Bottle Breacher originally entered the Shark Tank on Season 6, airing on November 7, 2014. They make 50-caliber bottle openers, made from recycled bullets. The show revisited the company, and that episode reruns on March 27.
Heavy interviewed Eli and Jen Crane on their business and how it has grown since they got a deal on the show. “The first week after we aired on Shark Tank we sold 60 times the normal amount we would in a week,” the couple told us. “The power of the Shark Tank is amazing, it’s like getting on a train that you can’t get off and if you left anything behind it’s now gone. You have to learn forever how to do business at that pace.”
1. A Husband & Wife Team Are Behind It
When asked what are the pros and cons to working with their significant other, the couple answered, “Working with your spouse is amazing and challenging all at the same time. We build each other up and bounce ideas off one another daily. You always have someone there for a second opinion 24/7.”
They have two children, and are sure to maintain a healthy work/family balance. “We understand when one of us has to work late, so we always make sure one of us is home nightly to be with our two children,” they said. “Mom or Dad is always home for dinner, if not both as much as possible.”
A negative aspect, they noted, is the amount of time they spend side by side. “The downside is that we are together all the time,” they said. “We decided to have separate offices since we both do such different jobs for the business. This has really helped and since doing so, some days we only see each other for lunch.”
2. As a Navy SEAL, Eli Learned That ‘Calm Is Contagious’
Crane was a Navy SEAL, having gone on three combat deployments to Iraq. He loves hiring veterans, and they comprise 20 percent of their staff. What he learned as a Seal has helped with his business on a daily basis. One of those disciplines is maintaining calm under pressure.
Eli said, “One of the things we learned in the Teams is ‘Calm is contagious.’ In high stress environments and combat it’s very easy to lose your cool and your nerve. We have learned that “Calm breads calm.'”
He continued, “When you’re the leader of a business or in combat, if you start freaking out, then everyone around you will do the same. Running a start-up, especially one with huge national exposure, can be very stressful. It’s important to be passionate and communicate your intentions and directions but do so clearly, concisely and with confidence.”
3. Kevin & Mark Have Supported Them
Back in November, the Cranes asked the Sharks for $150,000 for 10 percent equity stake in their company. Mark and Kevin split the deal, putting in $75,000 each and getting 10 percent a piece.
The couple is grateful for the support they’ve received from the investors and their teams. As for Cuban’s involvement, they said, “Mark’s team is strong in many departments. We always have access to an accountant, business specialist and web development team.”
Their contact with Mr. Wonderful has been just as positive. “Kevin and Alex, the President of O’Leary Ventures, is always on standby to answer legal questions and they are huge in helping us plan for the future, they explained. “Kevin has also been very encouraging during adversity we have faced and given us very solid perspective.”
The new entrepreneurs faced a challenge after the show, having too many backorders that they could not fulfill. When asked how Kevin and Mark advised them, they said:
Mark said, “You better figure it out or you won’t be in business long!” Kevin told us while visiting and analyzing the situation that we were going to miss our window if we didn’t clear out our backorder. Mark also cautioned against making large changes in the middle of the storm.
4. Eastwood & Cooper Got Bottle Breachers After ‘American Sniper’
Eli’s friend Kevin played himself in the film and asked for Breachers as gifts for the cast and crew, including Eastwood, who directed, and Bradley, who starred as SEAL Chris Kyle. “I saw this as a major opportunity and complete honor to make some special gifts for Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper.”
Athletes also use the product. “We just made some for NASCAR’s Earnhardt family and I also have a picture on my wall of former Lakers Kareem and AC Green proudly holding their Breachers that were given to them during a meeting,” he said.
In addition to the pride he feels in seeing these celebrities use his products, he is aware of the marketing value it provides as well. “I love getting Bottle Breachers into the hands of celebrities and key influencers. It’s great marketing and really cool to see the very positive responses from people who have everything.” he said.
5. Eli Showed Up at 3 A.M. for His ‘Tank’ Audition
After coaxing from a mentor, Eli applied to Shark Tank online. Although he never heard back, his mentor then searched the internet for casting calls, and found one in San Diego about a month and a half later.
In May of 2014, he got there and began waiting in line at 3 in the morning, along with fellow hopeful candidates. He finally pitched to the casting directors at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Two days later, he got an email saying he had advanced to the next round of interviews.
“Though my pitch was only three minutes, I definitely caught her attention with my story of being a former SEAL, and selling over $80,000 worth of the product just in the previous month in my one-car garage.” Eli said of his audition experience.
He also brought props- pictures of Eastwood holding his Brecher. “I showed her pictures of Clint Eastwood grinning ear to ear with his Breacher,” he said.
Also on this episode: