Nan, Wendy and Jessica
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Nan, started Ocochi in 2019. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Ocochi?
We came up with the idea back in July 2016 when Wendy went out to China to spend a week with Jess who was living and working in Shanghai. It was on a trip to a nearby water town that we came across local women who were fluffing up handfuls of a candy floss looking fiber and using it to make duvets. This was where we discovered mulberry silk duvets.
The skill and artistry of the women were incredible, and we watched as they made everything by hand to the finest standards as exemplified in the fine stitching. We were enthralled and came away determined to find out more.
On our journey into the story behind mulberry silk, we also came across bamboo bedding and immediately fell in love with it because it, too, was sustainable, soft and beautiful to work with. We saw the two products as complementary, both in their environmentally friendly origins and in the way that they improve the quality of sleep.
The next step was to find out whether there was a market for the products. We loved the opportunity we had found and were passionate about it, but would anyone buy our products and, if they would, why and at what price?
We established that there were some bamboo and mulberry silk bedding players in the market, but these were far and few between. The few companies that were around were performing very well with multi-million-dollar turnovers. Assuming we could match them with our brand appeal this was a tick for marketability.
With our research of competitor price positioning and supplier costs, we confirmed that there were margins that would enable us to proceed and ultimately turn our love for a product into a business.
Last, but by no means least, was the realization that by setting up Ocochi we will help people sleep better and help the planet. We discovered that nearly a quarter of Americans have sleep issues and that sleep debt is on the rise.
With cotton still being king in the bedding market, we were also shocked to discover the impact that it has on the planet and on communities. For example, 2.2 pounds of cotton, equivalent to one pair of jeans and one t-shirt, requires 20,000 liters of freshwater to grow. That could have provided enough water for 10,000 people to drink for one day.
By contrast, bamboo and mulberry trees only require rainwater to grow. They do not need fertilizers or pesticides, nor do they require annual replanting. One acre of bamboo will yield 10 times more than one acre of cotton.
According to the WWF, by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may be facing water shortages. Transitioning from cotton to bamboo and silk is one step closer to helping our planet and leading a healthier life.
We know that there have been giant improvements in the cotton world. Organic cotton uses environmentally friendly pesticides and efficient irrigation systems, which sounds great, but that’s not the whole story. Organic cotton can take up to three times the amount of water to grow than standard cotton. In other words, it creates a bigger problem.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater