ROCKFORD — After successfully pitching their SockTABs invention to a group of investors on “Shark Tank” last November, Glen and Tracie Burress are ready to stand before a different sea of people: American consumers.
They will travel from Rockford to Tampa Sunday to appear on “The Monday Night Show with Adam Freeman: The American Dreams Edition,” a series on HSN, formerly Home Shopping Network.
It airs at 6 p.m. Monday and will highlight several successful entrepreneurs across the country.
During the show, Glen and Tracie will demonstrate how to use SockTABs, pins that connect to the top of the socks so they never lose their “sole mates.” They hope viewers will call the phone number at the bottom of the screen to order the product.
Their appearance will air live, though they’ll have the morning to prep and train.
“Any mistakes you make could be difficult to correct,” Glen said. “Not only that, it’s more of a sales pitch. Your product is in front of America and you have to try to convey to them they need to pull out their credit card and order it. There’s a little more pressure to sell to the consumer.”
When Glen and Tracie were on “Shark Tank,” the panel of celebrity business moguls initially passed on their investment offer, sending the Rockford residents nearly out the door empty-handed. That’s when Daymond John had a change of heart and offered to invest $50,000 in exchange for 30 percent of ownership in SockTABs.
John began collaborating with HSN in 2015 to help find entrepreneurs worth showcasing. He pulled strings to get Glen and Tracie on the segment, which has a dedicated following, Tracie said.
“It’s a very rigorous process to get on HSN on your own,” she said. “Damon introduced us to the appropriate people.”
Other inventors have launched major careers by first appearing on HSN, most notably Joy Mangano, who has sold more than 700 million Huggable Hangars and was the subject of the recent Oscar nominee “Joy” starring Jennifer Lawrence.
“When Daymond John first introduced us to Tracie and Glen Burress of SockTABs, we immediately knew they both had the three key ingredients to being successful on HSN: a great product with a great story told by great storytellers,” HSN President Bill Brand said in a statement emailed to the Register Star. “Our business was created on the idea that you can have a concept, develop a plan and bring it to fruition all in one place, and we could not be more excited to collaborate with Tracie and Glen as they launch their brand to our 95 million homes.”
Since sealing a deal on national TV in November, Glen and Tracie have seen plenty of success in addition to their professional jobs — he’s a pediatric gastroenterologist, she’s a pharmaceutical sales rep. SockTABs will soon be available in Bed, Bath & Beyond stores, and SockTABs have been acclaimed by the visually impaired community, they said.
In the early stages of SockTABs, Glen and Tracie connected with Northern Illinois University’s EIGERlab, a business incubator out of the NIU-Rockford Education Center, 8500 E. State St. The program helped them with the initial design and modifications, as well as product development, commercialization and creating a business model. Glen and Tracie were also schooled in how to make a strong business pitch, something that helped them secure an investment on the pressure cooker that is “Shark Tank.”
Their success is a good sign for EIGERlab, said Executive Director Dan Cataldi.
“It shows that we’re doing what we should be doing,” he said. “EIGERlab is about entrepreneurship and commercialization of innovation. In Tracie and (Glen’s) case, it helped with entrepreneurship and on the innovation and technical side.”
EIGERlab doesn’t receive a cut of the profits or royalties, Cataldi said.
Glen and Tracie were featured as two of the Rockford Register Star’s People to Watch in 2016.
Rockford Register Star link.