Former Navy SEAL Turned Entrepreneur Survives the Shark Tank
Startup Phenomenon Bottle Breacher Combines Epilog Laser Technology and Solid Business Practices to Achieve Amazing Success. Watch the Shark Tank episode featuring Bottle Breacher here.
A few years ago Bottle Breacher Founder and CEO, Eli Crane, was given a gift from his brother after his return home from deployment. The gift was a bottle opener fashioned from a dummy bullet, and while Eli was certainly appreciative, he was also intrigued. He thought to himself, “I can make this better.” So he set out on a journey to perfect and manufacture what’s become an incredibly popular custom gift that is finding its way into homes all over the world.
"When I decided to take Bottle Breacher to the next level, I sold my custom chopper and bought my first Epilog CO2 engraver in order to start personalizing our product. It was the best business decision I have ever made.”
Eli Crane, founder and CEO of Bottle Breacher
“I started making Bottle Breachers in my garage and pretty soon all of my teammates at SEAL Team 3 started asking me for one,” Eli told us. “My wife Jen went to school for business at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and she used her background to start selling the openers on ETSY.”
Proving to be exceptionally popular in the military community, Eli’s cottage industry began to grow quickly.
“When I decided to take Bottle Breacher to the next level, I sold my custom chopper and bought my first Epilog CO2 engraver in order to start personalizing our product. It was the best business decision I have ever made,” Eli said.
“When I decided to buy our first engraver, I did a little research online, but I was definitely a novice,” Eli told us. “One of the biggest priorities for me was finding a machine that was exceptionally easy to use as computers aren’t really my background.”
“First and foremost, what drew me to Epilog was the fact that, like Bottle Breacher, Epilog Laser systems are made in the USA,” Eli said. “Secondly, Epilog had great reviews – customers not only raved about the product, but the customer service as well.”
Eli told us the learning curve to get up and running on the laser was easier than he anticipated.
“The learning curve was simple,” he said. “When we first started, I met with a representative from your Costa Mesa office who walked me through the process until I was comfortable. He was knowledgeable and courteous, and I still reach out to him today when we have questions. The systems are very easy to use and our operators have learned to be quite efficient and get lots of practice on them.”
Bottle Breacher now works with Epilog’s distributors out of Tempe, AZ, Innovative Cutting Systems.
“Tom, TJ and the team at ICS have been wonderful to work with, as well,” Eli said.
In the past 18 months, Bottle Breacher has added more Epilog systems to their product lineup. This comes in handy as they work with a variety of materials on any given day.
“We have several different finishes on our Bottle Breachers that consist of brass, chrome plating, gold plating or powder coating,” Eli said. “We also engrave our corporate gift boxes, wooden drink coasters and stainless steel key chains. For all of our products with a metal finish we utilize our three FiberMark lasers, and for our powder-coated products, coasters and boxes we use our Epilog CO2 engravers.”
Eli says that within six weeks of purchasing their first engraver, their sales increased over 300 percent.
“Over 90 percent of our orders require some sort of personalization,” Eli told us. “Our Epilog Laser systems have allowed us to separate ourselves from our competition.”
Eli and his wife, Jen, appeared on episode eight of the sixth season of ABC’s Shark Tank. Visit this link to watch the impressive episode: http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank