Love them or hate them, condoms are an essential part of sex. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way–Enter b Condoms, prophylaxis made by a Black-owned condom company. According to its website, not only is the company invested in making the world’s best condom, they want to contribute to ending health disparities and create healthier life styles in the Black community specifically.
B Condom will make its debut at a Walmart near you. Ahead of its launch, Madamenoire spoke to founder Jason Panda about how he started the company, being a Black owned business in this space and more.
MadameNoire: With so many condom brands on the market, why did you decide to get into this industry?
Jason Panda: For us, it just made sense. The industry is really controlled by one player, Trojan, which owns Magnum condoms and approximately 75% of the market. Lifestyles, Durex and the rest battle over the remaining 25%, but none of the condom companies really included Black people into their advertising or spoke to our culture. When you look at issues like unplanned pregnancy, HIV and STDs, people of color are disproportionately impacted and condoms are the one preventive measure to combat those items. We felt that starting a socially responsible condom company could help work to change how we are impacted by those issues as well as providing our people with a real seat at the table.
MN: What makes b condoms different from other brands?
Panda: We are really different in three key areas.
Our Product: Our condoms are vegan friendly, odorless, and manufactured with pH sensitive all natural premium rubber latex. Further, our condoms do not contain spermicide, parabens, casein, gluten and glycerin.
Our Impact: We work to decrease health disparities including sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV and unplanned teenage pregnancy in the Black community.
Who We Are: We are the largest Black owned condom company in the country. We work to make sure that our culture is properly represented and protected.
MN: What were some of the challenges you faced early on in launching this company?
The challenges were primarily getting established and changing mindsets for people to see that we were not just a novelty, and that we are working to be a significant player in the industry. No one had ever considered that there would be a Black owned and operated condom company, and from the community and retailer sides, it took time to adjust to that reality.
MN: What does this Walmart launch mean to you personally and for the brand?
Panda: Personally, it is extremely humbling and exciting. As a Black man, and son of a Black woman born in Richmond, VA with family from South Carolina, I never knew or saw other people that looked like me gain access to these channels. We are really talking about generational changes. I only saw celebrities do these types of things. I built this business out of my apartment over ten years, and to finally reach this level is confirmation that the struggles, trials and tribulations were all worthwhile.
For the brand, it means we finally have the opportunity to compete. A lot of times, we would say we are not looking for favors or handouts; all we want is the opportunity to compete. We now have that opportunity, and I am excited to show what we can do. Walmart is the largest seller of condoms, and we have distribution with them, so are finally competing on the biggest level.
MN: What is next for b condoms?
Panda: We plan to launch into multiple retail chains across the country. Walmart really provided us with the platform for us to truly connect with our people all across the country, and we look forward to working with other retailers as we increase our distribution and grow this company.
You can shop B Condoms in Walmart or on their website, here.