Exclusive InterviewsHer Body

Kristy Chong: The Founder Of Modibodi™

Modibodi has changed the game when it comes to periods and leaks, creating leak-proof underwear, as well as launching a swimwear and activewear line.  Modibodi was founded in 2013 by Kristy Chong and we got to catch up with her to find out more about Modibodi.

Creating Modibodi came from personal experience. How much has this product changed your life? What type of feedback do you get from others that have tried them?

Modibodi was founded when I experienced light bladder leakage whilst training for a marathon. I was a full-time mum of a two-year-old and five-month-old at the time, living in Seattle (USA) surrounded by tech start-ups. I had been experiencing occasional light bladder leaks and the available solutions were ugly, inconvenient, uncomfortable and damaging to the environment. I just felt we deserved something better and so I decided to create it myself and never looked back.

Though initially it felt like we were fighting down taboos, as in 2011 we were creating a whole new sector for women’s underwear, once women had tried Modibodi most said they couldn’t see themselves switching back, which for us was the best feedback we could hear.

Who is Modibodi for?
Though Modibodi was born out of the necessity to reinvent women’s underwear, Modibodi in 2020 is for everybody. We strive to be inclusive of all bodies and all leaks be it periods, pee, perspiration or pregnancy. This year we’ve launched new designs and ranges to the UK including Modibodi Men and most recently a detachable bikini style – underwear with a clasp at the side for easy changing when access to toilets or mobility may be limited. We now can proudly say we have ranges for women, teens and men as well as for those less able. The more we expand the more we learn about different groups and people and we want to give them more freedom with Modibodi. For example, 1 in 10 men will experience light bladder leaking at some point and this figure jumps to 1 in 3, for men who have suffered from prostate cancer, and so for us, it’s about reapplying our tried, tested and loved fash-tech, to as many new products as we can, so that we could provide environmentally friendly, everyday solutions for everyone who needs them.

When discussing period pants not everyone is interested in trying them and some people think it’s “gross”. Talk to us about the reality of it.

What are the pros and cons of Modibodi period pants?
We wanted to break this stigma that periods are ‘gross’ Over half the population has them and it’s high time we banish the shame that is associated with something that happens regularly and is natural. Our new campaign ‘A New Way to Period’ looks at these stigmas and brings to them light. Yes, we do bleed, yes, we do sometimes feel a bit miserable. We have purposefully chosen to show real blood in our new campaign and the truth about periods.

Switching to Modibodi™ period pants is an easy lifestyle swap which can help save the planet, save you money in the long run and help you feel more confident, giving you more freedom. Every pair of Modibodi™ uses our patented 3-layer Modifier™ technology, which works to wick away moisture, eliminate odour and absorb liquid. Modibodi™ look and feel just like normal underwear so you won’t feel uncomfortable.

As far as cons, there isn’t any. Some say that when they first wash them in cold water (we advise you rinse your Modibodi™ first under a cold tap, before popping the in the washing machine) they can see the water turns a little red, however, we see blood all the time when we take out a tampon or look at our sanitary pad. In fact, because the Modibodi™ gusset is black, it hides all the blood, so when you go to the loo, pop down Modibodi™, you won’t see anything.

What advice would you give to those who are sceptical about trying them?
I’m confident in how Modibodi™ work and that once people trial them, they will see and feel the benefits for themselves. We offer a 30-day risk free trial, meaning you can trial one Modibodi™ product and if you don’t like how they function, you can get your money back.

When using period pants, what is your advice for the day?
Have a few pairs if you can, with the right absorbency, so you can feel covered throughout the day. Modibodi™ moderate/heavy is great for days when you are heavier or at night and the light / moderate is great in the day.

What if you are out and about and need to change?
Though there are styles to keep you leak-free all day, if you do need to change, we suggest popping your Modibodi™ in a laundry bag, which we sell on our website. The moderate/heavy absorbency, however, should see you through the day. We have also just introduced our new detachable style, with a clasp at the side, designed for easy changing when accessibility might be limited.

