Quantcast

Vt. company creates condoms with a conscience - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. company creates condoms with a conscience

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Carly McAndrews says there's a stigma around it.

"Make it more accessible so it's less intimidating for women to buy," she said.

Everything from picking them out to checking out can be embarrassing.

"I bought condoms recently and I did feel very awkward," McAndrews said.

But soon there will be another option.

"They're about making the world a better place; they're about empowering women to make important choices," Jeffrey Hollender said.

Hollender, the co-founder of Seventh Generation, Vermont's biggest eco-friendly company, came up with the new socially responsible business called Sustain. Toxic-free, fair trade condoms made in India set to be in stores by January 2014.

"Wow, I guess I never thought about fair trade and condoms going together," laughed Jessica Anderson, who supports free trade condoms.

"By using fair trade labor, we're keeping children out of the rubber fields. By having a forage stewardship council plantation, we're growing the rubber trees in the most environmentally way possible," Hollender said.

Hollender says Sustain will reduce its own profit margin to provide a safer product at the same price as the competition.

"If you have a fair trade product priced the same way, that confuses the customer. They're thinking, 'Where is the premium I'm willing to pay, that I'm willing to pay to benefit the end worker?' If he's selling it at a loss, that's not a business. That's noble, but that's a charity," said Robert Letovsky, a business professor at St. Michael's College.

Hollender admits it's a condom problem that most people even don't know they have, which Letovsky says is going to be a hurdle for the organic condom company.

"I have not heard about concerns about latex and rubber workers, so he'll have to bring awareness up if there is a problem," Letovsky said.

"The German government tested condoms and found that close to 100 percent had carcinogenic chemicals above the limits determined safe," Jeffrey Hollender said.

"All condom brands are so focused on men; no one is talking to women," Meika Hollender said.

Jeffrey Hollender's daughter, Meika, will be in charge of marketing Sustain. She says the target audience is women 25-35. And according to the company's research, 40 percent of condom buyers are women.

"They want simplicity. They want something that will work and not something that has all these added things that might not work with their body," Meika Hollender said.

Jeffrey Hollander knows a thing or two about new businesses. The entrepreneur has created and sold several throughout his career.

Jeffrey Hollender: Our first manufacturing run will be about 4 million condoms.

Reporter Gina Bullard: That's a lot of condoms.

Jeffrey Hollender: Yeah, but we have a lot of confidence that we will sell those condoms.

But they won't be selling them in drugstores alongside the competition. Sustain is hoping to grab women's attention while they shop at stores like Whole Foods and Sephora. Customers will also find them at OBGYNs and university health clinics. It's a gamble this businessman is betting on.

"If this doesn't succeed, he will find something that will," Letovsky said.

The Hollenders are hiring five people to begin with and hope to hire more as the business grows.

Sustain is also starting a nonprofit that 10 percent of profits will go toward an organization called 10 Percent for Women.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:33:55 GMT
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:15:25 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:59:03 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.