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Yendy Skin: Pivoting for purpose

London-based Yendy Skin began with a mission to bridge the gap between small-scale female farmers and the beauty market.

JUBILEE CENTRE AUTOR 193/Charlee_New 12 DE JULIO DE 2022 12:27 h
Yendy Skin works with small-scale female farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. / [link]Yendy Skin[/link]

Beauty business Yendy Skin is an exciting start-up which features in our 21st Century Pioneers research report. The business started with a desire to deliver a social mission and then developed services and products to fit.



Their story raises key questions. How do you create a financially sustainable solution to a social problem? And how do you match ethics with a good and affordable product that customers will buy?



London-based Yendy Skin began with a mission to bridge the gap between small-scale female farmers and the beauty market.



Back in 2018, the enterprise began under a different name and with a different product. In pursuit of the mission, founder Julian Boaitey had to innovate, test and learn what works.



The result is a stronger product, a new brand and a competitive offering into the ethical beauty market.



In 2018, Julian Boaitey founded the Good Butter Company. The goal was to revolutionise the supply chain for small-scale female farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, by selling raw, fairly-traded African superfood products to the beauty market in a subscription box.



Historically, the harvesting and processing of these ingredients (including items like shea butter) has been hard, dangerous and poorly remunerated for the women involved.



The Good Butter Company was a first attempt at a solution, but it soon became clear that the business wasn’t scalable and failed to find a product market fit.



However, Julian learnt valuable lessons from this first attempt. A 2019 accelerator programme run by Impact Central helped him to refine the market offering, take the ‘best bits’ of the previous company and move forward in a more scalable way.



Yendy Skin was founded, with a focus on creating high-functioning skincare products that would appeal to the beauty market, whilst using ingredients harvested by female farmers in better working conditions and pay—with a ‘Yendy-approved’ status.



They launched with an oil-based facial serum in 2021 and currently employ two full-time staff members in the UK.



The product has been well received and featured in the press—including Stylist Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Evening Standard, The Telegraph and more—demonstrating an interest in the market for their niche.



Yendy’s social purpose underpins everything they do; they are a for-profit business with embedded social impact. Like many other enterprises we interviewed, they balance social impact and commercial needs, and they have made themselves accountable for their social impact.



Yendy’s board and shareholders were chosen because they are as interested in social impact metrics as they are return on investment.



So far, Yendy have been able to address some of the difficulties usually faced by suppliers in this industry by paying a premium for the products, whilst also trying to ensure safer worker conditions.



As they move forward, they are committed to listening, rather than being prescriptive, through collectives and women’s groups. A key issue they’ve become aware of is the safety of children.



Many women have children present with them during the day whilst they are working. They are planning to build a school close to their production site to offer a solution to the problem.



‘I feel that entrepreneurial Christians are called to create’ says founder Julian Boaitey, ‘Starting the business has been a way for God to manifest his ideas and attitudes through me. It’s given me the opportunity to serve a large multitude of people and it keeps me grounded.’



Still a young enterprise, Yendy has strong ethical foundations and a clear sense of mission.



Future plans, as well as their investment into their suppliers’ communities, include partnerships for tree planting in Northern Ghana to offset their carbon emissions, and extending their employment opportunities in Ghana (for example, recruiting recent graduates as social media managers) with pay well above Ghana’s minimum wage.



Yendy Skin demonstrates how private sector enterprise can offer a real solution to social problems.




Charlee New, the Jubilee Centre’s Storytelling Lead & part of its ‘Church & Enterprise’ research team.




This article was first published on the website of the Jubilee Centre and re-published with permission.


 

 


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