Robert J. Croak is a highly recognized Entrepreneur due to the wildly successful Sillybandz brand that he created. Roberts journey started out with his middle class upbringing in Toledo Ohio where through a childhood divorce of his parents and several other teenage setbacks he never lost focus of his dreams. Early on Robert spent much of his post college career in the automotive business where he was a salesman and quickly moved up to finance manager. Robert realized very early on that the Entrepreneurial path was the only way to go for him.
So at 22 years old Robert made his first full-time jump into owning his own business and let’s say the rest is history. With a love for music and the unfortunate passing of his grandmother Robert had the opportunity to purchase the bar/restaurant Frankie’s made famous by his Grandfather Frankie Andriaccio and keep the legacy alive. Throughout the years Robert continued to open more bars and restaurants and keep his passion for the business growing. Robert had a nice run through the 1990’s and into 2000 but now it was time to expand into his true passion of inventing and product development. Robert already had a great staff and the transition was going well and in 2003 things changed very swiftly and with it came a new world of opportunities. Robert had been running a lot of races and triathlons and on one particular day Robert was given a Livestrong bracelet. While already developing other similar products Robert felt that the Livestrong bracelet concept could be expanded on and the launch of www.customsiliconebracelets.com brought the immediate realization that he was right. The business grew very quickly and over time Robert expanded the custom product offerings beyond silicone bracelets.
Now a few short years later and with several new products in the pipeline Robert is at a product show in China where he was given a shaped rubber band product that was designed by a Japanese designer. Robert was told it was to be sold as an office product and although Robert felt that it would not sell as an expensive shaped rubber band he had a better idea. This is where instinct comes in. Robert took the product back to Ohio and in one of their design meetings he pitched making them into bracelets and calling them Sillybandz. The staff didn’t buy it and didn’t think customers would either but Robert forged ahead with the design and manufacturing. Thank God Robert didn’t listen and his mantra now is “remember to always go with your gut”. Now many people think Sillybandz was an instant hit but that is far from the truth. It was a very slow build and with some key stores like Learning Express onboard and some fortunate Celebrity interaction Sillybandz was on the rise and what happened over the next 2.5 years was simply unheard of. Robert’s little Toledo company was now catapulted into the limelight and went from 12 employees to over 300 in the matter of months. The ride was like no other and Robert was working 18 hours a day 7 days a week during this time trying to efficiently scale the craze and capture the lighting in a bottle. Robert has since been featured on “How I Made My Millions”, Bloomberg, CNN, MTV’s Made, Bravo’s-Housewives of Beverly Hills, GSN-High Stakes Poker, as well as countless other TV shows and news features. Sillybandz has since cooled off and Robert has continued inventing, investing and launching many new products and brands.
Robert has successfully leveraged his brand-building reputation and infrastructure to maintain continued growth of new products and other ventures. Robert is busy now with several new products and has diversified into real estate, technology as well as his fast casual pizza enterprises. Robert’s passions have remained the same and he is now working towards expanding his services and infrastructure to other like-minded Entrepreneurs.