We recently met for coffee with a super sweet, down to earth mother of girls who is doing amazing things in her corner. Alex & her husband Alex founded Yuhme - the world's most eco-friendly reusable water bottle, made from sugarcane. For each bottle sold they give 6 months of clean water to those without it in the Central African Republic. We have been lucky enough to have this family part of the Whole Beings community for the past few months, all the way from Sweden.
We just love how humble they are & the impact they are having on the world & their own children, who are a huge part of the whole journey! We also love that Alex is a social entrepreneur who likes to take it SLOW... Just love her tips for sustainable family living. It really makes you think!
Here's our chat with Alex -
Tell us a little about where you are from & your family?
I’m half Swedish, half Croatian and my husband is from England – we live in Sweden but spend most summers escaping winter in Croatia. We have 2 daughters Harlow 5 and Freya 3. Our home is in a semi-rural area right next to a stable that’s home to about 120 horses. It’s a beautiful 10 minute bike ride from the ocean. I really don’t think I would have come up with something like Yuhme if I didn’t live where I live. There is no noise, I can slow down and think.
In your own words, please tell us what you do…& how you started Yuhme?
Yuhme is the world’s most eco-friendly reusable water bottle with a purpose. When I was pregnant with Harlow I wanted to do something different and something with a real purpose. I went from the CEO of a software and hardware company to maternity leave, where I had much more time to think. During that time in my life, I bought a little stuffed bunny that I called ‘Dreams’ and when I looked at the bunny it would remind me of my ‘Dreams’. Ironically when I told that story at a conference a Japanese lady approached me and said, ‘do you know that Yuhme without the H means dreams in Japanese?!’
Yuhme stands for You Us Humanity Me Environment.
The idea was birthed ‘what if we could make a water bottle from a plant?’ From my background in the software company which worked on saving energy – we researched different materials. For an entire year we didn’t watch TV or scroll on anything, we put all of our energy into creating this idea into a product. We even had full time jobs! We decided on sugarcane and pitched to the biggest manufacturer in Sweden. We just took a chance and here we are.
What do you stand for?
I strongly believe that every person can make a difference and it’s our responsibility to do so. Everyone deserves a good life. Some young girls have to carry dirty water all day and should be in school. That’s why we are so passionate about donating clean water to those who don’t have access to it.
Which element of your work do you thrive off the most?
Seeing other people being proud with their Yuhme bottles. One girl wrote to us and said, ‘Every time I take a sip of my bottle I know that someone can take a sip of clean water too.’ That’s amazing when that happens. Another element would be giving clean water to one person for 6 months.
I also love that we can work wherever we want, whenever we want! My girls aren’t seeing me hating work and work as a sad thing. They are part of the whole journey with us, doing good things -- even helping us package the bottles.
3 Books for social entrepreneurship?
1. Start Something That Matters – Blake Mycoskie
2. The Purpose Economy – Aaron Hurst
3. The Leader Who Had No Title – Robin Sharma
What’s inspiring you right now?
Being part of the Gold Coast community as we travel and the girls attending Whole Beings. I love seeing that other mums are doing similar things on the other side of the world from me.
Seeing other people that do good. Working together with influencers and content makers. People like @thetravellinggood
Hans Rosling who has one of the most famous Ted talk on statistics. He is famous for bringing life to statistics.
Kiss The Ground who are raising awareness about how farming and soil is the root of every problem that we are having now. They talk about the environment and human health from a perspective I have never heard of before.
Knowing what you do now, what advice would you offer to your younger self?
Not to stress so much about the future. Enjoy youth because responsibilities are going to come anyway and let go of the pressure of having to figure it all out. Now I’m fine with that but back then I wasn’t fine with that at 24. You can’t put your energy into stressing about future decisions.
If each family in the world could do 3 things in terms of sustainable living what would they be?
1. Eat and drink in the place that your supposed to eat and drink in. In Croatia, there’s no take away anything. There’s no concept of bringing food to places that aren’t specifically for food. If more people enjoyed food and drink in the places designed for that, then we wouldn’t need single use plastic. Such a simple thing creates a huge change.
2. Make the effort to recycle. Try creating a little space in your house for recycling bins and let your kids make little signs. You can make it a game, ‘which bin do you think?’
3. Try to be informed and don’t just buy into things. Biodegradable is really trendy now, but Australia doesn’t even have a system to take care of biodegradable waste. You would be better off to use normal plastic and to recycle that plastic. You should really question before you buy something. Think about how you’re going to get rid of it before you buy it. Where is it going to go?
Just slow down, you will be more open to making good decisions.
Thank you Alex for your inspiring words & the change you are making for us & our children.