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Interview

Modibodi & Sustainable Period Care Meet CEO and Founder, Kristy Chong

Thanks to founder and CEO, Kristy Chong, Modibodi provides high-tech health apparel for bladder leaks, periods and all things in between.

 

As a preteen, my mother gave me a pack of maxi-pads when I started my period. Later on, I graduated to tampons and gave those a try for a while. I never loved the feeling or the experience of using either product. In addition to the discomfort, I began to question the waste I was producing. As an eco-conscious shopper trying to learn and make better decisions each day, I figured my period would be a great place to start. Once I tried Modibodi’s buttery soft period underwear, I never turned back.

Thanks to founder and CEO, Kristy Chong, Modibodi provides high-tech health apparel for bladder leaks, periods and all things in between. The brand offers everything from swimwear to maternity wear to leak-proof briefs to active leggings. When not caring for her little ones, Kristy spends her time advocating for women’s, men’s and non-binary health issues and rights. Kristy is opening up the conversation about periods one pair of underwear at a time — and preserving the planet while she’s at it. Modibodi does it all, from donating resources to increasing period product accesses to to making menstruation comfortable. Join BWB as Kristy Chong explains how Modibodi is changing periods across the globe.

What makes Modibodi sustainable?

Modibodi is committed to reducing reliance on single-use personal care items such as pads and tampons. Many people are shocked to know that the average woman will use 11,000 disposable feminine hygiene products in her lifetime. These convenient products come with an inconvenient environmental cost. 

This means that the very first tampon, liner, and pad ever created is  still lingering in a landfill somewhere in the world.

Disposable feminine hygiene products take 500 to 800 years to biodegrade. This means that the very first tampon, liner, and pad ever created is  still lingering in a landfill somewhere in the world. To date, Modibodi customers have prevented more than 2.5 million bags of disposable sanitary waste from entering landfills or being flushed into water systems.

What is the Modibodi mantra?

Modibodi’s business philosophy is to empower people by providing a more convenient, comfortable and sustainable solution to disposables. In addition, we strive to start conversations around taboos. As a brand, we are passionate about educating the next generation at a grassroots level. In other words, we want to inform young people about their options for managing their period. Further, we want to encourage them to make more sustainable choices regarding their sanitary items. 

This is one of the many reasons why I created Modibodi: to create limitless positive impact for both humanity and the environment. We do this all while championing a more confident, united and happier world.

Can you tell us more about Modibodi’s global engagement and partnerships?

When I started Modibodi, I knew how important it was to have a social impact side to the business. Therefore, a percentage of our profits go to women in need who often can’t afford feminine hygiene products. We want to celebrate our success as a business but ensure we’re a business with real heart that gives back. It’s not just about having a feel-good marketing campaign.  

An extension of Modibodi’s brand philosophy is to support the core issues around health and human rights. A foundational pillar from the outset has been to support people with lack of access to, or limited funds for, menstrual or incontinence management products. As part of our Give A Pair program, every sale directly helps people in need by offering them a comfortable, reusable option with Modibodi.

We work with charitable organizations including #HappyPeriod, I Support the Girls, PERIOD., Action Aid, Bloody Good Period and many more. To date, we’ve donated over 23,000 pairs of underwear globally. We encourage Modibodi customers to contribute to our charitable donations by visiting the Give a Pair donation page or adding a small amount at checkout.

Additionally, the Modibodi team is dedicated to fighting period poverty across the globe. For example, we support Period Equity in the US and #ThisTaxisPants in the UK. As a global brand, we have committed to donate at least 100,000 pairs in 2021. 

How are you working towards a better planet and future beyond your business?

Beyond our product offering, Modibodi is committed to being an active member of society. We empower, support and include menstruators of all shapes, sizes, gender, age and color.

It’s important for us to break the stigma that periods are gross or shameful. Over half the population has them! So, it is about time we banish the shame surrounding something so common and natural. Our recent campaign, A New Way to Period, sheds light on these stigmas, highlighting the real side of menstruation. We’ve used red to represent blood from day one. Modibodi’s  vision is to break the taboo around women’s health topic. For example, we lead discussions online with influencers, publications and the general public. This allows women (and men) to openly discuss the normality of women’s health.  

It’s time to put an end to menstrual taboos. Period.

Some industries are still behind the curve when it comes to sustainability standards. How would you judge your industry and where it is headed in the future?

Traditionally, the period product industry is one of waste. Twenty billion tampons and pads end up in landfills each year globally. Experts estimate that up to 90% of a menstrual pad and 6% of a tampon is plastic.

We designed Modibodi® to change this! As such, we provide a reusable period product which fully protects you for each period, month after month, year after year. The period sector is changing as reusable products take on a bigger share of the market. Customers, particularly young users and first-time users are increasingly environmentally and socially conscious. As a result, they are driving demand for products that provide broader, more sustainable choices. 

In Australia, supermarkets are adapting to changing customer attitudes within the category. For instance, stores have begun to rename the category for inclusivity.  Instead of feminine hygiene, the new label is period care.

What is one small thing that the average person can start doing to help the planet (other than switching to Modibodi!)?

Raise your voice and join the fight to normalize the conversation around menstruation. It is time to call for a change of attitude! The next generation of women should feel empowered by their period, not ashamed.

What’s next for Modibodi?

Looking ahead, we’ll continue to stay true to our purpose. This includes listening to our customers for new product innovation, expanding our product ranges and creating new leak-proof solutions for all bodies of all shapes, ages and sizes. 

We’ll continue designing products that not only perform better, but do better for the environment. For example, we want to introduce initiatives to help reduce or offset our production impact on the environment. Further, we hope to encourage people to switch from single-use disposable hygiene products to reusable alternatives. This effort includes seeking the most sustainable materials and packaging. 

We’ll continue our mission to encourage open, frank, real conversations about periods, incontinence, pregnancy, perspiration, menopause and more.

In 2021, Modibodi will complete its first ever Sustainability Impact Report. This will outline the company’s actions to fulfill our vision of making a positive change for people and the planet. We’re undertaking a Life Cycle Analysis, as well as an examination of various parts of our company: the product supply chain, materials, manufacturing methods and locations, product transportation and customer use. For example, we examine how our customers use, wash and (eventually) dispose of our products to highlight areas for improvement. 

We’ll continue our mission to encourage open, frank, real conversations about periods, incontinence, pregnancy, perspiration, menopause and more. Finally, we will help provide access to sustainable menstrual products for everyone through our Give a Pair initiative. 

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a graduate from Columbia University with majors in English and Creative Writing. She is a freelance writer and marketing assistant working for clients in the wellness, jewelry, creative, and sports industries. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. Spending much of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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