Jules Pieri, I have three sons from ages 14 to 20.
What’s the name of your company and the inspiration behind it?
My company is Daily Grommet – a product discovery and video review site featuring products of great utility, style or invention that haven’t hit the big-time yet. We focus on product origins and tell the story behind one unique product every day. I’m an industrial designer, and I based my company on the premise that people are increasingly thoughtful about the products and experiences they buy–and that they especially like to support “little guy” companies and the socially beneficial products they produce.
What was your start-up cost (rough estimate) and is your company profitable?
We are working on a seed round of funding, which is under $1MM. We are not (yet) profitable.
What is your current business struggle?
Strangely enough, our business is well suited to the current economy. People are tired of nameless, faceless consumer products and are more thoughtful about the things they welcome into their homes. The Daily Grommet stories really serve that need very well–we bring more meaning and understanding to product stories and purchases. The economy does make investors very skittish, so that is the challenge in the business.
What is your current business goal?
I’m eager to expose Daily Grommet to as many people as possible. We hope and expect our mission of helping the “little guy” producers succeed will resonate with people. It seems it already does. We get dozens of unsolicited Grommet submissions and people are really engaged with learning the Grommet stories, day in and day out.
What is your favorite business book or website? Why?
I don’t read a lot of business books…I prefer to read about design, food, literature, and travel. It’s actually more helpful to my business than standard business thinking. But, I do love “The Opposable Mind” by Roger L. Martin. He is pioneering the idea of “integrative thinking” in which seemingly opposing and disparate ideas can be combined to create really new and important experiences and products.
What is your favorite quote?
I can never find it when I try, but it is something like “Don’t ask, just explain later” by Dorothy Parker. I’ve always found I am more successful when I just follow my instincts and take the risks that make sense to me.
Who is your business idol? Why?
Mike Rowe, of the Discovery Channel show “Dirty Jobs”. I like the vision he has for helping people understand how the behind-the-scenes jobs like storm drain cleaning, or rice growing, or painting the Mackinaw Bridge work. He understands his “brand” and expresses it consistently.
What advice would you give to a new mom entrepreneur?
Don’t plan for a small business. Small businesses are just as much work as big ones. So plan big.
How can we connect with you? (Email, Twitter, Facebook, website, etc.)