Mariah Mansvelt Beck

Yoni

Dutch fem care brand Yoni was founded by two long-time friends in 2014. Their mission? Changing the way we think and talk about menstruation and normalise the subject – instead of medicalising it. With years of nearly no innovation in the fem care industry, Yoni’s biodegradable tampons, pads and liners are made from 100% organic cotton. Free from chemicals, plastics and shame.

A radically clear communications strategy and the power of simple packaging design put Yoni on the mainstream retail shelves in Holland. But the ambition is to become the one go-to for women worldwide. In this episode, we talk to Mariah Mansvelt Beck, co-founder and CEO of Yoni, about creating a community brand that challenges taboos as well as her personal transition from founder to CEO.

Simon: “Chemicals are not for pussies”. Dutch fem care brand Yoni does not beat around the bush when it comes to advertising tampons, pads and liners. And why should they? Their goal is to have proper conversations about menstruation and normalise the subject – instead of medicalising it. Yoni was founded in 2014 by long-time friends Mariah and Wendelien. Organic, biodegradable products, simple packaging design and their straightforward communications put Yoni on mainstream retail shelves. Marqt, Albert Heijn and Etos are household names in Holland – but the ambitions are to become a brand for women — worldwide.

Welcome to The Idealists — I’m Simon, and I’m joined by Silja, your hosts for today’s episode.

Silja: We had the pleasure to meet Mariah Mansvelt Beck at the Impact Hub Amsterdam. She’s the CEO and co-founder, voice and storyteller of the company. After finishing her Masters in International Development, she spent several years working for NGOs before starting Yoni. Their twin-track approach is pretty revolutionary for the fem care industry. First, Yoni shares knowledge and presents it in a way that actually challenges how we talk about periods. Secondly, they provide a superior product that guides other companies to follow suit. But let’s go back to the beginning - why would you start a tampon company in the first place?

Mariah: I don't think it's ever your like little girl dream to have a tampon company. That's just not something …

Simon: It's not?

Mariah: No, no, no.

Silja: Never on the list.

Mariah: Maybe nowadays there will be girls grow up with that dream, but it was definitely not mine. And I never thought I'd be in business to start out with. So I have a Master's in International Development. I worked with Doctors Without Borders for a long time here at the headquarters in Amsterdam but also in the field in South Sudan. I was a social worker working mostly with … well, my expertise became like moms with a very low IQ, borderline children taken away generally and kind of being the in-between person. I became a yoga teacher. So I was doing lots of other things but nothing in business. For me, I always had this very clear idea from as young as I can remember that I'm here on earth to make a positive change. And for me, business was about profit-making, and that seemed to be …

Silja: The opposite?

Mariah: Yeah, for me the opposite. So I never really thought that I would actually get into business. And right now I actually think it is a really interesting time. I mean I obviously have gotten myself into business, and I'm sure we'll get to that story of how I got there. But at this point in time I think it's actually really interesting and something that I was (kind of during my studies in International Development) having troubles with. Like what is the way forward in the NGO world? I think there's a lot to be said about that and that's why I chose specifically for humanitarian work because I thought it was less problematic. And Doctors Without Borders are really saving lives and alleviating suffering. They have a lot of debates internally about what they're doing, but I think the overall messaging everybody pretty much can understand and get on board with. But for me, at this point in time, to see how we can use business as a force for good is really interesting. And I always explain it as I believe we've compartmentalized up till now our spiritual, social and professional lives. And at this point of time, it's our challenge to integrate our spiritual and social lives within our professional lives where we - at this point of time - are at our like strongest; at our most powerful. And that will necessarily lead to people using business as a force for good. And I think anyone can do that from wherever they are. However small and it sounds may be conceptual, but it is actually I think really quick concrete. When you start thinking about it: I always explain like social is how do I take care of the people, in kind of my love circle, my family, and my child? And then spiritual for a lot of people is: "Wow, are you going to start ohming here?" And if I really have to be very practical about what I mean with spirituality: I mean your connection and understanding with the world outside of your little love circle and understanding that the environment and people that are different further away from you are still connected to you. And for me specifically, spirituality is my connection with everything.

