Creating the World’s First Self-Sanitizing Diaper Changing Tables – Addie Gundry of Pluie

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 52:10)


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Addie Gundry, the founder and CEO of Pluie, shares how a difficult diaper changing experience with her son inspired her to create the world’s first self-sanitizing diaper changing table. Pluie creates self-sanitizing diaper changing tables for public restrooms. Addie shares her unconventional career journey, starting as a chef before transitioning to entrepreneurship. Addie shares her successes and lessons learned in product development, raising funds, Shark Tank appearance, obtaining patents, and bringing the product to a B2B market.

Episode Summary

Addie Gundry, the founder and CEO of Pluie, a company that creates self-sanitizing diaper changing tables, shares her unconventional career journey and the inspiration behind her innovative product. Despite having no experience in manufacturing or product development, Addie embarked on the journey to create Pluie and obtained a patent for her idea. She discusses the challenges she faced in validating and selling her product, raising funds, and reaching out to potential customers. Addie emphasizes the importance of continuous learning, leveraging personal connections, and taking risks in entrepreneurship. She also discusses the value of having a patent and building a trusted brand. Despite the challenges and constant decision-making, Addie highlights the need for resilience and learning from mistakes. She shares insights into managing work-life balance and finding motivation, encouraging others to find their own sources of drive. Overall, Addie’s story is one of determination, innovation, and inspiration.

  • 00:00:00 In this section, the interviewer introduces Addie Gundry, the founder and CEO of Pluie, a company that creates self-sanitizing diaper changing tables. Addie shares her unconventional career journey, starting as a chef before transitioning to entrepreneurship. She explains how a difficult diaper changing experience with her son inspired her to create a better solution. Despite having no experience in manufacturing or product development, Addie embarked on the journey to create Pluie and obtained a patent for her innovative idea. After raising funding and launching pilot units, Pluie has been in the market for about a year. The interviewer praises Addie’s unconventional background, noting that she only spent a year in college before pursuing her passion for food and eventually venturing into entrepreneurship.
  • 00:05:00 In this section, Addie Gundry explains her experience of going back to college in her late 20s and how it was a rewarding experience to learn with other individuals who were in a similar situation. She considers herself an entrepreneur and believes that it is a personality trait to identify opportunities and have the internal drive to pursue them. Gundry emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and the access to free resources that can help in acquiring new skills. She also discusses her journey of identifying the problem with current diaper changing tables and coming up with the idea for an innovative solution. Gundry worked with an engineer and an industrial designer to create a more comfortable, convenient, and clean changing table, with the added feature of self-sanitization using UVC light.
  • 00:10:00 In this section, the entrepreneur, Addie Gundry, shares her journey of creating an improved baby changing table and the challenges she faced in validating and selling her product. Due to the complexity and cost of producing the product, Gundry initially kept her idea to herself, fearing that someone might steal it. However, she eventually realized the importance of sharing her idea with her network, which resulted in a lot of support and valuable feedback. Gundry also conducted market research by talking to 650 parents using a mobile research app, which helped validate her design. One of the biggest challenges she faced was getting access to decision makers in large organizations and convincing investors to believe in her vision. Despite the initial capital spent on tooling, production, safety certifications, and launching, Gundry had to take a risk and rely on the belief that there was a market for her product. With over 4 million public restrooms in the United States alone, even landing a few large accounts could lead to substantial growth. Gundry emphasizes the importance of continuously learning and improving the product based on customer feedback, and she applauds her team for taking the time to make the product right. Despite the lack of an entrepreneurial background, Gundry’s approach was to connect with people who could advise her on building a business around her idea.
  • 00:15:00 In this section, Addie Gundry discusses how she started working on her product idea immediately after coming up with it. She worked with an industrial designer and an engineer to understand how to improve the product’s design and manufacture it. She found these professionals through her personal and professional networks and also utilized resources like LinkedIn. Addie emphasizes the importance of market validation in raising funds and had a fully functioning CAD file and business model to showcase the potential of her product. Raising funds was not very difficult for her as her personal and professional connections believed in her work ethic and drive. To date, she has raised around four and a half million dollars from individual investors. Since her product mainly targeted B2B customers, Addie didn’t consider platforms like Kickstarter as viable options for fundraising.
  • 00:20:00 In this section, Addie Gundry discusses the launch of their consumer product, which is a portable diaper changing mat made with a neoprene material. They plan to put up a landing page to sell the first 300 units, acting as a Kickstarter for their first customers. This smaller version of their product allows them to enter the market and grow their presence without the need for a large equity raise. They manufacture their products with a contract manufacturer and source globally, which initially posed supply chain challenges. However, as they scale, the cost of manufacturing is expected to decrease. Gundry also emphasizes the importance of personal connections and warm introductions when approaching decision makers for potential customers, as their network has played a significant role in their successes so far. She encourages entrepreneurs to ask for help and leverage their connections to gain valuable introductions.
  • 00:25:00 In this section, the speaker discusses their successful strategies for reaching out to potential customers, including leveraging their CRM system and sending out cold outreach emails. They also mention the importance of understanding what each customer prioritizes, such as sustainability or hygiene. The speaker also talks about the value of PR campaigns and how their appearance on Shark Tank brought significant publicity to their business. They share their experience of getting on the show and emphasize the power of being chosen as a product on such a popular platform. Overall, they highlight how they are using their exposure from the show to validate their product and attract business attention.
  • 00:30:00 In this section, Addie Gundry discusses the value of having a patent for their product, which is the use of UVC light in a diaper changing table. The patent ensures that they are the only ones offering this particular feature, giving them a competitive advantage in the market. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of building a trusted brand alongside the patent protection. Addie also talks about the installation process, stating that they offer national installation services but also provide instructions for businesses to install it themselves. She mentions that most of their installations have been retrofits, meaning they are adding their product to existing changing tables. The team at Plui is small but efficient, with only three full-time members and a network of contractors. Addie mentions the possibility of expanding their product line to include other innovative baby products for businesses and parents on the go.
  • 00:35:00 In this section, the interviewee discusses their journey as an entrepreneur and the challenges they faced in decision-making. They highlight the importance of taking risks and trying new things, even if some decisions may not yield immediate results. They also emphasize the constant pressure and responsibility that comes with being an entrepreneur and making decisions that impact the business, employees, and investors. The interviewee acknowledges that while mistakes and failures can happen, they have also shaped their business and led to unexpected opportunities. Overall, they emphasize the need for patience and resilience in the face of constant decision-making and the importance of learning from mistakes.
  • 00:40:00 In this section, the interviewer asks Addie Gundry about her ability to manage her home life and her professional entrepreneurial life effectively. Gundry explains that she doesn’t work around the clock but constantly thinks about her business, even when she is present with her children. She highlights the importance of being efficient and productive in the time available, especially as a woman and a mom. Gundry emphasizes that mental clarity and setting boundaries are crucial for maintaining balance and executing tasks effectively. Regarding her transition from being a chef, Gundry expresses some nostalgia but still enjoys cooking as a hobby. When asked about working with Martha Stewart, Gundry acknowledges her confidence and appreciates the opportunity to learn from her.
  • 00:45:00 In this section, the speaker reflects on the impact a role model had on her confidence as a young woman in the business world. She emphasizes the importance of knowledge and preparation in building confidence and mentions the value of learning and being hands-on. The speaker also recommends a book called “Burn Rate” by Andy Dunn, which discusses managing mental health while running a startup. She then mentions an innovative car seat called Chioma that she finds exciting. Additionally, she recommends using HubSpot for tracking goals and staying on track with sales. The founder of Aunt Flo, Claire Coder, is mentioned as an inspiring peer entrepreneur, and the speaker shares the advice she received about projects always taking longer and costing more than expected and the importance of persistence and patience.
  • 00:50:00 In this section, Addie Gundry discusses what drives her in the morning. She mentions that she doesn’t drink caffeine and instead starts her day with a cold water plunge. She emphasizes that whatever motivates you to reach your goals doesn’t have to be traditional, and it can be as simple as wanting to impress an ex-boyfriend or chasing after something you really want. Gundry shares that her motivation has changed over time, and currently, her drive is to get on the Today Show. She encourages others to find their own sources of motivation and not worry about what others may think. The host concludes by thanking Gundry for sharing her story and inspiring the audience, acknowledging her ability to reinvent herself as an entrepreneur.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Book: Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind by Andy Dunn

