Park Ji-won, a graduate of Visual Communication Design department, runs SAIB & Co. to fight against sexual bias toward women. The name of the company, SAIB, comes from literally reversing the word bias. Just as the company’s name states, Park wishes to challenge prejudice toward women and sex.
Park launched SAIB in September 2018 to provide condoms that are safe for women. As condoms have long been considered the property of men, there was not much discussion about how to make them safe. Recognizing that condoms in the market are safe for neither women nor men, SAIB’s products are free of unnecessary chemical ingredients.
Even though they provide high quality products, SAIB faced hardships when merchandising condoms due to constraints of the shallow market in Korea.
“Korea’s condom market is too small compared to its population,” Park said. “Most people, especially women, hesitate to buy condoms and do not recognize how important they are. Thus, while companies selling products other than condoms simply have to prove that their products are better than others’, our task is to expand the market for condoms first.”
Park further explained that the company also struggles with promotion. As major portal websites in Korea, such as Naver or Daum, consider condoms as adult products, it is difficult to advertise the company’s products online. In order to overcome such difficulties, Park is planning to run campaigns to change public perception of sex. With these campaigns, Park hopes to fight against public bias as well as promote the company.
Park stated that she sells mainly two different types of products so that she can make donations for women’s rights.
“There are commercial products for sale such as condoms or overnight love kits,” Park said. “Aside from such products, we sell campaign goods, which are made with profits from commercial products. Profits from campaign goods are all donated to women’s-rights-related organizations such as organizations for single mothers.”
The proportion of men buying SAIB products online is slightly higher compared to women consumers. However, Park stated this is not a bad sign as people are still in the stage of getting interested in the importance of buying condoms and using them.
The design of the product is notable as it is intended to attract consumers’ interest. As a graphic designer, a visual communicator and an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin and School of Design and Creative Technologies, Park has put great effort into designing the products.
“Consumers loved the tin case for condoms as the case made it easier for them to carry condoms in their bags or pouches,” she said. “The tin case is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also protects condoms from being exposed to heat or getting accidently torn. Thus, customers who have already purchased our products have asked for refill products at a lower price, so we are planning to sell refills starting from the upcoming quarter.”
Park explained what positive effects she hopes to bring in the condom market with the advent of her company.
“To this point, the condom market’s main customers have been men, so there was not much discussion to make better condoms that are safe to use for both men and women,” she said. “However, as we now create safer condoms, other companies will also recognize the need to do so. Corporations competing to develop better condoms will be beneficial for everyone.”