear My Head

    "Everything! I didn't understand at first what building a brand was, I just wanted to sell some jars of some great stuff that really helped me and my clients. However, once I 'got' it, I was amazed at how detail oriented you must be on everything. It's exciting and overwhelming at the same time."  –Brenda Stansfield of Clear My Head 

    Maker Walton Wood Farm - How To Start A Company

    "I thought I would run out of ideas, but they just keep coming."  –Leslie Scott of Walton Wood Farm

    Modern Fuel - How To Start A Company

    "That the possibilities are endless. No matter what you are making you have no idea of the scale and opportunities it will bring along until you are in the thick of it." –Andrew Sanderson of Modern Fuel Continue Reading

  • 9 Gifts That Keep Kids Busy While Traveling

    Traveling with kids can be an adventure. It also can be challenging. Whether you're planning a day-trip, road-trip, cruise, or cross-country flight, these nine gifts will help keep them busy (which means a better traveling experience for all).

    traveling with kids tips

    Moviac
    iZel Smartphone and Tablet Stand

    This handy stand is a simple but smart design. Like an easel for your smartphone or tablet, it holds devices securely in either portrait or landscape position. Perfect for watching while videos on-the-go. ($24.95) Shop Now

    tips for traveling with kids

    Möbi
    Numerical Tile Game

    Möbi is a fun, fast-paced tile game that helps kids (and grown-ups) learn and apply basic math skills. Packs away in an adorable blue whale bag, and it’s ready to play on any flat surface. ($19.95) Shop Now

    good tips for traveling with kids Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Leslie Scott of Walton Wood Farm

    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 Leslie Scott, the Maker behind Walton Wood Farm. Walton Wood Farm uses a “farm forward” approach with their natural bath and body products. Leslie is a Coast Guard veteran and wilderness hiker, and packs her outdoor experiences and unique perspective into their goods. 

    Meet the Maker WAlton Wood Farm

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    A writer and a pilot. My father told me I would never be either. I had major learning disabilities and there were no resources for me back then. That didn't stop me. I've won two International film festivals for my screenplays, and write all of the copy for my labels and website. At the age of 47, I got my pilot's license and fly a 1947 Piper Cub on floats. I was 49 when I started Walton Wood Farm with a dream of saving our historic barn–200 years from now, I won't be here, but it will. That's powerful. I have this incredible gratitude that I was able to fulfill all of my lifelong dreams. Never give up. It's never too late.

    Where do you find inspiration when coming up with new scents?
    I think about the person. What does their personality evoke? Are they hearty, but vulnerable, too? Gentle with a secret edginess? How does that translate to the natural world? Lily of the Valley, sandalwood, cardamom, black pepper and sweet orange? That's where it all starts. People and nature–there's a parallel (believe it or not).

    Meet the Maker of Walton Wood Farm

    What other things do you love to make?
    Tea, with herbs from my garden. Or an original dinner concoction in a crock-pot. I love serving great food to the people I care about. Nothing says, "I love you" like a long-simmering stew made with a stout beer.

    maker advice

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    I walk the farm. Any weather is fine with me. Rain or sleet–I bundle up. Nature is one big show and there are no re-runs.

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    I thought I would run out of ideas, but they keep coming. I think when you open a faucet, stuff trickles out. Then the pump is primed and it just gushes through. Continue Reading

  • Gifts Made by Maker Dads

    With Father’s Day around the corner, we thought we’d showcase a few dedicated dads who run their own businesses—selling products they make themselves. 

    Meet the Maker Fat Toad Farm

    Maker:Steve Reid
    Business: Fat Toad Farm
    Fat Toad Farm is a family-run goat dairy in Brookfield, Vermont. It was started as a raise-your-own-food effort, but when the herd grew from 2 to 12 to 25 and started producing much more milk than one family could drink, Fat Toad Farm became a certified goat dairy and began making out of this world caramel sauces. Today the family—Steve Reid, Judith Irving, Calley Hastings, and Josey Hastings—fills various roles on the farm and in the production room. Learn More

    Meet the Maker Fish Aye Trading

    Maker: John Doherty
    Business: Fish Aye Trading
    If Dad's a fisherman, he'll appericate these prints. Centuries ago, people used painted fish rubbings to document different species. John’s prints document his Cape Cod catch, preserving details such as the patterns of fish scales. His prints also celebrate his love of the ocean and marine life. He paints the body of a saltwater fish with water-based paints, then places fabric on top and gently rubs it to make a print.  Learn More
    Continue Reading

  • 9 Unique Gifts For Grandpa

    gifts for grandpa

    Want to thank your father or grandfather for the role he plays in your family's life?  Resist purchasing that "World's Best Grandpa" coffee mug–this year, wrap up something unique and unexpected.

