If there’s one brand I’d want to take to the Philippines, it’s Yoobi. It’s a school supplies brand that gives back to classrooms in need across the United States.
I’ve followed Yoobi and their progress for years, and constantly wish we had something similar here in the Philippines.
Pronounced “you-be,” the name basically means “one for you, one for me” in that a Yoobi item is donated for every purchase made. I admire the business model albeit the criticism that arose since TOM Shoes introduced it to the business world. As of this writing, over 2 million kids have benefited from Yoobi’s initiatives, so I’m sure it’s working out for them.
What caught my attention though was how a company like Yoobi could turn something as mundane as school and office supplies into items everyone would love to use on a daily basis.
I was lucky enough to bring home a couple of Yoobi products from my US trip last year. I got the pink journal, a set of 18 pre-sharpened #2 pencils, and a 3-pack yellow-green ballpoint retractable pen set.
Unfortunately, LIFE decided to collect its dues so I haven’t been able to examine the items in detail until this week. Better late than never, right? 😅
Splashed with color
Color was the first thing that attracted me to the brand and what makes Yoobi stand out.
As kids develop their unique interests and preferences, they begin to choose items of their favorite color. Yoobi gives these kids that joy by letting them choose blue pencils, pink pens, green spiral notebooks, and the like.
Other products are designed with a variety of colors in line with a particular theme. One such theme is the Yoobi x i am OTHER by Pharrell Williams, where composition notebooks and school backpacks are designed to encourage students to embrace their identity and uniqueness to succeed.
Here’s a quote from PR Newswire on the launch of the product line:
Yoobi x i am OTHER embodies a positive message about self-acceptance, individuality and motivation to meet one’s potential while giving back to those less fortunate.
Functional for the working student
Quality-wise, Yoobi’s pretty so-so.
The pages of the journal I purchased are lined with wider spaces in between. When open, it lies flat so it’s easy to write. The paper quality doesn’t boast much, but it isn’t a priority since they’re used primarily for school or the office.
I then opened the 3-pack ballpoint retractable pen set to see how the pens feel when used. The body is made of plastic and the ink isn’t as consistent when writing. Overall, the quality is similar to the pens I buy locally.
Finally, I opened the pack of 18 #2 pencils. They’re pre-sharpened, round, and printed in blue and blue-green zig-zag. It’s a fun design and the grade is pretty decent where it doesn’t become dull too quickly. I like it. ✏️
What I didn’t like was how easily the pencil broke when I sharpened it. When the pencil kept breaking while using my Pollux sharpener, I switched to Holly’s black plastic sharpener.
This obviously reflects the quality of the pencils. If you’re on the lookout for something of higher quality, you’ll want to skip these for another brand of pencils.
My verdict: I like Yoobi for its kid-centric branding and its commitment to improving the lives of students in need. The products themselves may not be as outstanding as the more expensive brands, but they certainly get the job done. That’s what most important.
- Yoobi main website
- Check out their Sale section for discounted products
- Yoobi’s 2015 impact report
- On the Buy-one-Give-one model: “Beyond Good Intentions: Tweaking the Buy One, Give One Model“