The turning point for Jules Pieri in a life that was already remarkable came in the mid-1990s, when she was working on product and brand strategy at Playskool, a Rhode Island-based company that produces educational toys and games for children.
“I saw that the best product ideas didn’t make it to market,” Pieri says, “and I asked my boss, Meg Whitman — who later became famous, but she wasn’t then —‘What’s going on?’ She said, ‘If Target, Kmart, Walmart, and Toys R Us didn’t want it, it wouldn’t get made.’ That was the way of the world with big box retail. It made me really angry. And being angry is a really good catalyst for me.”
That epiphany inspired Pieri and a partner to create a startup they called The Grommet. Launched in 2008, the Boston-based company is a discovery platform that helps worthy but unknown products succeed, largely by utilizing social media to empower creators, inventors, and entrepreneurs.