It all started with cheap instant ramen, a foodstuff that my friends and I think of as a placeholder for food - something you eat to tide you over while you fix a proper meal. As it happens, I'm addicted to the stuff and as such I eat it almost daily. I began to worry that the hot MSG-laden broth was going to eat through the finish of my nice wooden chopsticks, a souvenir from a recent trip to Tokyo. I then thought it would be great if I could find a pair of carbon fiber chopsticks since carbon fiber composites are good for hundreds of degrees and impervious to most chemicals, which is perfect for ramen. To my surprise, I couldn't find a decent pair anywhere on the net. I saw maybe one pair, but they were squarish and expensive. So I did what any rational human being would do and bought a $400 mini lathe, some carbon fiber rods, and some carbon fiber and aluminum tubing, and made my own pair.
Thanks in part to my 15+ years of machining and manufacturing experience, the final product was astounding - beautiful, tough, and amazingly comfortable and usable. They turned out so fantastic that I thought I could probably make more and sell them on eBay in hopes of paying for the lathe. The demand for the product was staggering, and the chopsticks soon caught the eye of major retailers. To cope with the growing demand, the business was expanded, manufacturing processes were streamlined, and an LLC was formed. What started out as a goof became a thriving business selling carbon fiber chopsticks around the world.
But that was long ago. Since then I quickly saturated the novelty chopstick market and began looking for another use for my equipment. When nothing particular sprang to mind, I asked around to see if anybody needed anything made. It turns out, just about everybody has an idea for a product. I bet you do too. If so, I would love to work together to make it a reality.
- Brian Cramer