April 6th, 2013 | University

Q&A with ‘Shark Tank’ contestant Colin Grussing ’07

Colin Grussing '07 talks about his business, RootSuit, as part of his audition tape for the reality television show "Shark Tank."
Colin Grussing '07 talks about his business, RootSuit, as part of his audition tape for the reality television show "Shark Tank." Photo by YouTube.

Have you ever wondered where you can purchase a spandex bodysuit that covers your face? If so, you’re in luck. Meet Colin Grussing ’07, the Yale alum who founded RootSuit — a website that sells bodysocks — and who appeared on the reality television show “Shark Tank” last night. Grussing spoke to the News about his businesses and upcoming plans.

Q: How did the RootSuit business come about?

A: I saw one of the bodysuits on a TV show, and I knew my friend would really like it. I went online looking for them. I looked for an hour and saw that other people were also looking for them. I decided I should just sell them.

Q: What do most people use the body suits for?

A: Honestly going out and having a good time. They’re really fun to wear and they change a mundane activity into a blast.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about RootSuits?

A: Instead of being a random person at a bar, you’re guaranteed to get a free drink. People ask to take pictures of you. It’s a combination of anonymity and fame at the same time. It’s a weird juxtaposition.

Q: How often do you wear RootSuits?

A: Not as much as before. Maybe five to ten times a year.

Q: Have you thought about making Yale RootSuits?

A: I think I have. I have made many blue and white ones. I haven’t gotten too great of a reaction from Yalies, but if anyone wants one there is definitely a Yalie discount.

Q: You graduated from Yale with a mechanical engineering degree. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

A: I just didn’t want to get a job. My parents are both self employed. After college I did six to seven random projects. After you graduate you realize pretty quickly how hard it is to save money. So I thought: how can I make money without working?

Q: Tell me about your new business, NolaSidecars.

A: I was picking up a friend and as I turned the corner, I saw a motorcycle sidecar. I brought my friends over and we all just ooed and awed over it. I looked online for sidecars, and it was hard to find something, expensive or not. It seemed like a good opportunity to start a business.

Q: What was it like being on Shark Tank?

A: It was great. We drove out there and set up this elaborate presentation. Talking to the sharks was really fun. They’re all interesting people and pretty nice. It was stressful going into it but once I got there it was fun.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m thinking about starting an apocalypse camp. It’s basically summer camps for dudes. They can come down to New Orleans and I’ll teach them to hot wire cars, ride motorcycles, and pick locks. Starting around June, I’m going to try starting a business every week for 8 weeks. I’ve been saving up ideas forever. I’m thinking about a food truck, sidecar tours around New Orleans, and some internet-related businesses.

Check out Grussing’s audition tape for Shark Tank here.