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Tag Archives: Makers

  • Meet the Maker: Loree Sandler of Let Them Eat Candles

    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 Loree Sandler of Let Them Eat Candles. Loree Sandler invented something even better than birthday cake–edible candles. After testing hundreds of prototypes, she finally came up with the winning chocolate design. Her favorite part of building a business? All of it. Loree has a hand in every aspect–from cutting wicks to tempering chocolate (she even labels and ships out each box). 

    MTM

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.
    I’m inspired by fine craftsmanship and simplicity–for instance Shaker tools and furniture, and Georg Jensen jewelry. Paradoxically, I’m drawn to “outsider” artists who create obsessively layered work. I’m inspired by nature, by clever use of materials, by innovators (I’m heartbroken by the recent death of architect Zaha Hadid). Also, I love things that are unexpectedly graphic or quirk–I collect painted game boards and hangers.

    What other things do you love to make?
    I’ve dabbled with ceramics, hot glass beads, and letterpress. I love to bake and knit.

    Edible Candles

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    The cliché: ‘It’s not personal, it’s business,’ is entirely false for me. Every last detail from concept to creation is my work: cutting wicks, tempering chocolate, labeling boxes, and shipping product. Each decision is mine, successes and mistakes alike. How is this not personal? Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Spencer Quinn of FiberFix

    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 Spencer Quinn of FiberFix. The idea for a tape that would harden like steal came to mind during a routine visit to the doctor's office, when the physician relayed a story about how, instead of duct tape, he once used medical casting tape to temporarily repair his ATV. This sparked Spencer's interest to start experimenting on how he could use this same material to fix things. 

    Meet the Maker FiberFix

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    For as long as I can remember I wanted to own my own practice as a medical doctor, it took me several years in college to realize that what I really wanted was to own my own business.

    What three words best describe you as a Maker?
    Observant
    Patient
    Ambitious

    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    Challenge every assumption. Information and opinions flow freely with how accessible information is today. You really need to ask yourself whether the source you're receiving information is credible. You'll be surprised how hard it is to find credible sources today. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Britta Cox of Aquis

    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 Britta Cox of Aquis. Britta leaned on her experience in fitness apparel and performance fabric to create a unique material that changes the way you dry your hair. Her product, Aquis, absorbs moisture without getting water-logged. 

    Meet the Maker of Aquis

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.

    I think I’m more of a creative thinker than an artist. I’m ever curious and observant and find inspiration from making connections in the world. I get pleasure from being resourceful and finding solutions. I grew up on a ranch where you learned how to figure things out, to use your hands, fix things, make things and to be observant. At a young age I interacted a lot with animals which instills instincts in you that can be used in many aspects throughout your life.

    What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    You need competent and committed people to help you grow the business. Identify your core strengths and also your blind spots and then seek the right people, people and attitudes that will supplement your capabilities. Give them the canvas and the inspiration to deliver their best. Focus on executing what delivers real value rather than what feels good to you and create narrative in the process. For us entrepreneurs it is easy to get off track. We start a business because we are passionate about something, but you must start with your end goal and work backwards.

    Meet the Maker - Aquis Towel

    What three personality  traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
    Strong work ethic; Innate desire to be of high integrity; Level headed and able to juggle many things even under challenging conditions. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Kat Nouri of Stasher

    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 Kat Nouri of Stasher. Frustrated with single-use plastic baggies, Kat decided to create an eco-friendly alternative—and now those one-use bags are a thing of the past.

    Meet the Maker Stasher

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    I wanted to be a nurse, an artist, a farmer, an attorney–some for a minute, some for months. I changed my mind several times as I was growing up. But what I remember the most, was that my Mom was super passionate about her pursuit. She could never stop working because her work was her passion. As a result, her work was very much a part of who she was, and she did it whole hardheartedly. My Mom is a PHD in nutrition, with a spiritual upbringing. That became a part of our DNA. When I was a bit older I realized how lucky my Mom was that she was passionate about her work. If you are going to spend a good portion of your life at work, well you better love it or it's just not sustainable. I tried to follow that path and always encourage my kids to be true to themselves, and they will automatically be successful by knowing and feeling that their time is well spent on where they want to be.

