That’s what we asked when reader Steve in Colorado sent this story idea to our editorial team. Turns out the product name is fairly literal and there is quite a story and woman behind it.
SHEWEE is a portable urinating device for women developed by UK entrepreneur and inventor Samantha Fountain. The idea first came to her while backpacking around Europe and sparked her mission… to spare women from ever having to “pop-a-squat” again.
Sam continued to flesh out the initial concept for SHEWEE when she was earning her university degree in 3D Product Design. She wrote her dissertation on how to improve the facilities in public restrooms, something she believes is a concern for most women.
“It struck me how much easier it was for a guy to go to the toilet in a place where there were no facilities or nowhere to squat behind, so I came up with a way of effectively urinating like a man”, Sam explains on the U.S. version of the SHEWEE site. “Men could just stroll up and be on their way in a few seconds, while women were having to take off backpacks and clothing and then attempting to find somewhere to squat, all the time worrying about touching things for fear of germs, keeping their dignity and keeping warm. SHEWEE does away with all of this fuss.”
Her idea won Sam the James Dyson Product Design Award in 1999, which included a six month work placement with James Dyson himself, helping to design a robotic vacuum cleaner. This opportunity gave her the chance to work with plastic manufacturers, and increased her determination to make the design a success.
Today, thirteen years later, Sam’s company – SHEWEE Ltd – supplies over 85% of ‘outdoor’ stores and a growing number of pharmacies in the UK and has distributors in over 15 countries worldwide. SHEWEE is also NATO approved and supplied to the brave women of the U.S. Army.
Made of molded plastic, SHEWEE can be used any time a woman has got to go, but there are specific situations when it can really come in handy. For example, if you spend a lot of time outdoors and enjoy things like skiing, camping, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting (we wonder if Georgia Pellegrini knows about this). We’re not sure we’d be comfortable whipping out the SHEWEE on the golf course as the site suggests, so we’ll take it on a case by case usage basis. But, we do see how it can be a life saver just about anywhere that there’s a lack of proper bathroom facilities or in the dreaded nasty, public restroom where you hover so high above that questionable toilet seat that your thighs start to burn. Come to think of it… how much easier would giving a urine sample at the doctor’s office be with this handy personal funnel?
Obviously this product brings a chuckle with it. The thought of it may even be a wee bit too much for the squeamish or modest. But, we applaud Sam for recognizing a problem and creating the solution, which she then launched into a very serious and successful business for herself that benefits women all over the world who want the option to take a stand when they feel the urge. Ingenuity like this is one sign of a true Woman You Should Know.
We were relieved (no pun intended) to read the SHEWEE return policy on their U.S. site, “Due to the personal nature of this product, all sales are final.” Phew!
How To SHEWEE…
’cause we know you want to know, even if you aren’t willing to admit it.
- Undo pants. Pull down the front of your panties or push to one side. Place SHEWEE securely against your body.
- Direct outlet pipe away from body and out of pants. Be sure SHEWEE is positioned in an effective and comfortable position. Aim urine to a suitable place; into a toilet, a container or away from feet.
- Once relieved, pull funnel away and use to wipe any final drips. Shake funnel. Replace in resealable bag.
The SHEWEE is washable and reusable.