A lot of companies are going down this path, including HERO – a company that sells….of all things, condoms!
HERO is a new (Aussie!) company that places a large emphasis on social responsibility and sustainability. For every condom sold in Australia, a condom is donated to a developing country to help reduce the effects of HIV. They also only use packaging that is made out of ethically sourced and 100% recycled materials!
It’s a great idea. After all, if you need condoms, why not support an organisation that is committed to doing good? Although they’re still relative newcomers, their good work is getting noticed. HERO have already received a number of awards including:
• Retail Pharmacy “Product of the Month”
• Eros Shine Awards
o Best Australian New Adult Business
o Best Condom Brand
• Finalist for the Best Social Change Entrepreneur category for the 2014 Startup Smart Awards
• #7 Australian Social Entrepreneur and Game Changer of 2013
I recently had the chance to interview HERO spokesperson Jenny. Here’s what we spoke about:
Jenny, thanks so much for your time. I love what you guys are doing. You’re still relatively new. When did the company launch and what sort of reaction have you been receiving?
Thanks Paul, I am so happy to be chatting with the Little Gay Blog – that is actually a very big deal!
HERO launched in January 2013, and fabulous and pun-filled reactions have been unwrapping ever since! HERO has been empowering pick up lines such as, ”hey boo…wanna save lives tonight” to HERO ambassadors educating high schoolers on comprehensive (including LGBT) sex education.
But unlike other condom companies, we don’t just climax in Australia because every time a HERO is worn, condoms, safe sex education, and HIV medicine are given to our partners in Botswana, where 1 in 4 people have HIV/AIDS. It is just the condom sense way of doing business to us!
Can you provide a bit more insight into how ‘one-for-one’ giving part works exactly, for people who might not be familiar with it?
It is a sustainable way to donate and do good. Through buying a product that you normally would buy, a part of your purchase goes towards a donation of products, services, or money to a cause. If you buy HERO Condoms, part of your purchase goes towards donating condoms, HIV medicine, and sexual education programs to help stop the spread of HIV in Botswana!
In Australia, some of the profits go towards sexual health for all campaigns such as the #SafeSexisSexy campaign lead by the amazing Madison Missina – 2013 Best Porn Performer of the Year!
HERO also loves our beautiful planet, so our boxes are made from recycled materials and our rubber is ethically sourced. Being HEROic in Australia = saving lives in Botswana, saving the planet, and keep Aussies healthy and happy!
For those like myself who don’t know much about the condom-market, what’s it like? Do you have any stats/figures on how many condoms are sold each year (in Australia or internationally) and who are the target groups that are buying them?
With Durex and Ansell monopolising a large part of the market share, it is definitely very challenging for a start-up company with a social good dimension to be competitive. Although, since HERO Condoms has the greatest fans, and growing our conscious community every day – with your HEROic help we will be here to stay!
In 2005, 10.4 billion condoms were used. However with STI’s on the rise by 300% in Australia, we need to get busy feeling good in more ways than one – saving lives and keeping healthy! #SafeSexIsSexy
In Australia it about 50/50 men and woman buying them. With socially responsible focus of HERO Condoms, we are for everyone!
You work at reducing HIV rates overseas in developing countries. Is this a difficult message to sell because for so many people, it feels like an issue that’s so far away, and far removed, from our every day lives?
I believe that with the world becoming so connected through technology and globalisation, people are becoming more aware of social issues outside of their city. Yes, we do focus on stopping the spread of HIV in Botswana, but using a condom also stops the spread of HIV and STI’s in Australia – which is something that is a concern for everyone.
HERO also is about bringing awareness to the power of purchase. By purchasing HERO Condoms, you know that your money is going to a box made from recyclable materials, part of the profits goes towards a good cause, the company is a local Aussie start-up that does a lot of education and social good in Australia and so forth.
What are some of the things HERO has managed to achieve so far?
We have already donated over 72,000 condoms! Although, perhaps more importantly, we are changing the stigma around condom use, while empowering people to make socially responsible purchases.
HERO has also been supportive of equal LGBT rights and shown their support for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Why are equal rights important to HERO?
We had a fabulous time passing out condoms and our F**K to Save the World! posters on Oxford Street got some create attention. Equal rights is a basic human right, thus it is just as important to us as health rights. HERO works towards creating a happy, healthy, and respectful world for all!
HERO condoms are only available in Australia at the moment. Any plans to expand internationally?
We definitely have goals to expand worldwide and have some plans in the works! Stay tuned!
In addition to supporting HERO by buying condoms, people can also become ambassadors. Can you explain what this means and how people can get involved?
One of my favourite reasons why I love HERO Condoms is because of the creative and passionate community that has been created. We have ambassadors across Australia, who have sold condoms at festivals, led sex edu presentations in high schools, put on big parties, written articles for samesame.com.au and made money and instant HEROness by getting HERO Condoms sold at their local stores.
Also our amazing ambassador Alex Taylor is rockin’ it in the blog and youtube world by very bravely and openly educating everyone on the transgender process. For more info please email: [email protected]
Another great way for people to get involved is to support us getting HERO condoms into Priceline stores throughout Australia. HERO is trying to be stocked in larger retailers such as Priceline, as well as Chemist Warehouse, 7-Eleven and eventually Coles and Woolworths. We have contacted these organisations multiple times, but our requests for a meeting have been turned down.
We realise that social media is extremely powerful in getting major retailers to stock new innovative and responsible products. We are currently trying to set up a meeting with Priceline and people can get involved in a number of quick and easy ways through social media.
Tweet this – “Help fight AIDS in Africa and Save Lives! I want to buy @HEROcondoms at @PricelineAU #BuyHEROatPriceline #HEROSavesLives”
On Facebook –
1. Like HERO Condoms. and PricelineAustralia.
2. Update your facebook status with the following statement: “Help fight AIDS in Africa and Save Lives! I want to buy @HEROcondoms at @PricelineAustralia #BuyHEROatPriceline #HEROSavesLives”.
Or, send Priceline a PM (private message) on Facebook –
“Dear Priceline, I’m writing to you because I want to buy HERO Condoms at your stores. HERO condoms are not a traditional condom company. It is not only dedicated to providing us with great condoms, it is making sex even better with it’s 1 for 1 promise. For every condom we buy here in Australia, a condom will be given out in Africa, helping to stop the spread of AIDS. HERO Condoms are the ones I want to see at Priceline stores so please include them into your product range in 2014. After all, it’s easy for you to be a HERO! Sincerely Your name”
Thanks for your time Jenny!
HERO condoms are currently available nationwide (in Australia) in pharmacies, university co ops, petrol & convenience stores and adult shops.