In our Meet the Maker series, you hear from our Makers on their journeys as entrepreneurs and how you, The Grommet Community, have changed their businesses for the better.
Today we’re catching up with Sheila Kemper Dietrich. Sheila’s family had struggled with their weight for years. As the former executive director of Denver’s American Heart Association, she knew how important it was to stop super-sizing and start right-sizing their meals. So, she designed portion control plates to guide them and founded Livliga.
Tell us more about your design inspiration.
It all started with my favorite measuring cups. I wanted to figure out a way to help me measure my food and see what specific serving sizes looked like as I served up and ate a meal. I wanted to see how I could create a design that would be attractive, subtle, yet exacting, so it would reflect the measurements from that measuring cup.
How do you get around creative blocks?
Walking. Fiddling. Talking. You have to give ideas room to grow and for problems to be solved. Sometimes that means taking a long walk to clear the brain and reboot. Other times I find, just like with solving a puzzle with puzzle pieces, it takes fiddling with a design from a variety of angles until the solution pops out. I am also someone who believes more brains make for better solutions so I enjoy sharing and talking things through until that creative block evaporates.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Go for it. You need to think it through, make sure you have a good idea, and put a plan in place, but go for it.
What three personality traits do you think have helped you become a successful entrepreneur?
Tenacity. A sense of humor. And good communication skills. There are a lot of bumps in the road. Without tenacity and a belief in my idea I would never have gotten to where we are today. When you are manifesting an idea into a product and starting a business based off of that idea, wild and crazy things happen. You have to keep your sense of humor and let some of it roll off your back. Tomorrow is indeed another day…and, even though you may have the idea, believe in the dream, and start your company, it takes working with many others to make that dream come true. You have to have good people skills to bring the band together for your particular kind of music that is unique to your business.
What lessons have you learned over the years that might help other entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
My dad was right. He told me at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey that I needed three things: A good idea, enough money to see it through, and a solid marketing strategy once I launched the product. I followed that advice and it has helped us get to where we are today as a growing and sought after business.
What has surprised you most about starting a business?
It is the little things that can sometimes stump you. Like how do you get UPC codes? Fortunately, I know other women business owners who are more than willing to share their expertise and help with figuring out the little things as well as some of the big ones.
What has been the most rewarding part of business for you?
Because we are all about helping people live healthier lives there is nothing more rewarding than hearing from one of our customers about how our product has helped them and how much they love to use it.
How has The Grommet community helped your business?
The great thing about the Grommet is that people come to the website to discover new products. They expect to see new and cool products that can improve how we do everyday activities or can make someone’s life easier. The storytelling and the feedback from customers is so effective and authentic, it is compelling. Because of this, we have had many other businesses reach out to us having discovered us first on The Grommet. As an example, we are in retail stores because they discovered us through The Grommet.
Anything else you’d like to share?
One question I asked myself at the beginning, as I was contemplating starting my business, was: “Can I make a difference?” Because I answered “yes,” and believed I could make a difference, our company now has 3 patents and 3 national awards and most importantly, many users of our product living happier and healthier lives.
To learn more about Livliga, watch our video here.