Sunglasses, indoor and outdoor furniture, lamps, bathtubs, skates. Thanks to innovative technologies, today, it is possible to create a plethora of customer items from bamboo. “Bamboo had been underestimated for a long time,” says Arjen Veltman, member of the board. “Together with architects, we tried to get bamboo accepted in construction. A major milestone was a project in Madrid in 2003 when a wavy bamboo ceiling was created at the airport. With a size of 200,000 m², it is still the largest project of this kind in the world. We developed the ceiling, which needed to be fire resistant and flexible at the same time. We succeeded and we got instant recognition.
MOSO was founded in 1997. Thanks to its extraordinary commitment, the company has grown steadily and recorded a turnover of 20 million EUR last year. Today, it has 50 employees, an office in Barcelona and two in China. “The bamboo we need only grows in China with its special climate,” states Mr. Veltman. “In China, there is a whole industry surrounding bamboo. In Europe Chinese products still have a bad reputation, that is why we invested heavily in our Chinese organization. We are very strict in quality control and provide only the best.”
MOSO offers a broad range of unique bamboo products and differentiates between flooring, panels and veneer, and outdoor. “There are endless application possibilities,” stresses Mr. Veltman. “When we started, we focused on bamboo products for indoor use. Later we started working on outdoor applications, such as decking. There was demand for it, but at the same time, there were many issues. Bamboo contains sugars, which attract mould. This can easily destroy the product. Five to six years back, we developed a unique solution. By applying a special technique where heat treatment is combined with compressing the bamboo fibers, a truly durable outdoor product was created. Terrace planks are one of our main products by now.”
There are endless application possibilities. Arjen Veltman member of the board
In addition, bamboo entices customers with ecological aspects, which MOSO takes very seriously. The company has a sustainability manager and cooperates with independent third parties such as the Technical University Delft and other research institutions to emphasize that growing bamboo means that the CO2 balance for all of its bamboo products is negative and that bamboo flooring is the most sustainable floor available.
MOSO’s distribution strategy banks on different pillars depending on the product and country. Bamboo floors are sold via specialized shops all over Europe. Recently the company started to work with e-commerce as well. “Currently, we are testing a web showroom in Italy and Spain,” says Mr. Veltman. “We put a lot of emphasis on well-founded information and advise customers as much as possible. The existing retail network remains involved: the consumer gets all the information online and the retailer provides supply and installation.” Panels of bamboo are sold to furniture manufacturers via dedicated partners. Industrial customers such as the automotive industry or door manufacturers are the main buyers of functional bamboo products. Here the look of the bamboo is less important: the functional characteristics and the eco-friendliness are the main factors.
We are happy that we can rely on stable, long-term partnerships. BMW for example wants a reliable supplier. They work with our veneer.”
France and Germany are MOSO’s most important markets abroad. “Our aim is to further strengthen our leading international market position,” says Mr. Veltman. “We have distributors in India and Australia and supply in South America. In Africa, we have contacts, but no distribution yet. Our franchising system is very successful. In Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and now Israel, franchise partners focus only on our products. We are very happy with that, and it will be our focus for the future. We will definitely expand into more sales structures in more countries, and the franchise concept will play a key role in this context. Furthermore, we will look into other production sites for the bamboo we need in order to become less dependent on China. We will continue working towards our goal to become the world market leader. The bamboo itself will be our great advantage. Its many functional advantages and, last but not least, the fact that, thanks to bamboo products, more CO2 is absorbed during the life cycle than emitted will help us to stay ahead of the competition.”