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Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship

  • Extra Innings: An Update from MAX'IS Creations


    Our 2nd Annual Product Pitch Contest is less than one month away and our community is in full swing voting for their favorite product submissions. We’re excited to soon share the stories of this year’s winners, yet we are still following and supporting those who participated last year. Their story and journey certainly doesn't end at Product Pitch and we know there will be many great updates to come as they navigate through product development and launch.

    We also know our community is cheering them on and looking forward to these updates. One of our most popular finalists was  a young entrepreneur named Max Ash, who took home the win for community favorite. As a nine year old, he may be one of the youngest entrepreneurs around and has garnered lots of attention for his product MAX’IS Creations “Mug With a Hoop TM.” We recently checked in with Max and his mom, Jennifer to see what life has been like since winning the community vote at last year’s event.

    product pitch competition | The Grommet ---------------------------------------------Max and his product testing team


    First, a special note from Max:

    Hi everyone at The Grommet,

    Thank you for inviting me to Fenway Park to pitch my idea for a hot chocolate mug that lets you throw marshmallows into hot chocolate!  It’s been a really fun year.  What I’ve loved most about the last year is that I’ve made money selling my mugs!  It was really fun to go to Mudshark Studios to see them make my mugs.  I liked to see them put all of the parts of the mug together and I liked seeing all my mugs lined up.  I even got to sign some mugs while I was there!  I like getting boxes full of my mugs in the mail.  The hardest thing about the last year was seeing them be broken (a few mugs were broken during one of our shipments). I liked delivering my mugs to people and knowing that people paid me for the mugs. 



    new prodcuts | product pitch competition -------------------------------------------The finished (first edition) product


     Read on for our Q&A with Jennifer Ash from MAX'IS Creations

      Continue Reading

  • Journey to Launch: Yoga by Numbers Part II

    yoga by numbers

    This is the second installment in Elizabeth’s journey to launch on The Grommet. To read the first, click here.

    During Thanksgiving of 2012, close to a year after her health crisis began, Elizabeth had been practicing yoga diligently as a form of recovery and started to form the idea for Yoga by Numbers in her head. By June of 2013, she had working prototypes and by chance, met the Grommet team at an event held at their offices.

    The rest as they say, is history. When asked to describe her relationship with The Grommet, Elizabeth says “…meeting The Grommet and working with them to bring my product to market was like pouring gasoline on the fire. They provided so much of the expertise that I needed, including guidance, connections and tremendously smart people.” She then went on to tell me that entrepreneurship can be a lonely, isolating thing sometimes and others warned her of that early on. She was able to avoid the bulk of that with The Grommet’s help she says. “There was always someone to talk things through with, or bounce ideas off if I needed. It’s been truly wonderful.”

    yoga by numbers

    Her journey to launch on The Grommet has been a blessing, but hasn’t been without its challenges. Like most entrepreneurs, Elizabeth experienced roadblocks along the way. Manufacturing, she says was her biggest hurdle. It was her goal from the beginning to make a mat using ethical practices from an environmental and labor perspective and she wasn’t going to compromise her own values (although she was given many opportunities to do so). She needed to figure out a way to manufacture the mat according to her personal standards and then be able to explain why it would be more expensive than some mats out there. “We are on par with high end, brand name mats, even though the YbN mat is wider than most, made of natural rubber, made in the US, and comes printed with our design, which is what facilitates home practice. But we can’t compete with cheap vinyl mats on cost alone.” Getting the message to consumers that they get a big return on their investment has been challenging, says Elizabeth.

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  • Meet the Maker: Sarah Kaeck

    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 second installment we're catching up with Maker Sarah Kaeck. Sarah is a Vermonter, gardener, and mom, and  has been a long time fan of organic farming and buying local produce. So it's only natural that when faced with the question of how to preserve half eaten fruits and vegetables, she felt uneasy wrapping all that goodness up in something as environmentally un-friendly as plastic. She founded Bee's Wrap and launched on The Grommet in November of last year.

    Meet the Maker | Maker Movement

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

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  • Journey to Launch: Yoga by Numbers Part I

    Product Launch | Yoga by Numbers Elizabeth in action as she shoots her first video.


