Inge Louf sets out with passion: “Everyone finds sweating annoying and unpleasant, while it is a very natural, even healthy activity. Sweat cleans our pores, removes waste products and cools our body. So it's very useful. And what's more, sweat is also completely odorless. The unpleasant odor of sweat is produced by bacteria and fungi. The Corynebacterium, for example, produces butyric acid and it is that acid that gives the unpleasant odor; the Propionibacterium (which also causes acne) and the Staphylococci all proliferate in moist, warm places. With exertion or stress, they overgrow.”
Armpit ponds allowed!
Inge: “In other words, we have to tackle those bacteria and not – as we were used to until now – fight sweat. In that sense, traditional deodorants are not a good solution: they try to combat the consequences (masking odor with perfume), without removing the cause (bacteria). Deodorants place a thin layer of varnish over your skin, which also negates the good effects of sweating. OY On the other hand, it cleans the pores deeply without a layer of varnish, the skin remains very pure and pure and, above all, OY only combats the odor in the places where it is necessary.”
“Neutralizing bacteria and fungi that cause bad odor,” she continues enthusiastically, “provides a healthy balance, a better balance, under your armpits, between your toes, in your groin. OY stands for odorless sweating, for a world of freshness. From now on it is feasible for everyone to walk through life fresh. Armpit ponds are therefore allowed again as long as you do not disturb anyone because you spread an unpleasant odor. Moreover, your clothes also stay fresh for longer. Once your odorless sweat has dried, your T-shirts will no longer smell.”
Mother, why do we sweat?
Inge is a pharmacist and has been fascinated all her life by the formulas that make people better and healthier. When her two sons' sports shoes did not stay fresh after tennis lessons and her own blouses also flew into the laundry basket due to stress, she decided to look into the problem. In search of a solution that would get rid of the unpleasant sweat odor, she studied scientific studies, contacted experts and started experimenting in her own mini-lab.
Now, 4 years later, a period in which she sweated quite a bit, 'Oy Deo Wash' and 'Oy Deo Scrub' are on the market. Available at better pharmacies and online. With the support of Vlaio business advisor Katelijne Strubbe, a whole process was completed, a feasibility study was undertaken and an innovation project was submitted. The test audience is already very enthusiastic. The results are impressive.
Blood, sweat and costs.
By the sweat of her brow, Inge succeeded in her mission: developing a formula that repels sweat odors without compromising the natural process of sweating. Obviously it is completely safe for the user but moreover it is OY completely ecologically responsible too. Less obvious was the route taken, which, according to VLAIO business advisor Katelijne Strubbe, was a passionate story of fighting, falling, getting up and carrying on again.
Inge: “Yes, that's right. You sit there with your idea, you see the possibilities, but you immediately think: who am I to start that? You immediately realize what you didn't know: the production process, packaging, marketing and financing. Fortunately, I came into contact with the business advisors from VLAIO. They not only showed me the way to possible subsidies, but every step of the way they put me in touch with partners who helped me realize my product line."
For me, Katelijne was the stick behind the door. She continued to support me with her critical questions and gentle insistence on writing my file. Who do you work with? How do you finance this project? How is your business plan structured? She made me think about all aspects of my business case. Without that push I might never have jumped.
Inge: “We investigated both the economic and production technical possibilities of my idea with an initial feasibility study. My solution is based on a disinfection procedure: after all, you clean the skin of overgrowing bacteria. The first barrier was the search for an active ingredient. Once this was found, the challenge was to combine that active ingredient with glycerine using surfactants (a higher viscosity ensures adhesion to the skin), the vegetable oil with an electrolyte. Technically not that obvious at all because they are components that work against each other."
Katelijne adds: “Once the feasibility had been demonstrated, technically and economically, the final step came: one development project , in which you work out the entire recipe, in accordance with the requirements we set for the product: viscosity ( to work, it must be on the skin for 1 minute sticky ), it also had to be easy to rinse and give a very clean feeling, we wanted to avoid pH dependence and it also had to be biodegradable according to our standards."
Inge: "I received a lot of support from my file manager at VLAIO. But the jury to whom I defended my file also saw that there was sufficient knowledge and expertise. They believed in the potential. That trust was important for me to continue."
I have been able to expand my expert network both through VOKA, where I followed many labs, and through VLAIO. From research to production to marketing, I am supported by specialists who believe in my product. I have developed an advisory board with which I consult monthly. They challenge me and monitor progress.
A new morning ritual?
Inge: “It does require an adapted morning ritual. Before showering, apply our concentrated soap to your (dry) skin. You let it work for a minute. You then step into the shower. There the gel turns into milk, which rinses away easily. Kris Honraet, colleague of Katelijne who joined me innovation trajectory therefore suggested a new daily morning ritual: every morning people brush their teeth for fresh breath. After all, just like OY, toothpaste has an antibacterial effect. While brushing your teeth, you could also leave OY on so you can jump into the shower after brushing. Then you step into the new day feeling fresh in your mouth and armpits.”
And so OY, Norwegian for island, was born in May 2018. Bottled trust claims the baseline, because as a user you no longer have to worry about a nasty sweat odor. You sweat, but you no longer smell. The mild freshness of your own natural. Moreover, unlike most deodorants, OY Care products are completely biodegradable. OY also likes to put that ecological aspect in the spotlight.
More information via this link: Vlaio