Sales of Eve vegan condoms have grown 50 times since they were first launched, co-founder of South Korea-based social venture Instinctus Gina Park told the Vice. Park along with Seokjung Kim and Minhyun Seong founded Instinctus in 2015 with a desire to make the sexual life of their fellow countrymen more natural. Instinctus retails sexual healthcare and hygiene products, including lubricants, menstrual cups and South Korea's first vegan condoms.
Because condoms are categorized as medical products in many countries, they are tested on animals like horses or rabbits. "Condom fragments are inserted into rabbits for vaginal irritation tests. The rabbits are sacrificed, and their wombs are extracted to determine their suitability for people", said Gina Park.
Unlike most condoms on the market, Instinctus' Eve condoms have no animal components and are not tested on animals. The 27-year-old Park says she thinks making animal-free products is a necessity.
"We have an alternative way [of testing] that avoids sacrificing animals. If we can do that, why not? I believe that not caring is backwards, and holds businesses back from growing", she told the Vice.
And it seems she is right, as sales of Eve condoms keep rising and Instinctus is now eyeing other Asian markets in an attempt to expand their business. Last year Park and her business partners made it into Forbes' under 30 Asia list. However, making animal-free products comes with a price – it is expensive and time-consuming. We have needed to jump over numerous hurdles. It's time-consuming and costly. We are required to do more research and figure out alternative ways to test our products", she said.
Park, together with her co-founders, uses Instinctus to promote other values they deem important – such as protecting sexual minorities. She said the company received emails from consumers, who wrote that they enjoy their products, but don't understand why Instinctus supports the LGBT community. "I believe that this is the right direction and I have to stand on the right side of history", Park said.