What You’ll Learn

[00:00:08] Introduction to Trep Talks and Guest Introduction
[00:00:32] Addie Gundry’s Background and Pluie’s Mission
[00:00:53] Addie’s Culinary Career and Transition to Entrepreneurship
[00:01:48] Unexpected Journey to Selling Diaper Changing Tables
[00:03:00] The Inception of the Self-Sanitizing Diaper Changing Table Idea
[00:04:45] Addie’s Unconventional Educational Background
[00:06:00] Characteristics of Entrepreneurs and Continuous Learning
[00:07:06] Innovative Features of Pluie’s Diaper Changing Table
[00:08:49] Idea Validation Challenges and Decision to Pursue Production
[00:10:18] Engaging with Potential Customers and Building Support
[00:12:00] Risks and Challenges Faced During the Capital Raise
[00:12:57] Product Launch and Demonstrating Market Viability
[00:13:16] First Product Launch and Learning Phase
[00:13:51] Enhancements and Perfecting the Product
[00:15:00] Starting with an Idea and Building the Team
[00:16:00] Finding the Right Designers and Engineers
[00:18:00] Raising Funds and Investor Support
[00:20:00] Launching a Consumer Product: Portable Diaper Changing Mat
[00:21:00] Managing Costs and Global Sourcing
[00:23:00] Getting First Customers through Personal Connections
[00:24:00] Leveraging Warm Introductions and Networking
[00:25:00] Utilizing Cold Outreach for B2B Sales
[00:00:25] Value of PR Campaigns
[00:00:55] Targeting Business Attention
[00:01:26] Strategies to Get Attention
[00:02:09] The Impact of Shark Tank
[00:02:38] How They Got on Shark Tank
[00:03:10] Shark Tank Experience
[00:03:39] Importance of Patents
[00:04:10] Building a Brand
[00:04:38] Installation Process
[00:05:07] The Pluie Team
[00:05:27] Future Vision of Pluie
[00:06:00] Value Proposition
[00:06:24] Choosing the Right Product
[00:06:52] Learning from Mistakes
[00:07:18] The Importance of Trying
[00:00:42] Addie’s Decision Making Process
[00:01:38] Challenges Faced by Entrepreneurs
[00:02:19] Balancing Work and Personal Life
[00:03:01] Working Efficiently as an Entrepreneur
[00:03:49] Leaving the Chef Career
[00:04:26] Learning from Martha Stewart
[00:05:01] Book Recommendation: “Burn Rate” by Andy Dunn
[00:05:29] Innovative Product: KIOMA Car Seat
[00:05:54] Business Tool: HubSpot
[00:06:14] Inspiration from Claire Coder
[00:06:35] Best Business Advice: Persistence and Patience
[00:07:00] Finding Personal Motivation

Interview with Addie Gundry of Pluie

Rapid Fire

In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.

Addie Gundry of Pluie

  1. Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind by Andy Dunn)
  2. An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: KIOMA)
  3. A business or productivity tool that you would recommend (Response: HubSpot)
  4. Another startup or business that you think is currently doing great things: (Response🙂
  5. A peer entrepreneur or businessperson whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: Claire Coder CEO and Founder of Aunt Flow)
  6. Best business advice you ever received (Response: It always takes twice as much time and twice the money.)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey there, entrepreneurs. My name Sushant and welcome to Trep Talks. This is a show where I interview successful e-commerce entrepreneurs, business executives, and thought leaders, and ask them questions about their business story, and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and their businesses.

And today I’m really excited to welcome Addie Gundry to the show. Addie is the founder and CEO of Pluie . Pluie creates the world’s first and only self sanitizing diaper changing table, and their mission is to use innovative technology and beautiful design to create the cleanest, most comfortable and convenient baby products on the market.

Now, before founding Pluie, Addie also had a quite a successful career as a chef appearing on the Food [00:01:00] network. And also authored several cookbooks. And today I’m going to ask Addie a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey and some of the strategies and tactics that she has used to start grow her business.

So Addie, thank you so much for joining me today at Trep Talk and really, really appreciate your time.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: I was so glad to be

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: here. Thank you. So, you know, I was, when I was, you know, doing a little bit of research on you, I was really curious, you know, you had such a successful career as a chef in the food industry.

Um, and then now you are, you know, you’re, you’re completely pivoted towards entrepreneurship and creating this business and product. Can you share a little bit about yourself, your story and what really motivated you to you give up your career as a chef and, uh, you know, become an entrepreneur?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, I certainly never expected myself to be selling diaper changing tables for public restrooms.

Um, and certainly didn’t build my career around that, but had a very non-traditional educational background. So [00:02:00] I was a physics major in college and then dropped out when I was 18, so I only spent a year in college after being a very academic student in high school. To pursue culinary school and not many people thought this was the best idea, uh, when I did it, but I was really passionate about food and beverage and knew that I could create a career in it, not only in a restaurant but beyond.

And so, I ended up working for some really well-known chefs, Dan Daniel Belud and Thomas Keller. I then pivoted out of the uh, restaurant industry and started working for Martha Stewart, which was one of the most rewarding experiences to be with her. I worked on the magazine, I worked with her directly. I.

Uh, and then I left and started working at an innovation consulting firm, developing food and beverages for large C p G groups. So the next Starbucks beverage, Doritos potato chip. And that’s really where I had that kind of innovation itch and thought, what could I make of my own? Certainly always thought it was gonna be in the food space.

Uh, but I left shortly. I left about two years later. Um, Because I was casted on the Food Network, so I was on Cutthroat Kitchen, [00:03:00] then the Food Network star and then I got a cookbook deal. So I wrote 11 books as you’ve mentioned. And I was pregnant with my son who’s now five, uh, throughout this process. He was born, I had that aha moment.

