Whether it is light bladder leakage after having children, from menopause, stress, illness or during exercise, women’s bodies are real and sometimes real bodies leak. CEO and founder of MODIBODI, Kristy Chong, is all too familiar with the embarrassing and debilitating impact of incontinence and says we need to work together to break down the taboo surrounding the topic.
For most women, managing their period is a fact of life for around 40 years of their life. Other facts of life are that many women will suffer bladder leaks at some point in their life. Women make up 80 per cent of Australians living with incontinence, with many experiencing these leaks after childbirth and menopause.
Whether it’s going to the shops to grab a coffee, going for a hike or playing with children, I firmly believe that leaks should not get in the way of doing things we love to do.
In addition to being comfortable with how we look, I believe that women should also be open to discussing how issues such as bladder leakage, periods, discharge and sweat affect us day-to-day.
The idea to help bladder leakage
When I started MODIBODI, Australia’s leading leak-proof underwear, I wanted to empower women to embrace their bodies and have absolute confidence in themselves. The idea first came to me when I was a full-time mum of a two-year-old and five-month-old.
I was out jogging, in fact, I was training for a marathon and had been experiencing occasional, but embarrassing light bladder leaks.
The available solutions were ugly, inconvenient, uncomfortable and a hazard to our environment – disposable hygiene. I just felt we deserved something better. Once I realised how problematic these issues were, I also couldn’t understand why with all the advancements in technology, underwear and disposable hygiene had not evolved.
I knew instantly that I was going to have to create a whole new product category for women.
After two years of development, which included endless conversations with textile engineers scientists and industry experts, and then sourcing and conducting over 1,000 scientific tests, I had a patentable product.
Today, we have a wide range of light – heavy absorbency linings that target periods, heavy discharge and bladder leaks and breast milk leakage. The range includes underpants, activewear briefs and pants, swimwear and more. In 2018 we also launched RED, a teen range for first period and teen years.
I am really proud that I took that idea and turned it into a product, and now apparel brand, that can more conveniently, comfortably and reliably manage menstrual flow, incontinence, discharge, breast milk leaks or sweat. MODIBODI is also helping to reduce the amount of single-use products ending up in landfill and damaging our environment every day.
As at May 2019, an estimated two million garbage bags of disposable hygiene waste have been prevented from ending up in landfill or flushed into our waterways by MODIBODI customers.
Once we’d developed the product, I sought some opinions as to how I should market this range of life-changing undies. I was repeatedly told we’d need super glamorous models to make supposed unmentionable topics (menstruation and incontinence) tolerable to Australian women and the media.
I refused to believe this was the only way we could have a presence in the market and from day one we’ve sourced customers or everyday women from diverse backgrounds to help model and sell our products.
Six years later we have customers contacting us daily to take part in our photos shoots that celebrate women of every size, ethnicity and age. From mums to athletes, nans to our movers and shakers in the business world, you’ll see every type of woman, and all remain photoshop free.
We’re also passionate about educating the next generation of Australian women about loving themselves and encourage them to be adventurous and to get on with all the amazing things that need to be done today, period or no period. Which is the inspiration behind our teen range, RED.
We are fortunate enough to have potentially the most caring customers on the planet who frequently ask us what they can do to get MODIBODI underwear out to women in need.
Domestic and family violence is the principal cause of homelessness for women and their children in Australia. There are thousands of women and young girls living in shelters across Australia, who have little money and consequently cannot afford to purchase feminine hygiene products that most of us take for granted. These women and girls are forced to protect themselves from their monthly period and/or bladder weakness with bits of newspaper, or bulky rags.
The simplest way to donate leak-proof underwear is through our Give A Pair program, which allows you to both buy undies for yourself and donate too. By purchasing a $25 ‘virtual pair’ voucher, we will donate two pairs of physical MODIBODI underwear to women in need.
Our underwear gets distributed to a number of places including women in refuge centres, homeless women, girls fighting period poverty or women across India.