The Original Comfy entered the Shark Tank with their sweatshirts made of blanket material. They’re one-size-fits-all, reversible, and come in three colors, blue, grey and pink.
We interviewed the Phoenix-based brothers behind the apparel, Michael and Brian Speciale. To audition for Shark Tank, the pair flew to Denver, with only their final prototype in tow. The duo said they left an impression on the Sharks by breaking into song during the tryouts.
So far, they have not sold any, but are taking pre-orders when their Tank episode airs tonight. As of now, they will sell exclusively on their website, adding more online retailers soon, with no immediate plans to enter into brick-and-mortar retailers.
Here’s what else they told us about…
How the Idea Came About
Michael: I was going through a divorce at the time, and staying at my brother’s house. One morning last winter, I was walking through the living room and saw Brian’s 7-year-old son, Saxon, sitting on the couch in one of Brian’s old hoodies. He looked so comfortable. I looked at Brian and said “Do you think they make those for adults?”
Brian: We both figured there would be plenty of products like that in the marketplace. But then we noticed a throw blanket on the couch behind Saxon. That’s when the lightbulb went on. We thought if we could make a giant sweatshirt out of blanket material, we’d have pretty much the comfiest thing possible.
What Makes Them Unique & Different from the Snuggie
Michael: There’s nothing like it on the market. We’ve heard the Snuggie comparisons, but The Comfy is a completely different product. We really designed it with lounging around the house in mind, but this is something you can wear anywhere you need it- sporting events, camping trips, the beach, a cold movie theater, an airplane. The possibilities really are endless.
Advice to Future ‘Tank’ Contestants
Brian: Be memorable! Seriously, that’s it. The producers, who hold your fate in their hands, have seen it all. Do something fun, something compelling, something memorable, and do it with more energy than you thought you had in you. Having a great product helps, but it’s not enough. Those producers have to know you’re going to give them great TV. That was our focus from the moment we applied to the show.
Michael: You have to understand that you’re selling yourself through every step of the process. You can’t let your foot off the gas at any stage in that process. Always be selling. Not just your product, but yourself. Make it hard for them to say no!
Pros & Cons to Working With Your Brother
Brian: I haven’t found any negatives yet. We’ve always been close, and there’s nobody I’d rather be on this journey with. He’s also impressed me with his business sense. Going into Shark Tank, and having a history in front of the camera-I used to be a TV news anchor- I figured I’d be doing most of the talking. But it was actually the other way around. Michael really stepped up and owned the room. I was very impressed, and very proud.
Michael: Working with my bro has been amazing. We often comment how we can feed off of our different personalities to come up with ideas and solutions. We are business partners, so we do get on each other and get frustrated at times, but at the end of the day, we are brothers and the love we have for each other will always come first. We handle different parts of the business to fit our skills, and that has been seamless because we know each other so well. There is no one I would rather be successful with, and our drive to make that happen has only brought us closer.
Other Shark Tank products: