MANILA, Philippines – When Cebu-made bamboo sound amplifier Loudbasstard began making noise in 2012, many took notice of its simple concept and, of course, its bold name.
But apart from introducing an innovative product, the two founders of Loudbasstard were also able to empower a whole community of skilled and talented Cebuano artists.
Behind each Loudbasstard piece is a group of Cebuanos who have perfected the technique of fusing bamboo with modern technology.
All the products are handcrafted, dyed and packaged in Cebu.
“In the very beginning, we did it ourselves. We were sanding, we were cutting, we were painting it with a brush. When we launched, people started talking about it and we started to get orders so we were able to hire workers,” co-owner Koh Onozawa said on ANC’s “Green Living.”
“It was very important to hire workers that lived five minutes away from the vicinity, so they can just walk there. Or mothers that had children that didn’t need to go to the facility. We’d just send it over there so they could do part of the work, and we pick it back up. So it was empowering the whole community,” he added.
Onozawa’s business partner Franz Ignacio described the manufacturing process as intimate, with each piece having the personal touch of its maker.
“Each piece goes through our craftsmen one by one. No piece is exactly the piece because it’s not pumped out by machines. You get a sense of the Filipino craftsmanship,” he said.
The product is made from bamboo and rattan, and is used as a passive amplification, which means it requires an outside source to channel sound but does not need electricity.
“It’s meant as a personal amplification device. You’re not going to use it to throw a party and everyone’s going to listen to it. It’s for those small intimate moments with a small group of friends, or just yourself,” said Ignacio.
Before the Loudbasstard sound amplifier came to be, the founders shared that they went through a rigorous trial and error process to perfect the sound, noting that bamboo is not an easy material to work with.
“That’s the challenge, we tried different materials and played with many designs from the length to the thickness of the bamboo,” he said.
Onozawa and Ignacio said they have no plans to outsource the production, but they are looking at reaching broader market globally.
“We want to keep innovating, that’s one of our top priorities, to show what Filipino and Cebuano creativity is,” said Onozawa.
“We want to inspire other entrepreneurs that you can be a global brand and you can make great things while staying in your country,” he added.