We were out in public. He had a blowout. There was nowhere for my husband to change the diaper cuz the men’s room didn’t have a diaper changing table, which is something we’re still seeing today, which is something we’re trying to change quite. Um, rapidly as we can. And so I had a very difficult diaper changing experience and thought, you know, why are they so uncomfortable?

Why hasn’t there been much innovation around the space in so many years? And I got back to the table and said, I think I could make a better one. And knew nothing about manufacturing and nothing about product development other than my food and beverage experience. But I think I was lucky in that I was very optimistic and incredibly naive.

It’s so thought it’s worth a shot. Um, and began working on what’s now Chloe for about 18 months while I continued to cook, I filed my [00:04:00] first patent in 2019. So this is a product that, a solution that came long before the pandemic in some sense. Uh, many people think, oh, You know, this is a product came out of the pandemic because this heightened sense of awareness around health and safety.

But really it’s an idea I had in 2018, patented in 2019 because it’s been a decades old problem that needed to be solved, um, before the pandemic. So we, um, I left my job in January of 2020, so exactly three years ago after raising a successful first round of financing and was able to begin the product development, bringing it really to life, and we launched our first pilot units in 2021 and then our first make full units in 2022.

So we’ve been in the market for about a year. Awesome. Thank

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you. Um, I mean, your background is so unconventional, um, to, so to me it seems like you never finished college. You said you only did one year of college,

Addie Gundry of Pluie: right? No, uh, correct. So when I started working for Martha Stewart in New York, I went to [00:05:00] nyu.

So I had taken five aps in high school. Again, was very academic and so I was able to, um, use a lot of those class credits. And I graduated from my NYU in my late twenties. Uh, so very, again, non-traditional, but it was a really rewarding experience because. The classes I was taking were with other individuals, you know, my age or older, who had a similar, they had been working and wanted to go back and get a degree.

So it was a really interesting way to sort of go to college. Um, and, and I loved it. So do

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you consider yourself an entre, like, entrepreneurial, like, you know, entrepreneurs, when you think about entrepreneurs, like, you know, you don’t necessarily need education to create something, and do you, do you think it’s, it’s almost like a personality trait where you.

You know, you identify an opportunity and you have that, uh, um, you know, internal push to be able to go out and pursue it, even though you don’t, you know, as you said, you don’t, you didn’t, didn’t, didn’t have any background. It any, do you consider yourself like, [00:06:00] Uh, you know, born entrepreneur

Addie Gundry of Pluie: crazy. I am a little crazy.

Yes. No, I do. I think it’s a hundred percent a personality trait that you have to have is that you become unstoppable if you just don’t stop. You just have to keep going and learning, and I truly believe you can learn how to do anything, especially nowadays with the resources that are out there that are free, whether it’s LinkedIn and social media.

The instant access to information. I mean, I had no idea when I had to file S-corp taxes and I Googled it, right? And I didn’t know nothing about u vbc light systems. And now I’ve become intensely interested in bacteria and germs. And so I think if you’re passionate about something and have an idea that’s right for innovation and especially this type in sort of this white space, um, it’s definitely a characteristic that I think entrepreneurs have is just this.

This hunger to learn. Um, I call myself a data junkie. I just like to know things in the backs. And I really just think there’s power in, in learning and teaching yourself things. And then there’s power in building a team. There are some things I don’t like to do and [00:07:00] don’t wanna do, and it’s better off if I outsource that.

So make sure you don’t do it all. Yeah, definitely.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And I’m going to ask you more questions about that. Um, but. I’m very curious about, you know, just identifying the problem, you know, this, this product that’s in public restrooms around, you know, changing diapers. Um, I mean, I personally don’t, don’t, I mean, I haven’t changed diapers in, in public washroom, so I don’t have a consciousness of that.

But y you know, thinking about that, you, there could be some sort of an innovation there. Can you share a little bit about how actually, like. Was it really an aha moment or was it something that, you know, while you were working at that, uh, you know, place that you mentioned, innovation clinic or something, uh, that was sort iterative process that you came around?

This, this is, you know, this is an existing product and opportunity to improve.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Exactly. So when I worked in innovation, we practiced design thinking and used consumer research. And so what we would kind of identify in the beginning are what [00:08:00] are the pain points that people have? And then try and ideate around that.

And so when looking at the current market of changing tables, they’re all very similar in that it’s just a piece of plastic that hangs off the wall with a security strap, and that’s really it. And so in some sense, it was simple. That there were so many things we could do to enhance it for parents. Uh, and so when I came out and had that moment, it was because I said, wow, this thing is just, it’s just a piece of past plastic.

You know, why doesn’t have, why is it so uncomfortable? I’d rather just go to my car and my bag is on the floor. Why can’t I hang it somewhere? The security straps are always broken, which is a liability of the business, and so, And obviously I just felt like they were always dirty. And so I began designing it with an engineer and an industrial designer with three qualities or characteristics, things I wanted to accomplish, which was making it more comfortable, more convenient, and clean.

And so I thought those were my like three biggest pain points that people had when using diaper changing tables. And that’s how we started to brainstorm how to do those things. So how do we make it more comfortable? And [00:09:00] comfort can mean a lot of things. It can mean the soft cushion we have on it versus the hard plastic.

It can mean it’s more comfortable for the baby’s skin. You know, there’s a lot of ways to and to identify what that can mean. And same with clean and convenient. You know, it, it’s sleek and it’s design. It looks clean. It feels clean. And then of course, the winning feature is that it does self sanitize. So there’s a lot of ways we use those words to create the features for the design.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And when? What does self, you know, when I was reading it, I was wondering what does self mean? Is it like, is it like self spraying or something or how does that work?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: No, it’s a UVC light system. So behind the system there’s two bulbs. And you open the table, change your baby, close it, and in 60 seconds, the entire surface is sanitized by the UVC light.

So it’s quick, it’s effective, it’s repeatable. It’s really the fastest and most efficient way to sanitize the surface. There’s no human error, you know, and some people spraying things down. You’re reducing those harsh [00:10:00] chemicals that employees are using, which aren’t great for baby’s skin anyway. And obviously there’s sustainability there where we’re not now using more chemicals, paper towels.

So it’s just a much greener solution and it’s a very guaranteed, uh, commitment to parents when you walk into a a room and you see it, you know it’s safe for your child.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Um, when I talk to entrepreneurs, you know, one question that I always ask this idea around, um, idea validation, right? Um, so. Of course there was, there was the incumbent product and now you have like an improvement of this product.

And to me, it seems like right now you’re selling mostly b2b right? Through restaurants and public, public washrooms and things like that. Um, how did you know that even though you’re creating this improved product that you know you would actually be able to sell it? Uh, did you do some sort of, uh, Uh, you know, test pitching to these businesses, restaurants, uh, beforehand to, to try to understand that they would be willing to buy that.

Um, at a, I mean, I [00:11:00] don’t, I’m assuming that this comes at a certain price point also to existing product.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, no. So it was really difficult because of the type of product it is. And hardware is hard, for lack of better words, because it’s very expensive to produce, especially something like this that had to go through so many safety and certifications to be able to then be hung on a commercial building.