    In a series of two installments, we’re sharing a special story of one of our Makers, Elizabeth Morrow, who recently launched her new product, Yoga by Numbers this month on The Grommet. An easy to learn yoga mat for beginners, along with an instructional DVD, this is Elizabeth’s first foray into entrepreneurship and below is a behind the scenes look at her story.

    In the early winter months of 2012, Elizabeth Morrow was a young, bright woman working as a human rights policy researcher in Boston. Like many urban dwellers, she lived in the culture of getting more done faster and scheduling her calendar with little room to slow down. She felt happy and successful. Then one day, everything changed. A major, unexpected health crisis hit Elizabeth fast and hard.  She was forced to learn how to slow down physically and emotionally. Fortunately, today Elizabeth is on the road to recovery and has her strong support system to thank. It was during this recovery period that she came to some realizations, giving her the opportunity to shift her life in a very positive, yet unforeseen way. A blessing in disguise, Elizabeth became an active yoga practitioner because it was a safe option for her to exercise in a low impact way during rehabilitation. She began to love how yoga made her feel, but didn’t always want to travel to a studio for class. Sometimes her schedule didn’t allow for it, not to mention the recurring expense. What she really wanted was the ability to practice at home if she needed. Yet she was new to yoga and didn’t know how to properly execute a down dog, let alone some of the other poses and postures. She needed someone there to guide her and correct poses if they were off, and DVDs didn’t provide the detail she was looking for as a newcomer. This got Elizabeth thinking about how more people could have access to yoga if home based practice was practical for beginners.  When I asked her what made her decide to go for it and officially pursue this as a business idea, she simply said, “I just went for it. I decided I was going to just figure it out.” And so she did.

    Product Launch Platform Posing for her photo shoot at The Grommet


     “I just went for it. I decided I was going to just figure it out.”

      Continue Reading

  • Announcing: The 2nd Annual Product Pitch Contest

    how to pitch a productHave you ever had an innovative idea that could solve a common problem, change the world, or make something better? The founders of THINX did. Antonia Dunbar and sisters, Miki and Radha Agrawal, decided it was time to rethink women’s underwear. Last year, they entered our Product Pitch competition along with hundreds of other entrepreneurs for a chance to take their business to the next level. Voters at The Grommet’s 2013 Product Pitch Event agreed that THINX was that next great innovative idea and last week, they launched on The Grommet. You can see their video here.


    Now, right on the heels of last year's winner becoming a Grommet, we're warming up for our next 2nd Annual Product Pitch Season.



    Think your problem solver or hack has what it takes to be a Grommet? Great news, we're kicking off The 2nd Annual Product Pitch Contest and want to hear why your product should be our next winner.

    Submit your product for a chance to be one of 30 players to make it to the voting phase. Product submissions must fall into one of two categories: Ready for Crowdfunding or Ready for Market.  So, get those cameras rolling because we'll be asking for your video submissions beginning January 27, 2014.

    Here's first glance at our upcoming Product Pitch season

    Training Camp: The Submission Phase

    Submit your product for a chance to be one of 30 players (15 per category) to make it to the voting phase.

    Opening Day: January 27, 2014

    Closing Day: February 7, 2014

    Regular Season: The Voting Phase

    Vote daily to help your favorite product make it to the big leagues at the Final Pitch Event at Fenway stadium. The success of each contestant depends on the support of our community. So you'll want to keep the votes coming.

    Polls Open: February 17, 2014

    Polls Close: February 28, 2014

    Playoff Day March 20, 2014: The Final Pitch

    The top 3 most voted for products per category (6 products in all) will take their pitch to Fenway Park for a chance to be the Grand Prize Winner in their category.

    Click here for complete details on our 2014 Product Pitch event.


  • Meet the Maker: James McDonald

    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.

    We're kicking off this series with James McDonald, Founder and Designer of I Lost My Dog. In celebration of the unique landmarks and details that make different cities, boroughs, and towns special, James draws every aspect of his maps by hand right down to each individual letter—not a single typeface is used; every word is custom-designed.

