Kristy Chong launched Modibodi in 2013 after two years of ‘picking, prodding, prototyping, washing, wearing, testing and fine-tuning’. Today, Modibodi is an award-winning business dedicated to asking the hard questions and re-framing how society views daily experiences that often go undiscussed.
We asked Kristy about what drives her, her experiences as an entrepreneur and woman in tech, and her advice to others considering a entrepreneurial career. Kristy also shared her career learnings and advice in another Echo Chamber Escape article here.
- What drives you to grow and push Modibodi to be the best it can be?
Knowing the positive impact Modibodi is making in people’s lives around the globe is amazing and makes it all worth it!
I’m also so proud of how Modibodi has expanded their range over the past few years. From our teen range RED by Modibodi, to our Activewear and Swimwear, to then launching the first leak-proof apparel range for men, Mo by Modibodi, we’ve listened to our customers and provided them with the best support we can.
We will continue to develop innovative new products to provide protective, hi-tech, fashionable apparel brand that offers all bodies convenient, comfortable and sustainable solutions for moisture concerns – be it menstruation, incontinence, perspiration, discharge or breast milk leaks.
- A lot of people have ideas, but very few can say they’ve turned their ideas into a profitable business and renowned brand. What’s your advice for achieving profitability and brand recognition in the increasingly competitive and noisy fashion-tech space?
Think big and act big from the start, and this should be reflected in your branding! And secondly, push the boundaries, you are likely to get rejected or fail at something maybe once or twice or possibly a lot more – take a day to recoup and then keep on trying!
It’s essential to put yourself out there, and you need to be comfortable with being rejected and trying again. Investors will be attracted to your brand if you have an innovative idea, proven sales and a scalable ecommerce platform.
- What’s your advice to other women considering exploring a career in tech?
Starting a business does not come without 100% persistence, you really have to be self-motivated and learn how to do your own marketing and social media, before you’re able to bring in people to help and mentor you. While it’s stressful and exhausting some days, I know in my heart that I am building a great brand that is making a difference.
- Any drawbacks they should consider?
You need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You are like a rubber band. You will definitely feel stretched, but you won’t break. You will bounce back.
- What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman in tech, and how did you overcome it?
As any entrepreneur will attest to, there are many challenges along the way, especially at the very beginning because I had never worked in the textile industry before. To overcome a limited budget and my lack of knowledge, I really had to focus on owning the niche I was trying to be involved in and doing copious amounts of homework right from the start.
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 wanted to positively empower women and men to speak openly about those issues.
We couldn’t distribute through large retailers because they found the product too taboo. We also found it difficult to pitch for investment to companies with mostly male board members, as they found it difficult to understand the industry and what we were trying to achieve. To get our message across, we had to go direct to the customer and build awareness and education around our offering.
It can be challenging to talk about periods and incontinence issues in public because it does make many people feel uncomfortable, but we have found that different methods like working with influencers, running a pop-up tour across Australia and inviting media to trial the product has been so beneficial for getting our message to a broad audience.
About the expert
Kristy’s the CEO and creator of Modibodi™. She’s a mum on a mission, a fash-tech entrepreneur and a social advocate for women’s health issues and rights.
With over 13 years in senior PR roles for organisations including McDonald’s Australia, sanofi-aventis and Edelman PR, Kristy’s worked with some of the biggest brands in the business.
Fast forward to 2011, when the concept of launching her own business ignited. After the birth of her second child, Kristy’s experience with “unmentionable” bladder leaks made her determined to start her own brand. One that would change our mindsets – and the planet! – by changing underwear for the better.
This ambition saw her design, develop and scientifically prove her patented Modifier Technology™ leak-proof undies and transform this into the Modibodi™ collection: a reusable, sustainable range of tops, singlets, period and sweat-proof undies as well as swimwear, created to liberate us all from endless amounts of landfill.
Kristy’s vision is to build a brand that makes the world better by empowering every bodi to make real, positive change. As part of this vision, Modibodi™ actively supports causes and organisations close to our heart, such as Days for Girls.
Modibodi™ has also won (and been nominated for) numerous product and business awards, which is still such an honour.