In 2013, Kristy Chong was frustrated.
She’d just given birth to her second child, and had realised that women’s underwear was consistently failing her and other women.
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When she exercised, she realised it wasn’t good at dealing with sweat, and after giving birth, women’s underwear was also ill-equipped to deal with moments of bladder weakness.
“I started to think about all the times as a woman that underwear fails us; one-in-two women with heavy periods, one-in-three mums with incontinence, one-in-10 women with endometriosis causing irregular bleeding and every woman who works out at the gym,” she told Yahoo Finance.
“The solutions are either put up with failing underwear or wear disposable hygiene. I thought with all the advances in technology surely it was time for a better solution.”
Now, that frustration has led to more than 1.5 million sales of her period- and incontinence-proof underwear, through her brand Modibodi.
Modibodi garments are moisture-wicking and odour-fighting underwear designed for women on their periods, women with incontinence and women who would just prefer dryer underwear.
The company also makes swimwear using the same technology.
How does it work?
Chong said convincing consumers that the technology did work was a challenge, but now its models are all women who have used, and love, the product.
“Ultimately people are hungry for a better solution, one that could save them money, reduce landfill and provide a more sustainable and comfortable option,” she said.
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“The top layer of each Modibodi garment is a moisture-wicking, odour-fighting lining for getting sweaty that fights bacteria and stops smell,” she explained.
“The middle layer includes our Modifier Technology, a super slim stain-resistant lining for modern periods and leaks that safely absorbs fluid and locks it away. The bottom layer is extra waterproof protection, so wearers stay super secure.”
The lining is 3mm, and holds between 2.5 and 20mls of fluid depending on the style chosen.
Removing stigma key purpose
Chong believes part of the brand’s purpose is to also remove the stigma around life’s “unmentionable” moments, like bladder weakness and heavy periods.
“The taboo surrounding ‘unmentionables’ is something that Modibodi is trying to get everyone to engage in and destigmatize such as menstruation, incontinence and perspiration. Dialogue and conversation with action needs to happen to encourage and support everyone to speak up and support each other.
“Incontinence is such a prominent issue with over 5 million Australians having bladder or bowel control problems,” she added.
“There are so many misconceptions surrounding incontinence including the idea that it is only something that happens to elderly people.”
In fact, stress incontinence affects nearly 50 per cent of women who have had children, with 10 per cent of men also experiencing incontinence.
Moving into men’s products
Men’s experiences with incontinence is part of the reason Chong has pivoted the brand to also include men’s products.
“The idea for our men’s products actually started not long after I had the idea for Modibodi,” she said, noting that men’s incontinence products are limited.
“We wanted to provide once again, a sustainable alternative that just feels like wearing ordinary underwear. So this has also been in the pipeline for a few years and I am so excited that we are finally able to share that with everyone now.”
Tampons, pads to become redundant
And, Chong believes ModiBodi will help make tampons and pads a thing of the past.
“Everyone now is becoming so much more environmentally conscious, realising the impact that these disposable products have on the environment,” she said.
“It is crazy to think that the first pad every used still exists as it takes 500 years for each pad to break down. With each individual needing to use roughly 11,000 disposables in their lifetime, we believe this is a product for the future.”
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