Uh, you’re adding a baby, you know, 30 inches above the ground, you’re adding a light system, like there’s a lot around this product. And so, One regret I have is that for a while I kept it very much to myself. I had this idea, I think entrepreneurs feel like someone’s gonna take their idea. And I’ll tell you right now, it’s easy to have the idea.

Actually doing it is much harder. So if you have an idea, share it with your network because the minute we did finally kind of announce what was go, what we were doing, there was so much support that we got from people from, Hey, I know someone at this restaurant, or, Hey, do you need help with this? So once we felt comfortable with kind of sharing it, that’s when I got a lot of help.

But, We did talk to parents. We talked to [00:12:00] 650 parents across the country using a mobile research app called D Scout, and we learned their pain points about changing tables, so that could help validate our, you know, our design. But the biggest challenge was not being able to talk to customers really, because, It’s very hard to get to these decision makers already, right?

Even now, it’s hard to get to these people who are at these large organizations. And so back then I couldn’t just go with a piece of paper, you know, and say, Hey, who’d you ever buy this? And so it was very risky upfront, especially with that first capital raise because people had to believe in the idea, the vision, and me to say, okay.

I believe that you have an opportunity here to do this. I think the market’s big enough. That’s really exciting for people. There’s over 4 million public restrooms, United States alone, so landing even a couple large accounts you can see instant, you know, growth. And, but that was honestly really the hardest part is that there was a lot of capital spent up front on the tooling, the production, the safety of the certifications, the launch before actually really validating would customers buy this.

Uh, and so that was a lot of what we did in [00:13:00] 2021. We launched with 40 units. And we wanted to show that they belong in every market segment. So we wanted to be in a hotel, a restaurant, an airport. We wanted to say, look, Chloe does belong in all of these market segments, making that total addressable market actually something we can recognize.

And that was our, our first launch of our product. And then we paused for about four to six months and to make to learn. And I think one thing, it’s rare, you know, usually just go, go, go. But it was our first time seeing on the wall. And so how do we see is, and then I think breaking is anything. Can we enhance the design specifically?

Manufacturing ease, cost reduction. And so we actually spent a lot of 2021 just learning from those first 40 locations versus keep going and going. And it was very valuable. And I always say, if you’re not embarrassed by your first product, then you’re not moving fast enough. And so we got it out there, it’s beautiful.

And then we made some enhancements and now we feel it’s, it’s perfect. And so that’s something I think I, I really. I’m proud of our team for doing, because we’ve really [00:14:00] had a whole year of not any revenue, but we wanted to make sure we made it right because we knew these customers are, are looking at every detail and it is a premium product.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Um, I want to come back to that point that you made earlier on the team, right? So you did not have, um, really the entrepreneurial background. You, I mean, basically what you had is an idea, right? Um, And, you know, there are many directions that one can go with the idea. So you have an idea of a product, maybe, you know, an entrepreneur starts thinking about the product design themselves.

You know, maybe they hire a designer and, and things like that. But, but you know, another way is to really go out and start connecting with people, uh, you know, of, of, of thinking more from a business perspective. How can I create a business around this idea? Can you share a little bit about, um, Was that really your, your, um, uh, direction that you had [00:15:00] pursued as really, you know, of course I had, I have an idea.

Let me find the right people. Who can advise me on how to bring this, uh, to market as a business? Um, or did you start thinking about the product itself, or, you know, I mean, of course you didn’t start thinking about like creating a website and those kinda things, but can you

Addie Gundry of Pluie: share like Yeah, yeah. It was pretty instant too.

So we, I had the idea in the, you know, June, July, and I was already working with someone in August on it. So I was able to tap into that design network and work with an industrial designer and an engineer, because at first I just wanted to understand what could this look like? Can we make it more comfortable, more convenient and cleaner?

And you co, of course you can from an ID standpoint, but then can we actually manufacture it? And so really important for me to, if I have this idea, I see how big the market is and the opportunity. I don’t have the expertise in engineering or in industrial design. And so that was where it was very valuable to work with these two gentlemen and say, what can we do to make it better?

Um, and then once, can I, you kind started. What’s that? [00:16:00] Can

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I, can I ask how did you find those two? Like, was that, was that your own, uh, like did you know them already? Was, did you find them personal? How did you find those?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, so they, um, when I worked at the innovation consulting firm, our firm did everything from culinary to, they designed the Samsung Galaxy platform.

So I knew a lot of different designers in the community, but there are quite a few organizations, um, you know, that I found on LinkedIn as well, these kind of design hubs where people co-work. So there’s definitely, again, LinkedIn has been a good friend of ours just because you can kind of search for people.

But I was lucky in that I had a little bit of a network from my past, but, They were. Um, and it was great cause I said, look, I don’t wanna spend a lot of money. Like, I just wanna know low fidelity, like can we do this? Can you manufacture it? Um, and so that was a process and the engineering process took longer because once we had the design, so it was really how do we, I.

Actually get this into CAD and make it something we could manufacture. And I got a lot of advice from a lot of different designers and engineers, uh, that I’ve met kind of along the way, their friends. Uh, and then I was really, you [00:17:00] know, um, I cared a lot about the brand, the brand name, the logo, the identity, because from day one, I’ve always felt cluey can become a brand and has that speaks to health and wellness.

That speaks to parenting on the go. And really an opportunity to expand our portfolio to the commercial side of the business, but also even direct to the consumer. So, um, I really cared about kind of creating this identity. Uh, and then that was all the work I did for a while, knowing I would have to raise money because tooling alone would be a few hundred thousand.

And so what I had at that early stage to then go out and raise was the market validation from just the size. I had a fully functioning CAD file and prototype. And then I had a business model, um, pretty rough because in that early stage, it’s mean, it’s pretty much made up. You’re just, you’re making up what it could look like.

But it showed really the opportunity with these large accounts because once these large accounts stack us in for all future restroom renovations and refreshes, we know every year how many restrooms that is. So it’s a very, [00:18:00] you know, it’s a very easy prediction of revenue and that’s really what I had to go out with.

Uh, and then I went out alone. You know, I was still alone in this. And so I think another important thing was sharing with investors who I would be hiring, who was gonna be responsible for what, because Iactually didn’t have the expertise in every area around launching this business.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: How difficult was it to raise the fund?

Like did you, did you hear a lot of No. Or were people like, I mean, you know, somebody who’s coming from like a chef background, uh, of course you, you had, was it difficult to persuade the investor or were they board like. No, it

Addie Gundry of Pluie: really, it was, I shouldn’t say this, but it really wasn’t that difficult. I mean, people were really excited about the idea.

Um, you know, people, there was all people I know, so it’s all friends through my personal and professional networks. And when I worked with, at Martha Stewart for example, and so they, a lot of them have worked with me and so I think understanding my work ethic and drive and, [00:19:00] you know, they kind of believed that I could bring this to life.

So that was helpful. And I never pretended I could do certain things. Right. It was like I was never going to lead our design enhancements. You know, that’s not my expertise. What I can do is sell this. I can market it, I can speak about it. I am good at finance, so I do run the models and stuff like that, but I just, I was very clear of who I was gonna bring on to make this a successful business.

