On a backpacking trip, Melissa Lam was startled by a photograph taken with her friends around the campfire.
“In the middle of nature, we were surrounded by plastic bags, wrappers and bottles,” she recalls. Not only did it prompt Melissa and her friends to bring their trash back to civilisation, it kickstarted her own journey to become a zero-waste, conscious consumer – and gave her an idea for her business. “I wanted a way to start meaningful, serious conversations in a light-hearted way,” says Melissa, who began Bamboo Straw Girl in 2013 as a way to spark such discussions.
Find out more about the founder of Bamboo Straw Girl, Melissa Lam, here!
As head of a social enterprise, Melissa aims to understand the full process from sourcing to production to point of sale for her popular bamboo straws and eco-lifestyle products. “We pay close attention to quality, especially with bamboo straws – it is important!” Not only does she know her makers personally, Melissa supports them through fulltime employment or gives them a second stream of income.
Besides championing sustainability through the sale of her products, Melissa shares she loves both travel and eating healthfully. While she says she seldom shops, she admits she has a soft spot for unique jewellery. “Every piece I own has a story behind it,” she says, sharing, “I recently purchased a matching sterling silver ring and bangle set with a twisted bamboo stalk design at a craft market in Indonesia, and loved the attention to detail – it had bamboo pins which are used to hold bamboo in structures!”
By Sara Lyle Bow, Muneerah Bee, Melodi Ghui + Christopher Ong Ujine, The Finder Issue 300, September 2019