Women all around the world can now join a new social wellness app called Yoni Circle – a one-of-a-kind social app and membership-based community which supports deeper connections through storytelling.
Especially in these times where COVID has restricted our social mobility, Yoni Circle provides women with a safe space where she can speak from the hear and connect with others in a vulnerable and fun way, emulating an experience that mixes nostalgic slumber party vibes with a mindfulness class.
Numerous studies have found sharing stories help us feel less alone in our daily lives, which is more important than ever during the ongoing pandemic.
The Yoni Circle app is part interactive (Storytelling Circles) and part passive (Yoni Radio). Storytelling Circles allow members to join a 60-minute moderated live-virtual video chat sessions with five other women in order to connect more deeply with themselves and others, while Yoni Radio allows women to listen to others’ recorded stories from their Circle experience.
Each Circle is led by a Salonniere, who begins as an active community member and is then trained to be a Salonniere. During the Circle, the Salonniere guides the group through introductions, a breathing exercise and a storytelling prompt based on a specific theme, like ‘Stories on Gratitude’ or ‘Stories on Surprise.’ Participants take turns sharing from the heart and listening to each other’s stories. Members leave feeling lighter and more connected to themselves and the world around them.
Those who participate in a Circle can choose to record their stories, which can be either private or public facing on their Yoni Circle profile. The Yoni Circle team curates these stories and highlight them on the app’s homepage so members can reflect and connect in their own time. Members can also go to other Yoni Circle members’ pages and listen to their recorded stories. This gives the community another opportunity to connect and broaden their perspectives together.
“Since joining Yoni Circle, I’ve discovered that storytelling is an art form necessary for my mental health as well as in growing and healing,” said Yoni Circle member Arin T. of Alabama. Member Naomi S. of South Africa said of the app: “I am in awe of the women I meet at Yoni Circle and grateful to them for creating a magical space where I feel like I belong, less alone and more empowered to accept my authentic self.”
Increasing in popularity
The app has become increasingly popular since its beta launch in April 2020, and now has members across one thousand cities and over 80 countries. Many members have made Yoni Circle an essential component to their regular self-care rituals, with more than 60% of Circle participants attending two or more a month. Others attend Circles weekly or even daily. With more new features to be released in the coming months, the public launch of Yoni Circle comes at a time when it’s never been more crucial to connect deeply with others.
Yoni Circle was created by Chloë Drimal, one of Snapchat’s early employees. She helped grow Snapchat from a scrappy startup to an IPO, was integral to creating its ‘Our Stories” product and ended her time running women’s initiatives. In November 2017, Chloe left Snapchat to create Yoni Circle, where stories and women come together in a powerful way.
“Not only did building the ‘Our Stories’ product at Snapchat show me how to create a successful user-generated content product at scale, but it opened my eyes to how connected we are as humans and how stories help us feel this connection,” said Chloë Drimal, founder and CEO of Yoni Circle.
“After two years of growing and running the ‘Our Stories’ product, I was replaced by a man and this left me feeling alone. Conversations with inspiring female strangers healed me, helped me realise I was not alone in my story and their stories supported me in finding the strength to rewrite my own story. Now, it is my mission to bring that connection and healing to the world with Yoni Circle,” she added.
To prioritise member safety and comfort, there’s an application process for interested members, which takes two-to-five minutes, and the review process can take up to a week. Yoni Circle also has detailed community-guidelines and in-app safety features to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all current and future members.
You need to be 18 or more to join Yoni Circle. For more information, you can visit here.
Here at Women Love Tech, we spoke with the founder of Yoni Circle, Chloe Drimal and asked her a few questions about how she came to start up this social wellness app. Here’s what she had to say:
WLT: It is interesting that you wrote that article, the newspaper article, when you were at college and then Snapchat recruited you and then it was a couple of years later, you found yourself sort of moved on and your job was over-taken. When you went through that it was the mentioned before, but how did that make you feel that that was sort of like… When you went through that, it was like the genesis for Yoni Circle, wasn’t it?
Chloe Drimal: Yes, so the article was written and I got recruited to work at snap right out of college, and so I ended up being the 14th employee. I built Our Story product and I was working with a team of 80 people. I was 24 years old at the time and running a very important part of the business, especially as the company was heading into IPO. Yeah, it was definitely a hard time. And I think why it was important in the genesis of Yoni Circle because I was so widely connected to the world and saw so clearly how connected we are all as humans.
At the time I was working with a lot of women and I didn’t really talk about my emotions – I played it a lot more business-like. But a lot of these women would just look me in the eye and they would tell me a really vulnerable story from their past, and through the stories, I realised that I wasn’t alone in my narrative and their stories really empowered me in very big ways. So when I left Snapchat in early 2017, I said, I’m going to figure out how to get a social media platform working that can really be a source of healing for the world.
WLT: So quite a few people in Australia are taking part?
Chloe Drimal: Yes, absolutely. And definitely growing as well. The Salonniere is the host of the circle experience and actually have 40 Salonnieres based in different parts of Australia.
WLT: When you set up Yoni Circle, that was April last year which was a good time for something like this because of COVID and the isolation that people would have been feeling?
Chloe Drimal: Obviously, it has been planned for a while, but yes, the timing, I think was helpful. It allowed us to really start that early community and to build out any bugs as well as grow our community, which is really important to how we feel
WLT: Do you feel it’s a big help because of the social restrictions?
Chloe Drimal: Absolutely. I think that Yonic Circle has been really important for people during this time – not only to connect and have space to connect to themselves in a more super way – but to be able to connect to strangers in a deep way. And for me, I’ve been able to learn so much about how all the different countries are handling a lot out and all the different experiences around the world during this global pandemic, which has absolutely been eye-opening for me, either as an attendee of the circles or as a Salonniere myself.
WLT: Is Yoni Circle exclusively for women?
Chloe Drimal: It’s currently for those that identify as a woman, but as we grow, we will definitely be opening it up to all people.
WLT: Are the stories recorded?
Chloe Drimal: It’s actually an important part of our experience and it’s called One video, so the member does have the option to record the story that she tells in circle, and this can either live privately on her profile for deeper intersection or it can be public. The Australia community on Yoni Circle is definitely growing, so hopefully, I’ll get to meet some of them in a circle some time.
WLT: Yes, that would be great. Thank you for your time.
Chloe Drimal: Absolutely, thank you for your time.
For more from Women Love Tech, visit here.