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Category: Citizen Commerce

  • 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. So we recently attended a conference held by the Urban Manufacturing Alliance 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.

    VideoStillV1_Jamstik

    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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  • Talking Week of Making with The Grommet Founders

    jules joanneThe National Week of Making is an annual celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit. It highlights "the diversity of Makers big and small, young and old, urban and rural" throughout the country. It honors the DIYers, tinkerers, inventors, and innovators.

    You probably know someone who fits into one of those categories. This week — and for the rest of the year — you can join the Nation of Makers in supporting, engaging, and promoting individuals and organizations who are creating the next generation of products and opportunities for Makers of all ages.

    This week also marks the three-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 rebroadcasted episode, Jules and Joanne discuss what prompted the start of The Grommet and the struggles and triumphs of building it, 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

  • Shop Local, Shop Small on Small Business Saturday

    After the Thanksgiving leftovers have been packed away, the department store mania of Black Friday has died down, and just before Cyber Monday kicks the internet into a frenzy, the biggest shopping day in the country is happening in your backyard: Small Business Saturday.

    Small Business Saturday - The Grommet

    Last year, 95 million people spent $16.2 billion shopping small on Small Business Saturday. American Express, who in year’s prior had offered monetary incentives to cardholders on Small Business Saturday, pulled back on those incentives only to see small business customers increase.

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  • 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

  • Support Makers Whose Values Align With Yours

    The Grommet is a place where you can shop by your values to make more impactful purchases. Look for these value symbols on the Grommets we launch.

    Made in the USA copy
    Here’s the place to find unique products made in the USA. These American-made products create jobs and opportunities for local communities.  Discover our Made in the USA products.

    ..
    Shop by Values: Made in the USA
    Sustainable Living
    Discover eco-friendly products and accessories, including organic clothing, all-natural health and beauty aids and green jewelry designers. See all Sustainable Living products.
    ..
    Shop by Values: Social Enterprise
    Handcrafted
    Explore handcrafted products, personal creations and one-of-a-kind items from artists around the world. If you’re the type of person who enjoys spending a day at the craft fair, learn how we're committed to the preservation of craft. We support local artisans, and we strive to help readers discover and buy handmade items online from these gifted entrepreneurs. Discover Handcrafted products.
    ...     Continue Reading

  • 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

  • Discover How You Can Bring Back American Manufacturing

    Meet the Maker: Vermont Rolling Pin

    The Grommet’s launch conversation board is wonderfully unique to the Internet, which, for a resource that provides access to anything in seconds, is saying something. It provides you with the opportunity to speak to the Maker of a product on their launch day.

    During that time, we are often flooded with positive feedback and comments like “This is awesome!” “Why didn’t I think of that?” or our favorite “I love supporting small Makers on The Grommet.” For a Maker, it is validating  to see such support.

    At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is…“Why is it made in China?” “Too expensive!” “I can get this for $10 at Amazon!” It’s often difficult to answer questions about why a Maker is manufacturing overseas because each product comes with its own story –and each Maker has to work within their own framework. But we do know it will be easier in the future to manufacture in America for many Makers and that’s thanks to the Maker Movement – the next industrial revolution poised to transform local economies and our entire nation as a whole. 

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  • Maker Update: Haiti Projects

    When we launched Haiti Projects on The Grommet five years ago, they were already an organization we were proud to stand behind. By employing women in Haiti to make nightgowns, the mission was not only to provide them with access to income, but also education, family-planning resources, and microloans. We recently caught up with the organization and were blown away by their progress since launch.

    HaitiProjects1

    Haiti Projects continues to employ about 90 women, they are the second largest employer in the Fond-des-Blancs region of Haiti. This year, they provided every single employee a 3% living wage increase, and promoted five employees to supervisory positions. Over the next two years, their goal is to add an additional 100 jobs to the organization. This year, they began a beekeeping initiative which has allowed them to hire four male beekeepers and produce 50 gallons of 100% organic honey.

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  • Your Purchase Matters (More Than You May Realize)

    The Grommet is a place where you can shop by your values to make more impactful purchases. Look for these value symbols on the Grommets we launch.

    .Shop by values: Made in the USA Here’s the place to find unique products made in the USA. These American-made products create jobs and opportunities for local communities.  

    ...Shop by Values: Made in the USA   Shop by values: Natural & Eco Discover eco-friendly products and accessories, including organic clothing, all-natural health and beauty aids and green jewelry designers.

    ...

    Shop by Values: Social Enterprise             Shop by values: HandcraftedExplore handcrafted products, personal creations and one-of-a-kind items from artists around the world. If you’re the type of person who enjoys spending a day at the craft fair, learn how we're committed to the preservation of craft. We support local artisans, and we strive to help readers discover and buy handmade items online from these gifted entrepreneurs.

    ...     Continue Reading

  • A Custom Designed Grommet: From Idea to Finished Product

    bowtie

    On Wednesday, May 28th, The Grommet launched OoO Tie, modern bow ties with quirky, unique designs. These ties were created by two friends in Boston who wanted to show off their intellectual sides while adding some flair and creativity to their sense of style.

    Since these tie designs brought out the inventive side in our community, we decided to hold a fun contest where the founders asked what type of designs our supporters wanted to see created. Ideas ranged from nautical themes to fish and robots. It wasn't an easy decision, but the founders chose a winning design and have spent the last few months turning it into a real life bow tie. Angela Matusik, an archeologist from Orlando, Florida thought it would be cool to see petroglyphs on a bow tie and the founders loved the idea.

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