A Bolton entrepreneur has told the story of how he created an eco-conscious cotton buds brand to give back to charity after his own cancer story.
Sed Shaikh, the founder of Bamboo Buds, was diagnosed with cancer when he was 21, right in the middle of his university studies.
“I chose to leave university to undergo my treatment,” the 27-year-old said. “I was also working at Sports Direct at the time and had to step back from that – though they told me I could come back as soon as I was able.
“With the cancer spreading, I had one operation after another and countless hours of chemo too.”
Sed returned to work just eight months later, this time at Sainsbury’s – soon after moving up to a managerial position.
“A lot of people take a long period of time off and I was advised to do the same,” he said. “But I wanted to get to working full-time as soon as possible. I wanted to reinvent myself – having got through all of this treatment that saved my life meant I had a new view on what I wanted to do.
“I realised that, in the months I’d undergone treatment, I’d lost friends to cancer and I remembered how easier our experience had been made thanks to the charities that work tirelessly to help those living with cancer.
“I wanted a way that I could continuously give back to charities like Cancer Research UK and when I spoke to a family member that produced bamboo toothbrushes I gave it some thought and realised that cotton buds are something everyone uses.
“On top of this, 2019 saw the government announce their plastic ban. So I created Bamboo Buds as a sustainable business that does a lot of good.”
Sed set his sights on sourcing a manufacturer for his product, eventually finding one that would develop them in a way that allowed him to maintain his sustainable mission.
“I want people to come to Bamboo Buds knowing they’re giving back while being affordable,” he said. “To extend our sustainability, you can order up to 1,600 pieces at no extra shipping cost and every box donates 10p to charity.”