And, um, to date, we’ve raised now about four and a half million. And it’s all been through individuals. So we have no institutional capital Okay. Or venture. And so that’s, I think, kind of unique at this stage. But we’ve had really great support and our investors continue to come in because of the growth

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And because this was more mostly a B2B product, at least in the beginning, uh, you couldn’t go to like Kickstart or any of that kinda website, right.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: You know, we just, we needed a lot of money. I raised 650,000 in that first round, uh, just because of the [00:20:00] tooling, the safety and certification. So it’s also a little challenging with the Kickstarter because consumers aren’t receiving anything. So it’s like, yeah, they’d be just supporting a business. I think as we now go into launching a consumer product, we definitely are gonna put up.

Um, actually this weekend, uh, a little landing page where people can buy the first 300 units. And so that’s a little bit, in some sense, a kickstarter of being our first customers. But, uh, we definitely, it was not really an opportunity for crowdfunding.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So the com consumer product is really going to be more of a smaller version of this, uh, that can be easily fitted in, in, in a house kinda situation.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: So actually we are launching, solu isn’t everywhere yet, right? And so we are having people take a little piece of cluey on the go. And so we have a portable diaper changing Matt. And it’s made with a neoprene material. And so it’s wipeable and washable. Uh, so it’s a very innovative, slimmer situation for it to put in your purse or your backpack.

And this way it’s the cleanest one you can bring because again, it is the wipeable [00:21:00] material and you can machine wash it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Looks great. Yeah, I was, I was envisioning like there would be, you would’ve like a small, smaller version of that. That thing is that people can put in there.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: We have some other ideas too of changing pads in the house and so there’s a lot of opportunity.

It’s just navigate right now we are chasing profitability and yeah. If to launch another product, especially like this, that’s like a whole nother business, we would need a whole nother raise of money. Whereas this is something that’s really interesting because it’s innovative, it’s for parents, it’s.

Applicable to our brand, but it’s a way to get something to the market and grow our presence without having that big, you know, equity raise to do another product, which would take time too. So it’s sort of, what can we do that makes sense that’s needed in the market but isn’t as complex? Aslu

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: definitely, um, from a cost perspective.

Um, and manufacturing is, is this product, uh, like how are you? Making sure that you’re, you’re able to manage the cost effectively are like, are [00:22:00] you manufacturing it in, in, um, you know, Asian markets or, um, Uh, can you share a little

Addie Gundry of Pluie: bit around that? Yeah, so we manufacture with Sanmina, which is a 7 billion global contract manufacturer, and we have a space allocated with their warehouse in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin.

So we assemble all of our tables here in the US We source globally though there’s over 80 parts. So metal comes from India, et cetera. Um, and in the beginning it was very challenging because we were air shipping a lot, just because it was 20 20, 20 21. And just with all the supply chain challenges. So we lost, you know, a good amount of money just with the air shipping, uh, but needed the product.

And so it was worth kind of that spend. But now we can manage it better that it’s, it’s very cost effective to ship. We still are ordering pretty slow quantities cuz we didn’t wanna have a ton of inventory. And the a and r period is pretty long in terms of you pay for the parts, they come, you build ’em, you sell, you collect payment.

And so we’re smart about issuing those pos, we don’t have that much inventory so we can keep the cash in. [00:23:00] Um, but. It’s definitely, um, it’s definitely exciting because, because we’re sourcing at low quantities, this really is the highest price you’ll ever be, and our margin is still quite good. And so we know that as we start to scale, it’s just gonna be, it’s gonna be chunk cheaper.

And we’ve proven this higher price point already. In

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: terms of sales, I mean, you mentioned a little bit that, you know, it’s difficult to get in front of like the, the decision makers for these, uh, uh, these businesses. Um, Can you share a little bit about how you got your first customer and now, uh, you know, going forward, like what is the best way that you’re, that you get in front of these decision makers and be able to like pitch, uh, this, this idea and

Addie Gundry of Pluie: the product.

Yeah, so I would say our, especially our first very first customers, it was all people we knew. You know, my friend who went to business school who worked at a hotel group, Hey, can you put this in one of your hotels and try it? And we did make some revenue off those first units, but some, we just were trying to place them.

And so I [00:24:00] would say still to date, almost all of our successes. From customers have been through personal connections or warm introductions, and so I think the power of that network is just incredible. And although I came from a culinary industry, my business partner came from fitness and then fishing, but in product development, we had so many different people among all our lives that knew people who knew people.

And so I think just a reminder that. You know, that networking, I know that word gets old to hear, but it’s, it’s just so important because you never know kind of what you’ll do end up doing or who they might know and then, and so I’d say warm introduction still are the best way for us to kind of get to those decision makers.

And then in addition, um, you know, I will say too, people wanna help you. Like, I was pleasantly surprised. Like I met someone last week who I’d never met. And he says, yo know my best friend who was the best man at my wedding. Like we’re celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary together as couples. Like he is the VP of this very big company we’re trying to get into.

And he made the intro, and I’ve never even met this guy. So it’s like there is some just power [00:25:00] of people like liking to help entrepreneurs. So, Make sure you ask for those connections. I have no shame going on LinkedIn seeing someone and saying, Hey, do you really know this guy at SAPs? You know, you’re connected to him, and they’re like, sure, I can introduce you.

So I would just go into the app. And then the other thing we do, which is successful is, um, we leverage HubSpot is our crm. And so we send out email sequences, um, and we send about 4,000 each a month. So last month we sent say like 8,000 emails out. And it’s cold outreach, but we do see success with that.

So I think there’s still some power. You know, B2B is very different than a consumer product, but we just target the certain positions and send emails and see if anyone bites.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, could there be a value? Of course. You know, I, I’m going to talk to you about shark language, which shark, which is probably like one of the biggest, uh, pr uh, campaigns one can do.

Um, but. Is there some sort of a PR [00:26:00] campaign or, you know, something around, uh, um, cleanliness and safety and those kind of things? Like, did you do anything like that that would get like business, uh, attention and, and really motivate businesses to start contacting you rather than you going after like decision makers?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, there’s a, you know, there’s a lot we can do around that. We have to understand every customer is very different, what they prioritize. So some really care about, so sustainability, some care about the hygiene. Um, and so it’s been interesting to learn just from businesses, websites. They have their capability statements up there.

They have their ESGs. So Q are a B2B business. It’s very helpful to see kind of what they care about. Um, there’s also a lot of, um, support for women owned businesses, diverse and minority businesses. And so those, there are supplier diversity, you know, team members at these organizations. So there’s different ways to kind of get, you know, to people’s attention, but.

We, um, we definitely, you know, try and educate on LinkedIn and as much as we can [00:27:00] about just the importance of the safety and sanitization process. So, um, it’s always a good day when we get people in balance and people purchasing off our website cuz then it’s like, wow, what did you think about us? It wasn’t us trying to find you.

