It's been twelve months since I first interviewed Sal DePaola, inventor of The Paint Brush Cover. In celebration of our one-year anniversary, I am featuring him again! Read on to find out why revisiting him was absolutely necessary.
Dawn: So much has happened over the course of a year for you and The Paint Brush Cover. Congratulations! Can you share with us some details of your journey since our last conversation, which includes the recent feature of The Paint Brush Cover on the DIY Network, going international, and now, pitching the product on ABC's Shark Tank?
Sal: Oh man - A LOT has happened! It mostly started at The National Hardware Show back in May of 2013. This event is the premier trade show for our industry. We received tons of attention from regular store owners, Wal-Mart execs and even from many countries around the world. You can now find The Paint Brush Cover in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and coming soon to many other countries.
Another big thing for us was being featured on a show called I Want That on the DIY Network. [The show] is about cool new tools and they did an excellent job showing off The Paint Brush Cover. It really helped sales and also spread the word about us.
We were also in the holiday issue (October-December) of SkyMall magazine. Even though sales weren't as good as we anticipated, it definitely aided in establishing our brand on a global level.
But our biggest accomplishment of 2014 was, by far, getting on ABC's hit show Shark Tank. We were one out of 160 chosen (from over 36,000 applicants) to pitch in front of The Sharks. Out of that 160, less than 100 actually make it on an episode. We finally received our air date just the other day and, after 7 long months, we are scheduled to air this Friday night!
We are also talking to most of the major big box retailers right now. Deals are in the works...
Dawn: How does it feel to see your product (and yourself!) on television?
Sal: Seeing my product on the DIY Network was an amazing feeling. Seeing something that you created, something that was just an idea a few short years before, is a feeling like no other. I was just staring at the television like "Wow, I made that! That's my product up there!"
I'm still waiting to see the way they edit our pitch on Shark Tank. We were in "the tank" for about 45 minutes, and they cut it down to about 10 minutes or less. I'm dying to see what they do and how they make things appear.
Dawn: If you can reveal, tell us how it felt to be on Shark Tank? Any stories, jokes or tidbits you'd care to share?
Sal: I can't talk much about the outcome of the show (we can save that for another time), but I can tell you that it was an amazing experience. Being a HUGE fan of the show since day one, and being up there pitching my product to them, was surreal. I always said I wanted to get on, but never thought it would really happen. It just goes to show you what you can accomplish when you put your mind to something. Once I knew I had a chance to get on, I did everything I could to make it happen.
What I can say is that pitching the product was probably one of the most nerve wracking things in my life. It was scary at first - memorizing a pitch isn't the easiest thing in the world. But, as soon as the pitch was over, and they started asking questions, we all became very relaxed. It was very comfortable. You realize that [The Sharks] are just normal people.
Another thing I can tell you is that everything you see is basically how it is. It's all real. Nothing is staged. You don't meet them beforehand. The first time you see them is when you walk through the door. Everything is very real. There are no re-takes. No breaks. Just you, The Sharks, and the cameras. That's it. Really awesome stuff.
Dawn: You recently came out with a new product to add to the Paint Brush Cover line. Can you describe and tell us when it will be available for purchase?
Sal: Yep! Since the idea of The Paint Brush Cover, we had the obvious go-along product in the works. It's something we were waiting on so that we can see what kind of response we would get from The Paint Brush Cover. Since things were going so well, we decided to go ahead with our second product. From day one, whenever we spoke about The Paint Brush Cover, 90% of people would ask us, "So when are you coming out with The Roller Cover?" And that's exactly what we did.
The Roller Cover just arrived last week and is available through our website starting this week! We hope to get it into stores as soon as possible.
Dawn: Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I can't wait to see the outcome of The Paint Brush Cover this Friday on Shark Tank!
Sal: Thanks! One more thing, I'd also like to say that I couldn't have done this without my partners John DePaola and Anthony Caputo and my web designer/internet guru Anthony Caminiti. All work great as a team and this wouldn't have been possible without them.
To purchase The Paint Brush Cover and The Roller Cover, please visit: http://www.thepaintbrushcover.com/