- Founders: Joris Jansen
- Founded in: 2020
- Employees: 3
- Money raised: A subsidy of €80,000 from the city of Antwerp and €168,000 raised through crowdfunding
- Ultimate goal: Getting people to think about microbes and hygiene
The company Yokuu, founded in late 2020, makes organic pearls full of bacteria that you can use to clean your home. It uses refillable bottles for these. The packaging is also eco-friendly. We speak with founder Joris Jansen in this instalment of start-up of the day.
Why the name Yokuu?
“YOKUU comes from the word shinrin-yoku, a Japanese therapy where people are sent to the forest for its beneficial effects. Literally translated, it means ‘forest bathing.’ YOKUU brings a piece of nature back into homes and lets people bathe indoors in good bacteria.”
What makes this so special?
“Our products contain probiotics. These are living microorganisms from nature that can work wonders where cleaning is concerned. The bacteria remain active on the surface after application and continuously break down grease, dirt and odor for up to seven days. That means dirt particles also stay away for several days after cleaning.”
What do they clean?
“Probiotic products clean the surface and not only leave a visibly cleaner result, but are also effective against odors. That deep cleaning process is called microscopic cleaning, because probiotics reach into the smallest crevices. After dissolving the YOKUU products and applying them to a surface, they restore the natural microbiological balance and then create a human-friendly microflora.”
Where do these bacteria come from?
“We get the bacteria from the Ardennes. In the forest, rotten apples, odors and other dirt disappear like snow under the sun. How does that happen? Are there invisible cleaning champions at work there? The forest is home to trillions of bacteria that continuously clean the forest. Bacteria recycle dirt into nutrients so that they can survive. It is a circular chain that sustains itself. One cleaning pearl contains 15 billion invisible cleaners from the forest. Our products do more than clean in a natural way. You essentially bring the cleansing power of nature into your home.”
What are we supposed to do with these pearls?
“The pearl is dissolved in tap water in a reusable bottle. Then just spray it on a surface and wipe away the dirt. Each time you clean, good bacteria are left behind that will clean your surfaces for a long time without you having to do anything extra yourself. Every time you clean with YOKUU, you leave good bacteria behind. This means that week after week you build up a positive microflora indoors until a maximum value is reached. This is maintained every time you clean with YOKUU.”
Are the logistics of your project also sustainable?
“Yes definitely. We send the pearls by post in cardboard packaging. Our pearls are packed in 100 percent paper packaging. So, you can dispose of them with your waste paper. We only send the pearls, which of course saves a lot of money when it comes to logistics. They fit perfectly through the letterbox. We also include a reusable bottle. Our plastic bottles are made of high-grade plastic, so they will last a long time. You can also buy them in about 100 stores in Belgium. We’re still looking for more retail outlets. We are also planning to develop products suitable for use in dishwashers. Also, we are looking into the possibility of working with subscription plans. YOKUU products are developed in Belgium and produced in the Netherlands.”
Are any of your products certified?
“YOKUU has been granted the V-Label, a vegan label. Our formula is completely free of animal-derived ingredients. YOKUU is a member of ‘1 percent for the planet‘. Every year, we donate 1 percent of our turnover to charity. In addition, we support organizations that work to promote biodiversity and sustainable forest management. Unfortunately, YOKUU does not have the EU Ecolabel yet because our product is not a ready-to-use solution, given our soluble products. Innovation is sometimes faster than legislation.”