Silja: So you don't have a business role and a mom role and … in how you lead the company?

Mariah: I mean, I try to do that from the same space of being present where I am. I think a lot of women and men but women maybe more specifically struggle with having a career and being a mom. And I definitely like finding that kind of life-work balance is like an ongoing challenge. But one of the things that I really try to do is be present at work and be present with my daughter. And my daughter is amazing because the moment I pick up my phone, she'll correct me.

Simon: Well, you learn a lot from them. Coming to Yoni and what you said is that you kind of separated that business world from the things you want to pursue in life in the beginning - in 2013, I think, was the founding date of Yoni (or maybe a little bit before when it all started). When was this point in time when you kind of realized like this is not separated — or the other way: I have to use this and play this game to have a bigger impact myself.

Mariah: Well, I mean the seed for Yoni was really planted within a very personal experience. So in the Netherlands, when you're 30, you receive an invitation to have a checkup for cervical cancer. I did that and found out that I, unfortunately, was developing cervical cancer at that point in time. And so luckily still in developmental stages but my world stopped for a bit. I had to go in and out of hospitals and eventually have an operation. I kept asking all of my doctors what can I do to support my health further? A lot of my doctors - I'm an American - so I know the American system, and I know the Dutch system, and I can say not nice things about both of them — and positive things about both of them. One positive thing that you can say about the American system (if you're in that system) is that they'll give more holistic advice. A negative thing that you say about the more inclusive Dutch system is that they'll stick with the protocol. And so as a woman going to a gynaecologist, I'm asked: How much I drink? Do I do drugs? And that I shouldn't smoke for sure! That's pretty much it.

Simon: Pretty general.

Mariah: Yeah, so I kept asking like what else could I do? And finally, one of my doctors advised me to switch from using synthetic products to organic cotton tampons and pads to prevent further irritation of that part of my body. I didn't need to hear all that much more. I was ready to make that change, but I just couldn't find the products at my supermarket or drugstore. And I also wondered like why have I not heard about this before? Because I was a yoga teacher at that point in time. I'd already go to like organic stores for certain types of shopping. And I'd just never had read anything; nothing had ever triggered me to question my use of my most intimate products basically. And so for two years, this was super personal, and I'd go to my special store for my special tampons. But most women can understand that that's a really unhandy situation to be in. And so every time that I went to the airport or to my parents' house (they live outside of Amsterdam), I couldn't get to my special store.

Simon: So very inconvenient.

Mariah: Super inconvenient. So it was a Sunday. And you know funnily enough I was talking to someone this Sunday. It was somewhere at the beginning of 2013, and I can remember that day like really really well. I was reading the book The Four Hour Workweek. So I was somehow already in the mindset and had been playing around with very different types of ideas for maybe my own business or doing something on my own. I was biking across Amsterdam through the rain on Sunday to get to this one store that was open. I went and got my organic cotton tampons, came out and told my boyfriend at the time: Why can't I just buy these at any other store? And you know if I can't do it like maybe I should make this happen. And then later that day I went and had tea with my friend, started talking to her about this and she - Wendelien, co-founder of Yoni - said you know but what are my products? What is so special about yours? Aren't mine just made out of cotton? And we got out the boxes of her products, and that's when we realized that there is no list of ingredients mentioned on the packaging of these products. For any other care products, be it your toothpaste, shampoo, you name it, …

Silja: Long list.

Mariah: Yeah, like a list of ingredients. You might not understand it, but you could look into those things if you really wanted to.

Simon: You have the feeling you could research it if you wanted to, right?

Mariah: Yeah, yeah. There's like some sort of transparency to you as a consumer, but for these products there's nothing. And later (not on that Sunday afternoon) but later we found out that the tampons and pads just followed the general product regulation in the EU which means that there really is no specific regulation on what should or should not go into the product. Or what should or should not be mentioned on the packaging itself.

