Utah company uses ‘miracle plant’ to make softest products around
SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – From struggling start-up to one of the fastest growing companies in the country, a Utah-based business is nurturing a niche like nobody else.
In this week’s Utah Success Story, Ali Monsen went to Cariloha to learn about the not-so-secret ingredient behind the company’s success.
“Cariloha!” a large group shouted, enthusiastically greeting Ali as she walked into the showroom.
That warm welcome is the same salutation every customer receives when they stop at any Cariloha store.
“Cariloha — where the style of the Caribbean meets the spirit of aloha,” Founder/CEO Jeff Pedersen said about the origins of his company’s name.
The concept behind Cariloha is more than a dreamy vacation destination. It’s also a business concept, designed to create the softest bedding, clothing, and products around.
“Everything in the store is made of bamboo. It’s soft, cool, clean, and green,” Pedersen said.
Pedersen and his team have perfected a process to turn scratchy stalks of bamboo into the finest of fabrics, and it all starts at a 24-million square-meter farm in southwest China.
“[The bamboo] doesn’t take pesticides, it doesn’t take receding. [It is] growing every single day…” said Executive VP of Marketing Aaron Hobson. “We can take that and create this incredibly fine fiber,” he explained.
The company then uses that fiber in products like this popular line of sheets, but the softness of Cariloha’s products is only scratching the surface. Bamboo is also three degrees cooler than cotton, odor resistant, anti-microbial, and hypoallergenic.
“Because bamboo wicks away moisture, the environment just isn’t friendly for bacteria,” said Dr. Neil Van Leeuwen (ENT), a surgeon from Tanner Clinic who sleeps on bamboo sheets for health reasons, among others.
Another benefit of using bamboo is that there is plenty of it to go around.
“Because bamboo is a fast-growing plant, it’s not only great for our landscapes but also as a renewable resource,” said George McGinness, a sales craftsman for Monrovia.
This year, Cariloha is on track to do $70 million in sales, thanks to its 64 stores in 16 countries, relationship with major cruise lines, and big presence online.
“We’re all over that and make sure we [reach] every dynamic and every generation out there,” smiled Taylor Hatch, a Cariloha employee who manages the company website.
Pedersen says he plans to keep his booming business based in Utah — a state the entrepreneur says he can count on for trustworthy, self-motivated employees — who, turns out, have also earned quite a reputation with customers overseas.
“They always say, ‘Do you have an orthodontist in Utah? Because all of your employees have white, straight teeth!’ When [customers] want to take a picture with our staff… rather than going to Stingray City or somewhere else… we know we’ve won,” Pedersen laughed.
Cariloha also has a lifetime quality guarantee that allows customers to return any product at any time if they are not satisfied.