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Vulcan Post: This Singaporean Millennial Is Saving The World - One Bamboo Straw At A Time

Posted by KX Z on


 Melissa’s journey to green living began with experiencing nature first-hand.

She said in this interview that an invitation from her friend to stay in a hut on the mountains helped her see “clearer” the impact we have on our environment.

During the stay, a problem they had was that they “couldn’t just bury” all their trash if there were any plastic waste. Melissa and her friend had to bring the plastic matter down the mountain to dispose of them.

In a situation like that, you really start to think about the things we do that affect the environment.

Her inspiration to make bamboo straws happened in Japan, where she met a bamboo craftsmen selling handmade products, and saw a bunch of thin bamboo sticks with him. She joked to her sister about making straws out of those bamboo sticks, but when Melissa made her “first bamboo straws ‘just for fun'”, they were a success.

“I mean, duh, it’s hollow!” she shared happily.

In the same way she first made her bamboo straws, her entrepreneurial journey started with a ‘let’s-see-where-this-can-take-me’ attitude.

“I have no past business experience, but I decided that if I wanted these sustainable products, others would too. It was a very organic flow from the spark of an idea to setting up an online shop,” she shared.

I think it helped that I saw it as a passion project rather than a business per se, at least at first, because things were very slow in the beginning.

Bamboo Straws Worldwide had begun with just the humble reusable bamboo straw.

“I had very little startup cost as I managed everything myself, from creating product images to social media posts and website design."

“The batik bulk bags and mystery strawkeepers are made from surplus or scrap fabric sourced from independent tailors and seamstresses. Some of these seamstresses and tailors are local,” she said.

“It is wonderful that we can trace it all the way back to its origin. There are no machines or other by-products involved in their production. Mothers usually like our bamboo straws because they are kid-friendly and very hardy.”

Melissa sources all her makers from Southeast Asia.

“Getting in touch with the makers usually requires on the ground footwork and talking about details and expectations. In the age of the Internet, there are still some things better done face-to-face.”


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