One of our product 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.
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.”
It’s nothing new. Nearly half of World War II vets owned or operated a business. They had the skills. Leadership and creative problem solving easily transition from battlefield to office. And of course one of the few things riskier than starting a business is war.
And yet, funding access remains elusive for them and all of our underrepresented entrepreneurs. With Veteran’s Day this week, let’s get patriotic. To the vets! Here are unique and innovative products made by veterans.
Army Veterans Kim Jung and Keith Alaniz founded Rumi Spice after serving in Afghanistan. There they met rural Afghan farmers growing saffron—and decided that this lucrative crop could help them gain financial independence. The rest is history (link to MTM episode). Rumi Spice continues to sell some of the world’s best sustainably sourced saffron from the farmers they met.
With Honey Bee City, you can try to make some of the world’s best honey in your backyard thanks to a group of military vets. Each starter beekeeper kit is Made in the USA and stacks in modular components for easy assembly. Plus the design takes up little space—perfect for apartments or other urban spaces with small backyards. Be sure to check your local laws about hive regulations first, then start your own bee colony.
Army member Jonathan Teplitsky made packing simple and mess-free with PACK Gear. His travel organizer weighs less than a t-shirt, fits in backpacks, luggage and gym bags, and hangs anywhere. Four closable compartments keep your stuff accessible and secure. And they’re mesh, so no more blindly rummaging for something you need on a hike across Europe or a getaway weekend.
Father and Marine Veteran Glenn Klecker and son Nathan started Klecker Knives to create innovative knives and tools for all ages. The KLAX is a multi-tool without a handle; it can be a hammerhead, hex wrench and knife. With a handle (or the right size branch) it’s an axe. The Abiqua knife is low profile and handles tough jobs on the hunting trail or camping ground. And the Klecker children’s plastic knife kit teaches beginners the safety and assembly of a lock-back knife.
Veteran-owned and American-made, the secure stakes from Speed Cinch make tying down ropes, cords, and lines an easy task—without tying any knots. Feed the rope through the cinch, loop it around, and lock it into place. It’s simple to remove and reuse to hold lines for tents, canopies, or for landscaping jobs like tying back bushes.
Inspiration for Bru-Bag struck James Raffety and Scott Quick at a cookout. Half the party was outside playing cornhole, the other half inside playing beer pong. To get everyone together, the two veterans and high school buddies combined the best parts of both. Each set is Made in the USA from basswood and it’s portable, so the fun can go with you wherever you want to play.
Serving in arid Afghanistan and dealing with spotty shower access, Dr. Aeneas Janze saw the need for a practical way to clean up. He met it with extra large wipes. The size of a regular towel, Epic Wipes are equipped to clean and freshen up after a run, trip to the beach or epic mess. They’re made from bamboo and essential oils like eucalyptus and chamomile, ingredients that smell great, clean you up well, and make the wipes biodegradable.
Coast guard veteran and wilderness hiker Leslie Scott and her husband Peter are your typical farmers. They grow traditional crops while creating sustainable, all-natural bath and body products with a “farm forward” approach. The Walton Wood Farm solid colognes are light and fresh with a moisturizing texture and ingredients from Shea Butter to Vitamin E.
This Veteran’s Day, salute the sacrifice and celebrate the successes of our veteran Makers.