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Meet the Maker: Oliver Shuttlesworth

Here at The Grommet our mission is to put an end to nameless, faceless business and highlight the people and the stories behind the products we launch each day. And it's in that spirit that we're continuing this series to further share the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as Makers and entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

In this installment we're catching up with Maker Oliver Shuttlesworth, a Texas-based Maker who has set out to make a difference. After witnessing the extreme poverty and lack of education for children in Central America, Oliver was inspired to do something about it. He founded Esperos on the simple, yet powerful idea of bringing hope for a brighter future to children in need. We recently caught up with Oliver to learn more about his view on being a Maker and starting a business. 

Meet the Maker of Esperos

Photo By Ashley Landis/Contributor Chron


What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?

Hmm. That's a tough question. I would have to say determination, flexibility, and, as strange as it it to say, sheer ignorance. I think that the determination to see ESPEROS grow and succeed has pushed me through a number of difficult obstacles and barriers.

To me, being flexible means knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, so to speak. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to never marry yourself to an idea. I think it is really easy as an entrepreneur to get buried in your work and to sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture to the detriment of the product or service you provide. I've tried to make a point of readily accepting feedback and ideas to ensure we're moving forward as a brand and never settling for the status quo.

Lastly, I think that being a bit ignorant is a strong trait of mine. To be honest, when I started ESPEROS, I had no idea how the retail industry worked (and that is an ongoing education). I set out with lofty goals in mind and I've pursued large retailers, international markets, and some pretty crazy ideas in the short time ESPEROS has been around, but I think that the company is all the better for it, especially since we're now experiencing an emerging national presence with Whole Foods having launched products in Asia in July!

What has been the most rewarding part of business for you?

Without a doubt, I would say the ability to make an impact on the lives of others. I started ESPEROS to make a meaningful difference in communities where hope can sometimes feel lost. It has been incredible to see that mission resonate with others and I'm extremely proud that, together with our customers, we're playing a part in making the world around us a better, brighter place.

Meet the Maker: Esperos

What Maker tool can you not live without?

I'd have to say my sketch pad and pencils.

Are you a risk taker?

Ha. Perhaps sometimes to my detriment. I've always believed in "going for it," but I think that is a necessary trait for every successful entrepreneur. You can't be afraid to push the boundaries or take risks.

Esperos Bags

Our Community wants to know that their support of you and your product has made a difference. Please tell us if you were able to grow and in what way due to the sales, shares, and visibility you received from The Grommet and our community.

The Grommet has been an amazing support. We have received a few wholesale opportunities from our presence on the site and we have received some great feedback and enthusiastic support from users on the site. The Grommet and its users are awesome!

Words of wisdom for other Makers who are just starting out?

I know it is cliché, but I'd say to not be afraid to fail. Failing is not always a negative, especially if you learn from mistakes along the way. Some of the best lessons I've learned have resulted from complete and total failures on my part.

To learn more, watch our video of Esperos here.

Read more in our Meet the Maker series, and get to know Danny Fein of Litographs, Val Viera of Sprigs, and Sativa Turner of Whooz?.


  • Manny Cervantes Says:

    Wonderful mission of the type that takes a lot of fortitude. I certainly wish you all the best for this effort to help these young people have a better chance to learn something that will help them out of poverty.

    I do find the name Esperos somewhat unusual. In the singular it means "I wait" or "I hope". On the part of the recipients of your effort the word to describe their hope would be "esperanza". Please don't take my comment negatively, I do mean well. If there is something I can do for you do contact me.

  • Pat Says:

    I just want to know how much it weights. I want to walk the Camino de Santiago‏. The one thing the web sites says is weight everything. So it must start with the bag.

  • Richard Says:

    I think you have a very interesting store, with each new invention, a new perception. Yes I have learned from what you've shown, unfortunately the items all seem to be a little out of my price range, how ever I will save if I see something.

  • Tori Says:

    Hi Pat, it weighs 2.5 lb.

  • Dolores Says:

    I applaud you for your choice of word. The "meaning" comes across very clearly!!! I am sure you considered your options when you chose "Esperos".
    Congratulations for your caring heart, and I wish only the best for you !

  • DEBBIE D Says:

    I had an English teacher when I was in Junior High, I went to school at Phillips, Texas and her name was Shuttlesworth!
    I haven't heard that name in a long time. Her husband was the Shop Teacher at the same school.
    Enjoyed the article.

  • Shiku Says:

    I love your bags and '' Esperos'' sounds good.. I am a bag maker and I can tell you the simpler the better... All the best!

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