Brazyn entered the Shark Tank with The Morph, a foam roller that uses a patented nub shape that works to relieve trigger points in your muscles. It’s portable and when collapsed, is smaller than two folded t-shirts.
We interviewed Nate Lawrie, the former NFL player whose back injury he suffered while playing for the New Orleans Saints led to its creation. Since launching in December of 2015, he’s enjoyed hearing customers’ appreciation for his innovative design. “We’ve had military members using it while deployed overseas, Olympians using it in Rio, professional athletes of all types using it in a bunch of different countries,” he said.
In 2012, he built the first prototype in his garage with basic stock material from a hardware store, and when it didn’t fall apart after he tried it, he knew he was onto something. “I’m a big guy and so I half-expected the thing would collapse as soon as I got on it, but it didn’t! That’s when I knew the product could be really cool,” he said.
As for the future of Brazyn, Lawrie said they are developing new products to release early next year and will soon be launching on Amazon.
Here’s what else he told us about…
How Foam Rollers Saved His NFL Career
This product was inspired by my days playing football. During my third year in the NFL, when I was playing for the Saints, I suffered a season ending back injury. I had a debilitating herniation in two of my lumbar discs. I would scarf anti-inflammatories going into practices and games because I didn’t want to let pain get in the way of my dreams. It wasn’t sustainable. As the Saints went on to the NFC Championship game that year, I was lying at home recovering from back surgery and wondering if I’d play another down of football. Later that off-season, I got married. We didn’t go on an exotic honeymoon. Our first order of business was a flight to Spokane, Washington to meet with some unconventional physical therapists. One was a Pilates guru who taught me how a simple foam roller could help me to fix and maintain my back. I’d used the foam roller many times before, but now I was devoted. I played five more seasons and used foam rollers the entire way.
Why He Created His Own
My relationship with these products was love-hate. Rollers, by nature, are bulky and annoying to carry around. I tried all the ‘travel’ rollers out there and hated using them. They are simply too small for proper use and still hard to pack around. So I wouldn’t take a foam roller with me when I traveled and my body would suffer because of it. I wanted a real foam roller that I could use anytime and anywhere. And I didn’t want to compromise the quality of the foam roller, just to make it portable. The idea for The Morph was born.
Customer Feedback- They Are Rolling an Average of 5 Times a Week
One thing that we are most proud of is the fact that, while 83% of our customers report previously owing a foam roller prior to purchasing The Morph, they are now rolling on average five times more per week! This statistic is a testament to our company ethos. We originally set out to improve the habits and lives of people who seek to live more active lifestyles. Customers are now bringing their foam rollers wherever their gym bags or backpacks go. People are keeping it in their bags so that they have it pretty much everywhere they need it. We even had one customer tell us he used his Morph on a commercial flight between marathons he was running. We love it!
How Playing Pro Football Taught Him About Entrepreneurship
In the NFL, you’re only as good as your last game or practice. Each day you have to show up and put a great product on the field or you will be out of a job. The level of competition is extreme and therefore your level of commitment also has to be extreme. It’s the same thing in business. I treat each day like I’m trying to win a championship. And I want to be the MVP.
Nerves in the ‘Tank’
At the back of our minds, we knew that no matter how much we readied ourselves, there would still be situations that we couldn’t anticipate. The Sharks are fiercely intelligent people, and they are actively trying to poke holes in your company with millions of people scheduled to watch. That’s certainly intimidating if you are unprepared. It’s like facing a ticked-off James Harrison in his prime- something I’ve also done. Yeah, there was plenty of sleep lost for the two of us.
Advice to Future ‘Tank’ Contestants
Numbers, numbers, numbers. Know these inside and out, and upside down. We stress this because when the Sharks are right there in front of you, asking incredibly difficult questions about your company, you need to be able to relax and answer the questions like it’s a reflex. Under that kind of pressure, with all those cameras on you, you seldom rise to the occasion. We knew we would stoop to the lowest level of our preparation. If you know your numbers, you know your company’s financial story. This, along with the way that you present yourself and your product, can be a way to win the hearts of the Sharks.
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