I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

A brief consumer philosophy

William Morris had it right with the advice he gave in a 1901 lecture:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

I hadn’t read Morris’ thinking until recently, but I generally buy carefully, slowly, and nearly always with the expectation that what I bring home will be there for a very long time.  I waited ten years– no exaggeration– to find the right cookie jar.  I bought it in Dublin (clear glass, 8″ round cylinder, generous in height, with an satisfying chunky knob of a handle on the lid).  Roomy enough to hold a big batch of chocolate chip cookies, and its shape and clear glass made even the last few cookies look pretty on display.  I say “made” because, sadly,  I broke it after only six months or so of happy use.  It will probably be another ten years before I find its replacement.

Doorknobs I co-created with Chris Denison; I like the end result--a balance between beauty and simple utility

Doorknobs I co-created with Chris Denison; I like the end result--a balance between beauty and simple utility

Given my work at Daily Grommet, it might seem strange that I advocate Morris’ philosophy of thoughtful consumption.   I am truly crazy about good products.  About new ideas and inventions.  About luscious craft.  I believe there is a continual supply of interesting things being created today.

Grommet is a wonderful platform for celebrating these objects of uncommon beauty or usefulness.  We do apply careful evaluation of every Grommet.  I hope people enjoy the product stories, but I only expect people to buy a particular Grommet when what we offer is really truly filling a need (for utility or beauty) in their homes.  Does that seem contradictory?  When we designed our site I kept wanting the “Get it now” button to be downplayed… I didn’t want it to distract from the storytelling.  But is it ridiculously idealistic to enthusiastically tell a new product story every day, and to really hope that it finds its way into many, many hands, yet also hope that our Grommets are bought carefully, and thoughtfully?

8 Responses to “A brief consumer philosophy”

  1. julespieri

    Omar, you can rest assured that the cookie jar quest does not stop the flow of homemade treats…if you only saw the stockpiles I have made for Christmas. All in Tupperware, for now!

    Reply
  2. Claudia Thomas

    I have seen that quote, but had forgotten the source. Funny, I just saw a couple of lamps in a shop from William Morris Studio that caught my eye. I do not need them, but I would like to have them to look at every day. Perhaps I should follow the advice and purchase them!

    Reply
  3. Waiting for Good Object-o « Jules Pieri

    […] I’ve written before about how I usually take a loooooong time to buy anything, other than things that naturally disappear, like food or ephemeral fashionista stuff.   I don’t like being taunted in my own home by mistakes and compromises.  I’d rather do without.  Or wait until I can find–or afford–what I truly want. Gary Hustwit, as photographed in Dwell magazine […]

    Reply
  4. Waiting for Good Object-o « Daily Grommet

    […] I’ve written before about how I usually take a loooooong time to buy anything, other than things that naturally disappear, like food or ephemeral fashionista stuff.   I don’t like being taunted in my own home by mistakes and compromises.  I’d rather do without.  Or wait until I can find–or afford–what I truly want. Gary Hustwit, as photographed in Dwell magazine […]

    Reply
  5. Meg Hervig

    Hi! This is my first time commenting on your blog 🙂 I have been popping in and out and reading your stuff for several time and just wanted to say hi. . I like your writing flair and love the website design!. I also wanted to ask..is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email?

    Reply
    • julespieri

      Hi Meg,
      Thanks for commenting. I’d be honored if you email subscribed…take a look at the link just below the big blue Grommet on the top right. LMK if you have any trouble signing up.

      Reply

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