Silja: Did this change already?

Mariah: I think … No, I don't think so necessarily from a regulatory perspective. We have seen some changes in the industry, aiming to be more transparent. So now if I go to one of like because there are basically four enormous companies that make fem care products and have been doing so for as long as we can remember and dominate worldwide the fem care space. Nowadays if you go to their website and you click like maybe five times …

Simon: There is an organic section.

Mariah: There might be a part that explains what goes into their products or what their products are made from. At that point of time when we called them because that was part of our research phase that we entered into after that Sunday. The person you get on the phone they didn't have an answer for you. It just wasn't part of their like the customer care that they were providing. Nobody was asking this question, and so on that Sunday we really said actually two things that we still do today: One, we made an assumption without doing any very expensive market research, but we made the assumption which was rightly so that if we as quite health-conscious women had never heard about this the most likely most women hadn't. That was right. And so we decided you know every woman should be able to know what their products are made from. And every woman should have this information that there are different choices and we want to share the story, and two: it needs to be made available because you can know but if it's not available then like having that information is not very useful. So we want to get the organic cotton option on shelves where you can find the synthetic options. That was something that really had not happened yet. I don't think at all. And so that's basically like what we set out to do, and we spent a few months you know researching. Neither of us had any experience in the fem care industry. We weren’t coming from it from that perspective. So we looked into it you know isn't there another brand we could just kind of lift? Do we really want to do this?

Silja: Ok, so it was not the idea from the beginning to start our own company?

Mariah: That was not… the starting point was we want to make this change. And guessing both of us had some sort of willingness. I mean you have to have some sort of willingness like I want to take this on and start a company, but we weren't researching ideas before then for other companies with each other. This wasn't one of the ten ideas that passed through. This was the idea.

Silja: It found you.

Mariah: It found us. It found us, and it didn't only find us. I mean I really do believe that, and there are more people that speak about this, and I'm not the only crazy one. An idea is somewhere in our shared consciousness, and it lands with someone, and someone does something with it. And it may land with someone else who also does something with it, and it lands with a lot of people who don't even notice it's there or who block it out or whatever but it will find its way through. And I think around that same time there were a number of other people picking up on kind of the same thing. So it's not only Yoni but together with a number of other small businesses and startups, we've really changed, I believe, the fem care space for good.

Simon: And do you think on this exact Sunday: Did it help to be in Amsterdam? Did it help to be in this in this country where I have the feeling or where I have the perspective it's easier, or the people are more the doers than in other countries. So if there's an itch; they do something about it.

Mariah: Is that so hard. It's hard for me to say because I haven't been (like you guys going to twelve different cities in twelve months) so I can't really speak on this one. I think it does help that both Wendelien and I have international backgrounds and so we always set up the business with the idea "OK we're starting here in our home base, but it's going to be an international brand". This isn't something just for Holland. And plus if you see the volumes that you need, it can't be limited to the Netherlands though it's small. I think it helps that the Netherlands is so small to be able to do things but on the other hand, I mean I see a lot of things going on in the US where I believe also people have this kind of attitude of let's do something.

Simon: Yeah, talking about the female hygiene market. I mean if you look up the numbers, it's crazy, right? It's a giant market, and it's still growing over the next years prospectively.

Mariah: Well, you know it's a mature market. I mean in Europe, there not going to be more women using these products necessarily. So in that sense, it's not really a growing market. I think the growth comes from countries where women haven't been using these products. And so that's been the focus of these four main giants in the fem care industry actually looking at those growth markets. And what you now see is growth because well, to be honest, an organic cotton product is more expensive than just your any other synthetic product. So there has been value growth I think in the past while within the market. And yeah I believe at the end of the day hopefully we'll be actually moving towards even more reusable products. And so that we won't be seeing so much growth in this market at all. I think that would be the right way forward.

