Now, the homegrown business is on a path of expansion into Asia and exploring new products in the sustainable and reusable space.
“[The category] has come a long way and I’m so proud that we’ve been a part of the movement. There are a lot more brands and mainstream brands that are trying to jump on the trend and you’ve got other types of versions of menstrual cups coming out, too,” says Chong.
“In the femtech and femcare space, there are a lot more apps and products that are being invested in. There’s always been low investment, but investors are catching on that it’s a huge area and women’s health is really important.”
Since Quadrant came on board as an investor last year, taking a majority stake of the business, Modibodi has been eyeing off international expansion. At the moment, it’s looking into certain countries in Asia, including Singapore, Japan and India, although breaking the taboos around menstruation in certain countries will be a challenge for the brand, said Chong.
The business also has a presence in the UK and US markets.
“We consider ourselves to be truly global, the product can be worn by any person who menstruates or has incontinence, it’s an Australian business with a global selling opportunity,” explains Chong. “I think we’re currently 60:40 (overseas to local) in sales, but that’s going to change in the next couple of years. We’ll become more offshore with more revenue coming from there as well.”
At the moment, Modibodi has partnered with Plan International to test its products in rural areas of the Philippines, where women have low access to running water, so the business can understand its true impact on women’s lives and scale up its ‘Give a pair program’ in 2021.
“We see ourselves as a social enterprise where we can provide these garments to these. Not only are we a profitable business, but we have a sustainable impact and we can end period poverty and be part of the solution,” says Chong.
Last month, Modibodi shook things up with its recent campaign, which showed blood swirling down a shower drain, causing Facebook to ban the ad on its platform.
“We’re an authentic brand, it’s important that we’re real, open and we wanted to take the stigma out of what’s a really natural bodily function and just show women the real side of periods,” explains Chong.
“It was received positively in the market and I think that authentic advertising should be more common. No-one should feel ashamed of their bodies and periods.”
Initially, Modibodi’s ad was rejected by Facebook, which deemed it as “violent” and after a month of going back and forth, the ACCC finally ruled against the campaign being removed.
“It was silly and thankfully, I think our push got them to see reason and we got it overturned,” says Chong, adding that hopefully in the future, other brands like Modibodi that show blood in their ads, will be able to freely advertise on the social platform.
Real world conversations with real girls
Traditionally, menstrual products have been marketed in the same way to all females, regardless of their age and demographic. Modibodi Red was specifically launched to talk to young girls about navigating menstruation and puberty in an informative yet down-to-earth manner. The products have also been designed with young girls in mind, featuring bright prints and colours.
“We’ve got a separate channel for them, that’s where we talk about what it’s like going through your first period, all the other things that you go through compared to when you’re in your 40s. Our tone of voice is quite different,” says Chong.
“We’re cognisant that we’re talking to an 11-13-year-old girl, not an 18-year-old.”
A monthly podcast and blog aimed at tweens features interviews with health professionals as well as other girls sharing their experiences with others. And last month, Modibodi launched a period kit for tweens, including an informative booklet, a waterproof bag, several pairs of undies as well as fun products like a lip balm, affirmation cards and a headband.
“We are trying to open up conversation, we’re trying to present the real, so that those parents can have those conversations with their children,” explains Chong.
“If brands like us can continually champion open, honest messaging, whether that’s showing blood or talking about periods, hopefully that fear will go away, we’re a big believer in that.”