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Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship

  • Meet the Maker: Danny Fein of Litographs

    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 share this blog series in which we can continue telling the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    In our sixth installment we're catching up with Maker Danny Fein. Danny and his brother Cory  founded Litographs, taking manuscripts from classic books and creating illustrations relating to a theme, character, or setting from each turning them into works of art. Read on as Danny shares insights on running a successful family business and sharing tips on how to grow your own business.

    Meet the Maker: Litographs

    Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats, especially when their businesses are young. Any role in particular that you unexpectedly liked or disliked?

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  • The Maker Movement: Our Future Economy (An Infographic)

    Maker Movement | Infographic: The Grommet

    CLICK ON IMAGE AND THEN ZOOM TO ENLARGE

    If you read our blog regularly,  you know that we've discussed the impact (and importance) of the Maker Movement before. The innovative, new-to-market products coming from this movement are the reason we do business every day and we're certain this is not just a passing trend. Today we're unveiling a visual representation of the Maker Movement; its impact on consumer products, manufacturing, retail, and our economy as a whole. Whether you're a Maker, Retailer, or consumer, you're touched by this movement and we are eager to share how through this infographic.

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  • Meet the Maker: Sativa Turner

    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 share this blog series in which we can continue telling the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    The inspiration that led to this Maker's "aha-moment" came out of necessity, but her products are anything but ordinary. Sativa Turner, Founder of Whooz? first shared her story with us last spring with a launch on The Grommet and cords have never looked boring since. We're catching up with Sativa in this edition of Meet the Maker, read on for more! 

     

    Meet the Maker: Whooz?

    What Maker tool can you not live without?

    X-acto knife. Whenever I get excited about a new idea, the first thing I want to do is mock it up as quick as I can. 90% of the time this entails me cutting something up with my X-acto.

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  • Support the O-Rings Crowdfunding Campaign on Indiegogo

    Product Pitch Competition winner: O-Rings

     

    Recent Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) graduates, Maeve Jopson and Cynthia Poon caught the entrepreneurial bug during a school project senior year and in their own words, it’s been a wild ride ever since. After graduation, they dove head first into developing their product, the O-Rings, a full body sensory toy that is designed for all kids to play with and learn from regardless of abilities, age or gender. Since winning the “Ready for Crowdfunding” category at our Product Pitch event this past March, they’ve been busy preparing for their crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.We are proud to share that after months of hard work, their campaign is LIVE and there are only a few weeks left to support them.

    Please help us to support O-Rings during these last few weeks and read through a recent conversation to learn more about the duo and then watch their video. Want to support Increment Studios and their product, O-Rings on Indiegogo? Donate here.

     

    What is Increment Studios and O-Rings?

    Increment creates sensory play things to encourage independence and exploration among all kids regardless of age, ability or gender. The O-Rings are a full body sensory toy and each of the rings is a different color, size, texture, and filling designed for engaged tactile play.

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  • Now Launching: Sustainable Businesses in the USA

    Here at The Grommet, our MO is to support up-and-coming entrepreneurs and new to market products. But we aren’t the only ones on a mission to help Makers.

    Shannon Whitehead is the Founder of Factory45, a new accelerator program that gives independent makers the resources to start sustainable businesses in the USA.

    I was lucky enough to interview Shannon and learn more about this new initiative, what she see’s in the Maker landscape and why she felt compelled to start Factory45.

    startup accelerator - Made in the USA

    What is your background? How did you get into being a sustainable clothing consultant?

    In 2010 I co-founded {r}evolution apparel, a sustainable clothing company for female travelers and minimalists. We launched a Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2011 for our signature piece, the Versalette, one garment that can be worn over 20 different ways. We became the highest-funded fashion project in Kickstarter history at that time and were featured in The New York Times, Forbes.com, WSJ.com and Yahoo! News.

    In the beginning of 2013, I started a small consulting company to help other designers and sustainable apparel brands launch and grow their own businesses. Realizing that I most enjoy working with startups, I launched an accelerator program at the beginning of April called Factory45. Starting on June 2nd, I’ll be working with 10 people, for six months, to launch sustainable businesses in the USA. (Applications are open now until April 28, 2014.)

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  • Hickies is Kickin' Off Their Newest Kickstarter Campaign

    Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 12.09.32 PM

    We always say that when our Makers succeed, we succeed. This is an integral part of our mission so when one of our Makers hits a milestone, we shout it from the rooftops and when they need support, we shout that as well.

    We couldn't be happier to see all the success that our Maker, Hickies has received over the past few years and they recently announced venture capital funding to grow their business even further. This is big news for them, but also for the consumer products industry as a whole since VC funding for those involved in the Maker Movement is less common. Hopefully this signals a shift in the industry and the interest of VC firms.

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  • Meet the Maker: Tippy Tippens

    Three years ago, we shared the story of one Maker and social entrepreneur on a mission to help with the  BP oil spill disaster in New Orleans. Tippy Tippens was a designer living in New York City who felt pulled to do something to help -- that's how BirdProject Soap was born. Today, we're catching up with Tippy to see how these little soaps have made a difference since their launch on The Grommet.

