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.

Jules Pieri Profile


Jules Pieri is a founder, CEO, an investing partner at XFactor Ventures, an author, and a board member.

Jules serves on the boards of the University of Michigan Alumni Association and the Access to Markets initiative of The American Economic Liberties Project.  She is author of  “How We Make Stuff Now,” named one of the “11 Must Read Books for Entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine in 2019. Jules is co-founder and former CEO of the product launch platform The Grommet. Jules started her career as an industrial designer for technology companies and was subsequently a senior executive for large brands, such as Keds, Stride Rite, and Playskool. The Grommet is her third startup, following roles as VP at Design Continuum and President of

She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and people tell her she is the first designer to graduate from Harvard Business School, where she is Entrepreneur in Residence emeritus. Jules was named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2013.  She posts as @julespieri on Twitter and Instagram.

41 Responses to “Jules Pieri Profile”

  1. Kelly

    Dear Jules,

    I came across your blog a few weeks ago and have enjoyed what I have read. I hope you can help me with a random question:

    What companies do you know of in the San Francisco Bay Area that are similar to IDEO?

    I have been a designer at Landor Associates for the last three years. I am soon looking for a new adventure. I hope to move to the San Francisco area and work with more user centric design.

    Thanks in advance for your help.


  2. Sally Hughes Doherty


    I came across this blog from your profile in LinkedIn where I have been scouring for potential partners to my own Web 2.0 startup.

    I love this blog – it incorporates many of my own interests and passions.

    However, I feel inclined to leave a post specifically because of our shared experience living in Ireland and moving back. I met my husband in Cavan (although he is from Donegal) while running a study abroad program. We moved to Galway where I taught at NUIG and GMIT, and moved back to the East Coast in late 2001 (which made returning almost moot because it was literally 2 weeks after 9/11).

    I love your list of whats great in the US by comparison .

    These especially in what you are glad to find again now at home:

    –Endless reserves of American optimism and idealism
    –Schools which value individual thinking and creativity more than rote memorization
    –People who say what they mean—nothing more and nothing less
    –Businesses that answer their telephone and do what they promise to do

    and what we thankfully left behind:

    –Mindless, senseless litter and vandalism
    –A tendency towards insecurity and petty begrudgery in the face of other people’s success

    I am smiling now at the memory of the many Irish who thought I was completely mad when I picked up their trash, handed it to them, and showed them the nearest bin.

    One of the things I loved most about living in Ireland was that it helped define for me just what was American about me and what I appreciated about it.

    Still, we miss Ireland for many things. We hope to find a reason to spend 2-5 years there again for our children (we have 4) but only with the knowledge we will return again.

    I look forward to checking out your web 2.0 biz. All the best !


  3. julespieri

    Hi Sally,

    Great to get your feedback and hear that you shared some of our own reactions to Irish expat life. I laughed at the idea of your handing over trash to the person who just dropped it. I was many times tempted to do so, but lacked your courage. I came really close when a teenager left a glass bottle in a precarious place, but then I noticed his knacker hairdo and tatooes and decided to quietly (meekly, really) handle the bottle disposal myself. Good luck getting back…I share your hope and ambition on that front. After we make Grommet successful, some years down the road…:)

      • julespieri

        Hi Zia,
        Could you please make a submission on our website so that my team can give your product line an evaluation? Look for the “become a Grommet” link in the footer. Thanks for reaching out.

  4. Diana Fandel

    Hi Jules, This comment has nothing to do with the above…so maybe I’m breaking protocol. But needed to tell you I’m using the SoapNuts — purchased from the Daily Grommet of course — and love them. And Clean Cotton always makes me think of you. I check out the Daily Grommet “daily.” 🙂

  5. Ruth Drinkwater

    I found you through searching for discussion/facts related to the value of design/art to the UK economy. I have, anecdotally, heard that design is increasingly important to the economy – have you any idea how I can find out what it is worth please? Or, at least, how much some people have estimated it to be worth?
    Having found the Daily Grommet, I think I might be revisiting it!

    Thank you,


  6. julespieri

    Oh Man Ruth…that is the Holy Grail for the design profession… to quantify our value! I am afraid I don’t have an easy answer for you on that one. If you find one, let me know please!


  7. Doreen O'Brien

    Hi Jules,

    Not sure if you will remember me, I used to work with you at keds back in the day! I was reading the February 2009 issue of lola, and saw you in their “Your Advice” section on page 30 about “How Do You Find Happiness Every Day?”!! Great advice about finding happiness in the “simple things”, how very true. I hope you are well!

    Doreen O’Brien

  8. julespieri

    Hi Doreen!

    Of course I remember you–and I am sure you remember Joanne too. Have to admit I have not seen the Lola issue so I don’t remember what I said! I’ll have to search it out. Thanks for re-connecting.

  9. Nayna Kaushek

    I heard you speak at the HBS ‘New Path’ panel this evening. Your words and valuable advice truly inspired a mother of three, who just moved to Lexington from the Bay area, and is looking to get ‘back in the game’. Thank you for that. I love your website and can’t wait to receive daily updates on new products. If you ever need a volunteer, please free to email me. I would love to help in anyway I can. Good Luck and see you around town!
    Nayna Kaushek

  10. Bob Kagle

    Well, Jules, after our business mind meld yesterday, I learn today that you are from Detroit!! I am from Flint of all places!!

