Our Story

How an ebony mill in Cameroon inspired our line of socially responsible kitchenware products

It Started with Fine Musical Instruments

Stella Falone was established by Bob Taylor, co-founder of Taylor Guitars, an industry-leading acoustic guitar manufacturer whose guitars are played by artists from Paul McCartney to Taylor Swift. In 2011, Taylor Guitars became the co-owner of Crelicam, a small ebony sawmill in Yaoundé, Cameroon, which produces ebony parts for musical instruments. For centuries, instrument makers have used dark and durable ebony wood for fingerboards on violins and guitars, along with piano keys. Taylor’s goal in owning the mill was to create a more socially responsible value chain for ebony musical instrument components.

From Fingerboards to Cutting Boards

In the process of cutting ebony for fingerboards, there are pieces that don’t fit the precise specifications for musical instruments yet whose beauty and durability make them wonderfully suited for other types of products. And part of Taylor’s commitment to responsible wood use is to minimize waste. As a longtime lover of food, cooking and quality kitchen products, Bob Taylor was inspired to use some of this beautiful wood to develop a line of kitchen woodcrafts, starting with cutting boards.

“I particularly love the idea of kitchenware products because of the way that food, like music, brings people together,” Bob says.

Premium Woodworking Craftsmanship

The ebony selected for Stella Falone products is cut and processed at the Crelicam mill in Cameroon, and the manufacturing process is completed on the campus of Taylor Guitars in California.

This allows Stella Falone to leverage Taylor’s sophisticated manufacturing resources to produce kitchenware that meets the highest standards of quality and durability.

Steady Improvements at the Mill

Together, Taylor, Crelicam and Stella Falone have worked to create a circular economy by creating more value around ebony and for the communities where the wood is sourced.

Over the last decade, this has brought steady improvements to the mill to support value-added wood processing work in Cameroon. This contributes to greater resource efficiencies, increases the economic value of each ebony tree, and supports the local economy.

Replanting Ebony for the Future

The ebony supply in Cameroon is controlled by special government-issued permits based on an annual quota, and only a small number of permits are issued each year. All Stella Falone items are crafted using appropriate ebony pieces already at the Crelicam mill, so no additional trees are cut to make Stella Falone products. But our goal for ebony goes further than just using what we have been granted as efficiently as possible — we want to help preserve ebony for future generations.

In Cameroon, Taylor’s partnership with the Congo Basin Institute, an extension of UCLA based in Yaoundé, has produced groundbreaking scientific research into the ecology of ebony and informed a community-based replanting program that has planted more than 15,000 ebony trees. By the close of 2026, Taylor is committed to planting an additional 30,000 ebony trees and 25,000 fruit trees.

Turning Other Beautiful Hardwoods Into Kitchenware

In addition to ebony, Taylor Guitars uses a variety of other beautiful, responsibly sourced hardwoods to craft its acoustic instruments. And like ebony, there are surplus pieces that are available to Stella Falone, which has allowed us to diversify our kitchenware product line.

These include woods like Hawaiian koa. And similar to ebony in Cameroon, in Hawaii, Taylor is part of an innovative partnership that supports native forest restoration with important horticultural research and planting projects, with a plan in place to plant 150,000 koa trees by the end of this decade.

Your Purchase Matters

Your purchase of Stella Falone kitchenware is impactful in several ways:

You’ll enjoy a uniquely beautiful product that will reliably serve you for many years; you’re helping to support socially responsible business; and you’re also supporting important replanting projects.