Uh, but Shark Tank obviously was a great example of, uh, just pure publicity. So that was just phenomenal for us. Um, and we’re excited that we’re actually re airing the episode again. So that’s great for us.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Yeah. Can you share a little bit about the story of how you got on Shark Tank? Did they reach out to you or did you, you know, reach out to them and, uh, what was your experience like there and, and was it really just a publicity play for you?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, so I had, um, there are about 10,000 applicants every year, and then they film 150 companies. And then 96 air. So just imagine going through the whole process, filming and not even airing. Mm-hmm. So it was honestly just everything was incredible that we made it all the way to the end. Uh, but I had an introduction to the executive producer, um, through a [00:28:00] friend and who was on this show.

And then, um, ended up knowing one of the producers from my culinary world, so who was able to kind of get in front of them quickly. Um, but I do, I know it’s very responsive. If you apply online, you get a producer right away. And so, um, although I kind of got that in, I’ve heard from many people who just apply online and go through the process.

So, um, the process is very long then it’s extensive in terms of, they do, the producers do their due diligence upfront. They’re trying to understand. Obviously if you’re telling the truth about your business, uh, they need to see your financial forecast. They need to see your patents, um, because they wanna make sure you’re not making things up.

But, Uh, then it’s really about the personality. Your story will it resonate with the viewers. And so it was rare for us to be casted being a B2B business because most products are for a consumer and someone’s watching the show. They say, wow, that’s a really cool frying pan. I’m gonna buy it. And there’s power in that.

Those sales that week. Uh, for us, you know, we [00:29:00] weren’t expecting Walmart to watch it and say, oh, I’m gonna buy 5,000 of these. You know, it’s just a very different product. But because of this story, because of our background, because we’re moms, they really felt like people love seeing like who we are in the product.

So I think we were lucky in that we were one of the only like 5% companies that are b2b. Um, and we really, our goal was for the exposure. So we loved our investors that we have all being individuals. We know we actually just raised a seed round of funding about a month before we went on, and so we were gonna take in extra capital but didn’t need it.

Uh, and so really was either strategic, either we really wanted one of the sharks and we would give up the equity or we went on for the exposure. And, um, we feel really good about. How the whole thing went. And, you know, we’re very happy. We didn’t give up any ownership, which was our decision. And, um, you are just using like the power now of being on the show and, and we use it in subject lines for emails and it’s, it’s very validating to businesses when we say, you know, this was a product that was chosen, you [00:30:00] know, out of so many that is so innovative.

Definitely. Um, and they’re intense, I’ll tell you that much. It’s, it’s a little crazy in there. So you probably see about seven, eight minutes of our episode when it airs, but we were in there for an hour. So it’s, it’s a long aggressive. Conversation, but very, um, I think one of the coolest things is just they are so smart.

Yeah. And so it felt like almost this blessing and this privilege to have an hour with these five really smart entrepreneurs giving us advice, asking us questions. It was just, it was very empowering in that sense. Definitely.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, now you mentioned that you do have, uh, some patents around this product.

Mm-hmm. Um, What is the necessity for patent? Is it really that you envision that the market is so big that, you know, no other big player can just come and replicate the, the item and, and, uh, you know, and, and take the market share from you? And, and is the patent really, um, what [00:31:00] is the.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, so the patent that’s very valuable to us is the use of UVC light within a diaper changing table.

And so this is what we identified as the best and only way that you can sanitize a table after every single use. And so if that’s important to a business, then they’re gonna have to purchase it from plu. Uh, it also separates ourselves from competition in that. If you get specked in to any sort of architectural build, or for example, airports, if they have a, if they say you have to purchase a diaper changing table, that sanitize itself.

But they can’t be brand, you know, favorable. We are the only one on the markets and that means they have to purchase cluey. So there’s some really value in us being the first and the only. Uh, and then ili, as important as a patent, is building a brand. You know, we are, we are protected with our, with our technology, but, We’re also building a brand that people know and trust, where then they, they say PLU is the first.

It’s the only and it’s the best. And so if anyone were to try and, you know, come and do it, I believe that people would have loyalty [00:32:00] towards plu. So that’s important too, with the patent.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: What is the installation process of these items? So, you know, you had your sales cycle, you know, now you’ve received your order.

What happens next?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: So we ship out the order with one to two days. So we have great lead time, funny one’s listening, wants a diaper changing table. But we, um, we do have a national installation services partner called Brand Point Services. So if businesses want us to do the installation we can. Um, and right now it’s kind of a 50 50 mix.

Uh, so it really just depends on the business. But all that needs to be done is, um, you have to hardwire it. So similar to an air dryer, you just need to run electrical and expose behind the unit. Barely pulls an amp. So it’s not a dedicated line. It’s very simple, especially in commercial settings. Um, if you just cut the hole, run the electrical, and you mount it, once the electrical’s present, you can hang in on the wall and vote.

15 minutes. I’ve done plenty myself. So it’s a very easy process. And the footprint is the same as the changing tables [00:33:00] you often see in restrooms now. And so what’s exciting is about 90% of our installs have been retrofits since business is taking off the ones they have already and saying, we want this solution.

So it’s, a lot of people think it must just be new construction or renovations, but it’s actually a mixture of both and we see many more actually, of the retrofits. What does

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: your team look like right now?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: We are small but mighty. So it’s me. Then I have Brittany Heiser, who’s our co-founder and c o o and then we have Olivia and she came on as our director of growth and sales.

So just three of us full-time. Um, all women, all moms. And uh, we then use, you know, sort of an army of, of contractors in terms of queen design enhancements, you know, the procurement team with our contract manufacturer. Of course the attorneys and you know, all those kind of other people to help our website developers.

So I would say one lesson I think I learned and, and that most entrepreneurs do, is that you’re moving so fast and your needs continue to change, that it’s easier to operate very lean and then use contractors as [00:34:00] needed because, You know, we go through phases where we need a lot of work on sort of designer engineering, and then we don’t, or we need a lot more on the website cause we’re launching a new product and then we don’t.

So it’s, it’s been very helpful for us to build these relationships and then kind of turn it off and on as needed. Uh, and then stay, stay very lean as a team.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: In terms of, uh, your future vision, um, of course this is kind of, I mean, do you consider yourself more, uh, more disrupting the. The, the, the, the bathroom space in a commercial setting, or do you consider yourself more of like a baby products, kinda a business and.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah. Yeah, we’re kinda think both, but I see an opportunity to do both. There’s a lot of other products I think businesses have and could have for parents on the go that would be more innovative and better, whether that’s a height share or a booster seed, or there’s other things that you’re starting to see in the market that May Belu could iterate [00:35:00] on.

Um, and then again, I think there’s a lot of things that we could do to help parents. In the home, but really on the go, the, the real vision is it’s hard enough being a parent on the go and how can we make products to make it easier, to make it cleaner and more convenient? And so I see it, I simply becoming more of a baby brand, but I hope on both the commercial and um, consumer side.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And do you consider your business more of a. Like from a value proposition perspective, uh, do you, is it more, is it would be, would it be considered more of a design business or would it, is it, um, I mean, I don’t think it’s a technology business, but, uh, how do you see the value proposition of, uh, your product?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, we, we usually categorize as a manufacturing company, um, okay. Restroom fixtures, uh, but certainly can be [00:36:00] considered tech and, and innovative technology when we’ve applied to different kind of awards. There’s definitely a technology component that exists that doesn’t exist in other diaper changing tables.

