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Meet the Maker: Vanessa Ellingso of Möbi

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 Vanessa Nobrega. Vanessa and her husband Mark, liked classic word games (Scrabble, Bananagrams) that disguises learning as play and they wanted to invent a game their son, Noah, would stay interested in as he grows up. That's how Möbi was born. Möbi is a fun, fast-paced number tile game for all ages. We recently caught up with Vanessa to learn more about her life as an entrepreneur and hear what advice she has for others just starting out.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I'm still thinking about this one!


How do you get around creative blocks?

Good question! A few years ago, my husband and business partner, Mark and I started having what we call "creative time." We would take 10 minutes out of our day, and just throw out ideas. Some were nuts and some were really nuts. Then there were those that were good, but had too many moving parts. The ones that we thought had legs and were excited about, we wrote down. When we revisited them, we looked at which ideas we could bring to market. This creative mindset put us on the path to creating Möbi. So as creative blocks come, we just stay true to the process of "creative time", which is now a normal part of our day. When that doesn't work, as sometimes it doesn't, we remove ourselves completely from the office –go for a run, take our son Noah to the park, to give things time.

What we are finding now is that creative blocks come up all the time and in all aspects of a business. There has been a shift since we started Möbi. At first, creativity lay in the color of the whale pouch, the tiles, etc –our physical product. Now, we are noticing that we have to be creative in other ways. How are we going to get this shipment to XYZ when our logistics team says that it's not possible? How do we get education boards interested in Möbi? Again though, we have stuck with talking things through for the most part. There is always an answer, you just have to find it.

What has been the most surprising aspect about starting a business?

How invigorating it is. Going from idea, to prototype, to product launch is such a cool adventure.


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

Creativity. Discipline. Patience.


What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

1. Love what you are doing and believe in the value of your idea.
2. Start now.
3. Trust your instincts.


To learn more about  Möbi, watch our video here.

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