EAGLE, ID -- Grandsons of ID-based Woodgrain Millwork founder Bud Dame took on ABC's "Shark Tank" to gain funding to grow Proof Eyewear, their wood sunglasses company, in an episode that aired Feb. 22.
With approximately $433,000 in sales over the past 12 months, the Dame brothers were seeking investment capital from the Sharks of $150,000 to invest in inventory to meet growing consumer demand. However, they eventually decided to pass on the investment deals offered and grow the company on their own, much like their grandfather who took free woodworking equipment, given to him 60 years ago by a client to settle a debt, and created a large wood components company, Woodgrain Millwork, which today has more than 1,800 employees.
Proof founder, Brooks Dame, started the company in his garage while trying to make ski poles out of bamboo. Although he couldn't get the ski poles quite right, he says in a video, Dame later saw a pair of wood glasses and says he thought, "why not wood sunglasses?"
Dame enlisted the help of his two brothers and started a website. Through grassroots and social media marketing, trade shows and word-of-mouth, the brand began to grow in popularity and was soon seen on the faces of famous celebs from Beyonce to Snoop Dogg.
The sunglasses are made from substainable wood and are available in approximately 70 stores in the U.S. and 40 locations internationally. Diversifying its product line, Proof offers a new twist on the wallet with a wood money clip made from bamboo and recycled bike tubing and wood iPhone cases.
Proof gives 10% of its profits to charitable organizations.