Yuman: the first circular supermarket for non-food

Yuman is Belgium’s first circular ‘one-stop shopping center’ for non-food. Yuman Village in Ixelles is home to dozens of entrepreneurs who offer goods and services according to the principles of circular economy. Recycling and upcycling to the next level!

Yuman‘s story began with a simple message posted on social media by Christel Droogmans. She read about an innovative store concept in Sweden, completely focused on upcycling and economic transition. That got Christel thinking. After a successful career of 20 years in the financial sector, she dreamed of something different. “I wanted to create a place where entrepreneurs could realize their ideas around economic transition – where they could put their services and products together in the shop window. This concept already existed for organic products, but not for non-food.”

At its start-up, Yuman became the first Belgian supermarket to work according to the principles of the circular economy. The rationale behind the project? “To use my experience and skills in a meaningful way, to create added value for society. I immediately felt that we could play a pioneering role. Yuman offers a concrete answer to the needs of more and more consumers. It’s particularly motivating to see the impact of an initiative on this scale.”

Sustainable ambitions for the future

For the realization of their ambitious project, Christel and her partner turned to hub.brussels. Christel outlines hub.brussels’ contribution in the Yuman project: “They provided advice and guidance during two key phases of our project. The first of which was the introduction to MyBusinessPass, which gives access to lots of knowledge and expertise – from store design to legal advice.”

Another highlight for Yuman: in 2018, the company won hub.brussels’ Be Circular awards. An important recognition for the entrepreneurial duo. It was also a great motivation to start further expanding the idea. The nice financial contribution that came with it helped a lot as well. “I have nothing but praise for the guidance provided by hub.brussels, aimed at supporting and developing businesses.”

Today, Christel dreams of copying Yuman’s concept to expand it to other locations. “First in Brussels and later to other cities. We very much want to become active at the Belgian level with this unique idea.”