Simon: You said that the growth now comes probably from from countries which have a big part in consumer education, right? Where this is something that has just been introduced or which more people get introduced to. And you say your outset is international, right? You look at an international market. So how far are you with the plans of taking on the world?

Mariah: Hmm, step by step. I mean, these things are slightly more complicated. Everything is more complicated than you might think from the start and the get-go. Luckily you never know about any of the challenges that you're going to come across when setting up a business because I don't think you will do it.

Simon: Otherwise, you wouldn't do it, probably.

Mariah: I used to really enjoy watching these programs where they build houses - people build houses. There's always a point in the program where people are like "I wish I never did this". And in the end, they're always really happy. But there's always that middle part where they're like "Oh everything's a disaster. It's more expensive. It's taking way more time." Same with building a company. And so at the moment, our home base (still The Netherlands) is super important. It's where we for the first time really made that change to get on mainstream shelves. In the UK, we're also mainstream. Benelux - you know Belgium and Luxembourg and slowly a bit of Germany, France. There are some other countries there, but I wouldn't say we're on the big mainstream shelves yet.

Silja: Any plans for Denmark?

Mariah: Well, I think we do have some contacts in Denmark. So yeah, who knows? I know that our design is … I think, we're a nice match.

Simon: And we kind of skipped the step now from the initial idea and hitting the mainstream shelves and going global. What was the process in the last four or five years of you know developing your product? I think that is one point and the other part is probably communicating it and educating in a sense that this is an important topic, right?

Mariah: Yes. In 2016, we won the middle and small business award for the most innovative company in The Netherlands. Funnily enough and to a lot of people's annoyance, it was not because our products are very innovative and we didn't need to develop that product. It was a product that was available; you just had to source it. And so we found partners within Europe something that we felt was important and that had a certified supply chain. So really our focus - and that's why we were the most innovative company in 2016 - was because of our communications around the product and the placement into the mainstream where it had been totally niche worldwide beforehand — breaking open that space for this type of organic products and with the message. We had lots of fun talking about that because I mean in that sense and maybe not even so much of a realization when we started out I mean menstruation, and everything menstruation-related is a taboo subject. And the large companies that have dominated the fem care space have been the ones who have set out kind of not a dialogue but more like a monologue towards consumers about what tampons, pads, menstruation … how you should feel about that! On the one hand, if you look when pads were developed and later when tampons were developed: both of these developments when they were commercialized go hand in hand with like the first wave of feminism. So when women had to start working more out of the house, they needed a way to be able to deal with menstruation. And that's when you have the pad coming in. Or gaining voting rights go hand in hand with the development of the commercialized tampon as we know it today. And so they brought so much freedom along with them. But at the same time what the suppliers did with these products was they played on the taboo that's always been around about menstruation. So the taboo around menstruation has been … I tried to dig back when how did that come about, but in all almost all main religions there's some sort of taboo around it. And so I think I believe the women's body and I guess the human's body for a long time just wasn't understood that well. Menstruation was definitely not understood. And something that's not understood like menstruation can be seen as on the one hand maybe something kind of magical or mythical. But on the other hand something potentially really dangerous. So let's build some rules and regulations around that to make sure that you don't potentially die or whatever.

Simon: Don't ask too much.

Mariah: Yeah, I mean for the longest time it was really easy, but yeah, it really felt like if a menstruating woman would touch flowers, they would wilt. I mean all these strange …

Silja: I mean, it's also a way of sugar-coating something.

