YOUWE is a brand new online marketplace that shares products with stories and purpose. Founded just this year, it aims to help people change the world, one purchase at a time. Each product they sell is already, as they put it, “doing good things”, from empowering women in Ethiopia to being ethically made in the US. It doesn’t stop there – YOUWE also donates 10% of the product price back to a cause of your choice.
I had the opportunity to chat with founder Tyler Clinton about starting YOUWE and conscious shopping:
1. Has charity always been a part of your life, or was there a lightbulb moment that sparked your dedication to giving?
My first experience with charitable giving was when I was 10. I spent a week in Mexico with my father building a church for a small community south of Arizona in Mexico. I had then been there a second time a few years later doing the same thing. I had also spent a month in Korea and China teaching kids English for low income schools when I was 17. All in short I had grown up using time as my charitable giving but never with my money (due to my age). As I grew the experiences that I had spent doing these things held a special place in my heart. I always wanted to start a company but I wanted to start a company that filled those special feelings within my heart and to have other people start capturing those feelings as well. So coming up with YOUWE’s concept, I had a little background of charitable giving.
2. Before starting YOUWE, you made dog beds that self-inflate, which also helped humane societies. Tell us a little more about that experience – what did you learn from it that carried over into starting YOUWE?
The experience was really fun as it stretched me to think differently. I first started out as it being a concept. Learning how to sew and researching how to perfect the making of these dog beds. After coming up with the concept and design, I started to contact factories outside of the U.S and was thinking on outsourcing the product to be manufactured in other countries. But moving down this path I didn’t feel comfortable by outsourcing these beds as its really hard to understand the conditions of the factories, what materials they use, what business practices they use, etc… It turned my thinking to stay local while helping local humane societies. The product never made it to the market, but what it did was it created and shaped YOUWE to be a brand that would house and curate these types of products that donate/give-back to causes while being a do good brand (eco-friendly, sustainable, etc…).
3. The website says that YOUWE sells products that are “already doing great things”. Can you expand on what this means? What criteria do you use to decide if you will be selling something in your online marketplace?
YOUWE collects and curates brands that are doing good things like already donating to charities or causes, or they have a business model that empowers individuals by teaching them skills, empowering people that have never had jobs before, empowering women that are at risk in 3rd world countries, products that are handmade, etc. There are a lot of brands these days that hold these types of qualities “already doing good things”. YOUWE’s job is to further the good and keep the story going by getting the consumer involved and allowing them to further the story by donating to a cause.
4. What are your dreams for the future of YOUWE?
YOUWE wants to carry more products ranging from baby to adult wear, home goods and cosmetic. YOUWE also wants to make it easy and fun for consumer to get involved with doing good things in this world. To do that we plan on implementing web tools through YOUWE to track your giving (what causes have you given to and how much) from the products that were purchased though YOUWE.
5. What would be your one piece of advice for someone who wants to start shopping more consciously?
To really know the brand and what it means to them. Understand where it came from and what good it is doing in our world. In YOUWE’s framework, we are all about the story of the product. From how it was made to the purchase by the consumer, to the cause that was donated to.