A Chicago-based startup co-founded by an Indiana native has installed its self-sanitizing diaper changing tables at The Fashion Mall in Indianapolis. Pluie says the move is part of a pilot project with Indy-based Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) that could lead to expansion to other retail properties throughout the country. Pluie uses a patented UV-C light system that activates when the changing table is closed and sanitizes the table within 60 seconds.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, co-founder and chief operating officer Brittany Hizer calls the pilot with Simon an honor.
“It really speaks to their dedication to improving the guest experience,” she said. “We also understand what this means in terms of the future success of Pluie and our ability to scale the business with partners like Simon Property Group given their size and expanse across the country as well as the world.”
Pluie was developed in 2018 by Hizer and Chief Executive Officer Addie Gundry. The company received a patent for its technology in 2019.
The changing table features a leak-proof foam cushion, retractable safety straps designed to not collect dirt when not in use, and multi-purpose handles to keep bags and purses from being placed on a contaminated surface.
“With two children’s play areas, numerous child-focused retailers, family-friendly dining options, and events like visits from the Easter Bunny, The Fashion Mall is a destination for families in Indiana, and we’re proud to install Pluie changing tables to ensure they feel welcome and comfortable for the duration of their stay with us,” Danielle Parker, area director of marketing and business development for Simon, said in written remarks.
In addition to The Fashion Mall, Pluie is currently available at HealthLinc in Mishawaka and Cathedral High School’s Innovation Center in Indy. The company plans to add Pluie at The Bridgewater Club in Carmel and Wright’s 360 Academy, which has multiple central Indiana locations.
Outside of Indiana, the company has installed Pluie at the Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, home of the White Sox, as well as Legoland and the Peppa Pig theme park in Florida.
Hizer and Gundry are currently the only two employees at Pluie. The company utilizes contractors to manufacture and install the changing tables.
However, Hizer says Pluie is currently in the midst of a seed round of funding, which it plans to use to hire more employees, particularly in sales and marketing. She says brand awareness is critical for the startup.
“We’re a B2B business, but obviously, we also need to win the hearts and minds of families, parents, caregivers, and that’s where we also see Simon Property Group – specifically The Fashion Mall – really helping us drive that visibility and get consumer brand awareness.”
Hizer says she and Gundry envision Pluie developing more products beyond changing tables. While she wouldn’t go into specifics, she says there are several ideas in the works.