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Tag Archives: Interview

  • Meet the Maker: Sigmar and Tom of Lovetuner

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Makers Sigmar Berg and Tom Rohner created Lovetuner. It holds a  single-note flute that plays 528 Hz–a tone believed to have  positive effects on our minds and bodies. With Sigmar’s talent as a designer and Tom’s skills as a spiritual lightworker, they created this Made in the USA necklace to hold some calming influence close at hand. We recently caught up with them to hear a bit more about their entrepreneurial journeys. 

    Meet the Maker Lovetuner

    Best business advice that you ever received?
    Be stubborn in following through with your ideas.

    What inspires you? Why do you love to design, create, and make?
    I love the idea to make this world a healthier, happier, and more peaceful place. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker Podcast: Maggi Blue of Magpie Creative

    commenter_magpieIf Maggi Blue had one piece of business advice it would be: just do the thing. The jeweler, artisan and web and graphic designer took that advice to heart when she started selling her own handcrafted items and when she created her signature jewelry piece, the hammered spinning ring. Made in her Maine studio from sterling silver, copper, and brass, the rings are timeless, versatile and a go-to for any fidgeter.

    On this episode, Maggi talks about how she got into making, how she's handled criticism, the joy of running her business, and much more.

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    Like what you hear? Listen to the rest of the Meet the Maker Podcast series here then rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes.

     

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    To learn more about Magpie Creative, watch our video here.

  • Meet the Maker: Brothers Artisan Oil

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    The Shea boys from Boston are mixing up small batch body care, like all-natural beard oil, that’s Made in the USA. Brothers Artisan Oil started in the basement soon grew into a production facility, still in Boston. We recently caught back up with then to learn more about this family business and see what it looks like behind the scenes.

    MTM 1
    What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
    We'd tell ourselves to get a real production space right away. We started the company without investors or loans, using only our own savings, and didn't want to shell out for rent. That was a big mistake. We got an order for 5000 units within two weeks of starting the company and basically converted our entire house into a production space, which was especially disruptive because we had a newborn baby. All's well that ends well, though!

    What 5 personality traits do think have helped you become successful entrepreneurs?
    Baxter is Hugh Honey, Owen is Vick Vinegar, Marie likes science. It works.

    MTM 2

    What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
    We've learned to trust in ourselves and our company, and make big equipment investments before we're in over our heads. If you doubt yourself and avoid spending big bucks on the tools you need to succeed...you won't succeed.

    MTM 5

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    Honestly, the most surprising part of this whole adventure is how big it's gotten without any marketing. We've never paid for publicity, and yet we've been lucky enough to be featured in big publications like Vogue and Men's Health. None of us realized how much notice a company can get from just having a good product. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Nancy Rothner of Pinch Me

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Nancy Rothner, the founder of Pinch Me Thereapy Dough. Nancy's experience with holistic stress reduction compelled her to create a portable mood-shifter. Carefully curated aromas and calming hues help you refocus your attention by simply massaging this pliable therapy  dough. Read on to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.

    Pinch me 1

    What else do you like to make?
    Anything healthy-especially recipes that are simple and delicious.

    Any advice or words of wisdom for Makers just starting their businesses?

    Go for it! Let your creativity flow and follow the momentum. Some days will be filled with joy, others will be filled with doubt, however each breakthrough leads to another, and another. The process will most likely be far more involved and demanding than ever imagined. My running joke is that it is stressful to be in the stress relieving dough business! I wouldn't have it any other way though and have never regretting immersing myself into something that I truly love and believe in.

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    What has been the most rewarding aspect of starting a business?
    Hearing stories from customers where Pinch Me has made a positive impact on their day to day life. Doesn't get any better than that!

    What has surprised you the most about starting a business?
    A wise entrepreneur once told me to just pick any 18 hours a day I want to work, and I'm all set. I laughed when I first heard this, but have found those words to be true. It's never ending, but a joy. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Adam Liszewski of Stokes

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Adam Liszewski, the teenage entrepreneur behind Stokes. Stokes are all-natural fire starters that Adam has grown from his original DIY Christmas gifts into a cottage industry—and beyond—in just a few years. Adam’s invention lights fires while helping his local community and the environment . . . and he’s only a teenager. Read on to learn more about his entrepreneurial journey.

    stokes

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    I am still growing. :)  I just always want to be trying new things, challenging myself, learning, creating things that improve on what’s out there. Like Stokes. Lot of firestarters out there but Stokes (as simple an idea as it is), burns longer and starts easier than what’s out there and also much more environmentally friendly.

