It has been said that you never get to where you are without the help, support, and encouragement of many. And our story is a true testament to that. For us, our journey began in the late 1990’s, years before Bambu became a business.
Coming up through our corporate careers, Jeff and I are grateful to the mentors we had, the skills we learned and the relationships we made. And for this time because it sparked an inner drive to want to create something different.
And those early years were impactful in how they shaped our business, thanks to some very special people.
We are especially grateful to our admired friends, Harvey West and Xiaobo Yao, who first opened our eyes to the heritage arts of China.
We are grateful to INBAR (International Network of Bamboo and Rattan) – the Beijing-based community of scientists, biologists, farmers, builders, small business owners and connectors who shared their knowledge about bamboo, and welcomed our curiosity and interest.
To Linda Garland, founder of the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, an institution that has been instrumental in the development of the modern use of bamboo throughout Indonesia and beyond.
We are grateful to Professor Takeyama in Nara, Japan who took us under his tutelage, and accompanied us to the renowned bamboo gardens, and introduced us to the masterworks of Japanese woven bamboo baskets.
And to the numerous friendships and acquaintances we made throughout Asia discovering the wonders of bamboo – as an art form, and as daily use items.
We are grateful to our friend and startup partner, Chris Kidwell for leaning into our idea. His friendship, support and head for numbers were invaluable.
We are grateful to fellow bamboo business owner and good friend, Dan Smith of Smith & Fong in San Francisco for his enduring optimism, longstanding friendship, and continued support.
We exhibited at our very first trade show with more determination and enthusiasm than knowledge and experience. We are grateful to those first buyers who believed in our idea.
‘Where have you been?’ – the first words from our first Whole Foods buyer began a relationship with Whole Foods that we still enjoy today. And we couldn’t forget a thanks to our very first buyer, New Seasons. Our businesses have grown together, and we’re so grateful to have them as a customer 20 years after the first product hit their shelves in 2003.
Somehow, year two turned into year 20, and our team through it all has made it possible.Danielle, Weifang, Sandy and the rest of the team in China. Sadie, Kaci and Ryan in Portland. Photographer and friend Derryck, Bill and Marga, the transportation dynamic duo, Jim in Maine, Karen in Colorado, our sales reps throughout the country, the accounting pros in Portland, the Green Pioneer team in the UK, and the Selery team in Utah.
There have been countless others over the years, who in one way, or another have joined our bambu family and gotten ‘on our bus’ with support, expertise, conviction, and energy. And to every customer who has voted with their dollar and made a piece of Bambu part of their kitchen, picnic, or celebration– we’re especially grateful.
We give thanks to all the people who have helped us create an enduring business we can be proud of, and for enriching our lives. And if you’re reading this, we mean you, too. Sincerely, thank you for being a part of making Bambu.
~ Rachel & Jeff