Recently, I read a New York Times Op Ed article, which discussed how student athletes were, often, less deserving of their college admission. As a former college athlete, I was enraged. So much so that I wrote a response. It was a long rant about the amazing capabilities of athletes, especially considering that, in addition to attending class, they devote nearly forty hours a week to their sport. Some even have to add a part-time job in the mix.
You hear plenty of people downplay the intellectual capacity of athletes. I’m happy to say that today’s daily inspiration comes from three former Cal Football players. Justin Forsett, Wale Forrester and Wendell Hunter all attended the University of California, Berkeley. Justin was a running back, Wale was a defensive back, and Wendell Hunter was a line backer. Justin continues to play in the NFL. Wendell, a former member of the Buffalo Bills, is now an ER technician, and Wale became a firefighter. Little did any of them know, that years after meeting each other, they’d create their own product, ShowerPill.
ShowerPill, a portable body wipe for use when you can’t reach a shower, definitely has good creative karma. While in college, Wale contracted Bacterial Meningitis. He and his teammates became increasingly concerned about hygiene. Justin, Wale and Wendell saw this as an opportunity to create a product that provided a valuable service and could save lives. Thus, the ShowerPill came to be.
They’ve found a way to merge their talents, resources and team working skills to form a company that’s on the rise. Thankfully, I got the chance to ask Justin a few questions about the trio’s experience starting a new business.
You’re used to being a part of a team, how has this carried over to your business?
Playing on a team has shaped the way that we run our company. Accountability, attention to detail, execution and passion are concepts that proved to be essential in the team sport atmosphere. Now, these are proving to be equally important in the business world. I think that being on a team develops your interpersonal relationship skills and also enables you to display a certain level of focus that is unique to the world of competitive athletics.
How supportive has the NFL been as far as encouraging entrepreneurship among its athletes?
The NFL has been extremely supportive. Players and team officials are some of ShowerPill’s best customers
Once you all had the idea, what was your next step?
We researched to see if there was another product like ours on the market. Then we began to search for manufacturers that would be able to make this wipe.
What’s been the most difficult aspect of the startup?
Money and time. In a startup you either run out of time, or you run out of money. It has been difficult for us to take advantage of every opportunity because of money, and it has been impossible to capitalize off of other opportunities because of our lack of staff. So, we have to be extremely strategic in how we use both of those precious resources. (time and money)
What has been the main concern of buyers when purchasing a new product?
Their main concern has been our production capabilities. They want to be sure that we’re capable of sustainable production.
What’s the best advice you’d give someone looking to start their own company?
Just do it. You can spend years researching, praying and planning. Until you do it, it won’t get done.
Philanthropy is an important part of your life. How does this fit into ShowerPill’s corporate DNA?
At ShowerPill we have instilled a culture of charity. Every member working for our company has a separate community service project that they are working on. It’s not a company policy, it’s more so our company culture.
I am thankful for my wife, my family, friends, and business partners that support me in everything I do. I am blessed!
Thank you, Justin! I’ll be keeping a few ShowerPills on hand for emergency post-workout meetings. Go Bears!
For more info on ShowerPill:
Good luck to everyone reading, as you continue to push forward implementing your ideas.
“People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing. A leader’s job is to help people have vision of their potential”
– John Porter