So, um, it’s a little, it’s a little bit of a gray area, I’d say.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: When you started out, like of course, uh, were you looking at like multiple different product types or category than, than you decided to go with this one? Like, looking back, do you think that this, uh, you know, this was the right decision to go?

Or like, did you have other options also that you were, you know, in terms of making changes to like an existing category that you

Addie Gundry of Pluie: could have pursued? No, it was just this, I had that moment. I was like instantly interested. And I just went for it. And I think that’s also some entrepreneurs I think, get caught up in a lot of different ideas.

And I think that was what’s so helpful too, is that I just kind of put all my eggs in a basket. This is what I’m doing. I’m not gonna stop until we do it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Uh, in every entrepreneur’s journey, there’s always failures, mistakes made, [00:37:00] lessons learned, um, you know, uh, in your own entrepreneurship journey.

Has there been like one or two instances where you, you know, it was a big learning experience for you, or a failure, uh, lesson learned that, you know, what was that and what, what was the lesson that you learned and what is the lesson that other entrepreneurs can learn from your,

Addie Gundry of Pluie: uh, mistakes? Yeah. You know, people always say when you have a startup, you’re building this airplane in flight, right?

And so you’re just going and. You’re making decisions and you’re making so many decisions across every aspect of the business. From budgeting to Instagram posts too. I mean, ev like your mind kind of just, it’s everywhere. And so there’s oftentimes where, especially being a small team, it’s like, Should we go to this trade show?

I don’t know. I don’t know if we should. We don’t know. We, we’ve never been, would it be valuable? And so there’s, you have to just make the decision that makes sense in that moment. But there’s been a lot of times where, you know, we went to [00:38:00] a trade show and didn’t get a lot out of it and spent a lot of money and it’s like, okay, well now we understand it.

We understand trade shows. And I’ve always felt it was important though, to do it just to keep doing things because we can’t, at one point. Have people say, well, have you been to a trade show? Have you tried this? Have you tried this? And us just saying, oh, we haven’t, we haven’t, we haven’t. You know, you have to just keep trying things and obviously in a, you know, pragmatic way.

But I think that’s really important. And then a, a quality that entrepreneurs do have is just like, try, try, try, do, do, do. Uh, and not really be afraid. I do feel like, although, We’ve made mistakes in the past or made bad decisions. It’s, it’s really shaped our business and I think that’s something important to learn.

Like, was that the best idea? I don’t know. Or it’s amazing when things weren’t and then they become good ideas. So for example, if we gave some tables away in the beginning and then we thought it was made as big opportunity. And we’re like, wow, I guess, you know, we thought that was gonna be a bigger opportunity if we gave it to this business.

And then a year and a half later they come back or something, you know? So it’s like you also [00:39:00] have to least have some patience with your decision making. Um, same with the trade show. We have no idea if in two months someone emails us and say, I was at that trade show, like, now we’re ready to purchase. So it’s sort of like these constant decisions, but then you also have to be a little patient with kind of your learning, um, in terms of failure.

Um, And you just, yeah, there’s just a lot of things you don’t know. But I think the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs is that decision making fatigue. It’s just every day I am making decisions that don’t just affect me or the business, but our investors, our employees, and contractors. You know, it’s hard to hire.

It’s hard to. It’s just I feel very solely responsible with obviously my partner, Brittany and Olivia, to be suc make this a success. And I think that’s what gets really challenging with this sort of the constant decision making. Yeah. I mean, it’s just, we went back and forth a million times on this, like, should we launch, should we not?

Like when, you know, timing, like it’s just, it’s just you, you wish you had someone to just [00:40:00] tell you what would to do Sometimes.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, it is, it is a lot of responsibility and, and, um, you know, as you said, uh, a lot of the investors who had worked with you, like they trusted your execution ability. Right. And, you know, I’m sure I, I believe you have three children, uh, and two children and, and, uh, You know, I’m sure you know, you have your, uh, you know, home responsibility and then now you’re doing this business.

Um, and I’ve heard Kevin O’Leary, uh, a lot of the times praising. His, you know, women own businesses. He says that he received like the best, uh, you know, return on investment from mm-hmm. Uh, from women-owned own businesses. Can you share a little bit about, you know, how you work in terms of your own productivity, your own, uh, you know, ability to execute?

I mean, are you working like 60 hours a week? Can you share a little bit about how you manage your home life versus, you know, your professional [00:41:00] entrepreneurial life and, and what makes. What makes you so productive or you, what makes you able to execute so

Addie Gundry of Pluie: effectively? Yes. Great question. Hold on, let me just pa connect my dogs barking.

Paly come honey. Um, so that’s a great question about productivity. Oh my gosh. Can I stop? Just make sure she doesn’t bark. Yeah, yeah.

Okay. So people always ask me if I’ve worked around the clock, and I always say, I don’t work around the clock, but I think around the clock. And I think there’s something very different about that. If I’m at my son’s baseball game, I’m not at my laptop on Excel, but I might have a really good idea for our customer, right?

And so I think there’s just something powerful about being an entrepreneur and you’re [00:42:00] passionate about your product and your business because you really are constantly thinking. And it doesn’t mean you’re not present. I’m present with my kids, but. They’re really, it’s just, it’s so part of me now that I feel like I don’t have to be sitting at my computer to feel like I’m being productive.

Um, but also being a woman, and especially being a mom, you have to be very, very efficient and productive in the time you have. And so I think there’s actually something very powerful behind that. I often jog question. I wish I was like, you know, in my early twenties, I just work around the clock, but I get up and I get my kids to daycare and I sit and work.

All day. And I know that’s when I have time to work and so I get a lot done and I swear I, I can get more done in those hours than other people can get if they worked longer because I just, I just execute. And so I think that’s when I’ve had to learn because then I’ve had to learn it because I then pick up my kids at daycare.

I do dinner in bed. And I used to get back on at night for a long time and work, and I found it’s, it’s getting harder. I’m more [00:43:00] exhausted. Just, you know, I don’t know, kids are getting older. It’s like you just have to learn when you work well and how to be extremely present and effective when you’re working.

And so I think that’s, I mean, that. It’s just like that mental clarity is really important for an entrepreneur. Speaking to the kind of those investors, believing in how I can execute. It’s, it’s just very important for me to maintain that kind of mental health balance too, of this is when I work, this is when I don’t, and I think you’re just much more efficient and productive if you have those boundaries.


Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, now in your own career, you ha. You’ve been able to reinvent yourself kind multiple times now. Um, do you ever look back and regret leaving like your chef career? Like, I mean, I, I’m assuming that was kind of your first love or first passion. Um, do you regret Linda? Yeah, that’s a good question.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: I think, you know, sometimes I miss it. I miss the drill. Um, I miss the adrenaline of being in that setting, especially, uh, this is a very different day-to-day [00:44:00] life for me. And so, um, sometimes I miss that, but, I think what’s great about my old profession in the food world is that I still can do it, but at a hobby now.

