Becoming a Navy SEAL is like trying to swim in a pool full of sharks. Well, Eli Crane has done both! After serving in the military for 13 years, he and his wife pitched their product, Bottle Breacher, on Shark Tank and they successfully scored a deal with Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban. I had the privilege to catch up with Eli and hear how his business has been going and what Veterans day means to him as a former Navy SEAL. Here’s what he told me:
Jay: Back in season 6 of Shark Tank you scored an amazing deal with Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban for your company Bottle Breacher. Having two sharks on your team sounds like a dream come true! What are you guys up to now?
Eli: Shark Tank is an amazing platform and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. The amount of resources they provide along with their publicity, provides a tremendous spike in our sales. However, a common misconception is that people think that once you strike a deal you’re on easy street- and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Like every business, you need to stay agile and look for ways to innovate. At Bottle Breacher we’re always on the lookout for an opportunity or a new idea. This summer we came out with BBQ utensils that had a carved-out Bottle Breacher on the bottom. They were a huge success and they sold like hot cakes. To succeed in any business, you need to keep your costumers engaged and constantly give them a reason to keep buying.
Jay: Keeping your customers on the constant look out for new products is certainly a smart strategy, which is very demanding at the same time. What’s on the horizon for Bottle Breacher?
Eli: There’s no question that it’s demanding, but it’s the only way to keep growing. Just look at any business large or small and you’ll see that when a company loses its innovation they fade away. It’s the key ingredient between success and failure and we’re very excited about two new products that we’ll be launching soon. One is our new Bottle Breacher pens and the other is our Freedom Frag. What we’ve done is we’ve taken a hallowed out frag grenade and carved out a Breacher at the bottom. Just a couple weeks ago we lost a great young man who was part of the Navy’s EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit while serving in in Iraq. In his memory, we created a couple of our Freedom Frag breachers and auctioned them off. People were so excited about it so we’re working on the production now so we can offer them for our customers.
Jay: Having served our country yourself as a Navy Seal and the fact that your company is all about helping veterans, what does Veterans Day mean to you as a company?
Eli: That’s a great point Jay and there’s no question it’s an emotional day for me personally and for the company. I’ve seen firsthand the type of cruelty that exists in the world, and the efforts I and my brothers make on the battle field to keep us safe. Although I’m not in active duty anymore, I feel like this is my way of serving. By employing veterans and spreading our message to the world about how important our services are to the world is extremely gratifying.
Jay: What’s your reaction to seeing people show disrespect to the flag, the national anthem and the whole country?
Eli: To be honest it makes me sad when I see what direction the country has gone to. I have no problem with people having their own opinions as well as their freedom to express them. In fact, that’s what we fight for, to allow everyone the freedom they deserve. But I think people misunderstand what’s going on in the world. I joined the Navy after 9-11 and I have red, white and blue running through my veins. I’ve been on the battle field witnessing the cruelty that truly exists in the world and we fight and risk our lives to protect the very same people who protest against us. So, it’s hurtful when I see many of these protests and I think that if they only knew a little more about what is really going on they’d see things a lot differently. My hope is that America will continue to be a great country and a light for the world to follow. We’ll need to work together and do what’s right to keep us safe and help as many people as we can the right way. Aiming for that achievement will gladden my heart to know all my brothers who have fallen in battle as well as those of us who have fought and continue to fight for this great country are fighting a good fight.
Eli & Jen Crane are the owners of Bottle Breacher and have been married over 10 years. Eli is a former Navy SEAL turned entrepreneur and Jen has had a passion for business ever since graduating from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management in 2005. Bottle Breacher began in a 1 car garage while Eli was Active Duty and aired on Shark Tank a year and half later. They love to hire vets and reinvest in those that have served. Open your next cold one in style!