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The idea that started The Yes Yes Company Ltd in 2003 arose between two friends, Susi Lennox and Sarah Brooks. Sarah and Susi met in the late 80s and were long standing friends and colleagues who simultaneously reached a point in life where they wanted to devote themselves to something new, daring and worthwhile, something that reflected their values and ethics.
Susi and Sarah’s experience of working in the Drug Safety divisions of major pharmaceutical companies meant they were very aware of the health risks associated with certain synthetic, chemical ingredients. They set themselves the challenge of designing a range of intimacy products that would be completely benign, have no side effects, free of all known skin irritants and be highly effective.
Susi and Sarah set up in business in May 2003, after six weeks on the north coast of Bali (yes, it was a completely perfect place to plan Yes), reviewing their lives, ways of working together and their personal values that defined the ethics that now governs their business. They then spent three and a half years researching, planning and formulating products, and started trading in August 2006. To fund the business start-up and long R&D period, both Susi and Sarah sold their houses. Sarah is the Chemist. Susi is the English graduate, and rather handy with words. They are both adept at juggling test tubes and subjunctives.
Why is product purity so important?
Our skin absorbs many of the chemicals contained in face creams, soaps, personal care products and cosmetics. Statistics have shown that approximate 60% of what goes on the skin can get in to the blood stream. Stories of the risks from ingredients like parabens, preservatives or phthalate plasticisers regularly hit the press. There is growing concern about chemicals in personal products and their possible effects.
The mucosa or mucous membranes (the mouth, eyes, intestine, vagina, rectum and penis tip) are especially vulnerable, as they do not have the protective layer of skin, the Stratum corneum. This means chemicals can more easily be absorbed into the bloodstream as there is no protective barrier. That’s why making the purest products possible for use on the delicate mucosal membranes is so important.
Somewhere between 50 – 80% of menopausal women experience vaginal dryness caused by declining estrogen levels. This rarely discussed problem can cause pain during intercourse, elevated vaginal pH leading to thrush and frequently a condition called atrophic vaginitis where even sitting down can hurt. Chemically induced menopause as with breast cancer treatment or having a hysterectomy creates the same effect, as can pregnancy, breast feeding, taking anti depressants, the Pill or anti histamines or suffering from stress. This means that most women have a need for lubricants or vaginal moisturisers at some stage in their lives.
Sarah and Susi decided all Yes products needed to be certified in such a way that reflected their ethics but would also demonstrate unequivocally that Yes is as pure as is possible.
By pure they mean all Yes products are:
- Free from hidden synthetic chemicals (harmful or not)
- Free from all known mucosal irritants
- Natural Ingredients (plant based and occurring in Nature)
- Beneficial (using plants that are known to benefit the mucosa and skin)
- Feel really good on skin and work really really well
- Look good, no smutty images or demeaning language on the packaging
- Be transparent about their ingredients and benefits
They communicated this purity by third party validation. They chose the Certified Organic route, with the Soil Association. Beware of personal lubricants that call themselves organic, or say certified organic ingredients; this is not the same at all. If a product says it is Organic but does not carry a certifying logo, (for food this is illegal, but not yet for cosmetics and personal care products) it is (we believe) a nasty marketing trick. The guaranteed purity of the Yes product range means that women who have undergone breast cancer treatment are having it recommended by specialist nurses. The range does not contain any hormone mimics and is gentle enough for the most sensitive skin.