Do period pants smell?
If you’re wearing the right absorbency for you, they won’t smell. Modibodi’s clever Modifier™ technology eliminates odour and locks away moisture so this isn’t something you need to worry about. 

Talk to us about the challenges women face in sport and swim, and how you have tackled these problems.
Modibodi™ was created through recognising the necessity for women’s underwear to support women through all aspects of life, from day to day to sports. I think most women can relate to skipping PE or swimming lessons because of their time of the month, and when you think of it as an entire week, every month where a girl might not be able to join in with activities her friends are doing, it puts it into perspective and highlights how important having a solution can be to confidence staying active. Through my own experience with leaks I realised how problematic the issue was, I also couldn’t understand why with all the advancements in technology, underwear and disposable hygiene had not evolved. I knew instantly that I wanted to create a whole new product category for women. I am really proud that I took that idea and turned it into a product and now products that can more conveniently, comfortably and reliably manage menstrual flow, incontinence, sweat and even breast milk leaks, and reduce the amount of single-use products ending up in landfill and damaging our environment. Hopefully we’ve been able to play a part in removing periods as a barrier to exercise for girls and women. This year we released our active running shorts which have been hugely popular, and our swimwear continues to be in high demand year on year as the first of its kind in the UK.

The pants are used for more than just periods. Tell us about the other challenges women face and how Modibodi helps them to go about their daily routines. 
Modibodi™ are designed to protect against all leaks, and though we are known as UK’s number one leak-proof underwear brand, the patented Modifier™ technology works to protect against pee, perspiration and pregnancy – which can all hold women back from feeling confident in their everyday lives. We have a vast range of collections, including an Active wear range, to help beat sweat and also the Maternity Singlet, for easy breastfeeding.

Explain the environmental and economic benefits.
I am proud to have made a fully washable and reusable alternative to disposables. I know that plastics are damaging the planet and wanted to find a sustainable yet stylish alternative to help manage periods and leaks. A disposable pad can take up to 500 years to break down, having a huge impact on the environment and so switching to a reusable option such as Modibodi™ can help to reduce your personal impact on the planet. It feels good to know that helping to save the planet is as simple as swapping your underwear.

Though the initial cost of investing in period underwear is clearly more than buying a pack of pads or tampons, it doesn’t take long before you’ve got your money’s worth. And this is something that is worth considering when thinking about period poverty too; give a girl a pack of tampons and they will have one period taken care of. Give a girl a pair of Modibodi™, and for years to come she will be leak-free.

How did it feel bringing the product to market? What was the initial consumer reaction?
I underestimated how big a market challenge it was going to be. We were not just selling a new brand of lipstick or gym-wear, we had created a whole new product category. We couldn’t distribute through large retailers because they found the product too taboo, so we had to go direct to the customer and build this category awareness and education around our offering. Now Modibodi™ has a large following of loyal customers who continue to help us spread the Modibodi™ message, which is great, but hasn’t always been the case.

Another big, ongoing challenge (apart from becoming a textile expert with no experience) is around breaking the taboos around periods, sweat and incontinence. We wanted to positively empower women and men to speak openly about those issues. It can be challenging to talk about periods and incontinence issues in public because it does make many people feel uncomfortable.

Watching the brand continue to grow from strength to strength, what’s next for Modibodi?
Wearable tech has really weaved itself into society, but often we think of things like smart watches and FitBits: we don’t think of leak-proof underwear. I think over the next five years, we’ll see a distinct shift towards companies looking to take what we have in normal society to the next level with technology and innovation.

For Modibodi™, we hope to continue to expand our offering across our ranges, with new patterns and styles so there is something for everyone. We also have plans to further our social impact. We already have a give a pair scheme and work closely with various charities and women’s health initiatives – however there’s always more to be done.

To find out more about Modibodi™ and browse the range go to eu.modibodi.com and get 15% off with code: HERSPORT

HerSport Editor

Her Sport is a media platform centred on bringing the latest Irish and international women’s sports news. Her Sport aims to empower women in sport, inspire more female participation, increase opportunity and level the playing field for future generations. Our objective is to create real and tangible change.

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