Madison teen entrepreneur Nabil Hamdan got an email about a week ago saying, “Hey! This is Emily from the TODAY Show.”
“Immediate scam,” Hamdan says, laughing. “So, I didn’t look at it. But then I got another email, ‘Hello, again. Emily Slawek from the TODAY Show. We’d be honored to feature you as a small business spotlight on the TODAY Show.’ I thought to myself that I’m probably going to get pranked or scammed, but I gave her a call anyways.”
And it was no prank. It was legit. The NBC TODAY Show producer soon followed Hamdan on Instagram to prove that it was her.
“And then they made sure I was legit… made sure I was not some guy buying and selling stuff on the Internet,” Hamdan says. “And then they got everything they needed from me and my business and told me to watch the show next Thursday morning.”
Hamdan is the founder of The World of Bamboo, which uses bamboo as a plastic alternative as a way to fight plastic pollution. He and his handmade products were featured — in front of millions of viewers across the United States — on Thursday morning’s TODAY Show special segment titled “Meet 3 small businesses run by kid entrepreneurs.”
In a special edition of TODAY’s Small Business Spotlight, lifestyle and commerce, contributor Jill Martin put the spotlight on The World of Bamboo and two other small businesses created and run by kid entrepreneurs including Are You Kidding Socks and BeYOUtiful Bath Bombs.
“Even though I wasn’t on live, I was still very nervous about it. My heart was beating fast when I watched it,” Hamdan tells Madison365. “Later, there was a little anxiety having to fill all of the orders – I got 500 in the few hours after the show. The most I’ve had in a day before that was 20 with Instagram ads.
“I’m also getting a lot of kind messages and emails from people since the TODAY show airing,” he adds.
Back in 2017, when Hamdan was just 14, he founded his own company of bamboo products to fight plastic waste. He has been attending Madison College full-time through the Early College STEAM program since his junior year of high school. In 2019, Hamdan became the youngest person to ever become a member of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County.
“The great thing is that now that my name is out there I’ve been getting orders from everywhere – so far from every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and, I think, Maine,” Hamdan says. “I did order a lot in advance for this so I should be able to meet the demand. I know most people are understanding if it takes a little longer because I am a very small business.
“It’s just a wonderful thing to be featured on a well-known, national television show like that,” he adds. “So cool.”