By Co-Founder Brian Speciale
1. Invented in the…DESERT?!
It’s true: The idea for The Comfy was hatched in my Phoenix, Ariz. living room, when my little bro Michael—staying with me as he went through a painful divorce—woke up one morning and saw my seven-year-old son, Saxon, curled up on the couch in one of my old hoodies.
Since it was a men’s XL, it obviously swallowed Saxon up; I remember Michael looking at me and saying “Hey Bro, you think they make those for adults?”
Well, sure enough, draped over the back of the couch was one of those plush throw blankets you get at Costco, and just like that, the idea for the world’s first truly wearable blanket was born. Which brings us to little-known fact #2…
2. Shark Tank Didn’t Want Us!
If you’re a Shark Tank fan, you might already know that The Comfy debuted on The Tank on 12/3/2017. What you probably don’t know is that it almost didn’t happen.
After auditioning in Denver in May of that year, we spent the next several months advancing through various phases of the audition process. Just when we thought we were in the clear and headed to film in LA, our producer called and said we would have to wait until next year. As a pre-revenue company with no sales, the show’s executives decided we weren’t ready for prime time. We were devastated … for approximately 45 seconds. “We’ve come this far,” we said to each other. “There’s no way we aren’t going down without a fight.”
So about five minutes after getting the bad news, I had grabbed my video camera (I made my living before The Comfy as a TV/video producer) and Michael and I began acting out what would become a five-minute video called “The Top Five Reasons You Can’t Cut The Comfy From Shark Tank.”
We had fun with it—we sang, we danced, we laughed—because we wanted the Shark Tank executives to see exactly what we thought they’d be missing if they didn’t allow us to film. I edited the video together and sent it off to our producer probably three hours after she’d told us we were out.
The next morning, she called us and simply said: “I showed your video to Clay (the executive producer). We’ll see you in Los Angeles on Monday. Congratulations.” BAM!! If you truly believe in what you’re selling, the word “no” is just an opportunity to sell harder.
3. Comfy or Cozy?
This one is my favorite. Before we were The Comfy, we were The Cozy. Hard to imagine, right? Well, let’s just say we thought we had the perfect name. It’s the name that we came up with almost immediately, the one we auditioned for Shark Tank with, the one we were even having trademarked. But that all changed just two days before we were to stand in front of the Sharks.
If you have seen our Shark Tank pitch, you know that Michael and I sang a Christmas carol—Deck The Halls, but with custom lyrics. (’Tis the season of The Comfy, fa la la la la, la la la la…you get the idea.)
Well, after going through our entire pitch in front of all the Shark Tank producers and lawyers, we were met with a stunning mandate. One of the attorneys decided The Cozy was too close to another product (not even a wearable blanket) called The Kozie, and informed us that if we wanted to pitch the Sharks, we would have to change our name.
“Are you kidding me,” we thought. “After everything we’ve gone through to get here, now you tell us this?”
But here comes that lesson on pity parties again: they accomplish nothing. It’s better to read and react, and that’s exactly what we did.
For the next few hours, as we trudged through a mall near our hotel, we brainstormed. Finally, it hit us: The Comfy.
Seems so obvious now, right? I can promise you it wasn’t then.
But coming up with a new name was just the beginning: we needed new graphics, new t-shirts, and, most terrifying of all, new lyrics for our carefully crafted Christmas carol.
When we stood before the Sharks just two days later, I had yet to make it cleanly through the revised lyrics. (Turns out changing one word—Comfy for Cozy—when you’d been practicing one way for months and were already nervous about singing on national TV—was just not that easy.) I’ve never concentrated harder than when we were belting out that song in the tensest, most nerve-wracking experience of our lives.
And somehow, we made it—no stumbles at all as we sang our way to a deal that would change our lives.
4. Barb’s Best Move
Barbara Corcoran—the Shark we ultimately made a deal with—liked us. That’s the biggest reason we got a deal. She’d admit to you right now that she didn’t really understand the product we were selling, but that our passion was what intrigued her.
I remember watching the show and her calling us “phenomenal salespeople.” That was just amazing to hear, because I don’t think Michael and I ever considered ourselves salesmen; we just had a product that we believed in, and I guess when you have that, selling is easy.
Well, just over three years after appearing on Shark Tank, we can now say we are Barbara’s most successful investment in her 12 seasons on the show. We’re also among the five best-selling products in Shark Tank history—a fact we are very proud of, but one that also motivates us every day, because we won’t be satisfied until we’re number one.