    James McDonald, I Lost My Dog

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

     Did you have the entrepreneurial itch early on in your life? Or looking back, are you surprised your journey led you to starting your own business?

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  • EXTRA INNINGS: Updates from Blu2Green!


    This week, we're continuing our updates from some of our teams at our Product Pitch competition last March. We love watching how these companies are evolving and tracking their success!

    Below you’ll see some great updates from the Blu2Green team as they're in the midst of their very first crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo. If you feel strongly about their company, click "Contribute Now" on their Indiegogo page next to their video!

    They're educating us on just how much waste is created by hospitals each year. Did you know that over 1 million pounds of blue wrap you see at hospitals is thrown away each year? That's an equivalent to the weight of 250 cars! Learn more on their Indiegogo page here .

    We also got the chance to catch up with the team recently to find out how everything is going and what it's been like to launch a crowdfunding campaign (not an easy process)!

    Read more of our conversation below.

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  • Small Business Saturday at The Grommet

    Small Business Saturday: The Grommet

    This Saturday, November 30th is Small Business Saturday, a tradition that American Express started only a few years ago, but has gained enough steam to project close to 5 billion dollars in consumer spending last year as a result. It started as a way to empower people to make a difference in their own community, giving their dollars and support to their own town, or one that means something to them. It has since grown to be that and so much more.

    At The Grommet, we stand behind our makers and the majority of them are also small businesses. From Brooklyn, NY to Ann Arbor, Michigan to Bozeman, Montana, our Grommets are being made and manufactured in these towns where people live, work, play and call home. So this year we’re letting our Community know that by shopping for their favorite products on The Grommet, they’ll be supporting people all across the U.S., as well as The Grommet itself. We too are a small business located outside Boston, in a town called Somerville, MA. We’re proud to be located in this “maker dense” neighborhood and do our part every day to give back to the town that has given us so much. Want to know more about some of our Makers across the country? Read on..

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  • 5 Steps to Take Your Product From Concept to Reality

    Last week The Grommet co-founder and CEO, Jules Pieri, was interviewed by Entrepreneur Magazine to discuss insider tips on how to bring new products from initial concept to successful reality. Jules has posted to her personal blog here and we are posting the article in its entirety below as well.

    New Products | The Grommet and Entrepreneur Magazine Image Credit: Manifesto


    Via Entrepreneur.com: 11/17/13

    Jules Pieri started The Grommet, a product-launch platform, after realizing that contemporary entrepreneurs have ready access to manufacturing technology such as 3-D printing but no easy way to get their products into consumers' hands.

    Since 2008 The Grommet has brought 1,500 companies and 6,000 products to market through its online store, which produces video reviews and social media campaigns that emphasize the people behind the products. Says Pieri: "Our first cut isn't: Will this product sell well? It's: Do people want to know this story?"

    Pieri, who serves as CEO, walked us through the steps for taking a product from concept to reality.

    I have an idea for a product. Now what?
    Make sure there's a large market opportunity. I see a lot of mompreneurs, for instance, who are solving a very narrow problem that their child will have for only six months. Don't overlisten to your own needs. Do Google searches and see how many people are searching to solve the same problem. Check reviews on Amazon to see whether there are existing products.

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  • The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur

    Social Entrepreneur ----------------------------A child studying next to a Waka Waka solar powered light.


    Business and philanthropy are two words that haven’t always been seen together, and some might argue they're polar opposites. Things like corporate social responsibility have always existed, but often in silos, unrelated to the core mission of an organization. Here at The Grommet, we've noticed a growing trend recently where these lines are crossing and companies are existing to do good and watch their bottom line at the same time. More and more companies are popping up that combine a social change aspect such as donating their products, or a portion of their proceeds to a charitable organization.

    So is the business world shifting to be more conscious overall?

    We think the answer is yes. Looking at the world holistically, we see a far different place than even 20 years ago. Technology has allowed us to operate on a global scale and the internet has created a whole new way to create change, which people are finding new ways to do every day (think crowdfunding platforms which is a fairly new business).  The line between business and good has blurred as more companies realize their obligation and potential to help their customers, community and other stakeholders.

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