Former Navy Seal Eli Crane did not know he was holding his future in his hand when his brother gave him a souvenir from the Philippines, a bottle opener made from a dummy .50-caliber bullet. He knew, however, that it was the neatest thing ever and that he could improve both form and function.
He went to work in his garage and produced the Bottle Breacher. In the military, the “breacher” is the person(s) charged with forcing open closed/locked doors or destroying whatever is preventing the soldiers from progressing into the attack area.
Eli’s wife, Jen, had some experience in marketing and soon they had a marketing plan and were selling bottle breachers from their website as well as on Amazon and Etsy. In six months, they were bringing in $7,500 a month. Business was good, but the Cranes felt it was not going to get much better on their shoestring budget.
Easy decision—Eli was trained to swim with sharks. Why not dive into the Shark Tank? Daymond, Mark, and Kevin all offered to invest. When Mark and Kevin decided to go in together, the Cranes accepted.
Where Is the Bottle Breacher Now?
In the first week after the episode aired, $1 million in sales poured in. The problem: They were producing about 100 breachers a day. They had to increase production 15 times. Eli and Jen were stressed out, working late every day and getting very little sleep. They got even more stressed when Mark and Kevin wanted to know what was up—customers were complaining to them about the delays in delivery.
Kevin put his own team on it and solved the production problems. Today, 1500 breachers are made a day. Inventory now includes a laser-etched American flag model, a purple one for ladies, every color and pattern imaginable, a Combat Cooler that holds a six pack, as well as key chains, cigar punches, humidors, T-shirts and hats.
Bottle Breacher has reached $20 million in sales. Jen and Eli donate a generous portion of their profits to charities devoted to military personnel, veterans, first responders and children.