Kristy Chong: Founder & CEO, MODIBODI

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My Admission Statement: I’m Kristy Chong. As the CEO and creator of Modibodi, I am a busy mum on a mission, a fash-tech entrepreneur and a social advocate for women’s health issues and rights. I designed, developed and scientifically proved my patented Modifier Technology™ leak-proof undies and transformed this into the Modibodi™ collection, a revolutionary women’s high-tech leak-proof apparel brand that empowers women of all ages, shapes and sizes to live a better life.

My vision was 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.

How did you get into the industry?

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 was out jogging, in fact, I was training for a marathon and had been experiencing occasional 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 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 was going to have 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.  

I spoke to chemical textile engineers, scientists, garment developers, and textile mills and then did the sourcing and scientific testing over 18 months to develop our patented Modifier Technology. The technology is found in the gusset area (and bra area of our breastfeeding singlets) and works by wicking moisture away from the body through to an absorbent and odour eliminating middle layer, then a waterproof breathable, hi-tech barrier prevents leakage. You can wear Modibodi all day long and you never have to use tampons, liners or pads again.

How does MODIBODI work?

We have four types of linings, the most popular product, the period and pee friendly undies are super-slim, only 3mm thick and can hold up to 20ml or two tampons worth of liquid per leak. They have three layers, which each play a role:

The top layer quickly wicks away moisture, fights bacteria and stops smells, so you stay dry and fresh

The middle layer safely absorbs fluid and locks it away (2.5-20mls)

The bottom layer is extra waterproof protection, so you’re super secure

For more info about the other linings, visit our website.

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What is your vision for the business?

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.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

The biggest challenge is breaking down the taboo around talking about periods, bladder leaks and sweat. Let’s get real. It’s common. Most women have or will get their period, it’s in our DNA and one in three mums experience bladder leaks, but traditionally, women don’t talk about it.

As a mum, how do you juggle all aspects of life from work to parenting and social?

I never dreamed that Modibodi would be so big. But I’m naturally driven by purpose, and when I started to see the positive, life-changing impact the product was having, and that it was truly fulfilling an unmet need, I felt driven to grow this company and take it globally. I absolutely love going to work and hearing stories about how we are changing women’s lives all around the world.

I have a great team around me and I put both 100 percent into my family and the business. What I do miss out on is ‘me time’. But I love what I do. I have the flexibility to be there for my family, but I have also been known to be up between the hours of 1am and 4am working.

What advice do you have for other working mothers?

That you are like a rubber band, you will definitely feel stretched, but you won’t break, you will bounce back. And to find a brand that or career that makes going to work worthwhile.

Don't settle working for a company because you think they pay well and have kindly supported your part-time work situation. Instead find a job that challenges you and utilises your skillset and a brand/business that means something to you. Don’t undersell yourself because you want flexible working.

What's next for the business in the near future?

We continue to develop innovative new products and we aim to be the number one protective, hi-tech, fashionable apparel brand that offers all bodies convenient, comfortable and sustainable solutions for their moisture concerns - be it menstruation, incontinence, perspiration, discharge or breast milk leaks.

We will also continue to increase our social impact through our own ‘Give a Pair’ program and working with a variety of organisations in Australia and across the globe to deliver women in need a sustainable, simple solution to manage menstruation and incontinence

A Day in My Life:

There is no typical day for me, but it mostly consists of juggling family with work. I have four kids, so mornings start early and are hectic. I usually get out the door 20 minutes later than I planned – which I’m sure many mums can relate to!

I usually leave the office by 5.30 as making time for spending time with my family is my non-negotiable! However, once kids are in bed I log back on on week nights to do a few more hours, and I have the odd night or two of working at 2am. I try to keep weekends as work free as possible.