Glenbrook South business incubator and engineering classes welcomed a special guest on Sept. 20.
DUDE Products co-founder and Chicago-area native Jeff Klimkowski visited the students to discuss the growth of his male hygiene company and prime time TV appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
“It’s important to start out with learning your business,” Klimkowski told the students, many of which are developing business models and products of their own.
“Understand every nook and cranny of your business,” he said. “Know what your product is, who your competitors are, and recognize your strengths and weaknesses.”
After three different audition attempts, DUDE Products was selected to appear on Shark Tank in October 2015. They struck a deal with Mark Cuban for DUDE Wipes, disposable wipes for men. Cuban invested $300,000 for a 25 percent stake in their company.
Now, DUDE Products is in more than 12,000 retail stores including Kroger, Meijer, Jewel, Target, Safeway, Albertsons and Walmart. They have also gained a lot of traction through Amazon.
Bethany Kleck, a senior in the business incubator class, said that Klimkowski’s visit motivated her to continue working on her dream of creating a fitness partner business model.
“The goal is for people to push each other and be on the same schedule when it comes to working out,” she said. “I’ve done a bit of research, but now I know that I really need to continue to step up my game and talk to some people about starting an app.”
Klimkowski told the students that all great businesses “start with an idea and a need,” much like what Kleck is pursuing.
“Everyone who you see doing really well took a big risk in the beginning,” he said.
Learn more about DUDE Products