Madhavi Das, Owner Of Bamboo Tribe Shares About Her Sustainable And Ultra Comfortable Alternatives to Synthetic Wear
Every woman is on the lookout for clothes made of simple and striking ensembles to pull out and slip into. So, irrefutably, apparel made out of breathable fabrics is the way forward – and the same is reflective in young designer Madhavi Das’s line of sustainable and ultra comfortable alternatives to synthetic activewear, made from their signature Bamboo Fabric. In a candid chat with BananiVista, she tells us more about her brand.
BV: Explain the vibe of your brand?
Madhavi: Our clothes are uber-soft, perfectly-tailored and of an aesthetic built on elegant simplicity.
BV: Why Bamboo Tribe? How did the idea sprout?
Madhavi: I have had an interest in the Bamboo plant itself for many years now due to its immense benefits to the environment – Bamboo releases more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than even Hardwood trees, the vast root system prevents soil erosion and helps elevate the water table, and it can be cultivated very easily in a variety of soil and climate conditions without the need for pesticides. I was also fascinated by the plethora of uses Bamboo can find in daily life – when we think of Bamboo, we mostly may picture rustic village structures and handicrafts but Bamboo has plenty of mainstream commercial and industrial uses – in Construction, as Fuel, in F&B, and to my surprise, in textiles. It was through hobby-led research on Bamboo that I found that Bamboo fibres can be used to spin textile yarns which I found intriguing to the say the least. On reading more about the properties of fabric made from Bamboo, I was amazed – it is naturally moisture-wicking, anti-odour, hypoallergenic, thermo-regulating and what have you! I couldn’t believe it wasn’t being employed in a mass way yet given all of these natural attributes which could mean we could slowly and steadily replace polyester-based sportswear which, as we all know, is made from plastic. Even for non-active casual wear, Bamboooutstrips Cotton, as a Cotton plant needs 3-5 times the amount of water as Bamboo and harvesting cotton erodes the soil. So I found a few online stores selling Bamboo clothes from the UK and US, bought a few and I was hooked! Once you wear something made from Bamboo, there is no going back. I knew I had to do something to bring Bamboo clothes into the mainstream in India, especially given the hot and humid climate prevalent through much of the country. When I shared the idea with Aiyappa (my co-founder), he bought into it immediately and the two of us decided to make this a reality together.
BV: Take us through your venture’s evolution.
Madhavi: My business partner, Aiyappa worked with me in both Xiaomi and then LeEco and I shared my thoughts on starting Bamboo Tribe with him. Needless to say, I was delighted when he shared my vision for Bamboo Tribe and we couldn’t wait to get this off the ground. We started the business in March 2017 and immediately set to work designing and manufacturing our first batch of Bamboo clothes. Initially, we planned to start very small and simple – just solid, classic tees in 3-4 colours but as we worked on it, we decided to go much wider with different options for Men & Women including Tees, Tank Tops, Leggings in a variety of colours, patterns and prints. Thus it came to be that our first batch which launched in September had 64 listings! We had to do it all ourselves, just the two of us – design, procurement, launching our website and online store bambootribe.com, setting up warehousing and logistics, listing on as many major e-commerce portals as we could, managing our social media and digital marketing – every little thing had to be taken care of by the two of us. We were lucky to have some great support too – my live-in partner, Srish stepped up to help us get our website together and some good friends, Nikhil Shastri and Raj RJ, who are very talented photographers graciously agreed to shoot all of the wonderful photos that you see on our website and social media handles. Without these acts of kindness, our initial days would have been that much harder. While launching was really tough, it has been extremely satisfying to see how positively people have been responding to our products. Fast forward to now, about 7 months after we launched our first line, we are gearing up to release a brand new range with all new styles and colours – we are extremely excited about what’s coming up and we’re sure our customers are going to very happy with this too.
BV: What does your typical day look like? How do you unwind? What is your downtime plan like?
Madhavi: Haha! There is no such thing as a “typical” day for us at all – I mean that in all seriousness. Every day could be different in terms of the content of work we do and the quantum of it – there are days where I find myself with a relatively light load, just waiting around for a supplier or vendor to deliver something while in other days we are chock full of stuff to do and don’t know where to even begin.
I’m 32 and Aiyappa is 30 – we both have some shared and varied interests. We both share a love of comics and playing sports, particularly basketball. Other than, we could be chalk and cheese – Aiyappa is an avid football fan and he watches the sport religiously and plays quite regularly too. I love music and frequent gigs in the city of a variety of genres – I usually make the time to go to at least one every week – it’s my fuel. I also love to dabble in music myself and write songs when the inspiration strikes me as well. I was a dancer once upon a time, but injuries over the last few years have taken me away from it – I guess I’ll get back to it one day. I also write poetry from time to time which I put up on my blog.
BV: What next? Take us through what you are prepping for…In terms of your brand.
Madhavi: We the immediate term, we aim to keep scaling up Bamboo Tribe in its current form – ramp up production and sales and work on building the brand as everybody’s go-to place for sustainable, high-quality clothing. Over time, as our brand grows stronger, we want to go beyond merely selling our products and also promote awareness of Bamboo as a sustainable replacement to plastic-based items (like polyester clothing) and encourage cultivation and processing of the right strains of Bamboo that have mainstream applications across myriad industries. This may seem a cliche, but when it comes to Bamboo, the possibilities truly are endless – and we have so much more to explore!