From mud runs to Shark Tank, Kressa Peterson tells us about The Shower Toga and how to keep going when you’re overwhelmed.
In this sponsored post we interview Kressa Peterson, the founder and CEO of Shower Toga.
WYV: Tell us a little bit about your professional background as well as who you are, what you currently do.
Kressa Peterson: My name is Kressa Peterson and I am 52 years young. I am married with 2 beautiful children and a grandchild. I have always been an entrepreneur. Up until 2 years ago, I was a broker for sport horses coming into the United States for show jumping. I started Shower Toga 2 years ago.
WYV: How did you come up with the idea for Shower Toga?
KP: Shower Toga was a product that was never intended to become a full-blown retail product. I invented Shower Toga for ME. I do mud runs all over the world. Some people know them as Spartan Races. When we are done racing we are covered in dirt and mud and grime etc and then you get a water hose station but you can not get cleaned up with compression clothes on so you simply rinse off the best you can and drive home miserable. I just did not want to do that anymore so I made a waterproof changing garment for me out of diaper cover material with forest animals on it. At first, everyone made fun of me but after they watched me use my silly little invention people started asking to borrow it and the light bulb went off. I started a Kickstarter campaign, hired an attorney to help with the patent process (even though I seriously could not afford it), and hit the ground running.
WYV: How did you develop the idea into the product that it is today?
KP: I had to figure out manufacturing by myself which is really difficult when you have zero background in retail or manufacturing. It took me about 6 months to go through all the bullshit to find the right company. That I think was one of the most difficult parts of Shower Toga. I then had to really work on a marketing strategy as nothing like Shower Toga existed so it was also about educating the public on the massive benefits of Shower Toga. I knew I was going to need to shoot for the moon with Shower Toga so I decided I was going to work my ass off to get on Shark Tank (that was actually the hardest thing I did, lol and the BEST). Shower Toga is one of those products that you don’t realize how much it can help you until you put it on for the first time and use it for the first time. That is when the magic happens and I simply love to be there when it does happen for people. It is truly rewarding.
WYV: What is the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur?
KP: Honestly it is the time that you really no longer have for breaks now and then. I am so focused on my company that I struggle with finding any time to decompress. I don’t balance that very well and I would love to say that I will work on that but in reality, I have a goal and a vision to make Shower Toga not only a household name but something that really genuinely helps people. I had a double mastectomy and I wish to God I had something like Shower Toga then when I was at the gym in the locker rooms. It would have really given me the privacy I wanted in my reconstruction surgical process.
WYV: What do you love the most about being an entrepreneur?
KP: The ability to actually have created something that really helps people not only be way more comfortable as they can clean up after any activity ie beach, locker room, camping, hiking, music festivals, elder care for assisting the elderly in the shower and the list just goes on and on. I love that I get emails or messages every single day from people in the LGBTQ community who love and appreciate the Shower Toga for changing in situations where privacy is important to all of us. Mark Cuban and I both had hundreds of messages after Shark Tank aired from college students in the LGBTQ community who reached out to say that Shower Toga was something they were going to use in the gym locker rooms. It just made me feel good to know that I came up with something that was actually helpful and made people feel good. That is by far my favorite part of being an entrepreneur.
WYV: How do you see your product/company expanding over the next few years?
KP: We are working hard right now on a Shower Toga for disaster relief that is made out of a material that will break down in the environment. Right now Shower Toga lasts for years, which is awesome if you are buying it for yourself but if I am going to potentially send out thousands of Shower Togas to an area that just had a natural disaster I insist on it being more biodegradable. I love our planet and would like for future generations to be able to enjoy it as well and if we keep doing things to fuck it up well you know what will happen. I will not be part of the problem. We are also breaking into the music festival market and the surf market. There are so many avenues to move into that I have to take it one step at a time.
WYV: What do you wish you had known before starting Shower Toga and what advice would you have to offer newer entrepreneurs?
KP: Be careful what you wish for. I mean that. I am a total hustler and I don’t mind working my ass off. I wanted to start a company I was proud of. I wanted to do it my way and with total respect for my customers. I wanted to promote Shower Toga to groups and people that have a passion for equality and use my Shark Tank platform for good. I want to be a voice for all the things I believe are important in this short life and to do that you have to hustle and work really hard.
You need to be aware that being an entrepreneur will test you in so many ways that you never thought of so make sure you have the spirt and you believe in what you are doing 1000%. Also, don’t let anyone bring you down. I had so many people make fun of me and Shower Toga and say awful things to me via social media and it really hurt. I had some low times but I knew not one of those people had ever used a Shower Toga and they were just mean and ugly people so I did my best to ignore it. Now I know that you have to have tough skin in order to ignore people who are just simply mean spirited. They are there to show you how strong you are and look who is laughing now! If you have a great idea go for it and don’t let anyone beat you down.