CrowdInk had the chance to sit down (virtually) with Kristy Chong, Founder of Modibodi. This Mumpreneur tells us all about being both mum and entrepreneur, how Modibodi came to be, and how her roadblocks can help you to succeed with your own career.
CrowdInk: How did Modibodi come about?
Kristy Chong: I always wanted to start my own business, but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I had worked in public relations agencies and then for multi-nationals and one thing that I felt working for these brands was surely business could be more than just about making a profit.
I left the corporate world to have my second baby and as a stay-at-home mum who was always travelling and running, I started to experience bladder leaks. And there it was, the problem that needed solving. I couldn’t find a fix anywhere else and sort of found my own better option.
After extensive fashion industry and market research, I began to unravel (pun intended) textile engineering and understand how patents work. The development of a technology that would work took 18 months. I was living in Seattle and built the first prototype, so the original Modibodi product was made overseas.
And then we went into testing. It took absolutely months to perfect. We started with 5 styles and the journey is really underway now. It is challenging, but what keeps me going is my end goal, which is just as much about building a profitable business as it is about empowering women across the globe. So this is why a percentage of every order goes towards delivering our reusable garments into the hands of women in need.
CI: What were a few of your big challenges in the beginning?
KC: Well, that first year was really hectic. I had my third child and the business had to come second. I’ve always prioritised my family and this business will always be structured around family.
In addition, those first designs, honestly, they were ok, but not the elastic was average. The reason I knew this was I asked my customers for feedback and they told me. While no one likes negative feedback, it truly is vital for improving and I am thankful that my customers engage with us and tell me what they like and don’t like.
CI: Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
KC: You are going to come across so many roadblocks. You’ve got to adapt; you’ve got to be a problem solver, you’ve got to just suck it up really. Just remember to break those roadblocks into smaller parts and put it all down onto paper. You can overcome anything if you break it down.
The other bit of advice is: do a small test run. You don’t need to have it 100% perfect before you put it onto the market. It’s about testing, measuring, and evolving.
CI: You seem passionate about a “customer-centric” business. Can you elaborate on what that is?
KC: Certainly! Customer-centric business just refers to a business that runs on what the customer wants and needs, not what you’re trying to push. Colours, styles, and even materials and branding that make sense for the markets you’re engaging with are essential for a business that not only does well, but runs ethically.
CI: How has being a mum prepared you to run Modibodi?
KC: Being a business owner is difficult, but it’s nothing like having a newborn baby! There are all of these small successes that happen internally in a business, and in a home as a mum. So the key is to not to charge ahead wanting the next stage to be here, but to enjoy the journey, even the tough times, as it all teaches you something. Plus celebrate those milestones and achievements because they will soon be just history. Mum’s learn a lesson really quickly, it’s tough but you chose this and so take responsibility and make it work. Being a mum is also a hands-on job, and you often don’t have any control, this is a great learning to prepare you for the ups and downs of business.
Finally, the first thing you learn as a parent and one of the first things you learn as an entrepreneur, is to be resilient. Take the knockback. Always look for the positives and take opportunities when you can.
For more on Modibodi, click here!