    What was the biggest hurdle for you when turning your idea into a business?
    The biggest hurdle in the beginning was getting people to just try my product. Now, I have to say, that my biggest hurdle is time. Time to do everything that needs to be done. I have more help now so that’s great. I have been very lucky to have great partners in Charles River and with distributors and great relationships with stores I sell Stokes to and great fan base who love them. It make things easier and more fun.

    Stokes 2

    Stokes All-Natural Firestarters $9.95

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    What advice would you give other young entrepreneurs?
    Reach out to anyone and everyone to get advice, guidance, and support. But also always listen to yourself. There will always be people who can’t see your idea working when you can. There is always the guy in the room who is negative. Don’t let that negative person stop you–keep going. Be fair in pricing, fair to your employees, and have fun.

    What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    1. I don’t over react to negative news.
    2. I think I take my time to respond in meetings.
    3. I have a lot of energy. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Sydney Hewitt of Coast & Cotton

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Sydney Hewitt, the Designer of hometown custom towel company, Coast & Cotton. After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in industrial design, Sydney and her husband, Will, were a military family and moved regularly, giving Sydney the idea for designs that celebrate states. Creating these nostalgia-channeling tea towels turned into a full-time job, and Coast & Cotton was born.
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    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something in the arts. My dad, a graphic designer, and my grandmother, a watercolor artist, both played a large role in my love of drawing, painting, and creating. As a child, I could sit for hours creating patterns with gel pens and markers all over my notebooks and sketch pads. My parents always encouraged my love of the arts and enrolled me in calligraphy, sketching, and painting classes during my early years. So when it came time to pick a major in college, a design degree felt like a natural fit.

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     How do you get around creative roadblocks?
    Creative roadblocks are definitely part of the process when you work in the design field. My husband and business partner, Will, is my sounding board for all new designs and patterns. When designing a new pattern, I come up with an initial drawing and color scheme, then Will comes in and helps with the layout and spacing. It is crucial to have someone with an eye for space and symmetry to tweak a design and get it just right.
    coast and cotton
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    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    Be ok with staying at home, supporting your husband with his career, focusing on your babies, and slowly working on your idea until the time is right. Then jump on it as fast as you can! Don’t rush the process, and don’t be discouraged if it’s not in “your timeline”. The Lord's plan is greater than your own.
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    Best business advice that you ever received?
    Know when you have a good thing. Work hard to constantly improve it, but don’t over improve until it’s not your idea anymore. Look to the trends, but don’t become a trend. Keep your ideas fresh and innovative while still remaining true to your aesthetic.
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    Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Andris Lagsdin of Baking Steel

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Andris, the inventor of Baking Steel. Years ago, while working with chef Todd English, making incredible pizza in brick ovens, Andris was always searching for a way to make the perfect pizza at home.  While working at his current steel job, Andris read that steel is the best brick oven substitute. He took a scrap home, tested it out for cooking, and the results were delicious. We wanted to learn a bit more about his "aha-moment" and what it's been like starting a business.

    baking steel 4

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    A professional tennis player.

    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    Stop hesitating and just do it. So much fear in uncertainty, you just need to trust yourself and take a leap.

    baking steel

    Best business advice that you ever received?
    I was reading "Crush It" by Gary Vaynerchuk a few years ago before I launched The Baking Steel. His chapter on marketing was literally one word–CARE. Do that and amazing things happen with your customers. So this is what I tell our team, to care.

    What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    Courage, patience, chasing a little adventure, and being grateful every, single day. Do I get extra credit for four?

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    What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
    Any person who takes that leap will be amazed at what happens when you start doing what you love. Have a little bit of patience and dream big. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Jennifer Nevins of Savor

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Jennifer, one of the mom-inventors behind Savor. Jennifer, together, with Karla, created a thoughtfully designed keepsake system that is and meant to be seen. Hear more about how these Makers  got their start and what they've as entrepreneurs. 

