Our Story

What's in a name?

The name Tembo is the Swahili word for elephant.  One of our founders, Matt Fudge (yes, that is his real name) was on a climbing trip through East Africa when he came across the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust project, whose mission is the conservation of orphaned elephants and rhinos.  
We believe innovation and entrepreneurship is the greatest vehicle for change.  If businesses act responsibly and become stewards of the earth, their customers can support this and be a part of it. 


How is our chalk made & why is it different?  
In our research, we discovered that a lot of climbing chalk is being sourced from a factory in China with some very questionable conditions both for the planet and the local labour used to manufacture it.  This didn't sit well with us so we made it our mission to do things differently and hold ourselves to a much higher standard. 

Our liquid chalk is made in one of our 2 shops in Squamish BC or Guelph, Ontario by Kyle or Matt!  We only have 2 people that make our liquid chalk. It is made with 2 ingredients, Magnesium Carbonate & Isopropyl Alcohol - That's it.  Our quality of ingredients and method of mixing is so good, we don't need to add anything to it.  (try reading other suppliers ingredients lists:)

Our alcohol is made in Canada, to order, specifically for Tembo.  It starts as 99% Isopropyl and is then mixed down to 70% using Distilled water.  

Our Magnesium Carbonate  is not sourced in China and is ethically produced and meets strict ISO 9000 quality standards and ISO 14000 environmental standards.  What do you know?  If you demand higher quality standards, out comes a higher quality product. We believe we have the best chalk on earth!

No single use plastic
We also felt that there is just too much plastic packaging in the world.  We were the first chalk company to provide gyms with the 'Chalk By The Scoop' for powder chalk & 'Refillable Liquid Chalk' at gyms across North America.  So far, we have eliminated over 50,000 plastic bags and plastic bottles from landfills and production.   
Our online store also has choices for athletes, so you will find our chalk comes in paper bags made from recycled material and are 100% compostable (no liners or coating whatsoever).  Or our bulk liquid chalk bottles that can be refilled x20 times.

If you'd like to try the best chalk you've ever used, be confident that what you are using is ethically sourced, helps to support an incredible conservation effort, and all for a great price - come check us out, we'd really appreciate it! 

The Beginning

LAND OF ARCHES, RED RIVER GORGE, KENTUCKY

This is the picnic table where Tembo began.   Though the idea and the research began years earlier, the logo was etched and domain names purchased at this very spot at The Land of Arches campground in The Red River Gorge, Kentucky.  

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

THE DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST in NAIROBI KENYA, 2015

This is Matt Fudge (co-founder) at the DSWT in 2015, a couple of years before Tembo was born.  

100% Handpackaged

STEVE'S BASEMENT in 2018

If you have ever ordered chalk from us, you can be assured that it was hand scooped and packaged in Steve's basement.

Chalk Sock Funnel

CHALK SOCK FUNNEL

This is the 1st prototype of our chalk sock funnel in 2016.  It was printed on a 3D printer in the Guelph public library.

THE MERRY BAND

Meet the team behind the dream!

Matt Fudge - Sultan of Exploration

Once mistaken for a real yeti, he wanders the mountains aimlessly looking for the best perch and advance our premium powder.

Nancy Nillson -  Visual Visionary

Nancy can be found yodeling in the mountains of Squamish or Finland depending on which way the wind is blowin. By yodeling, we of course mean graphic design. With experience designing guide books and climbing wear, she is our visual visionary

Steve Hamilton - Disciple of Digital

Foraying Frequently into the vast abyss of all things virtual, he is the humble shepherd of our binary beast.  A clockwork human in our digital age.

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