From Dishes to Diapers: Pluie Founder and CEO Addie Gundry’s Journey to Innovation

Pluie’s innovation and industry-disrupting design is the brainchild of founder and mom of two Addie Gundry, but reimagining public restrooms to better serve families wasn’t exactly on her radar even a few short years ago. 

Addie began her career in the kitchen, studying at Michelin-starred restaurants, honing her craft in iconic kitchens from California to New York, and even working alongside Martha Stewart. She appeared on The Food Network, authored several cookbooks, and designed food and beverage products at a Chicago innovation agency.

So it may come as a surprise that it was a lunch out at one of her go-to restaurants that would inspire her to leave the culinary industry behind. She and her husband ventured out with their son Cooper, who was an infant at the time, for a break from cooking at home. Part way into the meal, they joined the true parenting ranks when Cooper had a blowout in the middle of the restaurant. 

As often as parents encounter that dreadful experience, Addie and her husband quickly realized how horrific public changing tables can be, and have been, for decades. The men’s room didn’t even offer a place to change a diaper, and the women’s restroom’s table was too dirty to use. It was that moment that Addie took a stance for parents everywhere and declared, “I think we can make a better one.” 

And that’s what she did. She left behind serving dishes and dedicated herself to serving families. Having previously lived in the South of France before starting the business, Addie fondly recalls how it would rain almost every single day and that always made her feel clean and refreshed. Knowing she wanted to replicate this feeling for families out in public, she chose to use the brand name “Pluie”, which means rain in French.

With the bold mission to change the table for ALL parents and caregivers in ALL public restrooms across the country, Addie gathered a talented team and dove into the world of premium consumer product design. She wanted a product that was cleaner, safer, more convenient, and more comfortable – everything that every changing table on the market for the past three decades has lacked. 

Pluie’s signature differences include: 

  • A patented UV-C light technology behind a child-safe barrier known to kill 99.9% of germs including influenza, e.coli, and coronavirus that sanitizes the surface in less than 60 seconds after every single use
  • Plush foam cushion that is water-resistant and leak-proof
  • Retractable, sturdy safety strap that remains in the ‘clean zone’ when not in use
  • Multipurpose handles that serve as diaper bag or purse hooks and easy opening and closing of the table

Three years, two table iterations, and a patent later, Pluie is improving life for parents on the go across the country. In New York City, Oula – a modern maternity center, welcomes moms and babies in a clean, safe, nurturing environment. In Chicago, fans can feel safer taking their infants and toddlers to the White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field or CVS’s HealthHub. In Houston, Adair Restaurant Group ensures parents don’t have the same experience the Gundry family did. In Montana, Bozeman Health installed Pluie to live out their mission of providing patients with a safe and healthy environment. And in Scottsdale, Desert Mountain Golf Club uses Pluie to send a message that they’re a place for the whole family to enjoy.

For Addie, entrepreneurship, or #femtech #mompreneurship if you will, and passion to do better has opened so many doors to learning and growing, an example she hopes inspires more women. According to Chicago Booth, female founders received only around 2-3% of VC funding in recent years. Under Addie’s leadership, Pluie was able to secure $1 million in seed funding in 2020. Nature reports that only around 16% of patents are held by women or teams consisting of women, and Addie is among them, holding a patent for the UV-C light and hospital-grade technology that sanitizes the diaper changing surface in less than 60 seconds. 

Healthcare facilities, retail outlets, sporting venues, hotels, restaurants, airports, and amusement parks are taking note, understanding the importance of investing in the guest experience of the families they serve. And so are major media outlets with their pulse on the latest and greatest ideas. Fast Company named Pluie a 2021 World Changing Idea and Inc. Magazine named Addie to their prestigious Female Founders 100 list of trailblazing women, an exceptional and diverse group of women transforming every major industry in America. 

Pluie is committed to Changing the Table™ by making sure all parents and caregivers on the go have a clean, safe and comfortable option in every public restroom. 

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