    Meet the Maker, Tippy Tippens on  The Grommet

    ...

    Four years have passed since the BP oil spill disaster  and creation of your company, BirdProject Soap -- tell us, how are things different four years later?

  • What is Crowdfunding?

    Makers need more than a great idea, well crafted product, or solid business plan to get their companies off the ground -- they need capital. There are several ways to get funding for a business, however crowdfunding is a growing choice for many entrepreneurs out there.

    What is Crowdfunding

    What is crowdfunding?

    Crowdfunding is a funding method where  people (the "crowd") fund personal or business projects and ideas with their own money.  They essentially make a donation to a crowdfunding campaign in order to help a particular business or venture  get the initial momentum and the push it needs. It works like this: you post your project on one of many crowdfunding sites which have a large group of users, or "potential investors", and they will fund your project (by making a monetary donation) if they are interested.  Through crowdfunding sites, such as IndieGogo and Kickstarter, individuals are influencing the world by amplifying the impact of products and voting with their dollars.

    The Grommet is a natural next step for crowdfunded Makers. In fact, we've launched many products that came out of successfully crowdfunded:  Get it Right Spatulas, Skallops, and Monkeylectric (just to name a few). See them all here.

    If you know of one that would be a great fit, please let us know about it in the comments below.

    If you're a Maker thinking of launching your own crowdfunding campaign, be sure to check out these crowdfunding success secrets from our Maker, Sunskis, before you do.

  • How to Get PR for Your New Business

    How to Get PR | Tips from Makers

    Building a business is hard, and if you're new to entrepreneurship, it can be difficult to learn on the go. There are so many aspects to think about and while you might have your head down building the best business you can, it's crucial to look up and ask yourself "once I build it, will they come?" The truth is getting them in the door also takes a lot of work. One crucial aspect of attracting the press and customers your young business needs is PR and Marketing. It's what helps you build your brand, drive awareness and gets people in the door shopping. However, the challenge for many Makers is that PR is just plain hard. 

    For a new business, those initial sales are critical. A strong marketing campaign will help and today we're going to touch on the importance of Public Relations. PR is something that everyone knows they need, yet few know how to successfully go about it. It's a skill that includes reading relevant news daily, making relationships and creating strong content that attracts reporters and consumers. One of our Grommet Makers, Michelle Isrow from Undercover Tape, has a natural knack for attracting press to her product. When I first spoke with Michelle, I was surprised and thrilled to see that Undercover Tape had been featured in high level publications like Real Simple and Daily Candy. She went on to describe all the hard work she put into getting those press hits and we're sharing many of her tips here today. Read more below for our conversation about PR for new businesses.

    How to Get PR | Tips from Grommet Maker, Undercover Tape Michelle and Michele, Co-Founders of Undercover Tape

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    You were lucky enough to earn high level coverage on your own. That is no easy feat. How did you do it?

    My business partner, Michelle and I are proud of the press we've received. It's been a lot of hard work and persistence. I began my PR journey with the help of a good friend named Google. Parents are the biggest customer base for us, so I scoured the web for sites that I thought would attract these moms and dads. I searched for editors contact info and sometimes I had to correspond with several people before I was put in touch with the right person. I then sent emails weekly until I received a response. Some said they didn't have a meaningful spot for us and others asked to contact them at a later date. I kept a log book of all these publications that I'd spoken with and a calendar so I knew when to follow up again. When I was lucky enough to receive a sample request from them, I made sure that I didn't just throw one in a bag and send. I made the presentation perfect so they would be as impressed as possible. After 6 months of persistence, I was able to land Real Simple. Daily Candy was a bit easier and took about 2 months to finally ink a piece on Undercover Tape.

    Once the press was live, what benefits did you see? Increased sales or web traffic? Were they immediate results or more long-term? 

    Once the press was live, we did see many benefits including sales, retail inquiries, general customer inquiries and increased website traffic. We're happy to share any and all knowledge we have with other entrepreneurs who are just starting out. We see the key as not just one press hit here and there, but to keep it going, which isn't easy. We aren't using a PR agency or representative, so that makes things harder as we don't have those relationships already, but are building them as we go.

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  • Meet the Maker: Aymie Spitzer

    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 beginning a new blog series in which we can continue sharing the stories of our Makers with you. Get to know them better, learn more about their journeys as entrepreneurs and learn how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    In our third installment we're catching up with Maker Aymie Spitzer. Aymie tells us that she has always been drawn to the beauty of vintage maps, particularity their hand lettering and ornate details. Inspired,  she turned her own hand lettering into a custom font to artfully adorn her wooden wall maps, necklaces and coasters. She founded Neighborwoods and launched on The Grommet last summer.

    Makers | Neighborwoods on The Grommet

     Read on for more of our Q&A with Aymie below.

     Maker Movement | Neighborwoods

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