How This 'Shark Tank' Contestant Found Love -- and Wealth -- By Spray Painting His Dog

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Former Staff Writer
3 min read

In 2009, when the aspiring entrepreneur Abe Geary was contemplating how he might propose to then-girlfriend, Anne, a bold notion suddenly dawned on him: ‘Who can argue with a dog?’

So Geary enlisted his brother’s white boxer, Jemma, and hightailed it to Los Angeles International Airport, where Anne was scheduled to arrive from England. “I actually wanted to find a puppy,” Geary told, “but my brother’s dog turned out to be good enough.” Then, in what would later become a life-altering gesture, he spray painted the words “Marry me?” in pink and purple letters across Jemma’s side.

When Anne debarked, the dog turned around to reveal Geary’s message -- and the rest, as they say, is history.

How This 'Shark Tank' Contestant Found Love -- and Wealth -- By Spray Painting His Dog
Abe Geary
Image credit: PetPaint

Though this was not only the beginning of an enduring love story, it turns out, but the genesis of a burgeoning business venture that is today known as PetPaint.

Related: How a Squinting Dog Inspired a $3 Million Company

The proposal set off a “lightbulb moment,” Geary says. Other painting products on the market were difficult to apply and stubborn to remove; this wasn’t. After tapping suppliers and perfecting the dog-safe, vet-approved formula over the next two years, PetPaint had its soft launch in 2012.

Not even the activist organization PETA -- with whom Geary conferred before launching the product -- had a word of complaint about its easily washable and non-staining formula, he said.

The nascent venture gradually gained traction in the pet world, Geary said, as well as the halloween party industry. PetPaint leashed sales of $5,000 in 2012, which grew exponentially to revenues of $200,000 last year -- no doubt spurred on by an appearance Geary made on Shark Tank last October. Though he declined the offer he was made, the appearance helped him get his product into Petsmart stores nationwide. “This year, we’ve already done $95,000 in sales,” he said, “and it’s only February.”

How This 'Shark Tank' Contestant Found Love -- and Wealth -- By Spray Painting His Dog
Abe Geary
Image credit: PetPaint

On its website, each furspray is priced at $9.99. They are available in an array of eight total shades, including Poodle Pink and Beagle Blue. PetPaint also vends stencils for $4.99 a piece.

Related: This App Made $200,000 Right After It Premiered On 'Shark Tank'

While Geary’s invention is self-admittedly niche, the countless ways in which PetPaint is being used today never cease to hearten or surprise him, he said.

“People have used PetPaint for Pride parades and Mardi Gras parades,” he explains. “And at shelters, rescue dogs can be marked with PetPaint to denote whether or not they’ve been fixed. It can also be used to dress up less attractive dogs in order to help them get adopted more easily.”

At the precipice of a budding color grooming industry and with its origins steeped in romantic lure, Geary predicts that in 2014 his venture will continue wagging all the way to the bank.

“We want to make PetPaint a household name in the pet industry,” he said, “and I think that’s a reality.”

Related: Why a Dog-Eat-Dog Mentality Doesn't Work

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors are here to help you throughout the entire process of building your franchise organization!
  1. Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Choose one of our programs that matches your needs, budget, and timeline
  3. Launch your new franchise organization
Save on an annual Entrepreneur Insider membership through 5/8/21. For just $49/yr $39/yr, you’ll enjoy exclusive access to:
  • Premium articles, videos, and webinars
  • An ad-free experience
  • A weekly newsletter
  • Bonus: A FREE 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription delivered directly to you
Make sure you’re covered for physical injuries or property damage at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business

Latest on Entrepreneur