    Meet the Makers of Savor

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    Research. Research. Research. After we hash out together what we think are the best ideas we can muster, we convene focus groups of relevant audiences. We try to have folks we don't really know in these groups so we can solicit honest advice. We are also constantly engaging with our consumers to see what they like and what they don't like.

    Best creative advice that you ever received?
    Make sure that you're not so attached to a creative idea that you forget your consumer's needs. We value aesthetics greatly, but we also need to make sure our product solves a problem.

    What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    Courage (to fail, to ask, to put ourselves out there), attention to detail, and sticktoitiveness (it's actually a word–we checked).

    maker Quote Savor

    What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
    Making a business succeed is about much more than having a good idea or a good product. We've had to wrangle with shipping, warehouses, freight, factories, accounting, web design, Google analytics, trade shows, gift wrap, you name it. Most of it is not glamorous, but any break in the chain can keep your business from succeeding. To be successful, you need to feel like none of it is beneath you and all of it is worth doing (even the parts you hate). When we are freaking out having spent two hours on the phone with UPS, we try to think that the fun is in the problem-solving and the reward is that we have truly touched our customers with a product they respond to.

    Maker Photos

    "We work wherever we are. Karla still holds another job and has two kids and I, Jenny, have a household of three kids, so we have to be flexible about when and where we can meet together. Sometimes it's very early weekend mornings or late weekday nights."

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    We are constantly amazed at the time people take to tell you how much they love your product or to give helpful feedback. We aren't people who fill out reviews or surveys, so we are surprised and delighted that on a daily basis our customers want to talk to us and share our products with their friends. By far, talking with the end-users of our product is the best part of our job. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Rhonda Francis of Fairy Fastener

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Rhonda Francis, one part of the triplet-Makers behind Fairy Fastener. Rhonda, Terri, and Lou put their identical problem-solving heads together to solve an everyday issue—how to put on necklaces and bracelets all by yourself. These entrepreneurial ladies call themselves the Fairies—and their jewelry clasp helpers Fairy Fasteners. We recently chatted with Rhonda to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey. 

    makers of fairy fastener Terri, Rhonda, and Lou–Makers of Fairy Fastener

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    How do you get around creative blocks?
    We have been fortunate to know and be introduced to some wonderfully creative and talented people. It takes a village to raise a child, much like the creative development of an idea. We're not afraid to ask for input and guidance. It's amazing how supportive people have been.

    Best creative advice that you ever received?
    Build prototypes, test them. Conduct test market product reviews.

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    What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    That's a funny question, because our company was founded by triplet sisters. My brother always said I had a third of a brain.  :)
    I feel that the strongest traits for all three of us are, being passionate, commitment to our ideas and to each other, and accepting and embracing risk.

    meet the maker of Fairy Fastener

    What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
    It will be much harder then you think, but you will get past those awkward and uncomfortable moments. You can't do it alone. Choose people to take on responsibilities that are not your strengths. Don't think that you can manage every aspect of a start up. Look at the big picture and develop a solid business plan before you make large financial commitments. Know your target market and develop strategies for them.

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    I have learned more then I thought I could, would, or should. I amaze myself, my partners, and my family on my ability, tenacity, and endurance to develop a brand that my sisters and I are proud to sell. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Hope Klocker and Jules Vranian of Sweet Jules Caramels

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.

    Today, we're catching up with Hope Klocker of Sweet Jules CaramelsHope and her sister, Jules Vranian  were born into a family of culinary pros and restaurateurs, and have built one sweet business using only natural ingredients, sourced from around the world. We wanted to know more about Hope's journey as an business owner and what advice she has for those just starting out on their own entrepreneurial journey. 

    Meet the Maker of Sweet Jules Caramels

    Ho do you get around creative roadblocks?
    Caramel as a base is receptive to an endless number of flavors so we really don’t have blocks with creativity. Our problem is more what “not” to make! We make caramels in a dozen flavors now.

    Best creative advice that you ever received?
    You need to know what your ingredients have to offer in flavor, texture, and smell. Apply creativity and expert technique when those qualities speak to you.

    Continue Reading

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