"NO-ONE SHOULD FEEL ASHAMED WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR BODIES"
2.5 MIN READ
Kristy Chong launched Modibodi after the birth of her second child, convinced there had to be a better solution for "unmentionable" bladder leaks. After 13 years in PR for McDonald's Australia, Sanofi, and Edleman, she turned her attention to building her own brand – one that would empower women by changing mindsets and underwear for the better. This year she was named NSW Business Woman of the Year.
Here, she talks about breaking through in an untapped market, holding herself accountable, and staying well while running a multi-million dollar business.
When you create an entirely new product category there will always be barriers. We not only needed to build awareness of our brand, but educate the market about a whole new way to manage periods and incontinence. But I've always believed in Modibodi and our innovation.
While the first year's growth was slow – I had my third child at the same time – it provided me an opportunity to test and refine the product on a small scale. I am grateful for that year.
Within months of the second year, sales started to really take off because ultimately women were hungry for a better solution – one that could save them money, reduce landfill, and provide a more sassy and comfortable option.
Our aim to is to be with women at every stage of their life's journey. From pre-teens with their first period, to women after the birth of their children, and women of any age who experience bladder leaks, odour and sweat.
As a female founder, I'm on a mission together with the Modibodi team to break long-standing societal taboos, and create better understanding and support for very common women's health issues. We are encouraging women to join the conversation and champion women of influence and media to speak about periods, incontinence, discharge and sweat. No-one should feel ashamed when it comes to their bodies.
We are also advocates for building body positivity among girls and women – we do not permit airbrushing or photoshopping of models bodies in any campaigns, and choose to use models from diverse backgrounds.
I definitely feel more energised and happier after I exercise. While I don't do it quite as much as I used to, I know how important it is for my physical and mental health, so I hold myself accountable. It will always be part of my life.
I ran a marathon just a few years ago and would even run if I got back from work at 9pm at night. I couldn't relate to those people who had no motivation for exercise. But that was before a third child and a high-growth business!
I started playing netball last year and committing to one weekly Xtend Barre class. The great thing about going to an exercise class or team sport is my competitive nature kicks in as other people are involved, so I always push myself.
Wellness means nourishing your whole self. Working is important to me, but in a role in which I am being challenged to learn new things, and stretched mentally and emotionally, in an environment filled with enthusiastic and driven people.
I also need lots of family and friends time. I love being a mum, and time away from work laughing with family and friends is very important, as I am naturally more extroverted.
Of course, I need some down time as well. I refuse to be one of those CEOs who doesn't take a holiday for 10 years. They may all still require some amount of working, but a break away gives me the head space to reflect, plan, and the motivation to push for greater results.
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Interviewed by Emma Startup
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