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The magic of that room has stuck with Vijoy his entire life. So much so he wants to deliver that same magic and creativity to all music lovers. Meet Magic Room Band(MRB), the only line of eco-friendly, 100% biodegradable drumsticks and guitar picks in the music accessory market today. The bags and boxes MRB use are also reusable.
The Magic Room Brand aims to inspire creativity with a fearless focus on high-quality products, design-forward thinking, environmental responsibility, and personal relationships. Magic Room Brand gear is primarily made of bamboo – considered by many to be the most versatile material on the planet.
The best bamboo on the planet is found in Jiangsu and Shanghai, so MRB has partnered with their local master craftsmen to design, test, refine, and perfect all the drumsticks and guitar picks.
Below is a Q&A with Vijoy Rao, founder of Magic Room Brand.
Tell us why and when you started Magic Room Brand Music Supply. What was your inspiration?
I launched Magic Room Brand at the end of 2015 after leaving a corporate job I had for almost 12 years. I realized that work ing on something was ok, but working towards something was where I wanted to be. So, instead of waiting for what was next, I made what was next.
As a lifelong musician, I know that there are so many out there like me…people who are creative not because they want to be, but because they need to be. But in all my years of playing (30+), it was strange to me that the music accessory market was so slow to adopt sustainability into their business model. Being eco-conscious should be a given, and the giants in the marketplace were ignoring this elephant in the room.
So, inspired by the possibility of improving the music accessory landscape with a venture that was in the intersection of knowledge, passion, and opportunity, I took it upon myself to find, create, and offer today’s musicians a brand of premium products that enables creativity and empowers them to be proudly sustainable…a w ay to love h ow we make what we make.
All of the accessories are made from bamboo and 100% biodegradable. Why bamboo and was it always your first choice of material to use?
Wooden drumsticks still require 70+ year old trees to be cut down, and today’s guitar picks only contribute to that ever-growing plastic mountain in the ocean. The nature of these products are that they wear out and need to be replaced often, so the environmental impact of this cycle of use is huge.
To do our part to minimize the negative environmental impact, Magic Room Brand primarily uses bamboo for all of our drumsticks, guitar picks, and soon-to-be-released guitar straps. An incredibly versatile material. Better sound, better feel, longer lasting, and zero waste when it’s all said and done!
And by introducing a monthly subscription model, musicians can bury their old MRB accessories when it’s time and get their new gear delivered right to them conveniently and cost-effectively.
Many people don’t realize that bamboo is a grass, not a wood, and the world’s fastest growing grass at that. It can grow several feet in a matter of weeks, releases 35% more oxygen that trees, requires minimal water or pesticides to grow, and matures for production in 1/10th the time as trees (6-7 years compared to 70+ years for trees).
The eco-friendliness of bamboo can’t be denied, but it’s bamboo’s versatility and composition which makes it special. Incredibly lightweight, but still as strong as steel in some cases. Asian countries use bamboo for everything from clothing, to dinnerware, even for scaffolding when constructing buildings.
Many have asked about the biodegradability of wooden drumsticks. Yes, wood is biodegradable, but typical wooden drumsticks are covered in a hardening chemical lacquer which restricts biodegradability.
Bamboo was the natural place to start when research, design, and development of products kicked off. But MRB’s focus is designing high-quality goods that sound great and are eco-friendly, so we aren’t limited to only bamboo as we approach design of future products.
Tell us about the craftsman that make the bamboo music accessories. How did you find them and how long did you have to search?
The best bamboo in the world is in China, specifically near the coastal region of Jiangsu. With that, the best bamboo craftsmen are also there. These are expert craftsmen that have worked with bamboo for years and know how to get the best out of every stalk to make a variety of products.
Finding and selecting a quality, certified eco-friendly manufacturing partner took several months, but the right team was found with hard work, uncompromising standards, help from friends in the global supply chain industry, and a little bit of luck. I like luck.
Guitar picks and drumsticks are precision items, so it was important to find the right production team. These are the tools musicians use to express themselves and improve the world, so MRB takes it seriously.
What is the mission of the Magic Room Brand? Is it to educate musicians on products they use and how they can help support a great cause?
Magic Room Brand’s mission is to inspire creativity with a fearless focus on high-quality products, design-forward thinking, environmental responsibility, and personal relationships.
MRB is doing its part to ensure they have the best tools in the market so they can be proud of their creative process as well as their results.
At the end of the day, MRB makes products that are high quality, eco-friendly, and relate to the lifestyle, beliefs, attitudes, and character of today’s musicians.
How have musicians reacted to the brand? Do you currently have bands and artists using the product?
Initial response has been very positive. MRB drumsticks and guitar picks have reached the hands of beginners and seasoned musicians alike.
MRB understands that sound is the #1 most important thing to musicians, so we weren’t interested in bringing a substandard but eco-friendly product line to market. Magic Room Brand gear is better sounding first and foremost. The fact that they are more durable and 100% biodegradable are extra bonuses!
There are professional artists currently using the gear – drummers, guitar players, and bass players. Genres vary from funk, rock, alt-country, bluegrass, reggae, and blues. (We’ll be looking to announce these artists publicly once agreements have been formalized.)
What is a piece of advice you would give a future social entrepreneur looking to find the inspiration to take the leap?
To be honest, I am just as careful about offering advice as I am to heeding it.
Inspiration and courage comes from within, so to should the decision of what to do with any advice received.
You should reserve the right to use it, save it for later, or flat out ignore it.
That said, it’s well documented that finding an entrepreneurial venture that intersects expertise and passion can be empowering and fulfilling. I’ve seen this work, but there’s a third piece that should be a part of this and that is a market opportunity. If expertise, passion, and a strong market opportunity can overlap, it can strengthen the venture’s potential success and ensure that the entrepreneur can maintain the necessary high level of interest, energy, and focus over time.
For me, Magic Room Brand is just that.