In our Meet the Maker series we get to know entrepreneurs who have pursued their dreams and launched a small business. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re shining a light on women Makers to hear what lessons they have learned along the way.
Today, we’re catching up with Jennifer, one of the co-Makers behind Savor. She and Karla created a thoughtfully designed keepsake system that is and meant to be seen. Hear more about how they became entrepreneurs.
How do you get around creative blocks?
Research. Research. Research. After we hash out together what we think are the best ideas we can muster, we convene focus groups of relevant audiences. We try to have folks we don’t really know in these groups so we can solicit honest advice. We are also constantly engaging with our consumers to see what they like and what they don’t like.
Best creative advice that you ever received?
Make sure that you’re not so attached to a creative idea that you forget your consumer’s needs. We value aesthetics greatly, but we also need to make sure our product solves a problem.
What three personality traits do think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
Courage (to fail, to ask, to put ourselves out there), attention to detail, and stick-to-it-iveness.
What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Making a business succeed is about much more than having a good idea or a good product. We’ve had to wrangle with shipping, warehouses, freight, factories, accounting, web design, trade shows, gift wrap, you name it. Most of it is not glamorous, but any break in the chain can keep your business from succeeding. To be successful, you need to feel like none of it is beneath you and all of it is worth doing (even the parts you hate).
When we are freaking out having spent two hours on the phone with UPS, we try to think that the fun is in the problem solving and the reward is that we have truly touched our customers with a product they respond to.
What has surprised you most about starting a business?
We are constantly amazed at the time people take to tell you how much they love your product or to give helpful feedback. We aren’t people who fill out reviews or surveys, so we are surprised and delighted that on a daily basis our customers want to talk to us and share our products with their friends. By far, talking with the end-users of our product is the best part of our job.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Get more sleep. You’re going to need it.
How has The Grommet community impacted your business?
We absolutely wouldn’t be where we are today without The Grommet community. When people actually wrote us questions and were so positive about the product, it made us feel like this was something we could really do. We will never forget writing in to the team to say “How do you think it’s going?” And having them respond that it was so great, they wanted to do a reorder three hours in. After working for years creating a product and bringing it to market, having that supportive public debut with The Grommet meant everything to us.