Jay Kriner, inventor of the BevBuckle from the Shark Tank Season premiere came up with a doozy: “BA-BAM!” My seven-year old, who enjoys the Shark Tank, has been running around saying “BA-BAM” since she watched with me last Friday night; thanks A LOT, Jay!
I spoke with Jay Kriner today, his fourth anniversary by the way, and caught up with him on how things have been going since his BevBuckle premiered on The Shark Tank. I half expected him to answer the phone, “BA-BAM, this is Jay.” Mr. Kriner, whose wife is expecting their first child in about a month, seems to be the type of guy who likes to have fun. His catch phrase was born out of a need to differentiate from the more traditional “BAM” that many people use in conversation. “I wanted something that would have entertainment value,” said Kriner, “on Shark Tank you need to have entertainment value to have an impact with the audience.” He views the BevBuckle not so much as a product, but “creating an experience; it's an entertainment accessory.”
Jay Kriner Sees Huge Shark Tank Benefit
Whatever he wants to call it, the BevBuckle has seen a huge benefit from his appearance on Shark Tank. Jay told me “the Wednesday before we aired, the website had 168 visitors. On Friday night, we had over 22 thousand!” With around 6% of visitors converting to sales, Jay has been moving some serious amounts of BevBuckles. Do the math: can I get a “BA-BAM?”
Jay has been selling his BevBuckles all over the country for the past couple of years and, he relates, “everywhere I went, people said ‘you have to be on Shark Tank!' My wife was a fan of the show, but I really didn't watch until last season.” He couldn't identify a favorite entrepreneur from last season, but he confessed he “likes people with attitude and presence who you know are entrepreneurs whether they get their head handed to them or get a deal.” Jay didn't attend a casting call, he emailed an application and within thirty minutes, he had a response. He sent a video he shot on his iPhone to the producers, and before he knew it, he was off to LA for taping. “I was in LA for four days,” he said, “and I was in the studio the day of taping for about 8 hours. They shot with me on location for nine hours and only ended up using about a minute of that footage.”
Jay Kriner made a deal on the show with Barbara Corcoran who offered $50K for 51% of the company. As of the date of our conversation, Jay said the deal is “on hold.” He's spoken with Barbara about 10-12 times since he taped his segment in July, and putting off the deal was “a mutual decision.” He added that Barbara is “waiting in the wings if funding is needed for a particularly large order.” Whether he ends up partnering with Barbara or not, he is excited to be “capitalizing on the show, consistently, every day.”
Jay's BevBuckle is currently available online, but you can probably find it in stores soon too. “I've spoken with Spencer Gifts and Urban Outfitters and other retailers. We're currently nailing down numbers with Urban Outfitters,” he said. There's also the NASCAR circuit, a very lucrative merchandising opportunity. Right now Jay is “looking into getting a semi trailer truck to service over 30 NASCAR venues. It has the potential to bring in over $1 million in sales. I know guys who are making over $100 K in a weekend selling coolers!” Jay has licensed the BevBuckle to Twisted Teas and anticipates a second order from them soon. He's also taking the BevBuckle to the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Trade Show out in Las Vegas in January, 2013 where he believes he'll make more connections.
Kriner sees licensing as a big part of the BevBuckle's future. It was also a big part of a discussion he had with Daymond and Kevin while in the Shark Tank. Jay said , though he felt he was portrayed fairly, “there was a lot that wasn't shown. Daymond, Kevin and I had a good discussion about placing logos on the BevBuckle. Barbara also went ‘out,' then came back in, which never happens. There was also a lot of ‘back story' that didn't make the final cut.” Jay was with the Sharks for about 45 minutes and understands that not everything can make it on air.
One thing that was unclear with his edit were the manufacturing issues that were alluded to. “They made it seem like I had an order where 26% of the BevBuckles were defective. Those defects weren't anything a customer would notice- it was weight issues or finish issues, but I don't want to put out an inferior product.” This is why the BevBuckle is made in the USA. “I feel like our US manufacturer is more responsive to us, we have more control.” Jay has had BevBuckles produced in China, Mexico, and Canada, but is very happy with his current state-side manufacturer. “Quality is always first,” he said.
The BevBuckle isn't the only business Jay has cooking. He's starting his own beer brewing business too. “I am contracting production with a friend who owns a brewery. I'll be brewing, bottling and selling my beer without the expense of opening a brewery of my own.” His new beer, Stronghold Beer, will initially be a local brew out in Colorado. “I like wheat beers, so I'll be bottling a wheat ale.” When I told him I am a Guinness aficionado, he said he'd also be brewing a Mexican Chocolate Chipotle Stout; I would like to try that! In keeping with the beer theme, he has started another company called Noqidin, pronounced “No Kiddin,” which will produce and promote beer festivals. “I found while attending so many beer festivals, a lot of them were run poorly, so I started Noqidin. Part of being an entrepreneur is finding problems, then finding a way to do things better. Keeping the beer theme has allowed me to capitalize on a niche I am already involved in.” Both Stronghold and Noqidin were going forward regardless of his appearance on Shark Tank and both businesses are being funded with profits from the BevBuckle. He confessed to having something else “in the works,” (he wouldn't tell me what it is) and he's going to audition for season five!
Jay said he wanted to take risks now, while he could afford to. “If I don't sell a bottle of beer come December, and if my beer festivals fail, I can always go back to diffusing bombs. I can always go back to that (it pays very well), but I'm pretty happy with what I'm doing now.” When I asked him if he had any advice for budding entrepreneurs, he said “if you have a dumb idea- give it a shot, try it, what do have to lose?”
I have a feeling we will be hearing from Jay Kriner again in the future.
I also asked Jay another important question, see his answer on The Hot Dog Truck.