Eric Griffin

Clear-Coat

http://www.clear-coat.com/

What’s your business, what makes it special?

Clear-Coat is a true American manufacturer and consumer brand that specializes in creating quality screen protectors and skins for mobile devices. From the design to the actual production, everything is manufactured in our office. Because of the tight control we posses over the manufacturing process, we are able to do a lot of cool things when it comes to creating the product. One of the toughest things we deal with at Clear-Coat is educating customers regarding quality and cost manufacturing in America as opposed to overseas. 

What is the history or background of this business, why did you start it?

My partner, Dennis and I have been best friends since grade school. In college, we started a company that imported and exported high-tech cell phones. When we graduated, we opened an office and turned our small import and export project into a real company. It was going great. However, the moment the iPhone was released, the tables turned in our business. Suddenly, the cool, high-tech cell phones that were traditionally produced oversees were instead, here in the USA. Everyone wanted the iPhone. We knew it was time to get out of the cell phone import and export business.

At the same time, we started messing around with cell phone accessories. One of these experiments was a screen protector produced in-house. We decided to pivot the company, sell off the import and export business and focus our efforts on producing screen protectors. 

It’s been a tough road, but we are proud of how far we’ve come as a team and business. 

Why did you join EO?

I had a friend that was part of EO. For five to six years he was on my case about joining EO, but I hesitated. When we were starting Clear-Coat, I couldn’t imagine leaving the office for a whole day- there was just too much to do. Then an opportunity in our business came up and I was trying to get a hold of a large cell phone case manufacturer. I cold called him for weeks and received no response. But, my friend from EO put out feelers in the community and within one day I had the manufacturer on the phone. That experience was eye opening for me. I should have joined EO earlier!

What has been the greatest impact on your life since joining EO?

The first thing that jumps out at me when discussing EO’s impact on my life is culture. When I attended EO’s Key Executive Program, it dawned on my business partner and I that we weren’t recognizing our employees or providing a platform for them to thrive on. EO helped us see that and ultimately improve our culture.

The second thing that jumps out is vision. Before EO, Clear-Coat didn’t have a concrete vision. For us, our vision amounted to: get more sales. Yet, at the end of the day vision is a lot more than saying “we want to get more sales”, it’s about thinking where you want your business to be, what steps you need to take to get there, breaking those steps down into actionable goals… than taking action and doing it! At our company, from 2009 to 2013, we had a pretty steady employee count of six to twelve individuals. But, since the year we joined EO, we went from 12 employees to 18. Ultimately, I realized that I wasn’t going to grow my business, without laying down the groundwork. 

What would you tell others who are considering joining EO?

I hesitated to join EO because all the members would say this thing is going to change your life! To an outsider, EO almost sounded… cult like. When I attended my first meeting, I promised myself I wouldn’t drink the EO Kool-Aid. But, the thing is, EO really does change your life, and that change is both real and powerful.