Here's a shopping site where you may find items you've not only never seen before but probably never imagined. That's because The Grommet is a launch platform for undiscovered products. But this is also a site with a social conscience. For products to be accepted, they must not only be innovative, their creators must have compelling stories about why they were developed, and they must be built on "strong values." These, according to the site, might include preserving a handicraft, solving a problem in a fresh way, creating jobs in a struggling or developing region, building a social or green enterprise, manufacturing in the United States or inventing new technologies.

You can search the more than 20 categories, but we have a soft spot for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs, which are items created by female founders, and founders younger than 25 or older than 65.

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Two of the many items we liked: The Anywhere Fireplace (from $120), ventless, eco-friendly fire boxes developed by a mother and son team and manufactured in the United States; and Woolzies ($18), dryer balls handmade in Nepal from New Zealand wool, which lessen drying time, make clothes softer and eliminate wrinkles and static. The site also has a blog and a Citizens' Gallery where you can suggest a product. Shipping is free on orders more than $25.


SITE thegrommet.com

DESCRIPTION Innovative products from small-scale creators

TARGET AUDIENCE Shoppers looking for out-of-the-ordinary items

BOTTOM LINE Make the world a better place by shopping here.