Our Mission Begins
When Richard Pol, a native of the West Midlands, UK, began his mission with Tibetan singing bowls, he could never have imagined where his journey would lead.
Like many others, Richard suffered with debilitating anxiety and depression. Thankfully, he overcame this with the help of meditation and mindfulness. Over the years, he had explored tools such as Tibetan singing bowls to deepen his meditation practice.
Inspired by his own success, he developed an intention to bring a deep sense of peace and harmony to people everywhere. So after being made redundant in 2015, Richard embarked on a journey to find the perfect Tibetan singing bowl.
Along the way, he was delighted to discover a manufacturer in Nepal and made contact with the owner, a gentleman named Sudeep. The two connected immediately, and soon Sudeep was sending Richard a selection of singing bowls to sample.
When the bowls arrived, Richard eagerly tore off the packaging. And yet, unwrapping the bowls revealed scuffed paintwork and scratched metal. When struck, the bowls emitted a flat tone that dissipated quickly.
He expected a pure and long lasting tone like he’d heard his meditation teachers produce.
Richard’s heart sank.
Creating the Perfect Singing Bowl
The weight and basic design of the bowls were great, but two things needed to change. Firstly, a singing bowl must sing with a pure tone and hold its tune. Secondly, singing bowls need to be beautifully crafted in order to earn their place in someone’s home or yoga studio.
Richard took his concerns to Sudeep, who agreed to develop a singing bowl that Richard and his customers would love.
Upon that virtual handshake, Richard placed an order for 100 units. He had borrowed the funds to pay for them. His plan was that in no time at all, he’d be a vendor on Amazon. This would allow him to easily pay back the initial investment.
Or so he thought.
The scheduled delivery time came and went, but no Tibetan Singing Bowls appeared. Richard contacted Sudeep to find out why.
Our World Is Rocked
There was an uncharacteristic trace of worry in Sudeep's voice. “We’ve had an earthquake here in Nepal, so there will be a slight delay to your order,” he said. Richard took this news in stride, and was even rather relaxed about it, given that earthquakes are commonplace in some countries.
Over breakfast the next morning, Richard searched the term ‘earthquake Nepal’. Google immediately fired back a string of results and images that shocked Richard to the core.
This Nepalase earthquake was no common occurrence. The initial quake measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, and was followed by two severe aftershocks. The quake had struck the city of Kathmandu, where Sudeep’s singing bowl factory was located. With an epicenter of 21 miles, the earthquake had claimed thousands of lives. Thousands more were severely injured, and hundreds of thousands of buildings were damaged.
Richard’s mind was frazzled. Thinking back, Sudeep sounded relatively calm considering the severity of the disaster. Still, he may have lost loved ones, and his business may be in tatters. And Richard’s business aspirations may now be buried in the rubble too, along with the borrowed funds he’d invested.
But, compared to those suffering in Nepal, the business and the money seemed insignificant to Richard. “At least the money has gone to help the people who need it most,” he thought.
Over the following weeks, Richard was glued to news reports about the earthquake. He kept in touch with Sudeep, and was heartened as things began to settle. Recovery for Kathmandu would take a long time, but the journey had begun.
Richard hoped his Tibetan singing bowl order would eventually be filled. He hadn’t told a soul about his investment and subsequent dilemma.
“It was like being alone on a boat in the middle of the ocean.”
Rising from the Devastation
A few months later, Sudeep's factory had resumed work, and intended to honour Richard’s order for 100 units of singing bowls.
Richard was thrilled.
However, weeks passed and no bowls arrived. Sudeep reassured Richard that his order would arrive soon. With his hopes raised and dashed again and again, Richard tired of the roller coaster, decided to draw a line under this episode of his life, and accept that his borrowed funds were sunk. So he told Sudeep that he wanted to move on.
To his surprise, shortly after that exchange with Sudeep, Richard’s singing bowls arrived.
Soon, the bowls were selling on Amazon.
Testimonials from satisfied customers began to trickle in.
But Richard wasn’t home free just yet.
While these bowls were superior to the originals, the rate of customer returns was unacceptably high.
Striving for Excellence
Richard addressed bowl quality with Sudeep, and together they agreed on ways to ensure that bowl quality would be consistently excellent.
Richard worked to ensure customers were happy with their singing bowls, and provided a simple training manual to help people get the best results from using their bowl.
“There’s a knack to making even the best singing bowls sustain their note.”
Building Solid Foundations
Since the initial tsunami of trouble in getting Silent Mind’s singing bowls off the ground, the business has gone from strength to strength.
Richard traveled to Nepal a few times, growing ever fonder of the people and their culture.
Building relationships has been the cornerstone of making the company successful. The trust that grew between Sudeep and Richard led to an excellent working relationship underpinned by a real friendship. Richard has also formed alliances with a team of people in the Philippines who provide support to Silent Mind's customers, ensuring that they’re 100% happy with their singing bowls.
“We’re a family of friends.” Richard has seen that having a sense of purpose and putting people first in business is crucial. Without a purpose, trusted partners, and excellent customer care, there’s no business.
“We work as a team to provide the best singing bowls together with traditional service to our customers. We want our customers to get a Tibetan singing bowl they’ll love, and to know how to make it sing beautifully."
Richard and his team have expanded the Silent Mind product range and geographical reach.
Higher quality bowls have been developed for worldwide distribution.
New, exclusive beautiful bowl designs have been developed. The pencil grip striker, unique to Silent Mind, has been redesigned to ensure the bowls hold their tune. The cushion the bowls sit on has been redesigned to further enhance sound quality. Silent Mind bowls have become bestsellers in several online marketplaces.
And What About the Future?
Our mission together has grown. We are continuously enhancing the quality of our bowls, accessories, and our geographic reach. However, at the core of this remains Richard’s original intent: to bring inner peace and harmony to people worldwide.
"We’re also helping rebuild the community in Kathmandu. The Nepali people are creative and artistic, which can be seen in their rich culture. Singing bowls are one of many things they can offer, so we’re exploring a range of other beautiful Nepalese products to enrich people’s lives."