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Navy SEAL Emerges from “Shark Tank” with Sense of Purpose

Eli Craine, a former Navy Seal, shares how God directed him into business—from starting his business in his garage, to striking a deal with the hit show Shark Tank, to running a multi-million dollar company with a purpose. Read Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

Well, normally it doesn't end well

when a seal goes swimming with the sharks.

But that wasn't the case on season six

of ABC's popular reality show.

That's when navy vet Eli Crane stepped into the tank.

And came away with a six figure deal.

NARRATOR: Eli Crane knew exactly what

to do as a navy seal fighting the war on terror.

But he had no idea what he would do

after his military enlistment was up.

Eli, and his wife Jen, started making bottle openers out

of used 50 caliber bullet shells.

And prayed the idea would catch on.

They struck gold with two investors on ABC's Shark Tank,

in November 2014.

By the end of this year, Bottle Breachers

will enjoy sales in excess of $10 million.

Eli Crane is here with us now.

Eli, welcome to the show, good to meet you.

Well thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

How in the world did you get the idea of fashioning

bottle openers from bullets?

Great question, my little brother

actually went to the Philippines and brought me back

something really similar, yet very generic.

And all my buddies loved it so much.

I knew that a couple years later, I

could take it and make it something so much better.

And so when I made it better, I took it to work with me,

all my buddies freaked out about it.

And they were like, hey, you got to make

me some of these for Christmas.

And that's kind of when the idea, you know,

the light bulb flipped on.

If these guys are willing to buy them, anybody would be.

Well, Eli, are these are real bullets?

Yes ma'am they are.

So this is a real casing right here.

And this is also a real projectile.

The only difference is this has been once fired.

So you can see the primer has been struck,

and it's got no powder in it.

So there's nothing dangerous about it.

So this whole thing is a bullet?

This is a big bullet.

Yeah

What kind of gun does this go in?

That's a 50 caliber bullet.

So if you see people on the news, soldiers shooting

a big belt-fed 50 caliber machine gun,

that's what they'd be shooting out of it.

This is actually really beautiful.

It almost looks like a pen, until you realize that there's

a bottle opener here.

Now this is a Chris Kyle Bottle Breacher.

You served with Chris.

Chris was, of course, the American Sniper, the one

that they made a movie out of.

Tell us about this.

Well yes, so we started the never forgotten series when

Mark Lee's mom Debbie Lee-- Mark was the first seal killed

in Iraq in 2006-- and his mom approached me,

probably about a year and a half, two years ago.

And said, hey, Eli, I love what you're doing.

Let's do something special for Mark.

She said my biggest fear is that people are

going to forget about my son.

And so we wanted to make sure, we only

do it at the request of the family,

but we wanted to make sure that their memories wouldn't

be forgotten.

And it's really cool, because when we do these,

20% of the proceeds goes back to the charity of the family's

choice.

Yeah, so you can definitely get them specialized,

monogrammed.

This one, of course, is the Chris Kyle one.

So you served with him for a couple of years.

What was that like?

It was interesting to say the least.

I was the new guy for Chris.

So I would say the best words that

described it are tough love.

But it was good, because that's what we needed.

The SEAL teams were so great for me

because it really helped me grow up.

And Chris was absolutely that guy

that you wanted on your side when

things got sticky and hairy.

And it's a real shame what happened to him.

But I'm hoping that his legacy lives on.

Absolutely, and you did three tours as a navy seal in Iraq.

Yes ma'am.

Amazing.

You've got a t-shirt here that you've gotten some flak for,

and I don't know why.

Can we take a look at this?

What does it say on here?

It's beautiful, I love this.

Right, so this is our Jesus is my swim buddy shirt.

And it's funny, when I wear it around,

it's a good conversation starter.

Usually people look at me like, hey, what is that?

Why would you wear something like that?

And most people don't understand it.

But if you understood, if you came from my community,

and you understood what a swim buddy was,

you would understand its importance.

And in SEAL training, you're taught right off the bat

that you're nothing by yourself.

And that if you get away from your swim buddy,

you're going to get into a lot of trouble.

And matter of fact, you're not allowed

to be more than six feet away from your swim buddy.

And I just saw the correlation in my life

between my relationship with Christ, and my swim buddy.

And I noticed that anytime I tried to do things on my own

in life, it always went very poorly.

And the pain followed.

