Mylen Yamamoto Tansingco was born and raised in Hawaii where she learned to use a chopstick before using a fork. Her first company Clique-Now, manages the careers of top digital Asian American talent. She served as a Clinical Professor/Associate Director of Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University before pursuing Cropsticks and Clique-Now full time. A fourth generation Japanese, Filipino and Chinese American, Mylen looked up to her grandfather who fought in the 100th Infantry Battalion to prove his American loyalty. In honor of her grandfather, Mylen based her company Cropsticks around doing better for future generations knowing how hard the past worked to make today great.
What inspired you all to create this company?
I was on a flight to Singapore when the idea to Cropsticks came in early 2015. My chopsticks kept rolling off of the tray table and with a lot of time to think during the flight, the idea to the Cropsticks rest was born. After researching materials to make chopsticks, I learned that 20 million trees are cut down each year for a product we throw away after one use. That’s around 36 billion chopsticks contributing to deforestation and increased carbon emissions. And so, I decided to use materials that were sustainable like bamboo. Our mission is to “Leave behind a greener environment for future generations”. My team and I are most interested in evaluating commodities within Asian cuisine and the foodservice industry overall to enhance sustainability efforts in design, production, distribution and end use.
What distinguishes your company and product in the market?
Our company’s first product to market is the Cropsticks, a chopstick with a built-in rest which is trademarked and patented. In our first year on the market, we really focused on building our brand and customer base while adhering to our mission to be sustainable. As a result, we are now in 200+ top hotels, restaurants and distributors like Disney, Hakkasan, Roy’s, Panda Restaurant Group, Four Seasons, Sysco and more. Cropsticks has also collected back over 5000 pounds of used Cropsticks to upcycle into furniture. In 2019, we obtained our B Corp certification, the highest standard for environmental and social responsibility. As a result of these efforts in the past 2.5 years, Cropsticks is now the most recognized branded chopstick on the market which has paved a path for our latest brand Cropmade to introduce new products into the marketplace.