New Beginnings: A timeless story of perseverance

In 2011 Amy de Castro was a social science graduate that failed to get into a course on entrepreneurship. Rather than accepting her fate she applied again. Persistence, a hallmark of any entrepreneur paid off, this is her story.

Bamboo Revolution is now in its third year of successful business and, with her new team, the founder celebrates their 19 000th wristwatch order with Pippa Hudson.

Getting in

Armed with a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Cape Town, Amy de Castro, was faced with the obstacle of having her application for the Postgraduate Entrepreneurship Programme rejected by the university.

But true to her character, de Castro applied again the following year; and to her pleasure found a place in the prestigious programme in 2012.

I pushed and I eventually got into the course. The practical side of the course was called the genesis project. We were required to get into business teams with our classmates, and in our group there were six of us.

Amy de Castro, founder of Bamboo Revolution

Getting it right

Once she was accepted into the course, de Castro and her teammates were tasked with conceptualizing, designing, marketing, manufacturing and selling a new product as a part of an assignment brief. And after two product failures, at prototype stage, the group was not defeated.

A testimony to the adage ‘third times a charm’; the team finally came up with the unique bamboo and leather watch concept. After five months of hard work, they launched the product in August of 2012 and when the year ended, four of the team members took the decision to take their product further.

Going solo, and going international

De Castro eventually bought out her original partners in the business and has taken the Bamboo Revolution brand to eight different countries across the world, in just her first three years of operating. She says she has seen phenomenal professional growth, as the first bamboo wristwatch brand in the South African market.

From launch day this is something I wanted to run with – I saw the potential it had. So I ran with the project and in February 2013 I bought the other three partners out. And it’s been a crazy whirlwind since then.

Amy de Castro, founder of Bamboo Revolution

Some of the product parts are imported, but de Castro says that she makes an effort to source as many of the resources locally, including the use of vegetable-tanned leather straps.

Much like the versatility and intrinsic values that de Castro finds appealing in bamboo, she too shows strength, versatility and a sustainable vision that will certainly take her further on her journey.

De Castro says that some days she wakes up wishing to be the first (100% locally produced) wristwatch-maker in Africa. So watch out world! (pun intended).

Visit the Bamboo Revolution website to see their range of watches. They also donate some of their proceeds to the sustainable organisation Greenpop.

Listen to the full conversation and advice on overcoming failure on The Pippa Hudson Show:


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