Susi Lennox and Sarah Brooks set up in business in May 2003, spent three and a half years researching, planning and formulating products, and started trading in August 2006.
“We met in the late 80s and were long-standing friends and colleagues who simultaneously reached a point in life where we wanted to devote ourselves to something new, daring and worthwhile, something that reflected our values and ethics.
“Having worked at Pfizer when Viagra was launched, we were aware of the need for effective products in the intimacy arena. What we discovered was a gap in the market for a pure and natural personal lubricant. We set out to ‘change the world from the inside’ by creating a new concept, certified organic, plant-based range of intimacy products”
To fund the business start-up and long R&D period, both Susi and Sarah sold their houses. Self-financing reflects the measure of their commitment and vision.
Susi and Sarah’s experience of working within the Drug Safety divisions of major pharmaceutical companies a well as in consultancy roles meant they were very aware of the health risks associated with certain synthetic, chemical ingredients. They set out ambitiously to design sensitive products for a sensitive area that would be completely benign, highly effective and free of all known skin irritants.
“An analysis of competitors’ ingredients horrified us. We found that almost every other intimate care product available followed a similar, derivative synthetic formulation. These chemical formulations rely on a glycerin or silicone base, and disquieting ingredients such paraben preservatives and propylene glycol, all of which have been shown to have potentially harmful effects on the body, and particularly the vulnerable tissues in our private areas. This made us determined to offer pure and high performing alternatives, which would enhance, rather than compromise, intimate health. ”
Our skin absorbs many of the chemicals contained in face creams, soaps, personal care products and cosmetics. Statistics have shown that approximately 60% of what goes on the skin can get into the blood stream. Stories of the risks from ingredients like paraben preservatives or phthalate plasticizers 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 mucous 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 antidepressants or antihistamines or suffering from stress. This means that most women have a need for lubricants or vaginal moisturizers at some stage in their lives.
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.
Susi and Sarah have also created Yes Baby®, a certified organic fertility-friendly lubricant for couples trying to conceive. This two-part system is unique in firstly creating the optimal environment for sperm, and then restoring the vaginal environment to its typical protective pH after ovulation. Designed to support healthy conception, it comes with ovulation test strips to identify the most fertile days in a woman’s cycle. “We have had our first official confirmed Yes Baby birth – to our delight, and as a completely innovative product it has created great interest in fertility circles internationally.”
The Yes Yes Company Ltd now exports to over 54 countries and has won prestigious awards in recognition of its ability to combine commercial success with robust ethical principles and revolutionary products which benefit thousands world-wide.
Susi’s three daughters had grown and flown before she embarked on Yes – and Sarah has her dog Hazel who goes to the office with her.
Running a fast-growth business is very demanding. And then, being women, they are naturally versatile multi-taskers who are able to juggle demands on their time.