Joel Remy created Bamboo Bamboo in 2015. Bamboo Bamboo’s mission is to provide a range of sustainable, eco-friendly baby products in the most innovative and functional way. Joel’s eco-friendly baby suction bowl won a Loved by Parents award in 2016. Here he shares his story of how and why Bamboo Bamboo came about and how your kids could make you millions.
Mums and Dads and the word ‘preneur’
In 2015 mumpreneurs generated £7.2Bn for the UK Economy. That’s approximately the total GDP of the Bahamas!
There are hundreds of fascinating stories about mums who whilst raising a family have successfully built businesses and brands through a mix of creativity, intelligence and sheer determination. These mumpreneurs seem to have mastered the art of balancing the competing demand of motherhood and balancing a career. But… what about Dad?
The term Dadpreneur doesn’t have the same ring. Hopefully, because our society has decided to do away with micro-labelling every facet of our culture, but I doubt it. A google search doesn’t reveal much, certainly not the lists of entries for super successful mums we continue to hear case studies about.
Surely the same ingredients that go into making mum go from Zero to One as Peter Thiel defines in his book on how to build the future, are the same ingredients that are required of dads? Where are those viral stories, where are those successful dads?
An entry from Peckham
Just off Queen’s Road Peckham in a small two bedroom flat I decided I wanted to give entrepreneurship a go. My flat wasn’t small because of actual room sizes, it just felt small because I had four children – 3 girls and a boy, with not much breathing space between ages.
Family time, fun times and perhaps most times were spent in the living room. But it was meal times which gave the carpet those darkened areas where the Vanish could only do so much. There was a baby weaning story for each patch. But on this particular Friday after a long week of selling software – my regular day job, my one-year-old daughter lobbed her bowl from off the high chair onto the floor. The kicker was that it was one of those all natural pureed vegetable dishes from the jar – the ones where the contents look luminous and glow in the dark (it looks like that when it comes back out too – #justsaying).
After an internal rage of whisper swearing and pulling a ‘that’s naughty’ face to a one-year-old who couldn’t care less, I wondered ‘Why did the bowl not just bloody stick to the highchair like it was supposed to?!’ Hmmm.
Suction Bowls and Plates
Around 2am was my quiet time and probably when the Vanish cleaner on the carpet had fully dried. It was also the time when I was the most creative and ideas would jump into my mind, at least that’s what it felt like. Tonight I was thinking about baby dishes that would be functional yet beautiful. There were two facts I learned that night that blew me away;
#1 - Nearly every bit of plastic that has ever been made still exists! Most of which ends up in the exact same place in the North Pacific Ocean bobbing around in a giant circle which spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan.
I decided to not make the bowls using plastic, like pretty much every baby bowl available at the time.
#2 - Bamboo, the fastest growing plant on the planet, was the only plant to survive the Hiroshima bombings. Today it can be used to make everything from bullet proof vests to baby blankets, surfboards to socks and roofing panels to paper.
I decided it would be bamboo.
Bamboo, the all natural grass which grows amazingly fast, clocked at 90cm in height in 24 hours, is also naturally anti-bacterial. It is so effective that it eliminates and prevents over 70% of bacteria that attempt to grow on it, whether this be in its natural or fabric form.
The following nights, weeks and months were both exciting and daunting. I became exceptionally good at telling myself not to bother. After all, who the hell did I think I was? A mumpreneur?
However, challenges quickly became opportunities, researching made me smarter, I understood perfection was the enemy of the progress early, and small mistakes were healthy. Summer of 2016 my house was a complete mess again!
Boxes everywhere! Boxes of my all natural suction bamboo bowls had arrived before I had even put any thought into a brand name. It was super scary. I waited so long to see them and now I just wanted to get them out there in the field. Amazon and eBay became my obsession – not for sales, but for feedback. What did customers think, what did parents think, would they hate it? (The dark voice inside eager to tell myself I told you so).
A year, later the brand Bamboo Bamboo and our eco-friendly baby suction bowls picked up two LovedByParents awards. It was at this most exciting moment where it really dawned, we had created something that parents found delightful during baby led weaning and would actually have a positive impact on the planet. It IS worth it.
Today we are pleased to offer a range of all natural organic bamboo based products to parents across Europe and are full of joy at the comments, feedback and pictures we receive from customers and fans on our Instagram and Facebook social media.
I didn’t get away from the boxes and probably made a lot more mess in my house than what existed before. But I am pleased that baby led weaning for thousands of parents has become mess free.