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Proof Update Interview

proof update episode 416 wood sunglassesBrooks Dame sent over a pair of shades so I could do a Proof Sunglasses review, and we made arrangements for him to give fans a Proof update on the Dame brothers’ post Shark Tank experience. Brooks and his brothers have been very busy since their Shark Tank début in episode 416 and he was finding it hard to squeeze 30 minutes together for a Proof update interview, so I emailed him some questions and he replied.

Proof Update on Company History

Tell us some more about your grandfather’s business.

“It was started over 60 years ago by our grandpa. He kind of stumbled into the biz when someone owed him some money and couldn’t pay so they gave him some  woodworking equipment as payment. He built the company up and grew it, then my uncle and dad got involved and grew it to what it is today. Woodgrain supplies big companies like the Home Depot and has about 1900 employees.”

When did you tape? What was it like waiting to hear?

“We taped in early September. Waiting was rough. Some family and close friends knew we bad taped and would ask when we were going to go on. We didn’t have any clue until a couple of weeks before. We also didn’t know how it would all be edited, so we were a little nervous how we would be perceived. In the end, it was all good.”

Did you do anything to juice up your website?

“We moved it to another server that was ready to handle a million or so hits. We got around 2 million and the site crashed anyways. Friday night it was down pretty much all night. We finally got it up the next day after all night working on it with the hosting company. It was a rough couple of hours.”

Proof Update in the Shark Tank

How long were you taping?  

For about an hour and half. They cut down what actually airs quite a bit.

Has anyone you taped with aired?

Urbio, the cowboy workout guy, the jeans chix, i think that is about it, but i missed last week’s episode, so I may be missing some.

Do you feel the broadcast treated you fairly or unfairly and why?

Yeah, the show gave you a glimpse of who we are and what we are about as a company and as individuals. It showed our passion for what we  are doing. So we feel it was a pretty fair representation.

What would you have included or deleted in the edit?

Probably nothing. Well, maybe the part of me crying, but even that has gotten a good response. People have been really supportive and said it showed our passion.

Have you had any contact with any of the Sharks since the show aired?

We haven’t.

How different are the Sharks “in person” versus the personas portrayed on TV?  

Really they are similar. They are a little bigger for TV, but I think they are pretty fairly represented. We didn’t do a deal, so maybe working with them after the show would reveal something different, but they are all cool people in my opinion.

Other than your pitch, what was your favorite pitch so far this season?

How do you beat crying on national TV?  Hmm, that’s a tough one. I like so many for different reasons.  The Freaker guy was awkwardly awesome. We have met him and his crew at trade shows and he’s a trip. So probably his. But others I like because they are cool or passionate.

Proof Update on life after Shark Tank

What happened to your website traffic on the night of the show?

We crashed. We had about 2 million hits in 2 days. It was nuts. Previous to that, we had about 1000 hits a day.

What has happened since?

Sales have gone nuts. We have had other opportunities open up and sales have remained really good. We are feeling good going into summer.

How long until we see Proof in stores?

We are already in over 100 stores worldwide. We are in Pac Sun, boutiques, surf and skate shops, and optical shops.

Are you making any money?

Yes, we are making a bit of money. We have been making money since early on. It is nice to get past the point where it was fly or die for us.

Has your appearance on the show led to some of your other inventions getting a “second look?”

Yes, it has lead to our other products getting a bump to sales, like our wallets. Also we explained the meaning behind our logo and that has prompted a spike in our apparel lines.

Besides yourself, which entrepreneurs who have not gotten funded would you have funded?

I liked Muddy Water Camo. I think they have a good thing going. Their valuation was high, but I like their business and think there is something to it. The Sharks were right to pass, but I think they will do well.

Have you purchased a cat drawing of you and your sunglasses?

No. My 3-year-old draws plenty and its free. I’ll leave that to Mark Cuban.

Have you purchased any Shark entrepreneur products?

Yes. Urbio, Painted Pretzels, and  Kissstixx.

Do you read our site? regularly?

We do. We really started reading it more when we were prepping for the show.

Anything else you’d like to add is most welcome!

The support for Proof has been loco and it is because of people and sites like yours spreading the word. We don’t do much advertising, so word of mouth is how we have crafted Proof from the ground up.

We also give back and we are building an eye clinic in rural India that will serve 70 k people in an under-served area. So that is really exciting that Proof has been the vehicle to make that happen.

I had one other question for Brooks. He answers it on The Hot Dog Truck.


About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob and more.

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