Mariah: Yeah, yeah, true. And so what these large companies have done is they played upon that taboo saying you know this is the problem. It's a problem. Menstruation is a problem. It's not normal; it's a problem. It's something more medicalised. And we have the solution and that works really well. And we're going to keep it secret, and nobody has to know about it. And they are then making a scent a problem, so it smells. So you need some sort of perfumes or these type of things, wipes, lalala. And so that's been done, I think, very well and in ways that have strangely enough gone hand-in-hand with a lot of freedom that we've won as women. But now is the time I think that they are also becoming more realisation like wait one second. This is something normal. It's actually quite important to understand your cycle as a woman because there are a lot of touchpoints on "How are you and your health? Or how does your reproductive health work if you want or do not want to have children?" And so women are starting to want to know what products they're using within their body. And why is something so normal medicalised? And I believe that's where we need to break away from medicalising menstruation but to normalising it basically. And so this is why there was so much space for us to communicate really differently and have a lot more fun with it because I mean we didn't need to look to the industry for inspiration there was no inspiration to be found. White leggings, blue fluids. Not interesting whatsoever. Packaging that I don't think had ever been like very outdated — nothing design about it, nothing nice. And for us, we clearly had this feeling like OK the way that we want to make the packaging look is like something you'd want in your bathroom because it's going to be in your bathroom like why can it not just look nice?

Silja: Which is also a reason why people buy it in the first place probably? Without knowing the whole backstory or knowing about the organic cotton versus synthetics or other plastics or whatever. So I think the power of design and storytelling in your way is also maybe to get people's attention and then they have their wakeup moment later.

Mariah: Yeah. For people who are design-orientated, it works very well that way. So it was really fun and we started with our crowdfunding campaign that was kind of the end of 2014. And with the name "Chemicals are not for pussies" and we had tons of fun with that. And I sent out like 200 emails in two days to any kind of press email I could find with the header "Chemicals are not for pussies" and we received so much feedback and coverage because this was a story that in the Netherlands had not been told before. That just wasn't told. If you look back from where we are now, that's really changed.

Simon: And what would you say is the bigger challenge? Communicating it and changing that topic away from the taboo to normalization or getting the product out on the shelves? I mean it's connected and in that sense: Which is your main challenge? Is changing that taboo or changing the industry in a product-way that you say we have a better product which is better in the end for your health?

Mariah: Yeah. They're connected in a way. I think there are different challenges on different levels with both. I mean it's in our world, and with the creative, I'll say call them, creative budgets we have. I mean you can just tell from your own social media you get bombarded with things. So to be able to stand out within that is a challenge. It's always a challenge for anyone who has any type of messaging. It's a challenge to get picked up and working with large retailers is also challenging because yeah, they think it's really cool that you have an awesome story, but you have to continuously remind them that you're not Proctor & Gamble and that you need a different type of approach to be able to do business with you and for you to be able to do business with them. So there are challenges on both sides.

Silja: What I see, not just in fem care but also different categories, is the rise of direct to consumer brands. We talked about it before: It was always important for you to be next to all the other products because that's where a decision is made. Is that also the reason why you said it couldn't be a D2C business? We have to be at the retailers!

Mariah: We made a very, very clear choice at the beginning. So I see a lot of subscription service models which are great. I also question a little bit the viability because, of course, I looked into that obviously, and it's just hard. Because it's a cheap product and sending and packing and repacking is an expensive business. So I think a lot of people don't realize the cost of also maintaining that consumer. I think that's a bit underestimated. Different story! But for me, at that point of time, setting up that type of business like an online business and setting up a business that's ready to deal with large retailers. It's kind of two different ball games. And I felt that getting on the shelf next to the four main players was so important because only then they are going to make a change. They're going to be forced to take a look at what's going on. If I'm just online, it doesn't really matter so much to them. Maybe at some point in time but not anytime soon. And getting on the shelves and getting them basically off the shelf or having to them to make space for me on the shelf that is going to be … then you're playing their game. And they're going to be looking at you and then they're going to listen to the extent and I do see the changes that I don't think it would have happened if we would have stayed direct to consumer.

Simon: You mentioned your competitors (your old school competitors) now coming up also with kind of organic products or you know putting at least the labels on it and trying to convince customers or consumers that they are doing the right thing as well. You said you're part of the reason why they are doing this now, and the other thing would be that consumers are demanding it in that sense. Is this kind of a win-win situation that you know the big corporations have to change because consumers are demanding it and you are kind of feeding that fire to profit from that as well?

