Our Corporate Partner MOSO Bamboo Products is a bamboo company based in the Netherlands. With 20 years of experience in the relatively young bamboo industry, MOSO is a pioneer in innovative bamboo solutions for indoors and outdoors. MOSO is recognized as a global "A Brand" because of its focus on sustainable product quality and innovation. We set out to get to know MOSO a little better. Here are some thoughts and insights on their successful bamboo business, thanks to MOSO Sales Director Arjen Veltman.
Q. How did the idea for your business come about?
A. We found the first bamboo flooring board, developed by Japanese company, during our travels in Asia in the early nineties.
Q. What is your company mission statement?
A. We aim to be the world leader in bamboo, both in know-how and in sales volume.
Q. How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the company mission?
A. Bamboo seems to have a natural attraction to people. It is a (eco-) friendly, “good” product. This, combined with our company culture (where freedom, independency and space for development play an important role) brings us in contact with the right people.
Q. What are the challenges to running your particular bamboo business?
A. Increasing demands from the market: 10 years ago everybody just accepted that bamboo is a sustainable material (“it’s a grass. It grows fast”). Nowadays people expect proof. MOSO has invested heavily in testing and certification but we expect to need even more of that in the future.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in your bamboo business?
A. Realizing the biggest bamboo project in the world: 200.000m2 bamboo ceiling boards in the Madrid airport
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. It is very important to understand your customer well: what are their needs/limitations/challenges. If you listen well to them and provide them sensible (bamboo) solutions, they will stay loyal to you.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to start a bamboo business?
A. Invest time/money in understanding the technical details of bamboo. Bamboo is not a simple ‘commodity’ product which you simply buy and sell. You have to know the details before you can be succesful.
Make sure you have multi-functional people in your team: not only sales people will make it successful! You also need to control quality, finance and logistices – from day 1.
Go for the difference. Just copying products which are already there will not work. You need different products – so be creative!
Q. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
A. In 20 years’ history you can not say that 1 person is the greatest inspiration. It is changing with time and depending on which phase the company is in. Of course people like Steve Jobs are an inspiration because they dare to think out of the box, which you also have to do with a new product like bamboo.
Q. How do you go about marketing your bamboo business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. First principle: your product has to be mature and reliable before you invest ‘big’ in marketing. Every cent invested in marketing, before your product is ready, is wasted. In general, our most successful form of marketing has been creating amazing products/references – such as the Madrid airport. 10 years later people still talk about it.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. Companies who are breaking traditions and are successful in completely new territories, such as Tesla.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
A. As the number 1 bamboo company in the world.