The Idea Village is a New Orleans-based entrepreneurial support organization that runs two accelerator programs: VILLAGEx and ENERGYx. Seventeen ventures are currently going through the programs, which will culminate at a demo day in April.
This new interview series, Startup Spotlight, is designed to highlight each of the participating ventures.
The next feature is all about Youni, a company founded by two friends turned business partners who are creating sustainable, fashionable and affordable alternatives for people experiencing incontinence issues through our flagship product, Youni Underwear.
Describe your company in two sentences or less.
The Youni Company is disrupting the incontinence market with an innovative underwear line. Youni Underwear brings style, comfort, leakproof performance and sustainability to those affected with uncomfortable leaking issues such as incontinence, menstruation, and excessive sweating.
How did you come up with the idea behind your company?
Tereson came up with the idea after 20 years of being an innovator in the reusable diapering space for babies with a product called FuzziBunz Diapers. During that time, she lost count of how many people asked her to develop a better product for people experiencing incontinence… so she finally did. This has been a long-standing vision of hers and this industry is most definitely in need of some disruption.
Why is your solution the best one for your customers?
Youni Underwear has a focus on exceptional function and comfort, as well as on the user’s state of mind. No one wants to wear adult diapers and the current reusable options are sometimes just as bad. Youni is a quality of life product that is just as much for your mental health as it is your physical health.
And why are you the team to make this happen?
The founding team has a tremendous amount of experience in consumer products and growing multi-million dollar businesses. On top of the business experience shared by both founders, our related personal experiences gives us empathy, understanding of the problem, and the drive to bring a more modern and sustainable solution to others.
Why do you think New Orleans was the best place for you to found this company in?
Honestly, it is not. Both founders, however, are New Orleanians and we could not imagine living anywhere else. Thankfully, we are able to take advantage of the resources that we do have here such as The Idea Village, which has been an invaluable experience thus far.
Tell me about a current goal you are working towards with your company.
The product, mission, plan, USA-based manufacturer and team have all been well thought out and are in place. The Youni Company is currently raising capital to launch this product into the world.
What’s a challenge you are currently facing as a company?
Raising funds is a challenge for every business. Raising funds as female founders for an incontinence product that focuses on sustainability in Louisiana is the hardest thing we have had to do.
What has been your proudest moment so far as one of the founders of this company?
There have been many milestones and achievements for The Youni Company this past year. One of the greatest achievements, however, has been having a fully made in the USA product. From our yarns and textiles to our manufacturing, everything will be done here at home to keep a close eye on quality, safety and timely delivery of our product.
What’s a fact about yourself that people would be surprised to hear.
Tereson (CEO and co-founder) was featured on Shark Tank in 2012 for her previous brand (FuzziBunz cloth baby diapers).