Getting intimate with the YES YES Company
We spoke to the YES YES Company about how they are “changing the world from the inside” with their range of natural, certified organic intimate lubricants, moisturisers, and washes.
The company was founded in 2003 by two friends, Susi Lennox and Sarah Brooks.
What inspired you to start the company?
Having worked for a number of pharmaceutical companies (including Pfizer at the time Viagra was launched), we became aware of some of the unintended side-effects of this phenomenal sexual revolution. Whilst men now benefitted from enhanced sexual performance and were rediscovering their sex lives, their menopausal and post-menopausal female partners were finding intercourse painful and simply unable to keep up. This inspired us to investigate what products were currently on the market, to help women discover an equally active and enjoyable sex life. However, the lubricants that were available all contained concerning chemicals and known skin irritants, which would work to hinder rather than help.
Armed with this discovery, we decided that we wanted to redefine what intimate lubricant and moisturisers could look, act and feel like. It took 3 years of painstaking product and formulation development before we found the certified organic and natural, side-effect free and high-performing water and plant-oil based formulations that are produced today.
You've said that your mission is: "to change the world from the inside." How are you getting on with that?
Our Yestimonials provide impressive evidence that we are changing many people’s lives from the inside. For example,
“Your products are amazing & gave me my marital life back! Vaginal dryness & painful intercourse is the worst & the only medical treatment options I was offered were hormone treatments with potentially horrible side effects…”
We also wanted to change the category of intimacy products from the conventional, chemically based ones, to demonstrably pure and organic alternatives. We feel that our pioneering plant-based products are revolutionising the category. Our wider embracing aim was to formulate and manufacture in a way that does not harm the planet, but is respectful of all life forms and the earth herself. We are confident that through intention and dedication, albeit in our modest domain, we are helping to change the world for the better.
What makes YES an ethical company and why is that important to you?
When we set up the company we both agreed that we wanted to devote ourselves to something that was not only daring, but something that was worthwhile and really reflected
our values and ethics. Not only is our ethical approach to business reflected in the certified organic status of our products, but also the way in which we run our company.
We base all relevant policies and procedures on the basic human rights in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and we aim for all our suppliers to demonstrate compliance with the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code. We make no political donations and neither will we have any involvement with companies involved in the arms trade.
We use sustainably grown and certified organic plants in our products and we do not use wild crafted or endangered plants. Almost all YES YES products are vegan, with the exception of the plant-oil based products which contain bees wax.
We use as much post-consumer waste as possible. There is a small amount of virgin packaging, but it is all recyclable and our biodegradable packaging chips made from maize starch are re-used from any returns when repacking orders.
What is the difference between ‘certified organic’ lubricants compared to those that simply containing organic or natural ingredients?
The word organic is very specific, and it needs to be justified. Any product which calls itself organic but doesn’t have a Soil Association logo or a similar accreditation for Europe or America really is not to be trusted, because the process of getting that certification is so demanding. Not only do all ingredients that are endorsed by the Soil Association have to be traced back to the field, but the manufacturing process must be environmentally friendly too.
Words like ‘natural’ are very hard to define and it’s possible to call a product organic because it might have a very small amount of an organic ingredient (as low as 1%). But this distorts the reality of the product. The distinction is really important.
Why are chemical-free products so important, particularly for intimate areas?
Intimate areas such as the mouth, vagina, rectum and penis tip are particularly 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 (60% of what goes on the skin can get into the bloodstream). That’s why making the purest products possible that don’t contain parabens, glycerine, silicone, hormones, gluten, or known skin irritants is so important for use on the delicate mucosal membranes.
You’ve spoken about menopausal and post-menopausal women finding your products useful. What can you offer for those who are at different stages of their lives?
YES lubricants are for everyone at all stages of life. Maybe you’re a woman who has just had a baby and are apprehensive about having sex and worrying about whether it will feel the
same or not. Or perhaps you suffer from vaginal dryness while taking anti-depressants and/or contraceptive pills. YES lubricants can feel great even if these things aren’t an issue for you; make it part of your sex life, either on your own or with a partner, whether or not you are having penetrative sex.
There are reams of positive testimonials from happy customers on your website, what do you think keeps people coming back?
Overwhelmingly the customers who write to us so movingly in the Yestimonials say that they have found YES after long and unfortunate experiences with other lubricants and moisturisers. They rejoice that at last they have a safe and natural solution to their problems of dryness, discomfort and painful sex. Our products are unique, trusted and transformational for many. As a consequence, we inspire loyalty on the part of our customers, many of whom entreat us to never go out of business!
What do you hope The YES YES Company will be able to achieve in the next 5 - 10 years?
Dominance of the Intimate Health arena of course! We have a healthy pipeline of new products to realise; we expect to become an increasingly respected and influential voice in the Intimate Health domain, and we want to change even more of the world from the inside.
YES personal lubricants, vaginal moisturisers and intimate washes are now sold in over 90 countries worldwide. YES water-based and YES VM Vaginal Moisturiser are also recommended by health professionals and available via NHS prescription.
Explore company’s key values in greater detail here: https://www.yesyesyes.org/yes-values/
Written by Hattie Lucas