Based on the Canadian series Dragon’s Den, Shark Tank is a reality show where upstart companies pitch their businesses to a panel of investors (called “sharks”) to gain funding in exchange for equity in the company.
The show has been a massive success and has propelled some companies to becoming household names. Even brands that don’t reach a deal have seen the so-called “shark tank effect” give their business a huge boost in sales and publicity from just appearing on the show!
While Drillbrush has never been on the show itself, our paths have crossed with a few companies that have appeared in front of the Sharks, often before they achieved Shark Tank fame.
So today, we’ll take a stroll down memory lane and talk about the Shark Tank hopefuls we’ve done business with in the past, including one that we have a very close relationship to!
Some Shark Tank fans might remember Buffer Bit, a company that made drill-powered shoe polishing brushes that appeared on Season 5 of the show. Owner Mike Quinn was asking the Sharks for $75,000 for a 25% stake in the company.
The segment was infamous for Kevin O’Leary’s mention of his membership in the Chevaliers du Tastevin, an elite global fraternity of Burgundy wine drinkers that must keep their ceremonial tastevins polished to perfection, lest they be excluded from the gathering. The wild story had the other Sharks reeling from how out of left field it was.
Despite O’Leary’s excitement of buying a Buffer Bit to use on his tastevin, none of the Sharks wanted to invest, citing a lack of shoe-polishing in the modern era and no formal plans of expanding the line as their reasons. Quinn unfortunately left the tank empty-handed.
Shark Tank Recap reports that Buffer Bit is still active, but do you know who currently owns it?
In the past, Drillbrush had a much smaller line than it does today, consisting of single brushes and pads, as well as some bundle kits like the 4in and Original Combo Kit and our popular 4-2-O Kits. Drillbrush inventor Anthony LaPolla was hoping to fill out the site by acting as a drill accessories hub, and began distributing products from other companies, including Buffer Bit’s shoe polishing brush.
We maintained a good relationship with Mike Quinn, and after he decided to hang up Buffer Bit, Drillbrush inventor Anthony LaPolla decided to purchase the rights to Buffer Bit, including the website.
However, we do not produce the cone-shaped shoe polisher that was featured on Shark Tank. Instead, we use Buffer Bit to sell our overstock legacy scrubbing pads and our Cotton Buffer.
Buffer Bit isn’t the only tie to a Shark Tank company that Drillbrush has worked with in the past.
The biggest name to come out of Shark Tank is Scrub Daddy; a smiley-face-shaped sponge that changes texture depending on water temperature. Aaron Krause’s invention has spawned a line of various scrubbers and cleaning products and have made his brand the best selling in Shark Tank history.
However, before the creation of Scrub Daddy, Krause was an auto detailer who, after accidentally damaging exteriors with inferior products, developed and sold his own line of scrubber. That’s how Drillbrush plays into this story.
For a time, Drillbrush bought buffing cones through Krause’s company. With our headquarters in Marcy, NY and Krause running his business out of New Jersey, it was a local way for us to source more scrubbing accessories for our website. We kept this arrangement for a while, but eventually discontinued sale of the buffing cones in favor of focusing on our line of drill-powered scrub pads.
Sometime afterwards, Krause sold his company to 3M, which has their own channels for sourcing pads. However, as the story goes, they did not take all of Krause’s products, leaving the Scrub Daddy prototypes with him. Those experimental scrub pads would go on to become Shark Tank royalty; carried in retail stores across the country.
Meanwhile, we continued to grow and expand our line as well, with Drillbrush making a sizable push into retail chains around the globe.
We’re happy our paths were able to cross and we’re proud of Aaron for all that he’s accomplished.
Clearbanc employees pose with our promotional Drillbrush toolbox and brushes.
Technically, this last company is tied to Dragon’s Den, not Shark Tank. They also never appeared on the show itself, but were instead created by one of the Dragons.
Clearbanc, now known as Clearco, is a Canadian company that was co-founded by Dragon’s Den staple Michele Romanow that provides loans and financial backing to start-up companies and small businesses.
In 2019, Drillbrush was seeking a loan from Clearbanc to help boost our advertising presence, as counterfeit and low quality knock-offs were starting to muddy the market and cause customer confusion. Our hopes were to increase awareness of the original, high quality brand.
We sent a proposal to Clearbanc, including a tool kit containing various brushes and drills for them to try for themselves. The response from the folks at the Clearbanc offices was positive. We received several pictures and videos of their employees using the brushes and posing with the toolkit.
Clearbanc saw the potential on a national level, and approved our loan for advertising. Our marketing push helped keep Drillbrush ahead of the competition and retain its place as the industry leader in drill-powered scrubbing!
Swimming With Sharks
It’s always fun to look back at the people you’ve worked with and see where they are now!
If you’d like to know a little more about the history of Drillbrush, check out our full article on the subject here.