    This is getting weird!! 🙂

    Looking forward to meeting you soon!!

    My best,

  11. ArthurFontes

    I followed your link on twitter to get here. Nice site I enjoyed browsing through it.

    It must be beautiful in Maine right now.

  12. julespieri

    Thanks for the kind words. It was indeed beautiful in Maine over the holiday weekend. Even when the weather was bad…it’s still beautiful.

  13. Lynda Keeler

    HI Jules,
    I’ve been lurking on your blog for some time and really have enjoyed your observations on design, start-up life, funding, ecommerce…you name it. I’m headed next week to Boston for the Internet Retailer Conference and wanted to see if you will be there. I’d love to meet and share stories of running an ecommerce company.

  14. Steven Kopstein

    Hi Jules-

    Thanks for your website & blog – I posted it on my facebook page.

    Love supporting the smaller, unique businesses as I come from a line of entrepreneurs.

    Anyway – I came across this guy who makes traditional coffee grinders by hand in Texas and thought you might be interested.

    Hope you’re having a great day. That ice-cream looked terrific, by the way.


    • julespieri

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for lending your support to our Grommet creators. You know the blood, sweat, and tears they spend to get their products to market.

      I forwarded the Texas Coffee Grinders idea to our Discovery team. Thanks so much for providing it. And yes….the ice cream was amazing. I shared it with a big group on the day after Thanksgiving. It went over very well.

  15. Jack D'Alelio

    Hi Jules

    I just wanted to give you a quick shout out. I’ll be tagging along with my brother, Ed at Larry Gennari’s open house tomorrow evening. (I’ll be the guy who looks as though he feels uncomfortable in a suit jacket.) I’ve been told to bring along a few samples of my patent pending product. I managed to survive the one-minute elevator pitch I gave at last month’s meeting of the Inventor’s Association of New England so hopefully I’ll be able to answer any inquiries you may have!


    • Jules Pieri

      Hi Jack,

      Larry told me you will be there. I look forward to meeting you. I saw your post on the Inventor community site and replied, but my comment has not been posted yet.

  16. Werner Kunz

    Dear Jules,

    wow, It is pretty hard to get your e-mail (seems to be on purpose 😉

    thank you very much for the great evening yesterday. Your talk was pretty inspiring and I enjoyed our conversation afterwards. Thanks also for the kind comments about UMass Boston on Twitter.

    Would be great if we can keep in contact and I like to get back to you next fall for a potential guest speaking in my class. I’m also playing around with some ideas about a research center around innovative services. Your case is an excellent example for it.

    All the best and hope to cu soon again


  17. bib

    Hi, Jules. I’m interested in the belts. Do you have any additional designs?

  18. Sandra Davidson

    Hi Jules I really loved your new site and found several things that I thought my grandson would like he is blind and so very hard to buy for but to my dismay you don’t mail to Canada. Will this change in near future? Sandra

    • julespieri

      Sandra, This is a sore spot for us too. We used to ship to Canada and had a ton of great customers there. But we found the Canadian Post impossible to deal with… endless lost packages and huge import charges made it a very difficult experience. So we reluctantly transferred our international shipping to Bongo International. You can sign up for an account with them and ship to Canada via Bongo. I will say it is not inexpensive so I don’t love that solution for all Grommets but it can be a good solution for the lighter weight ones. Let me know if that works out for you.

  19. Ben Saraniero

    Hi Jules,

    As a fashion designer turned wardrobe stylist I completely agree with your theory. Also, your headshot is outdated and I would really like to help you come by a stronger image that better conveys who you are.



  20. Patrick Casey

    Why can I not return an item or get customer service? Your email link does not work; time waiting for an answer on the phone is interminable; and if you do leave your name and phone number no one calls you back.
    I started a return on October 26; today is November 7 and I have yet to be contacted by a Grommet team member.
    My RMA is 150032212 on shipment 141994764.
    It is sad that I have to turn to the CEO for assistance. That tells me much that I need to know about the company.

    • julespieri

      Oh man Patrick. You should definitely have had a better experience than this. I won’t bore you with the details but I think you tripped into a (previously unknown) glitch in our software regarding alerting us when a customer initiates a return. I believe your own situation has been resolved today, but please accept my apology. And thanks for alerting me–this issue may have kept going on longer if you had not reach out to us. I am sorry for all the hassle.

  21. April Cokus

    Can someone recommend a product for Grommet? Met an amazing woman at a craft show with great small purses. Would love to see her getting the exposure of Grommet

  22. twork21


    My name is Tristan Workman, president of Saluki Entrepreneur Corps at SIU Carbondale. The reason for this message is we are setting up a podcast/live stream called Saluki Innovation.

    This platform aims to interview and discuss new innovative ideas and works across all disciplines at SIU, and the Southern Illinois community. I hope that members of this community will be engaged and open to new ideas and problems that faculty, students, and alumni are tackling.

    I thought of you as a great fit to be one of our first interviewees. This interview is a tremendous opportunity to broadcast what you’ve been working on and your future goals.

    If you are interested, please let me know, and we can schedule a time either virtually or in-person at your earliest convenience.


    Tristan Workman


Leave a Reply to Werner Kunz Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: