One million condoms: A gift of Valentine's Day love from Sir Richard's to Haiti
Big photos below.
Sir Richard's Condoms is the TOMS Shoes of love gloves: For each condom purchased, the Boulder-based company gives away one in a developing country. On Valentine's Day 2012, that meant announcing a 500,000 condom donation to Haiti. And this February 14, Sir Richard's is doubling the struggling island nation's pleasure, with a one-million condom donation -- almost.
"It's just under a million," concedes Jim Moscou, the CEO of Sir Richard's. "But we round up."
When it comes to condom donations, size matters -- and the fact that Sir Richard's is able to give away nearly twice as many as this time last year shows that the firm is, well, growing.
A pictograph on the back of KORE condoms is important, Moscou says, because it ensures they're used properly.
"We're doing great," Moscou confirms. "But what's exciting about it is, this is a community. The more people who purchase our product and kind of join this mission we're all focused on, the more contribute. So this is a direct result of people buying more of our condoms, which is very humbling."
When the average person thinks about condoms, they envision...well, you know. But Moscou sees beyond the obvious. Way beyond.
The front of the KORE condoms package.
"I tell people that if everyone bought our condoms, we could really change the world," he allows. "There's a massive global shortage of condoms in these developing countries, and condoms are the only way to immediately drop HIV, STD and unintended pregnancy indicators there. It's a simple concept, but it can have a dramatic impact on the toll these diseases and unintended pregnancy take."
In Haiti, there are even more complications. "All the brands you see are either Western brands that are typically unaffordable for the average person, or they're these Chinese-made, very poor-quality condoms distributed by well-intentioned NGO (non-governmental) groups that no one wants to use," Moscou points out.
A banner from the Sir Richard's Facebook page.
With that in mind, Sir Richard's has developed its own Haitian brand: KORE, a slang term that means, roughly, "I've got your back." By offering people in Haiti a product that literally speaks to them in their language, Moscou believes "we can accelerate positive social impact. We believe here in the U.S., and in the U.K., where we just launched, there's room for a new conversation about condoms that can lead to greater usage. And we think the same respect can be brought to the toughest neighborhoods of Port-au Prince."
Moscou has seen these areas himself; he stresses that Sir Richard's is working on the ground with groups in Haiti, not simply boxing up a bunch of condoms in Boulder and calling UPS. And while he can't predict how many condoms the company will donate next Valentine's Day, he says, "I think it's going to be a great year for us, as we step into more mass retailers and people see not only what we're doing but how we're doing it. It's just a really exciting business model, and we hope a lot of people see it and switch to Sir Richard's."
That's the long and short of it.
Look below to see three Sir Richard's videos about the Haiti project.
More from our Business archive: "Sir Richard's brings one-for-one charity giving to condoms -- and one CU-Boulder dorm."
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