The three founders are back on the show on February 13th, so we can see how they’ve grown since they got a deal.
Heavy interviewed co-founder Sal DePaola.
1. Lori Gave Them a Deal
The boys knew they wanted Lori Greiner from the beginning, but they were first scheduled to pitch to Daymond instead. “We had to fight so that they changed the day we pitched to a day when Lori was on the show. Thankfully, our producers helped us out.”
Their persistence paid off and Lori saw the potential in the company. Although it was cut out of the show, during the taping, Lori said that their company was the next Scrub Daddy, which is the highest-grossest Shark Tank product in the show’s history.
“I think we were all shocked by the Scrub Daddy comment,” DePaola said. “We were gunning for Lori from the beginning, but after she said that, we didn’t even want to take a chance listening to Barbara. We knew we would take the deal with Lori.”
When asked how Lori has mentored them, he said:
Lori has been amazing, from helping re-brand to helping seal the deal with some major retailers. She has been there for us when we needed her and has guided us every step of the way. We couldn’t ask for anything more and are all way more than satisfied with our decision to do the deal with her.
2. It Keeps Brushes Wet for 6 Weeks
In early 2011, DePaola co-founded the company with John DePaola, his cousin, and their friend Anthony Caputo.
By spring, they had hand-made the first prototype. “Me and John made it in his garage. John’s the handy one of the bunch and did a great job designing it out of sheets of plastic and a razor knife,” DePaola explained.
The covers are both lab certified to keep brushes and rollers wet for up to 6 weeks. However, that time depends on the conditions. “The way it works, is like Tupperware. It holds close to 100% humidity, which is what keeps it fresh. The more you open the cover with a brush or roller, in it, the faster it will dry out. It will also dry faster if you keep it in high heat or in direct sunlight,” he explained.
3. Barbara Thought Sal Was the Best Looking
The idea for the cover came from DePaola, who has been painting since he’s 16. “I had the idea for The Paint Brush Cover in mind for a long time. It always bothered me that there was no way to store a brush after use, or during use. The cheap cardboard it came with didn’t work, and zip lock bags and plastic wrap were messy. I knew I could come up with something that solved both problems,” he said.
During the show, Barbara Corcoran asked who came up with the idea, and when DePaola said it was him, she said, “I knew it, and you’re the best looking one too!”
“Barbara definitely had a thing for me,” DePaola said. “The producers told me to flirt with her. They knew she would love me and it paid off. It got a bidding war going between her and Lori.”
The war he’s talking about between the two female sharks did not bother the trio. “It was quite entertaining actually,” DePaola said of the exchange. “We had hoped to get both of them involved in the deal, but Lori wanted us all to herself.”
4. After the Show, They Introduced the Roller Cover
Since their episode aired, the men have introduced the above Roller Cover. They’ve enjoyed an explosion in internet sales as well. They’ve also gotten into big box retailers like Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, Ace, and True Value.
They’ve also had to hire more employees to keep up with their growth. “We now have a full-time staff and part-time warehouse workers.” The company also plans to release more products in the near future. “All painting-related as of right now. We also plan on creating some non related products in the distant future. Our goal is to make the lives of painters, and DIY’ers much easier,” he said. With all of us being painters, we know what a tedious job it can be and we know the ways to make it much more enjoyable.”
Since their orders have been increasing drastically, the boys are close to signing a deal with a US manufacturer. Now, the covers are made in China.
5. Sal Was Nervous During the Pitch, But Was Saved
“If you watched the show then you can see how insanely nervous I was pitching,” he said. “We were all nervous, but I was by far the worst. I’m not the best on TV, even though I’ve been on TV a few times. I started off ok, but then got so nervous that I fumbled my lines. It also didn’t help that we switched a couple of my lines around the night before. Thank God my cousin John was able to save the day and help me get back on track.”
He continued, “After the pitch, it got much easier. A few questions in and we all felt at ease. You realize that the sharks are just normal people, like you and me.”
During their entire pitch, Mark Cuban did not contribute to the conversation. When asked about why he thought that was, DePaola said, “I think Mark was just waiting. He never seemed like he was going out, and I think he loved the fact that we were quick with our answers, and that we went out to local stores to sell the covers the minute we got to LA. We all think that he was either going to make an offer, or jump in with Barbara. Him and Barbara were whispering back and forth to each other the whole time.”