Mariah: Yeah. No, I believe I want to see a change in the fem care industry. I don't think we should be staying … I mean it was like 50 years with almost 0,0 innovation or whatever. And that innovation could so easily come from these big companies who have a much larger budget and could research a thousand things, and they knew about organic cotton products way before I did ever. But they're not making the change. And so to see them start to change, I think, is really important. And whether it will be them changing or us changing more. I don't really care who changes as long as we have change. And I think just because I mean there's been some changes in products or whatever but I believe like there's still a role for us to play to make sure that it's it becomes part of their DNA. And it's not just I mean also making an organic cotton product next to their synthetic products. When will the whole range get a review or why do the synthetic products not have a biodegradable plastic packing like our pads do? How much of an impact would that be if they would be able to make that change? How or when and when are they going to start talking about reusables? So for that, I think it's there's a long road to go.

Silja: And where do you think it has to start for the bigger players? Who makes the call there?

Mariah: I don't exactly know. I mean I think that can work in different ways, and I think it probably has to work in multiple different ways because one they're going to be looking at what the market is doing and so if they're seeing players like us doing well then they're going to be interested and they see that there's a demand from the consumers. Then they'll play into that demand. That's the game that they've played. And I also do believe that you can have people within a company who are more forward-thinking and who are taking on ideas of sustainability in ways that haven't been done before. And that those people can play a really big role if they're supported in a way. So I think multiple ways.

Simon: And would a beautiful future then for Yoni be making yourself redundant? Because all the products are on that level that you want them to be? And the taboo has maybe transformed into a more normal topic? Or would it be the other way around but to see Yoni is going to be a new player in the global fem care market.

Mariah. Hmmm.

Simon: Does it even matter?

Mariah: Obviously, my investors will want me to…

Simon: Right.

Mariah: No, I don't know at this point in time. It's not a worthwhile question to spend time on because we're not there yet. And I think in that sense there's a definite role for us to play and to continue to play and to push on. Otherwise, I think it's too early days to say this was a trend, not working, done. And there needs to be someone who is innovative enough to push messages and who really cares about the message being pushed and not just looking at the demand from the consumer point of view.

Simon: Coming quickly back to the communication topic. When was the time you won the most innovative award?

Mariah: September 2016.

Simon: Right, so the time you were starting and gaining traction was certainly the time of - call it - peak social media or to where social media played the biggest role it maybe will ever have. Now we see developments lately: You know people are changing their behaviour with how they see social media influencing their lives and kind of being more aware of that. How do you see your role changing with the mediums changing?

Mariah: Well, all of a sudden, I'm doing lots of podcasts. Like two years ago, I never had done a podcast before. So I mean there are certain things where you're like OK, now it's podcast time. We're even thinking of doing a podcast.

Simon: But there's a reason for that.

Mariah: Yes, I think there's a definite reason. So we play into those changes or like I mean personally, Facebook is no longer on my phone. I never look at it. And then Instagram has become more of a part of my life than I might want it to be. I mean I think that's where it's important also to keep young people on board and to make sure that you have your eyes open and not only follow what I know to be true and from the beginning I think that's something that we were quite clear and have always been good in including other people who have different views and added value and not just thinking that you know it all because for sure I don't.

Silja: And you just mentioned bringing people on board. How has this journey been for you from a co-founder - it's been you and your best friend in the beginning - and then suddenly you add other people to the team. That transition to maybe more co-founder to CEO? If you can share some insights on this journey?

