Q&A: Confitex provides a unique fit for private label

CEO Christine Arden discusses the challenge of straddling both the medical and lifestyle categories.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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The Confitex company has a unique history. The absorbent underwear brand was founded by Frantisek Riha-Scott, an accomplished skier, who came up with the idea on the slopes eight years ago, when pondering what to do about answering a very specific “call of nature,” during competitions, said CEO Christine Arden. Upon researching, he didn’t like the look of current absorbent underwear brands and how it used a layer of PU plastic for waterproofing.

a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera
Christine Arden

Based on that need, the company ventured out to develop a better absorbent underwear that fit all consumers, not just elite athletes. Arden discussed the company’s journey with Store Brands.

Store Brands: How do you help retailers and how do you help consumers?
Christine Arden: Our goal is to change lives and help protect the planet by getting our superior textile technology into the hands (and underwear) of people across the world. We want to help our private label partners to create underwear that are so comfortable, convenient and reliable that as many people as possible feel confident to move away from polluting single-use pads and liners towards a more sustainable solution. 

Ever since we launched Confitex at New Zealand Fashion Week in 2015, we have recognized that the absorbent underwear market has the potential to grow at pace — as demonstrated by the uptake of period underwear over the past five years. To achieve scale for our business, we decided from the outset that we would partner with significant private label partners, offering them the opportunity to incorporate our market-leading, lab-proven absorbent and leakproof textile into their branded underwear products.

SB: Why should retailers carry your product?
CA: While it’s still a relatively new category, the market for leakproof absorbent underwear is predicted to grow exponentially in coming years. Period panties are fast becoming the on-trend option for younger women looking for a more sustainable way of managing menstruation, and pee-proof trunks and briefs are proving popular with the vast cohort of Baby Boomer men and women who are beginning to experience light incontinence issues, but not ready for the move to paper pads, shields and guards. Our products deliver the comfort, style and functionality consumers are seeking.

SB: The Confitex product is unique in how it straddles both medical and lifestyle categories. What’s the opportunity for retailers to have a store brand product that fits these categories?
CA: As an emerging category, leakproof absorbent underwear can be placed within the apparel, personal care or sustainable product areas, online and in-store. This presents a range of opportunities for the retailer around positioning the product, who is targeted and how it aligns with a retailer’s brand values.

a woman standing on a snow covered mountain

Here's one example: for men experiencing light bladder leakage, placing the product within men’s apparel positions it as “normal underwear with benefits,” which taps into men's desire for a familiar and very discreet means of dealing with an issue many find distressing. By contrast, placing the product within the personal care category makes disposable paper products the frame of reference, with totally different connotations and considerations around messaging. 


SB: How should retailers educate their consumers about these products?
CA: Online listings provide an opportunity to educate the customer around aspects of the product they are interested in, and we work closely with our private label partners to support them in developing appropriate marketing content. 

To better understand the market so we can more effectively serve our retailer partners, we’ve created a consumer webstore where we test prototypes under the Just’nCase and Confitex for Men brands. 

Our highly engaged global consumer panel informs our ongoing program of new product development and provides us with market insights that we can share with private label partners looking to offer innovative products in this area.

SB: What does the future hold in terms of new products or future growth?
CA: We’re super excited that our high-tech textile has recently been honored with a Best Product of the Year award in the 2021 Plus X Awards. We also received an impressive 6 out of 7 possible seals, being recognized for Innovation, High Quality, Ease of Use, Functionality, Ergonomics and Ecology in the health and personal care category.

We are continually innovating and refining our offering in response to consumer feedback and the requirements of our private label partners. Watch this space!