Leah Stigle moved from apartment to apartment every year in her twenties. It was an experience that taught her to cherish the simple things, like a good hot shower.
Stigle was an entrepreneur who wanted to build an environmentally conscious company from the start. He first worked at TOMS Shoes and then at a fashion brand that was experimenting with on-demand production. Now she’s tackling another issue: how to have the ultimate shower that’s not wasteful, but also relaxing.
Stigle co-founded Caravan, an offshoot of CAA, with Leonard Brody who developed Caravan Hi, a smart shower company offering data, water saving and hydrotherapy. In addition to tracking your water usage, hai sells infusions — vegan, clean, cruelty-free tablets that can turn a shower into a spa.
“As a mother of two small children now, that time in the shower is a time for me to reset and relax. Plus, we spend about 90,000 minutes of our lives in the shower, which is too much time to settle for a mediocre experience that wastes water,” says Stigle.
The infusions come in three varieties: energy boost (with a multivitamin and caffeine); relax (with lavender and B12); and recovery (with eucalyptus and vitamin D3). Stigle says she’s a big fan of repair, especially post-workout.
Each infusion is packaged in a compostable wrapper: The paper itself can be tossed down your shower drain, Stigle says, or, if you prefer, the trash can. There is no plastic in the packaging, not even that of the shower head itself. Rather, it’s all made with recycled materials that can then be recycled themselves. “This was very important to me,” she notes.
The infusions aren’t just for their scents, but contain vitamins that, according to Brody, a self-proclaimed “shower nerd,” are better absorbed in the shower when your pores are open. Plus, they improve the overall experience of the shower and help break down some of that hard water. hai Infusions, he adds, are actually formulated to not only provide your skin and hair with vitamin-enriching health benefits, but also maintain the overall cleanliness and health of your shower and water.
Each of the tablets contains sodium bicarbonate and citric acid; in addition to their skin benefits (such as cell regeneration and exfoliation), these ingredients act as natural cleansers for the shower itself, effectively dissolving dirt and grease in your water, he says. In addition, both ingredients help remove excess soap scum and limescale deposits and soften hard water, which is an effect you can feel on your skin. (Note, the infusions will be available for purchase in January 2023.)
And over time, you’ll likely see the benefits of these added vitamins, he adds.
hai, which is short for “hiatus” (although the founders acknowledge the spelling is different) has an added bonus: an app that tracks your water usage, which in a drought state like California can be a useful tool to ensure that you don’t go overboard. Plus, an LED light in the shower head alerts you mid-shower if you’ve exceeded your “recommended” water consumption for the day, encouraging you to finish it.
It’s a smart tool, says Stigle. “By giving people the tools to change their water habits, we are creating a movement to better understand our impact on the environment than ever before. Our goal is to fuse personal care and sustainability with breakthrough technology.”
The showerheads are currently on sale at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as on their website, with the infusions debuting next month.
Brody points out that impact has been at the core of the company from the start. Not only is the shower head designed to monitor the water used, it’s also made of stainless steel, as opposed to chrome-plated plastic, which he says is “bad for the environment.” In fact, there have been concerns about the effect of chrome-plated plastics in manufacturing for years; yet companies are turning to it because it’s a cheaper option.
But Stigle and Brody aren’t afraid to push manufacturers to drive their innovation. “This isn’t my first rodeo where I go to a manufacturer and ask them to do something different,” says Stigle.
Last year, hai raised $6 million to build this company from Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, A-Rod Corp, The Najafi Companies (owners of the Phoenix Suns and McLaren F1), Amity Supply (Jesse Derris), social media stars Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck’s Animal Capital (Marshall Sandman), former board member and early investor in Peloton, Howard Draft & Local Globe.
“Showers are a huge category that represent one of the most important self-care rituals in the home. We felt we could build the space’s hero product by meeting customer needs to take their current experience to the next level while honoring their commitment to the planet,” says Brody.
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