When Addie Gundry’s 10-month-old son Cooper had a blowout at a Chicago restaurant, she was horrified at the experience of changing him in a public restroom on an old, unsanitary and uncomfortable changing table. After sucking it up and returning to her meal, Gundry said to her husband “I think I can make a better one.”
Nearly five years later — after working around the clock on nights and weekends — she appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” alongside co-founder and COO Brittany Hizer with their invention Pluie, the world’s only self-sanitizing diaper changing table.
Pluie’s diaper changing tables are powered by a patented UV-C light system known to kill 99.9 percent of germs. The UV-C light system activates when the table is closed, sanitizing the changing surface in 60 seconds after each use.
Prior to launching Pluie, the company surveyed more than 650 parents nationwide and found that 93 percent of parents said the cleanliness of the changing table is overwhelmingly the top deciding factor on whether they will use the available changing table.
“There’s been so much innovation to public restrooms — things are touchless, more sleek and modern — and I couldn’t figure out why nobody thought of updating the changing table,” said Gundry, a former Chicago resident. “It’s such an obvious and intuitive problem and is the solution to what Cooper and I desperately needed during that lunch long ago.”
Gundry believes that all babies deserve a comfortable and hygienic experience when being changed in a public setting. In addition to tackling germs, Pluie, named a Time Best Invention of 2021, boasts a water-resistant, leak proof cushion, and multipurpose durable handles to hang diaper bags or backpacks.
Currently, Pluie can be found in restrooms in more than 20 states nationwide, including at airports, stadiums, amusement parks, health clinics, retail destinations and more. In Chicagoland, Pluie is in Guaranteed Rate Field, Northwestern Pediatric Offices, the Angel Harvey Family Health Center and several CVS locations in Highland Park.
“Besides the health benefits to infants, parents have been overjoyed with this new diaper changing table,” says Jerry Isikoff, CEO of Angel Harvey Family Health. “It has been a total relief to them to know they are putting their infants on a germ-free changing station.”
Though Gundry did not receive a deal on Shark Tank, she says she is proud to be a part of a small and exclusive community of startups to appear on Shark Tank, especially as a B2B product.
“It is a testament to the value of our product, the power of the brand and how strongly our mission resonates with people,” says Gundry. “All families deserve a suitable place to change their children in public. Our tables have become a representation of health and safety.”
In the coming months, Pluie is branching out to consumers, with the launch of a portable diaper changing pad. The mat is made out of woven neoprene — one of the only materials that can be both wiped clean and is machine washable.
Watch Pluie on the latest episode of “Shark Tank,” which debuted on Friday, March 10.
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