Father-Daughter Condom Company Founders Aim to Empower Women
Sustain, based in Burlington, Vermont, manufactures, markets, and sells fair-trade condoms to women in their 20s. But this isn't just another company capitalizing on the business axiom that sex sells.
Father-daughter founding team Jeffrey and Meika Hollender launched Sustain in 2013, with a vision of shifting the industry to use fair-trade rubber and generating $15 million in revenue in five years. The startup, a certified B Corporation, has 11 employees and has raised $3 million in capital.
Jeffrey, who co-founded and sold green cleaning products company Seventh Generation, brings the entrepreneurial know-how, while 26-year-old Meika brings marketing, social media, and digital skills, as well as the perspective of the company's target demographic--young, smart, professional women.
Jeffrey and Meika tell Inc. in a Trep Life mini-documentary that they are motivated by educating women on sexual health and breaking down America's aversion to talking openly about safe sex.
"What really drove it home for me was talking to my peers--young women who are extremely educated--who were still not using condoms because they were embarrassed about it, because they're not informed about it, and because it's taboo to talk about it," Meika tells Inc. "We went into the aisle and there's nothing in the aisles right now that I want to throw in my bag or put by my bedstand."
Altough the market currently is saturated with male-focused products, women buy 40 percent of condoms. "Our goal is to get women prepared and get them thinking about buying condoms when they're buying their underwear, when they're buying their coffee, just to make it a natural purchase and make it something they feel awesome about carrying, and using it every time," Meika says.
Find out more about the Hollenders' motivations behind Sustain and their advice to other entrepreneurs in the full Trep Life video below.
Sustain: What It's Like When the Family Business Is Condoms
Father-daughter founding team Meika and Jeffrey Hollender have built a fair-trade condom company aimed at women in their twenties. This is their grind, hustle and payoff.
WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com
Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported on the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.