    Let us help you make him feel extra special with a thoughtful Father's Day gift. We know that finding gifts for him can be challenging–but don't worry, we've done all of the hard work for you. Here are nine of our favorite gift ideas that are sure to make Grandpa smile.

    9 Unique Gifts For Grandpa

    Patent Prints
    Technical Drawings

    These high-quality prints are of original patent drawings for a myriad of inventions. From the everyday things we use at home, to specialized items relied on by professionals or hobbyists, these prints add a bit of history and personalization to a home or office.  With twelve patent designs to choose from, you're bound to find one Grandpa will appreciate. ($19.95) Shop Now

    9 Unique Gifts For Grandpa

    Tin Cup
    Personalized Golf Ball Marker

    With this gift, Grandpa can make his golf ball uniquely his. This stainless steel stencil lets you easily add an initial to standard golf balls, making them easier to identify while adding some personality. Choose a picture or even a monogrammed initial. ($29.95) Shop Now Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Andrew Sanderson of Modern Fuel

    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 Andrew Sanderson, the Maker behind Modern Fuel. Modern Fuel’s metal mechanical pencil was designed by Andrew to be your “pencil for life" and it's made right here in the USA.

    Modern Fuel

    What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
    Just pick one! I have a book full of ideas and I would add to it weekly and constantly start new projects. Organization was an issue and keeping focused was even harder. It wasn’t until I boxed everything up (to the delight of my wife) and picked one to commit all my time to that the magic started to happen.

    How do you push through roadblocks in creativity or business?
    Fresh air, I really find going for a walk or even just eating my lunch outside helps me make more progress. Business wise, I find talking with other designers and business owners is the best way to learn how to be more efficient, spend my time wisely and find new tools. I spend a lot of time reaching out to like minded makers in town.

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    That the possibilities are endless. No matter what you are making you have no idea of the scale and opportunities it will bring along until you are in the thick of it. If someone had told me I would start a successful growing business that is expanding into other products and gaining more and more attention from designing a mechanical pencil that I wanted I would have probably run off scared and not known where to start.

    Maker Quote

    What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    1. Always thinking I can fix things, this comes from my mechanical mind.
    2. Being able to take advice and feedback (and doing something with it).
    3. Always being willing to share my knowledge–people have done it for me and I try to do it for others. It always come back in spades. Continue Reading

  • 9 Easy Ways To Be More Green

    Going "green" doesn't have to be overwhelming–a few small changes can add up to make a big impact. Here at The Grommet, we work with Makers who are mindful about the environment, and who are crafting eco-friendly products from natural materials, using sustainable production methods, and focusing on reducing their carbon footprint. They've  done all the hard work for you. So, if you're interested in making simple changes in the name of Mother Nature, read on.

    eco friendly products - Vejibag

    eco friendly products - Juice in the Box

    Add Some Green to Mealtime: Prep, Enjoy, and Store 

    The kitchen is a great place to make a few green upgrades. Ditch the plastic bags and try Vejibag, an ingenious produce keeper that’s made of American-grown organic cotton and hand-sewn in Maine. It gives produce the humidity it needs, keeping it fresh and crisp far longer than plastic. And while you're thinking of ways to use less plastic, get the kids involved by swapping their drink pouches for Juice in the Box. This reusable juice and drink box is made from Tritan plastic; BPA and Phthalate free. Its no leak container holds eight ounces and can be filled with your own beverages (which are often much healthier).

    Earth-In Canteen - eco friendly products

    Coverflex - eco friendly products

    If you're looking to ditch the disposable water bottle habit yourself, Earth-In Canteen is an elegant alternative. This beautiful clay vessel is Made in the USA, keeps water cool, and eliminates any metallic taste. You can even use it to store olive oil, vinaigrettes, wine, and more. And while you're at it, kicking the plastic habit for storing food just got a lot more convenient, thanks to these reusable food covers from Coverflex. They’re made from 100% food-grade silicone and designed to stretch, so you can fit them over all types of dishes, bowls, and pans. (Bonus, your cabinets will be a lot less cluttered once you remove all of those plastic storage containers.) Continue Reading

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