As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

Grommets in the Wild

I’m writing this from the window of a Peet’s in downtown San Francisco.  I have been here for a week of quasi-vacation.  Any entrepreneur knows what I mean when I say “quasi”.  I did more Grommet stuff in my “spare” vacation time (i.e. while the family was sleeping or otherwise entertained) than I’d like to admit.  But when you love what you do….and are in a hurry to do a lot…you do what it takes.  And the whole family enjoyed shooting video of a really special upcoming Grommet my own son discovered while living in SF.

A highlight of any of my travels is seeing Grommets we discovered months ago starting to get retail distribution.  I snapped a few shots, all in the fabulous Ferry Building.  It’s a spot any foodie visitors to the Bay Area certainly know.  I can also highly recommend the North Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto tours for that same crowd.)

In front of Ferry Building, San Francisco

Anyway, here are my shots of the Grommets spreading their wings:

My son with a Spencer Peterman Bowl

This shop had a very nice range of Spencer Peterman’s bowls made of spaulted maple, displayed very prominently on the edge of the pedestrian concourse.  Go Spencer!  His bowls take an amazing amount of patience…he basically curates very particular wood specimens from fallen and aged trees.

The Gardener is one of my favorite Ferry Building shops, so I was not surprised to see they are featuring the Lunch Bots line.  A very smart choice, see below.

Finally, this family business which is a combo kitchen store, farmer’s market and deli had a couple of Grommets tucked in the displays.  Innovative kitchen tools from Joseph Joseph (see a broader range here) , and a wine tote from Built.

People sometimes ask why I would tell them about “bricks and mortar” places to buy Grommets–and effectively give away sales.  It’s because specialty retail is the lifeblood of young companies and innovation.  I am delighted to send those shops as many customers as I can.  I don’t want a world where every transaction is over the internet.  The reality is most Grommets can’t be found outside of major urban centers or a region close to their “homes”.  So while e-commerce plays a key role in telling meaningful product stories, there is room for everyone to support these kinds of companies.

I’m looking forward to the day when Anthony, Jeanne and I get to realize our vision of a Grommet mobile app that helps you find “Grommets in the Wild”.  I want to give people a way to take photos and help us map them all across the world.  How cool would that be?  You could geo-locate a really talented independent retailer, in a town you never visited,  just by finding a concentration of Grommets.  Oh to have more time and people to make this happen tomorrow!

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