GeekMyTree entered the Shark Tank on December 11th debuting their Christmas lights with animated glowballs you can control with your smartphone.
Heavy interviewed founder Brad Boyink on how he started and his ambitious future plans. Here is what he told us.
1. He Had a Famous Light Show Outside His Home
In 2006, he started Holiday Road, a synchronized light show outside his home in Spring Lake, Mississippi. The spectacle attracted 70,000 people a year and became a fundraiser for many charities such as Make-A-Wish and Special Olympics. The light love eventually spread to 14 homes with a single musically synchronized display. “It was one of the first shows to use LED video screens, RGB pixels, LED lighting, and controlled wirelessly. It became the benchmark for mega shows,” he explained.
The show came to an end in 2012, when Boyink moved to a home on Lake Michigan. The following Christmas, he decided to decorate his tree with several hundred professional RGB pixels that remained from the show.
He posted the video above of his masterpiece on YouTube and then started getting countless messages asking how he did it. And that is how the idea for the company was born.
“There was no easy way to explain how it was done, and it was really expensive to do. It was then I came up with the idea of creating a Christmas tree light show system that was not only affordable, but so easy anyone could pull it out and set it up in minutes with no experience,” he explained.
2. There Are Over 100 Effects
The lights are pre-loaded with 16 effects, but through an app, you can get up to 100 effects that are either animated, gradients or involve solid colors. Some of the effects include sparkles, spinning spirals and moving paint.
The lights, which consist of LED glowballs, are made for 6-to-8-foot Christmas trees. They have an impressive life expectancy of 50,000 hours and are designed to be tangle-free.
He did tell us that there is a 2.0 version in the works that will employ the use of fully synchronized musical sequences.
3. The App Is Easy to Use
Boyink assured us that the app, which communicates through Bluetooth, was created to be very user-friendly. The video above demonstrates how it works.
You can operate it by simply pressing ‘Pair’ on the controller. Users can create a custom playlist, view and purchase additional effects and change their settings.
4. He Was Approached by the ‘Tank’ at a Christmas Expo
He demonstrated his first prototype in July of 2014 at the Christmas Expo in Biloxi, Mississippi. That is where he was approached by the show’s producers. “Although I started the process, I eventually declined as the product wasn’t far enough along and my father had to have open heart surgery,” he explained. “I was re-approached in the spring about appearing on Season 7. As the product was getting ready to go into production, the time was right.”
When asked if he was nervous once in the Tank, he replied:
Everyone is nervous in the Tank. I knew once I could get past the pitch I would be fine, and could be myself. I’m very energetic and felt at ease in front of all of them. I’m often asked how did you calm yourself down before walking down that hall. The answer is two cans of Red Bull just before walking out. Really, it’s true.
5. They’re Ready for the Holidays
The company is already prepped and ready to ship out Christmas orders. In fact, they’ve pre-packed GeekMyTrees in USPS Priority Mail boxes, so once an order is placed, they only have to put the postage label on it.
Next year, he plans to release the 2.0 system and the GeekMyWindow expansion set. That product will allow customers to hang Animated GlowBalls lights in their windows and display animated effects for other holidays.