Editor’s Note: Below is a Q&A recently conducted with RootSuit founder Colin Grussing by our contributor Maverick Sabre. Grussing, who has previously pitched his business on the ABC show Shark Tank, founded the company back in 2008.
Here he offers up some some history and insight from his experiences.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you made the RootSuit.
I’m from Louisiana. I went to school in the northeast and studied engineering, but I could not wait to move back after. I worked a few odd projects and always had my eye out for opportunities to start a business. The first time I saw a suit, I knew my friend Jesse would love it. I looked for one to buy but couldn’t find them anywhere. I only saw other people looking. Seemed like an opportunity. I ordered 15 and they sold out the first day. Within about a month, 2200 had sold and there were 2500 more people on a waiting list.
How long has rootsuit been in business and what has appearing on shark tank accomplished for the business?
We started in 2008. Shark tank was a huge help. Sales went through the roof and it has led to many great relationships. It has also been helpful with new projects I am starting.
What was the most surprising thing about the shark tank?
How real it was. It was totally legit. We had no interaction with the Sharks before hand. We had 11 people in suits and any time a Shark was coming in and out they made sure we were hidden. Unfortunately, you don’t get to see them after either.
What are your tips for entrepreneurs looking to get on shark tank?
Be memorable. They get thousands of applications, so you really have to set yourself apart.
Any cool new products?
We were the first to sell the suits, but in the last 5 years, many competitors (imitators) have arrived. I’m very excited about our new Bear Coats. I think these will be huge this year. We’re trying to secure the rights to the Party Animals trademark
What’s next for you?
I’m very excited about my next project – 52businesses.com. In 2014, we’ll be starting a new business each week. The adventures will be chronicled in a blog, podcast etc for your entertainment and education.