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    I step away. I am a huge advocate of work/life balance. That is hard as I actually obsessively love what I do. I have to make myself not look at emails, Instagram, snapchat, to the point that I exhaust myself. But I am successful at shutting down, as I have three kids and a husband who always keeps me in check for our family balance. I love to play hard, as much as I like to work hard. When I do get away I have a lot of fun enjoying local food and culture. We live in Oakland, one of the most inspirational places in the country. The food, and the diversity in culture is amazing. I guess you could say, I can kick my creative block by just walking around the lake, and stopping at exceptional local eats with friends. There is abundant art from super cool Independent artists, music, and the weather is amazing most of the year.

    Meet the Maker of Stasher
    Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Tara Petrilli of Susquehanna Glass Co.

    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 Tara Petrill of Susquehanna Glass Co. Tara is part of this third-generation operation that has a 100+ year history of making etched glass in the USA. Susquehanna believes glass can have personal meaning and Tara is sharing a little more about her experience being a part of this long lasting company. 

    Meet the Maker

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.
    We're constantly developing new designs so, keeping a pulse on what’s trending on sites like Pinterest is a good starting point. Paying attention to advertising campaigns is also a good source of inspiration. Sometimes ideas simply pop into my head in the middle of the night.

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    I step away for a while or sleep on it. Approaching a block with a clear, fresh mind generally does the trick.

    MTM

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    A veterinarian. So, not surprisingly, my favorite design theme is anything pet related. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Mike Mallory of RAD

    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 Mike Mallory, the Co-Founder of RAD body massage tools. Mike (a biomechanics expert) and Dan McIntosh (a pro triathlete) put their brains and muscles together to redesign traditional body massage tools.

    rad

    What did you want to be when you grew up?

    Ages 4-8, I wanted to be a garbage man (who doesn't want to ride on the back of a truck the whole day right?). By ages 8-14 I wanted to be an orthodontist, and past that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer. My background in mogul skiing and mountain biking (and subsequent injuries) brought me back to study anatomy and therapy very deeply.

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

    I have a unique background in engineering, design, and the body–the trifecta of those brought me to the perfect role at RAD.

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

    The #RADLife isn't just about staying healthy and making great products, it's about hard work, task management, and picking up a broom if need be. Having a good product is just the ante for the game. Pushing it out into the marketplace takes discipline and an attitude for success; something my business partners have helped bring to the table in spades. Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Kami Darnell of Simple Sarongs

    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 Kami Darnell, the Maker behind Simple Sarongs. Necessity being the mother of invention, it makes sense that a mom came up with Simple Sarongs. Kami got the idea while playing with her children at the pool. She wanted something to throw on over her wet swimsuit that wouldn’t cling, fall off, or add bulk to her beach bag—or her body.

    Simple Sarong Maker

    Tell us more about your design inspiration.

    My design inspiration has really evolved over the past few years, but I think my first strategy was designing to coordinate with as many swimsuit colors as possible.  And since nearly everyone owns a black swimsuit, I wanted an element of black in all the designs.  With my first collection I could only afford to mass produce three designs, thus they were very colorful!  That really stuck, but now I watch fashion trends, and pick the designs that will hopefully appeal to women of all ages.  For example, last year I also saw a lots of crochet lace (in both swim and daywear) and so creating my Boho Chic Lace sarongs was a result of that.  It also was a way for me to do a “neutral” and still be a fun design.

    Any trends on the horizon that might influence new designs? 

    I’m really excited about pom poms this year! Tropical will always be in the mix, so I like to watch trends in designs there, as well as other global influences like Indian wood block printing and Moroccan tile prints.  I’m also thinking about doing an artistic take on the American flag since so many summer beach vacations happen around national holidays.

    Simple Sarong patterns

    How do you get around creative blocks?

    I use Pinterest and Google Images to search thousands of designs in the direction I’m going.  And I keep updating my Pinterest pages with inspirations all year long so I always have loads to pull from. Continue Reading

  • Straight from the Maker Trenches: Most Surprising Part Of Starting A Business

    In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs. If you've ever wondered what it's really like to start a company, you're in luck–our Makers are happy to share an inside look. Most of our Makers were everyday folks with a great idea—that became a business. Get a peek into the world of eight entrepreneurs about the challenges, rewards, and always-unpredictable path of building a company. We're constantly inspired by the business innovations and achievements of our Makers and thought you'd also enjoy hearing their honest answers.

