After Japan’s Rakuten takes majority stake, The Grommet eyes bigger opportunities here and abroad

Daily Grommet

It was hard not to picture Daily Grommet founder Jules Pieri channeling Justin Timberlake channeling Sean Parker when she told me about her company’s rebranding: They had dropped ‘Daily,’ she said, and were now just “The Grommet.”

“Initially when we started, ‘Daily’ was an important part to use,” she told me. “No one else was releasing a product story like we were doing. As time went on, it became superfluous so we wanted to focus on the ‘Grommet,’ which was essential to what we are.”

That ‘what we are’ being a marketplace to sell physical goods by emphasizing the craft, care, and design each creator puts in to the products being sold, with the site putting almost as much emphasis on the companies and people making the products as what you end up buying.

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It turns out, though, that The Grommet was not the only one focused on highlighting that relationship.

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten recently took a majority stake in The Grommet (exactly details were not disclosed). If you have not heard of them (I hadn’t), Rakuten is the leading online retailer in Japan and is the third-largest retailer by sales internationally.

Think Amazon, but with a twist: Like The Grommmet, they are focused on highlighting and strengthening relationships between buyer and seller.

“The mindset behind Rakuten aligns with what we’ve been doing,” Pieri told me. “We are doing some meaningful integration work, and we’re working together and drawing upon some of the larger corporate resources of Rakuten.”

Pieri said that, prior to Rakuten’s recent investment, the Grommet had raised $6 million angel funding and that the original team still holds an ownership stake.

Pieri also shared some news closer to home: In January, she shared her hopes to relocate the company, subleasing space from a larger company.

It didn’t quite work out like that, but she said her Hive post sparked a conversation that lead her to relocate the offices nearby Davis Square. She’s promised to send pictures once they’ve settled in.