Everything Matters

Who They Are

What would make two Portland natives, both with successful corporate careers, drop everything and start something new? Perhaps a revolutionary idea for a company, one that would take a material little known to the western world and change the sustainable home game forever? Yes, exactly that. And then some.

Picture this: It’s pre 2000’s and Jeff Dalkin and Rachel Speth, the co-founders of bambu, were living in Asia and working corporate jobs. Surrounded by such new settings, they discovered an eco-friendly, sustainable and versatile material they loved: bamboo. Immediately, the two began thinking bamboo was the next sustainable business breakthrough, but they had some questions: Can we create a profitable business that gives people not only affordable but quality products? And, can we do this using renewable materials while also reducing our reliance on plastic? With this in mind, the duo set out to learn everything there was to know about the wonders of bamboo.

During this time, Jeff kept his job at Ogilvy while Rachel resigned from her job at Nike. In 2003, after years of prepping, researching, and refining, bambu was finally ready for the real world! After two years of business, Jeff and Rachel moved from Thailand to Shanghai, China to source their bamboo locally, as well as employing their factories with local workers. Jeff soon thereafter left Ogilvy and the two put everything they had into bambu.

At bambu, they like to say “Everything matters”–and they mean it. From business decisions to customer care to their local employees, bambu strives to do the best they can every step of the way. Today, bambu is and continues to be a pioneer for bamboo manufacturing and sustainable home goods.

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Why We Like Them

Born in Portland, Oregon. Proudly made in China. Bambu comes from a place that prides itself on local, homegrown, and eco-friendly values. But when founders Jeff and Rachel moved their business to China, they set out to change the negative conception people have of Chinese manufacturing. By emphasizing “handmadeness”, bambu prioritizes the connection between a product, and a real person. They work directly with people that work with their hands; from farmers, to woodworkers, stitchers, and more.

By sourcing their materials locally in Shanghai, they can ensure only the highest quality from their organic bamboo, reclaimed wood, hemp, and organic cotton. Most of their bamboo is certified USDA organic, with all of their bamboo being tested and approved pesticide-free and chemical-free. Not only is this better for consumer health, but it is better for their farmers as well. What’s more, bambu sustainably harvests all their bamboo from wild groves rather than farmed plantations, protecting the native environment they live and work in.

One of bambu’s main goals is to reduce consumer reliance on plastic, especially single-use plastic. By offering biodegradable and compostable alternatives, they’re working to shift the amount of plastic we as a community use. That’s also why they partnered with the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance of businesses that are working towards being plastic free, striving towards a future without the toxic impacts that plastic pollution has on humans, animals and the environment.

bambu puts lots of time and effort into each and every one of their products, but they pay even more close attention to children’s items. That’s why the entire bambu children’s line is both kid safe, and kid approved. bambu follows every protocol and procedure of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which strictly regulates safety considerations on products. Bambu is also partnered with 1% for the Planet, a collective of businesses that pledge to donate 1% of their sales to support local and national environmental non-profits, and is also a certified B Corp. Bambu holds themselves, and their products, to a higher standard–so you can feel good knowing that every purchase supports local communities in Shanghai and Portland alike.

  • B Corp
    B Corp
  • 1% for the Planet
    1% for the Planet
  • Safe & Fair Labor
    Safe and Fair Labor
  • Handmade
  • USDA Certified Organic
    USDA Certified Organic
  • Bamboo
  • Reclaimed Wood
    Reclaimed Wood
  • Hemp
  • Organic Cotton
    Organic Cotton

The B Lab is a third-party, non-profit organization that certifies companies as socially and environmentally responsible. B Corps are businesses that go above and beyond traditional business models and aim to create positive change in the world through their practices. These companies must meet rigorous transparency and accountablity standards, while doing what is best for people and the environment.

This company partners with 1% for the Planet, a nonprofit organization that helps promote environmental stewardship. Members commit to donating at least 1% of their sales to the program, which helps connect them to high-impact environmental nonprofits across the globe.

We support safe and fair labor practices when producing sustainable products. This company cares for their workers by fostering a safe work environment and providing their employees with fair wage.

We support small businesses and craftspeople who create each of their products with care. Handmade products are generally produced on a small scale, without the use of large energy consuming factories and production facilities. Buying handmade helps support art, communities, and people’s livelihoods.

Products labeled as USDA certified organic contain ingredients that are produced without pesticides, petrochemicals, ionizing radiation, or synthetic preservetives. USDA certified products are categorized into three classifications. Items labeled as “100% Organic” with the USDA seal must only include organic ingredients. Items labeled as “Organic” with the USDA seal must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients, and cannot contain any of the USDA excluded methods or ingredients. Products labeled as “Made with Organic Ingredients” must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.

As a member of the grass family, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. It requires no irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers to grow, and can be harvested within 3-5 years, as compared to approximately 30+ years for traditional hardwoods. Bamboo is extremely adaptable and produces more oxygen per acre than large tree species, while using a fraction of the water to grow. Its durable and lightweight qualities make bamboo a great alternative for hard wood products!

Reclaimed wood utilizes lumber left over from furniture, barrels, barns, buildings, and other wooden structures to create new buildings, furniture, and decorations. This provides a second life to wood that would otherwise be discarded, prevents new trees from being cut down, and diverts waste. Products using reclaimed wood have unique character, and reflect the history of their previous lives.

This high-yield crop grows quickly and usually doesn’t rely on harsh pesticides and fertilizers, making it a dependable renewable resource. The cannabis plant produces more fiber per acre than common textile crops like cotton and flax, and actually adds nutrients to the soil instead of depleting them! Hemp is strong, breathable, and moisture wicking, and it requires minimal dye during fabric production due to its high absorbency qualities.

Organic cotton production uses zero chemical pesticides and fertilizers, promoting a healthier use of land and decreasing harmful agricultural runoff. By steering clear of toxic chemicals, workers experience less exposure to hazardous conditions, promoting social responsibility as well as environmental stewardship. Plus, farming methods for organic cotton have been shown to use up to 20% less water than nonorganic production methods. Choosing organic cotton eliminates the use of insecticides and other harmful chemicals, promotes efficient resource use, and results in a safer products and a cleaner planet!

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