Their goal is to promote innovation by endorsing what they call “nice companies,” ones with well-made products and impeccable service. If those products preserve a craft or protect the environment, they say, all the better.
We agree. We think the Daily Grommet is superb: it’s an on-line personal-shopping advisor that arrives via email every day at noon with a cool new product discovery and a snappy video that tells the story behind it. Even if you don’t want it, or don’t need it, you’ll likely be interested in it. No ads, no hype, no registration fee: just the true inspiration as told by inventors and designers. Five days a week.
Discoveries are introduced by Grommet CEO Jules Pieri and/or a member of her team. Here’s a good example: the Ecosystem Life Journal (August 23) presented by Pieri and colleague Jesse Buckley: “This was a story that slowly grabbed me… they’re almost jewel-like….” Jules might as well be handling a Tsarina’s Faberge egg — except that it’s a $15 notebook made entirely of recycled materials. Jesse reveals the innovative clincher: a tracking code on each notebook that shows where it was made and all of the materials that went into it. “Quite revolutionary!” says Jules. “It looks humble, it’s a journal, but it’s really quite heroic to me!”
There are dozens of recommended actions about reducing, reusing, and recycling at Practically Green: we take Stuff seriously. The Daily Grommet’s approach to appreciating every purchase for its origins, its creators, and its materials strikes us as thoughtful and prescient. So we called Jules to find out more about the underpinnings of The Daily Grommet and why it’s resonating with so many people.
“Today the true story of a person or a product is more knowable, and social media is driving that,” she says. “Facebook, Twitter, eBay, CraigsList — all of these are drivers, making the laws of commerce permeable. My goal is to accelerate that dynamic. I believe that when a business is nimble and flexible, it can solve big problems, such as environmental issues and cultural preservation. I’m passionate about preserving craft and about promoting domestic technological innovation – in the US, yes, but in any country.”
Jules believes that people are increasingly supportive of “little Guy” companies, and she knows that stories make for a meaningful transaction: “… knowing the back story of a product–its invention, or craft, or social benefits, or environmental impact, or technology, makes its experience much richer and even deeply meaningful.”
I had an a-ha moment at Thanksgiving, 2007. Amazon had a surprise release of the Kindle. They had authors and celebrities talking about it, but as real people, in a very low-fi and under-produced way. When Michael Lewis told why he loved the Kindle, I said That’s it, I’m buying one! I had no previous notion of buying that thing — and it was expensive! — but because of the authenticity of the story, I bought one that minute. And then I went to my co-founder Joanne, and I told her we had to have video of the two of us presenting these stories, and later she told me she was thinking, Well, we’ll get over that one. She’ll give up that idea. But it makes such a huge difference when the creators of the products tell the story. They convey their direct personal passion.
Visit The Daily Grommet to sign up and to view video stories organized across themes (e.g. “Grommets for Getting Gussied Up”) in 30 categories, from Art to Wedding/Shower Gifts (here’s “Green/Eco-Living; here’s Kitchen). And look for a new vetting area in October, which Jules announced on her blog this week: “I’m very pleased we are developing a new submission process which will openly publicize the ideas we are seeing. What is now visible only to our team will live in a public “Citizens’ Gallery” on our site. This change is going to be huge.”
Watch this video to learn more.