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Harnessing the same entrepreneurial spirit and creativity he used to launch beauty brand Yes to Carrots, Ido Leffler is taking on the school supplies category.
While shopping with his daughters, Leffler, cofounder of Yes To Inc., noticed the school-supply selection was bland and unexciting. “Shopping for school supplies used to be an adventure,” he said. His solution is Yoobi, a bold assortment of back-to-school products, currently rolling out exclusively to Target. Prices range from $1 to $9.
The strategy parallels and is inspired by Yes To, which he introduced as a vibrant approach to natural beauty in 2006. “There’s overlap in beauty and school supplies,” said Leffler. “Like a beauty collection, [Yoobi] catches your eye and stands out. We really worked to make it appealing.”
But Yoobi has a bigger mission than just shaking up the school-supplies offering. In researching the market, he found teachers spend more than $1.6 billion a year out of their own pockets to spruce up classrooms. And some children and schools have little access to the tools they need to learn effectively, Leffler said. To that end, for every Yoobi product purchased, the company contributes an item to Yoobi Classroom Packs that will be delivered to classrooms across the U.S. identified by the Kids In Need Foundation. The goal is to impact more than 30,000 classrooms and improve the lives of more than 750,000 children by 2015. “The Pack, which has everything from pencils to glue bottles, is designed to look like a present, not a donation,” said Leffler.
Yes To is now the number-two natural brand in the U.S. and is distributed in more than 25,000 doors worldwide. Giving back is endemic to Leffler’s style; he also founded the Yes To Seed Fund, the brand’s nonprofit organization committed to teaching children about nutrition and healthy living through the planting of organic school gardens.