In 1998, James Peet was a former police officer and park ranger turned PhD candidate in geography when he saw the poster advertising the University of Washington’s first Business Plan Competition (BPC). Peet’s entry was a geography-based web program for real estate use named Pacific Geographic.
That plan, which Peet describes as a “better alternative” to Zillow, didn’t advance to the final round of the BPC. Neither Peet nor his co-founder had any idea how to answer the questions the competition judges threw at them. “We were completely underprepared,” he said. “They asked us questions that had us going, ‘Huh?’”
Now, nearly 19 years later, Enumclaw-based Peet has written his second business plan. At 54, the former community college geography professor has launched Rainburst, a company inspired by his daughter’s desire to travel and live in a van for a year.
When his daughter announced that – instead of going to college – she’d travel the country in a van for a year after high school, Peet’s biggest concerns were safety and hygiene. How could she stay clean without having to rely on truck stop showers and convenience store sinks?
So he invented—and patented—the Simple Shower, which converts any one- or two-liter bottle into a portable shower with a lightweight “shower head” and an air tube that prevents that annoying “gulping” and collapsing of the bottle.
“The great thing is you can get a great shower with less than a gallon,” Peet said. “It takes about a liter to get wet and another two or three liters to rinse off.”
The shower is made of recycled materials, and, as Peet realized, is perfect not only for his daughter, but for backpackers and campers, as well as beach goers who want an easy way to rinse off. The gentle nature of the trickling water keeps hose-frightened pets calm and the small contraption is perfect for emergency preparedness kits.
The invention’s conception was the easy part, Peet said. He developed the contraption’s air tube by thinking of shotgunning a beer. “You put the beer up to your mouth, pop a hole in the bottom of the beer and hold it upside down – crack open the beer and the beer just flows right out!” Peet said. He used this same model to create a smooth, even-flowing water stream for the Simple Shower.
Distribution was more of a challenge, and Peet ran into some of those same questions he couldn’t answer in 1998. This time, he knew how to answer them. He started with Amazon, where Simple Shower has earned a 4.5 star rating and customers who write that it’s not only “simple,” but “ingenious” and “awesome” as well. “Why didn’t I invent this? It’s such a great idea,” one reviewer states.
Peet plans to distribute the Simple Shower into camping and wilderness stores nationwide. So far it’s only in local establishments. From there, he sees endless possibilities: baby baths, for use by hospice workers and nurses, backpackers, and more. Any situation where a portable, handheld shower is necessary, the solution is simple: the Simple Shower.