    We couldn't pass up the opportunity to reach out to a few of them and get their answers to our burning question:

    What's the most surprising part of starting a business?

    Click each image or business name to learn more about them.

    How To Start A Company - Clear My Head

    "Everything! I didn't understand at first what building a brand was, I just wanted to sell some jars of some great stuff that really helped me and my clients. However, once I 'got' it, I was amazed at how detail oriented you must be on everything. It's exciting and overwhelming at the same time."  –Brenda Stansfield of Clear My Head 

    Maker Walton Wood Farm - How To Start A Company

    "I thought I would run out of ideas, but they just keep coming."  –Leslie Scott of Walton Wood Farm

    Modern Fuel - How To Start A Company

    "That the possibilities are endless. No matter what you are making you have no idea of the scale and opportunities it will bring along until you are in the thick of it." –Andrew Sanderson of Modern Fuel Continue Reading

  • Meet the Maker: Leslie Scott of Walton Wood Farm

    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 Leslie Scott, the Maker behind Walton Wood Farm. Walton Wood Farm uses a “farm forward” approach with their natural bath and body products. Leslie is a Coast Guard veteran and wilderness hiker, and packs her outdoor experiences and unique perspective into their goods. 

    Meet the Maker WAlton Wood Farm

    What did you want to be when you grew up?
    A writer and a pilot. My father told me I would never be either. I had major learning disabilities and there were no resources for me back then. That didn't stop me. I've won two International film festivals for my screenplays, and write all of the copy for my labels and website. At the age of 47, I got my pilot's license and fly a 1947 Piper Cub on floats. I was 49 when I started Walton Wood Farm with a dream of saving our historic barn–200 years from now, I won't be here, but it will. That's powerful. I have this incredible gratitude that I was able to fulfill all of my lifelong dreams. Never give up. It's never too late.

    Where do you find inspiration when coming up with new scents?
    I think about the person. What does their personality evoke? Are they hearty, but vulnerable, too? Gentle with a secret edginess? How does that translate to the natural world? Lily of the Valley, sandalwood, cardamom, black pepper and sweet orange? That's where it all starts. People and nature–there's a parallel (believe it or not).

    Meet the Maker of Walton Wood Farm

    What other things do you love to make?
    Tea, with herbs from my garden. Or an original dinner concoction in a crock-pot. I love serving great food to the people I care about. Nothing says, "I love you" like a long-simmering stew made with a stout beer.

    maker advice

    How do you get around creative blocks?
    I walk the farm. Any weather is fine with me. Rain or sleet–I bundle up. Nature is one big show and there are no re-runs.

    What has surprised you most about starting a business?
    I thought I would run out of ideas, but they keep coming. I think when you open a faucet, stuff trickles out. Then the pump is primed and it just gushes through. Continue Reading

  • Gifts Made by Maker Dads

    With Father’s Day around the corner, we thought we’d showcase a few dedicated dads who run their own businesses—selling products they make themselves. 

    Meet the Maker Fat Toad Farm

    Maker:Steve Reid
    Business: Fat Toad Farm
    Fat Toad Farm is a family-run goat dairy in Brookfield, Vermont. It was started as a raise-your-own-food effort, but when the herd grew from 2 to 12 to 25 and started producing much more milk than one family could drink, Fat Toad Farm became a certified goat dairy and began making out of this world caramel sauces. Today the family—Steve Reid, Judith Irving, Calley Hastings, and Josey Hastings—fills various roles on the farm and in the production room. Learn More

    Meet the Maker Fish Aye Trading

    Maker: John Doherty
    Business: Fish Aye Trading
    If Dad's a fisherman, he'll appericate these prints. Centuries ago, people used painted fish rubbings to document different species. John’s prints document his Cape Cod catch, preserving details such as the patterns of fish scales. His prints also celebrate his love of the ocean and marine life. He paints the body of a saltwater fish with water-based paints, then places fabric on top and gently rubs it to make a print.  Learn More
    Continue Reading

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  • As featured in:

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