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Category: Behind the Scenes

  • Meet the Maker: Rhonda Francis of Fairy Fastener

    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 Rhonda Francis, one part of the triplet-Makers behind Fairy Fastener. Rhonda, Terri, and Lou put their identical problem-solving heads together to solve an everyday issue—how to put on necklaces and bracelets all by yourself. These entrepreneurial ladies call themselves the Fairies—and their jewelry clasp helpers Fairy Fasteners. We recently chatted with Rhonda to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey. 

    makers of fairy fastener Terri, Rhonda, and Lou–Makers of Fairy Fastener

    ...

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    We have been fortunate to know and be introduced to some wonderfully creative and talented people. It takes a village to raise a child, much like the creative development of an idea. We're not afraid to ask for input and guidance. It's amazing how supportive people have been.

    Best creative advice that you ever received?
    Build prototypes, test them. Conduct test market product reviews.

    ...
    What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    That's a funny question, because our company was founded by triplet sisters. My brother always said I had a third of a brain.  :)
    I feel that the strongest traits for all three of us are, being passionate, commitment to our ideas and to each other, and accepting and embracing risk.

    meet the maker of Fairy Fastener

    What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
    It will be much harder then you think, but you will get past those awkward and uncomfortable moments. You can't do it alone. Choose people to take on responsibilities that are not your strengths. Don't think that you can manage every aspect of a start up. Look at the big picture and develop a solid business plan before you make large financial commitments. Know your target market and develop strategies for them.

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    I have learned more then I thought I could, would, or should. I amaze myself, my partners, and my family on my ability, tenacity, and endurance to develop a brand that my sisters and I are proud to sell. Continue Reading

  • Our Birthday Infographic: 8 years and over 2,000 Makers

    The Grommet turns 8 years old today! We're celebrating with a new infographic about what we—our Makers, our community, our customers, our Retailers, and The Grommet Team—have helped accomplish, together.

    The Grommet Birthday Infographic

  • Follow Every Grommet Launch on Snapchat

    Everyday we launch brand new products from Makers and there's only one place to see them live: Snapchat. Follow 'thegrommet' or scan the Snapcode below in the app to see behind the scenes footage, exclusive sneak peeks at future products, and daily launches in action.

    Here's a taste of what you're in for. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Jules & Joanne of The Grommet

    jules joanneThis week is the National Week of Making, a celebration of innovation, creation, and the entrepreneurial spirit. It is also the two-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 special episode, Jules and Joanne discuss what prompted the start of The Grommet, the struggles and triumphs of building the business, 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

  • The (March) Madness of Entrepreneurship

    It’s the season of brackets so I filled out my own. Not for the NCAA basketball tournament. That’s easy. Michigan wins, end of bracket. I’m told that would be “busted.” Mine is a bracket of skills one needs to succeed as an entrepreneur. Game on.

    The (March) Madness of Entrepreneurship

    ...

    Sweet Sixteen

    Opportunity Region

    (1) Tenacity over (8) Charm

    A slam-dunk. There will be legendary hills and valleys in starting a business and when you’re sitting in a room by yourself going crazy, charm will get you nowhere. Every single day you need tenacity.

    (3) Energy over (6) Intellect

    Similarly, you need energy day in, day out. You’re a battery cell for the rest of the team. The leverage of your energy is much more useful than intellect. You need intellect, but it doesn’t excite your team.

    (4) Salesmanship over (5) Financial Acumen

    Salesmanship beats financial acumen because you can hire financial acumen. You can also teach it to yourself. Salesmanship is more innate. However, one fallacy about salesmanship is it’s a type of person. Lots of personalities can be killer great salespeople. It doesn’t have to be an extrovert or someone who likes to backslap; it can be anyone if they can establish a rapport and credibility in their idea.

    (2) Resourcefulness over (7) Courage

    You can be a successful founder and fall into a puddle every night due to a lack of courage. Courage isn’t an inherent quality. But resourcefulness, especially early on, is essential. It’s trading low value assets for high value assets. Our team at SXSW put this into practice. With a tighter budget than most, they couldn’t throw money at the problem but still had to make an impact. You can judge for yourself how they did.

    A more extreme case was our early office furniture. It was largely rejects from failed startups. I’d be driving around on the weekend, find a chair on the side of the road and pick it up. Seriously. Here’s my blog post detailing what our Director of Wholesale, Jason McCarthy, called our chairs: Sh*t on Wheels. We had to work and sit somewhere so we found a cost-effective way to do it. You need that constant bartering mentality.

    Continue Reading

  • Kick off the National Week of Making with a local shop

    After last year’s National Maker Faire, we were delighted when the White House declared June 12-18 would be the national “Week of Making." Here at The Grommet,  we're kicking off National “Week of Making” with meetups at local shops from coast-to-coast.

