How Justin Forsett Invented His Own Second Act

With ShowerPill, the former NFL running back is bringing an innovative hygiene product to a mass market

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Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

A playing career in pro sports—especially in a violent sport like football—can be a fleeting vocation. But with individual entrepreneurship becoming more mainstream, many former athletes are showing their young fans that in order to achieve ultimate success, it’s important to have passions and business ideas on the side. Former Baltimore Ravens great Justin Forsett is a prime example of someone pivoting into an entrepreneurial role after retiring from sports, thanks to a product he invented back in his collegiate playing days at the University of California at Berkeley.

During his playing career, which featured a Pro Bowl season in 2014-2015, Forsett unveiled ShowerPill, a body hygiene product athletes could use after working out. The best way to describe it is as a shower replacement product. Forsett developed it because he worked out several times a day and was tired of taking so many post-workout showers. He’s been honing ShowerPill ever since.

ShowerPill recently made its public retail debut in stores and will be carried in 1,800 Targets nationwide, a program that started at the end of December.

“When I got the news, I can honestly tell you I was more excited to hear that than to hear when I got drafted in 2008 to the Seattle Seahawks,” Forsett tells us. Forsett spoke with ONE37pm about his invention and what it’s like to go into business with your close friends.

Tell us about ShowerPill. How did you pitch it?

I created this product a few years ago with a couple of my teammates. Long story short, I was training three or four times a day as a professional athlete and I could not take three or four showers. It was just impossible. So I wanted to create a solution for those times when a shower was optimal but not possible. I created this product called ShowerPill, which is an antibacterial wipe, a disposable washcloth that you can use to wipe down and clean off after workouts, practice, soak sessions, Pilates, you name it. If you’re traveling, it’s that on-the-go shower when you need it.

You went into business with two of your teammates at Cal Berkeley. How did you guys nail the work-life balance?

Going into business with teammates was a seamless transition because in order to build a great business, you need a solid team. Being football players and being on the same team together, we understand what it takes to develop a good team with our chemistry. By developing and setting a standard and a culture, we understand communication and trust.

Being transparent is key. We have those relationships where we can be openly honest with one another and push each other to do our best and no one’s feelings are going to get hurt. We have this meeting every Monday that we call “Tell the Truth Monday.” We got it from Pete Carroll, who was my coach in Seattle. On Mondays we watched a film of Sunday’s game to get together as a team. Now, normally, you watch the highlights of the game or the review of the game in individual groups, so the running backs watch it with the other running backs, the receivers watch it with the receivers, etc. But with “Tell the Truth Monday” with Pete Carroll, he would watch the film with everybody. So you could see if the running back made a mistake or the offensive lineman—everybody was held accountable. That was so key for us, for that organization to grow and win the Super Bowl and be as dominant as they are. The accountability and the transparency were there.

We do the same thing as a business. We have “Tell the Truth Monday,” where we look and say “OK, what are our strengths? What are our weaknesses? How do we grow from here? Are you being accountable in this area of the business?” And we feel that because our relationship is so strong, and it comes from a real, genuine, authentic place, we’re able to push ourselves and push each other more than a regular person would do. If you just go into a regular nine-to-five, you don’t have the prior relationship.

How does it feel seeing your product available for purchase in major stores such as Target?

It’s pretty cool, a pretty big accomplishment, a milestone for us. They just put our products on their shelves at the end of December. We love Target—it’s a huge brand. To be on their shelves, you know, it’s an honor. 

What’s the future of ShowerPill, in your eyes?

I really believe that we’re going to grow at the rate of fitness. As people become more fit and health conscious, they’re going to be on the go. Everybody’s on the go now, traveling. They’re trying to fit in workouts throughout the day, so while they’re trying to fit in workouts with a small amount of time, I want to be able to create those personal-care products for their needs. The ShowerPill body wipe is just our initial product into the market, but continue to look out for us as we continue to create some really dope products.

This piece is part of our monthlong series featuring the 30 Most Entrepreneurial Athletes. For other entries in the series, head to our 30MEA page.

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