Color & Design With an Environmental Promise
By Diane Capuano Franklin
Posted April 17, 2011
Virginia Young and Janie Lowe are doing what they can to make the world a more colorful and less volatile place.
These two business partners are the founders of YOLO Colorhouse, a paint line that is free of any potential harmful ingredients. The paint has no volatile organic compounds, no carcinogens, no mutagens, no hazardous air pollutants, no formaldehyde and no phthalates. As Young succinctly states, “We’re proud of what’s NOT in our paint.”
Young represents the “YO” and Lowe represents the “LO” in the YOLO Colorhouse label, which they brought to the marketplace in 2005. The company is based in Portland, Ore., which is where Young and Lowe relocated after deciding that the high-stress life of New York City was no longer for them.
As partners in a painting and decorative finishes business, Young and Lowe experienced firsthand the effects of working with paint on an everyday basis. Constant exposure to paint had been giving them headaches and sore throats, which prompted them to begin researching the properties of paint. What they discovered was that even water-based paints were causing them to be exposed to toxic chemicals.
Looking for a better solution for their fellow painters and decorative artisans, Young and Lowe worked with chemists to develop a paint formula that offered high-quality performance but without the chemicals found in traditional paints. This is how YOLO Colorhouse was born.
Lowe reports that the company was founded with a commitment to sustainable business practices. Not only are the products made with eco-friendly ingredients, but even the company’s marketing and merchandising materials are made with the environment in mind. “Our displays are made from cardboard and wheatboard (an alternative to formaldehyde-emitting medium-density fibreboard),” Lowe reports. “We use soy inks to print our labels and print them on recycled paper. Our paint containers use post-consumer recycled plastics.”
“We’re an environmentally responsible paint company,” Young adds. “No matter what we’re doing—whether it’s manufacturing, packaging, transporting or marketing—we always look at it through a green lens.”
YOLO Colorhouse performs like a premium conventional paint but without odor, harmful chemicals and added solvents. It has been certified by Green Seal®, an independent non-profit organization that is setting the standards for environmentally responsible products. The product line comes in flat, eggshell and semi-gloss sheens as well as a zero-VOC primer.
In addition to an eco-friendly paint formulation, YOLO Colorhouse offers a unique color selection that is itself evocative of the environment. There are three color palettes in all:
Visit YOLO Colorhouse’s website for a wealth of ideas, for a free online color consultation, to view how-to videos as well as to learn about paint basics, and to learn how to use color and the advantages of using an eco-friendly paint.
“Our overall philosophy is to inspire,” says Young. “We offer color and design with an environmental promise.”
YOLO Colorhouse is available in stores in select markets nationwide, including 20 Lowe’s stores on the West Coast (in Washington, Oregon and Southern California). To find a store near you, use the handy store locator on the company’s website. Or order the product from the company’s online store or through homedepot.com.