    The Maker Faire, is the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth” and embodies the pulse of the Maker Movement as hundreds of Makers and tens of thousands of attendees take part in this “family-friendly festival of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness." Now, dedicating a week to celebrate Maker communities nationwide is the perfect way to continue embracing the Maker economy.

    National Week of Making

    To celebrate during the week of June 13-18, The Grommet is hosting a series of “Maker Economy Meetups” at independent Retailers from coast-to-coast. We're excited to keep growing the Maker Economy with you and other shoppers, Makers, and supporters.
    The Meetups will connect local and regional Makers, Retailers, and consumers much like a local farmer’s market, where shoppers get to know the people behind the items they buy. Makers and shoppers will also get a chance to meet local Retailers who are working on the front lines to drive the Maker Economy forward.

    Continue Reading

  • Make a Difference in Nepal

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    On April 25, the Nepal earthquake took the lives of several thousand and displaced hundreds of thousands more in the region. This past week, another earthquake hit Nepal further damaging the area and complicating relief efforts for this tragedy, which remain constant as those affected work to rebuild their lives.

    Seven Grommet Makers work in or source from Nepal and neighboring countries. While thankfully none were among the casualties, some saw their homes destroyed and all of them are in the process of helping their country cope.

    For the next week, The Grommet will be donating proceeds from the sales of these products (below), to Nepal relief funds to help in their efforts.

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    Lollycadoodle
    Lollycadoodle creates cat caves and pet mats sourced and made in Nepal by local artisans at a fair trade facility. All products are made of renewable, naturally breathable and insulating wool that are water and dirt-resistant. They keep your pet warm in the winter months while maintaining body temperature and minimizing odor in the summer. Shop now

     

    VideoStillV2_PilgrimWaterScarves Continue Reading

  • The (Make Make Make Make) Maker Movement Soundtrack [Shake it Off Parody]

    Makers gonna make… and we made a music video. When the pop music world gives you a gem like “Shake It Off,” you’ve got to make a parody (right?). Well at least for us, it made these recent snow days a bit more bearable.

    The Grommet team is all about good stories, good products, good videos, and (after hours) a good jam session, so why not throw it all together? Press play to catch our team and cast of Makers, making and shaking … 

    to this. sick. beat.

    ...

     ...

    Want to learn more about the Maker Movement? Check out our Maker Movement infographic.

    Continue Reading

  • The Family That Works Together, Stays Together

    Here at The Grommet, we know first-hand that becoming a successful Maker and entrepreneur is hard work. It takes skill, relentless dedication, and a bit of luck. It also takes a village. For 16% of our Makers, that village is their own family. Working as part of a family business is a unique and interesting experience yet it's not for everyone. There are always challenges when running a business and working with family that can sometimes make it even more difficult. Yet for those who do make it work, they make it work very well. We asked a few of our Makers who happen to share a last name with their co-workers what it's like to work with family and how they've found success and happiness together.

     

    family owned business - Vinrella

    "Working together can bring you even closer and forge strong bonds, but only if you bring out the best in each other. Plain and simple, the energy has to be right. We happen to work really well together for a variety of reasons but we believe deeply in each other and our unique abilities. We grew up in different generations so we often have unique, fresh ideas that the other wouldn't think of. That's beneficial"

    Sheri & Nicole Hammonds- Mother / Daughter team and Makers of Umbrella in a bottle, Vinrella

    family owned business - Pilgrim Waters

    "Working together is like finding the missing jigsaw piece, Keith and I are true opposites: I work from a point of view that there are no limits...throwing my heart in to a new idea and  metaphorically setting sail. Then Keith  chorales  us in to an organized and productive harbor so we can be focussed and methodical which enables us to  grow our business. Being equally motivated and sharing different aspects of the business is more and more gratifying and makes us truly happy."

    Keith and Susy Waters - Husband / Wife Team and Makers of Pilgrim Waters

    Continue Reading

  • Pop-In and Meet Our Makers

    The Grommet Pop-In Shop You might have heard that we've recently opened our first-ever Pop-In Shop in Boston's South End. Teaming up with local Retailer, Michelle Willey we've set up shop within her storefront for the holiday season (Not local? You can browse all of the products here). By bringing our Grommets to a retail location, we are making it easier for you to support independent Makers this holiday season and purchase gifts that have meaning.  This retail experience has given us the chance to meet many of you in person and in turn, we invite you to meet and greet with some of our local Makers. Check below for dates and time of our Meet the Maker weekends. We hope to see you there.

    Saturday 12/13

    Meet Elizabeth from Yoga by Numbers, 12:00-2:00 Meet Mark from R. Murphy Knives, 3:00-5:00

    Sunday 12/21

    Meet Jennifer from Refleece, tentatively 1:00-3:00

     

    Can't make it to meet our Makers? Be sure to pop in to the shop anytime to browse and shop Grommets in person. 

    Where:
    Michelle Willey 8 Union Park Street, Boston, MA
    When:
    November 20 - December 24
    Hours
    Mon-Sat 11-6, Sun 12-5

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