Mariah: Ah, it definitely felt like a really big transition and a very clear transition as well from like eating lunch behind your computer to having to have team lunches. I mean, so silly like that. So silly! But to think about "What type of culture do you want? How are you going to take care of the people around you? Or understanding that if you just kind of look sideways at some type of behaviour, that people then assume that you're buying into that type of behaviour. And if you don't want that behaviour that you need to speak out - always - which is something that's really tiring. Yeah. So that's been it's been a journey. And I luckily have had a lot of people that I can ask for advice or I have also had to start trusting myself as well in that. And not thinking like this the first time I might not know because at the end of the day I need to be happy with the decisions that I'm making. It's my company, nobody else like somebody can come and have coffee with giving me all types of advice, but they go home and do whatever they want. And I'm the one who has to deal with it the next day and the next day and the next day or whatever. So feeling more comfortable in my role and trusting that I know best at the end of the day how I want or what I want my company to be and look like.

Simon: How big is the team now?

Mariah: We're about ten of us. Yeah yeah.

Simon: And what are the biggest roles in your team of 10? How is it split?

Mariah: So I think we have like sales and marketing. Two women on sales, three people on marketing being kind of in the broadest sense of the world also supporting sales. It might be two and a half sales, two and a half marketing. And then we have like a business controller and supply chain management. Someone who's doing their PHD following Yoni only for the past two years looking at how a company like Yoni incorporates purpose within a profit-making company. So he's always super interesting. I can speak off the record with him. He's also the only male within our team and has been around the longest almost. I mean, obviously, I've been around the longest, but of the other team members, he has been around for a long time. And so for me, it's kind of nice to have someone who's slightly apart from the team — but has seen so many of the developments. And sometimes to reflect on those developments.

Simon: Kind of the outsider inside.

Mariah: Yeah, a very interesting role.

Simon: And you just briefly mentioned the role of the investors or people giving you support; believing in your mission, in the end. What was the development of that relationship?

Mariah: Well, from the beginning, we had a group of friends, family and fans that invested in Yoni. And those were actually real people that were close to me and Wendelien, my co-founder, and later you kind of move away from that and get into other types of relationships with people that you don't know necessarily. And for us, it was always important to take people on board who understood we weren't like some sort of tech company going times 14 in a year or whatever. People who would give us a bit of space to develop the business and who understood the impact that we were trying to have and bought into that rather just like the commercials. At this point of time, I've entered into a new type of relationship with an investor who has like an investor vehicle behind him. He maintains that contact. I have contact with them once every quarter or once every a half year, and otherwise, I see him once a week. We've taken him on board because of his added value to the company, and I found that after a while if you have to work with investors, I love to hear people's stories where they haven't had to use investors. Unfortunately, definitely not in that space but you can spend a lot of time with investors, and that's the time that I can't spend on the business. And it's also generally a type of time that I don't really feel energized from necessarily. And so now that I have this one working relationship (and the business gets more and more complex) so it's also really difficult to get useful guidance from someone unless you spend a lot of time like talking them up to speed. And so now I have a weekly relationship. I don't have to explain everything. I can get the advice that I want. I have a person to kind of like bounce ideas of, and you know that type of thing with, and there's a real added value.

Silja: And what are the next steps for Yoni?

Mariah: I think at this point of time we're really busy focusing on expanding the business and seeing how to expand that message and how that translates in different markets. Yeah.

Simon: Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode and would like to know more, head over to www.theidealists.co! As always, there's one more thing we ask our guests which is: Who should we talk to next?

Mariah: Not that other business leaders do not inspire me, but I get my inspiration generally from like outside of business. But I think Dr. Bronner has a really an amazing business and is super inspiring. So maybe doing an interview with one of the Bronners.

"There was so much space for us to communicate really differently and have a lot more fun with it because I mean we didn’t need to look to the industry for inspiration. There was no inspiration to be found."

— Mariah Mansvelt Beck [00:21:10]

  1. Christian Paul Kägi

    QWSTION

  2. Henrik Marstrand

    Mater

  3. Maximilian Strecker

    Consortium Purpose

  4. Klaus Thomsen

    Coffee Collective

  5. Nathan Gilbert

    B Lab Europe

  6. Taco Carlier

    VanMoof

  7. Mariah Mansvelt Beck

    Yoni

  8. Carel Neuberg

    Marie-Stella-Maris