And so I wanted to make a shirt, kind of a conversation starter,

so I could--

I love it.

--share about that with other people.

Well, let's talk about your Bottle Breachers.

How did you get picked on Shark Tank?

You know, I think it was-- I think it was a mixture

of things.

I think they liked my background, my story.

I think they loved the fact that, out of the one car garage

in San Diego, we were doing $80,000 a month in revenue.

That's you and your wife on your own,

before you went on the tank.

Yeah we had a couple, we had a couple employees

that were working out of the garage with me.

But we were doing-- the business was really successful.

I think they liked the fact that it was unique.

They'd never had a bullet bottle opener on the show.

So I think they liked that as well.

So you accepted an offer from Mark Cuban,

and Mr. Wonderful is his name.

And have they been a good support for you?

Yeah, absolutely.

You know, you have to be realistic

when you go on that show.

You have to realize that Mark Cuban owns

a bunch of huge companies.

And then he has about 70, you know,

or 80, probably Shark Tank companies now.

So you have to be realistic in how much time these guys are

going to be able to invest in you and your company.

But Mark Cuban has Mark Cuban Companies

based out of Dallas, Texas.

And it's a company that he started just

to help his Shark Tank companies.

So they help us out quite a bit.

And then Kevin O'Leary, he's constantly promoting us.

And he's always trying to land us a new deal

or a new opportunity.

How excited were when you found out you got the deal?

I was super excited.

I mean, for me, like when I was pitching on the show,

I was still in the military for 30 days.

And it was just awesome.

Because not too many people volunteer to change careers

at 35 years old.

Especially with a wife and two kids, and bills to pay,

and yada yada yada, right?

And so, I knew that that was going to-- God's timing

was so good.

I knew it was just going to take us from the military right

into civilian life just seamlessly.

And so it was really, really cool.

It got really hectic after the Shark Tank,

but it was a great opportunity.

So before Shark Tank, you're working out of your garage

you're making about-- you said $80,000 a year?

$80,000 in revenue a month.

A month, okay, how is business today?

Business today is great.

After this Christmas, we're projected

to be well over $10 million in gross sales.

So it's doing really, really well.

That's fantastic.

And you mentioned that when you have the favor of God,

everything is going well.

When you don't it doesn't go as well.

What do you mean by that?

Well, I'm one of these guys, I like

to give myself a hard time.

But I'm one of these guys that it takes a little bit longer

to learn the lesson.

One of the stubborn kids that has to get

knocked down over and over and over again.

Join the club.

So I learned trying to do things on my own,

how many times I just ran into brick wall after brick wall,

and failure, and failure, and failure.

And as I've gotten older, I've started

to turn areas of my life over to God

that I never thought I would.

And I mean, the proof is in the pudding.

I mean, who would have ever-- not in a million years

would I ever tell you, I'm going to get out of the SEAL teams

and start a business where I'm selling bottle openers.

It just doesn't make any sense.

And that's the coolest thing about it.

I think when you start turning areas of your life

over to God, and saying, Lord, what do you want me to do?

He'll give you something that sounds bananas

to everybody else.

But then he'll turn it into something beautiful just

to show how awesome he is.

And that's one of the coolest part of my testimony.

And real quick, I know you give

to a lot of military charities and organizations.

And that's something that's important to you.

It is, it always will be.

I feel like if God blesses you with something,

you absolutely need to be using whatever he's given

you to bless other people.

And I feel like even though I left the military at 13 years,

and I no longer carry a gun anymore,

I feel like I still get to serve in a different way.

And now, now that way is to try and come

alongside veterans, veteran nonprofits, and support them.

Where can we get these beautiful bullet bottle

openers?

So you can get them at www.bottlebreacher.com.

And we've got a lot of great sales coming up

for the holidays, so stay tuned.

I bet.

All right, thanks so much Eli.

Well, Eli shared more of his story

in an exclusive behind the scenes

interview with our social media team.

You can watch that by going to facebook.com/700club.

And if you're looking for a high-powered stocking

stuffer for your loved ones this Christmas,

get them a Bottle Breacher.

You can check out their entire line of products

by going to CBN.com.

And don't forget Shark Tank airs Fridays on ABC at 9:00

PM Eastern, 8:00 central.

Eli, what a pleasure.

Thanks for being with us.

Thank you very much.

God bless you.

Inspiring story.

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