Meet Karolina and Paweł: Founders of Yope

KAROLINA AND PAWEŁ

YOPE was founded by Karolina and Paweł, husband-and-wife team and parents of young children. YOPE is a brand of personal care and home care products formulated with skin-safe, environmentally friendly ingredients and distinctive fragrances. YOPE's mission is to provide customers with sustainable everyday cleansers, moisturisers and cleaning products thats are a pleasure to use. Their products with over 90% natural and minimally-processed ingredients and no substances known to pose a risk to people or pets.

We chatted to Karolina and Paweł about how YOPE came about, what they're excited to do in 2021 and what advice they would give to someone wanting to set up their own company.

Tell us about your backgrounds. What was the journey that led you to create YOPE together? 

Paweł: The origins of YOPE are related to the expansion of our family. Our two daughters were born and we started to be more attentive to what we eat, what we buy and finally to what we wash and clean our house with. It was also a moment in our lives when we both needed a professional change and we felt the strength that we were able to create something of our own. And this is how the idea for our first product, natural liquid soap, was born. 5 years ago such products were not available on the market, and natural cosmetics were not widely available. YOPE is a philosophy, concept and brand that fills our home. The answer is precisely to the search for natural products of very good quality, with extraordinary fragrances, interesting design, but at the same time affordable. 

How has the brand evolved over time?

Paweł: Our brand has grown a lot over the past few years. The beginnings were difficult and it took us a while to convince consumers to try YOPE cosmetics. We were an unknown company and now YOPE is very recognizable and positively received. Our portfolio of cosmetics and ecological cleaning products is constantly expanding, we accompany our clients in the most ordinary, everyday activities, and our products make them extraordinary. Naturally unusual with YOPE! 

Karolina: YOPE grows as a brand, but we also grow with it. Over the years we have learned a lot, we have created new lines of cosmetics, new products are ahead of us, we are entering increasingly wider markets, and our team is constantly growing. It's an interesting challenge - to work with the team, use the knowledge of the specialists we employ and the passion they bring to the team. 

What have you worked on or achieved with YOPE (or in general) that you are most proud of?

Karolina: We are most proud that YOPE is an increasingly recognizable brand. And I must admit that from the very beginning we had an appetite to create something big. We are reliable in what we do and we see that the quality we offer to our clients is appreciated. We have great satisfaction with this work. We still feel that we can develop and we see the potential of our brand. 

YOPE products bear the Ecolabel seal, the packaging is recyclable and all products are cruelty free. Why were these things important to you as a brand?

Paweł: We are a brand very aware of what is happening around us. This is due to the philosophy of life that we translate into our products. From the very beginning, it was important for us that YOPE products were as gentle as possible for the skin, for our customers and their families, and also for the environment. Both at the level of recipes and packaging. But we also go beyond the product in activities for the benefit of the planet and the community. We use the strength of our brand to help others, the environment and to talk about how we see the world. 

An action that we have been running for three years is #beeYOPE - we support urban wild bees both in Poland and in the UK. We sow meadows, set up hotels for bees and educate by distributing seeds and spreading knowledge about how easy it is to help these insects. We believe that every little step matters, if we are all in it together.

What would be your 3 top tips to help encourage others to live more sustainably?

  1. Plant a flower meadow for the bees, even a tiny one on the balcony!
  2. Minimize garbage - look for alternative packaging, recycled plastic, refill options, make compost into waste.
  3. Share what you do and talk about it - social media is the perfect tool for talking about important things. As a brand, we do it very actively - we show our ecological activities, we encourage our observers to follow them, we invite you to support influencers. We can see how important this communication is and how much it influences the adoption of pro-ecological attitudes.

What are you most excited to work on over the next few months?

Karolina: We are now working on a completely new product category, and while we can't reveal anything yet, this will be the most exciting launch of 2021 for us! 

Paweł: Returning to our pro-ecological activities, the year 2021 is under the slogan of the development of the YOPE refill station - "Do not throw away, refill". It is an initiative thanks to which fewer new packages are placed on the market, and customers refill soaps, shower gels or dishwashing liquids in bottles after our products at special refill stations. It is very popular among our clients - we are very proud of it and we are working intensively on the development of this concept. 

What piece of advice would you give to someone who is looking to set up their own company?

Karolina: I always say that the most important things are three things. Passion, because without it, no business will be successful. Authenticity, because if we believe in what we do, in our idea, and it results from our philosophy of life, we will convince consumers of it. And persistence, because often others do not understand our passion and idea - it sometimes takes time to be successful, but you should not make nervous movements, and act in the same direction, possibly slightly modifying the path to success. And what am I next on my business path, I see that a realistic and prudent approach to business is very important. You have to prepare, acquire knowledge, or hire people who have that knowledge.

What do you look for when finding the perfect gift?

Karolina: I'm weak with gifts. But the children taught me that they are important and I try to remember them. I listen to the people I want to give. I listen to what they need. I make gifts that are to please the recipient, and not surprise with something that the person is to open up to. 

What is your LITTLE FIND? (Favourite product on A LITTLE FIND)

Paweł: YOPE Linden Soap. The scent is amazing and the mission behind the range is something that we really care about. Helping the bees around the world makes this range very special to us. 

Let’s have a little fun and FIND out about you...

  • Favourite TV series right now? We Are Who We Are 
  • Last thing you cooked? Burned pancakes cooked for a tv show, oatmeal for kids – I don’t cook!
  • Favourite Instagram account to follow? @lottavolkova 
  • Perfect way to spend your weekend?  With my family, somewhere in nature. Then I rest in 5 seconds. 
  • Best restaurant you’ve eaten at? I remember the taste of oysters from France, pineapple from Cuba and mango from Bali - authentic and fresh - then I remember the taste and smell, feel the sun and freshness in them. Tomatoes straight from the bush are better than the best restaurant. 
  • Country you’d love to visit?  I would love to go to New Zealand and the Faroe Islands.

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