So, you know, I get to cook for my kids who they like mac and cheese at this point, but, you know, I can cook for friends. I, I love to entertain, so I learned a lot from Martha Stewart. So I feel like I get to do what I loved about my old job, but for fun, uh, and so, I think it, the addiction of working out pretty well, but it was a big departure and a big risk to leave that behind, especially cause I built this career and person around it.

But, um, just feel that this is, this is meant to be.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Now this question is purely out of my own curiosity. Um, so working with Martha Stewart, like, I mean, of course she is kind of like, uh, another. Female who’s like really great at execution and like doing things right? Yes. What did you learn from her? Uh, what was it like working

Addie Gundry of Pluie: with her?

Yeah. I think the, the number one thing I learned and most people do from her is confidence. You know, [00:45:00] she’s incredibly confident because she knows her stuff. And I think it was there seeing this woman feel like whether she was or not, the smartest person in the room and kind of owning it and it’s, it was really.

It was neat, especially as a young woman in my twenties, just to see this, this role model of mine, you know, in a boardroom and with that level of confidence. And I think what it taught me is that if you do know what you’re, do you know, if you do learn and you do memorize your facts and your numbers, like imagine going to the Shark Tank.

You will have that confidence. You can always rely on what you know. And so I think part of me always wanting to learn and learn more, she was such, she embodied that and, and not only in terms of her desire and thirst for education and for new experiences, but then to project such confidence when she then knew things.

And so she was, um, she was very particular. Uh, she’s very nice. She’s very funny. Uh, she does work a lot, and she, she was a hard worker too, which was very [00:46:00] respected. You know, she wasn’t someone who would just tell people what to do. She was very, very hands-on and, um, you know, she’s, she’s brilliant. So it was an amazing, amazing experience.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Now I’m going to move on to our rapid fire segment. In this segment, I’m going to ask you a few quick questions that you have to answer, maybe in, you know, one or two words, or a sentence or, uh, so. First question is one book recommendation for entrepreneurs. Uh, and why

Addie Gundry of Pluie: I really like burn Rate by Andy Dunn.

So he’s the founder of Boas. Um, and it’s really interesting because it’s his perspective of running a startup, but his mental health and sort of how, you know, I feel like business again is very personal. Even you just mentioned like. I, I own a home, I have children. Like this is my livelihood. And so it’s really interesting his journey of building this business with the pressure and him kind of managing his mental health and mental illness.

So it’s interesting.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: An innovative product or idea in the current [00:47:00] e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel

Addie Gundry of Pluie: excited about. Okay, so I just was introduced to the founders of Kma, K I O M A, and it’s a very innovative car seat. It is stylish and it’s the safest one on the market of how it is designed.

It compounds itself. I couldn’t get into the physics here, but check it out. It’s very cool. And they just launched. Awesome.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip? I know you mentioned a little bit about, you know, thinking when, when you’re not doing something, but,

Addie Gundry of Pluie: uh, yeah.

Yes. Thank you. Yeah. I have my best thoughts and, you know, the strangest places, but. Um, we really love HubSpot, the program, not only to track crm our sales, but really I feel like having those dashboards and analytics are very helpful. I think the most important thing, and the hardest thing is in an entre as a, as a leader, is setting goals and sticking to the goals and really measuring the goals.

And so that helps where it’s like, [00:48:00] We know how many deals we need to make each month. We know what sales we need to get, so not falling behind and thinking it is so important to track it and track it daily. Like, where are we at today? It’s June 8th. Where are we at tomorrow? You know, so I love using HubSpot for those kind of analytics so that it keeps us, you know, on track.


Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Uh, a peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, I, um, I really, uh, become close with Claire Coder. She’s the founder of Aunt Flow and she’s, um, on a mission to provide, um, period products, women’s products to, for free throughout the United States and beyond.

And she’s what’s really interesting. Her business is very innovative and wonderful, especially with all the legislations surrounding this now. Um, But more importantly, she just, not only is she driven on the revenue side of this innovative product, but also, you know, she’s just really out there talking about the need and the legislation.

So she’s really inspiring to [00:49:00] to follow and to know.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And final question, best business advice you ever received or you would give to other entrepreneurs?

Addie Gundry of Pluie: The best thing or the most annoying thing I always received, and now I understand it and will continue to pass it on, is that it always takes twice as much time and twice the money.

So, so many people said like, it’s always gonna take, you know, double the time, double the money, raise the extra capital, like understand it’s gonna take longer. And I think, you know, being a very impatient person, it was always frustrating to hear that. But we’ve learned too. It’s just things just take a little longer.

And so persistence. Um, but patience is really important. Um, not only in just your decision making, but also in terms of money. Um, and then the other thing I just, I will say is that you really do become unstoppable if you don’t stop. You wake up and you work and you go and you go and you go until, obviously you need a break, but you just have to keep going and you will become unstoppable.[00:50:00]

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. I mean, uh, as you said that, um, another question that came to mind, uh, is in order for you to be able to wake up in the morning and really just go there, there has to be something that’s driving you. What is, what, what drives you in the morning to really just wake up and, and, you know, go all, all the day, you know, executing.

Addie Gundry of Pluie: Yeah, so I don’t drink any caffeine, which is also, so people are very surprised by that. Um, every morning I get into the cold water. I do cold water plunging immersion. But I think one thing I love to say and advice is that whatever motivates you to dip to your goal, it doesn’t matter. Like if you’re talking to high school students, And I say, you know, if you wanna get into Harvard to make your ex-boyfriend jealous, then that’s why you should get into Harvard.

Right? It’s like that will motivate you if you wanna, you know, run five miles a day because there’s a cute boy down the street, then run. You know, it’s like, it doesn’t need to be a traditional reason for motivation. And so I’m telling you, my motivation has [00:51:00] changed so many times where. Right now I wanna get on the Today Show so badly.

I wanna go on the Today Show. And so that is what’s motivating me. Or I wanna do this, or I really want this one accountant. So I think it’s just find a way to motivate yourself and don’t worry about what others care about. You know, like whatever motivates you will motivate you and it doesn’t need to be something like, I’m motivated to reach, like, you know, that’s money in sales by the end of the month.

Like of course I am, but that’s not really why I want, like, it’s not cause I really need the revenue or we do need the revenue, but it’s like what makes me actually excited? And it can be something as silly as kind of those examples, right? Because that’s, that’s what will truly then make you work.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Well, Addie, that was a great, uh, great, uh, discussion with you. Uh, thank you so much for sharing your story for, you know, um, you’re definitely, uh, I would say a rare entrepreneur that has really, uh, reinvented yourself again and again and, and, uh, and really ability to execute. So yeah, thank you so [00:52:00] much again for sharing your story, for inspiring, uh, our audience.

And, and, uh, thank you again for your time. For

Addie Gundry of Pluie: joining us. Oh, thank you so much. Please follow and join us on this journey.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Wish you all the very well. Thank you.


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