Company: Solemates

Founders: Monica Ferguson and Becca Brown

Season: Appeared on season 8 in week four episode

Solemates saves high heels from getting ruined. Their High Heelers caps allow high heels to be worn in any situation without shoes sinking into the grass. They have been worn by numerous celebrities:

“Solemates High Heelers have been worn by Demi Lovato during her World Series national anthem performance, Lauren Conrad during her wedding, Carrie Underwood while on tour and Viola Davis while on the “How to Get Away with Murder” set. The various products work to make your heels more functional and comfortable, ranging from the classic High Heeler, which costs $12, to the Blister Blocker and Bridal Rescue Set. The idea for Solemates was simple: they just hated ruining their shoes.”

When Ferguson and Brown originally appeared on “Shark Tank,” they came in asking for $500,000 for 10 percent equity. The sharks tried out the caps by strapping on a pair of heels and they were impressed by how effortlessly they blended into the heels. Some of the sharks went out because they felt it wasn’t a necessary product, while others believed their revenue and margins numbers weren’t quite adding up. However, they did earn two offers from Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary and ultimately accepted a deal from Herjavec for $500,000 for 20 percent.

Ferguson spoke with Business 2 Community about Solemates’s experience on the show and what their next steps are. Take a look at the Q&A below:

Q&A with Solemates’s Co-Founder Monica Ferguson

What was your strategy for navigating “Shark Tank”?

Our strategy for navigating “Shark Tank” was straightforward. We know our company; we own our numbers and we knew exactly why we were “in the tank.”

We had a few salient points that we knew were important to articulate to the Sharks and whatever questions we were thrown, we knew we had to tack back to them.

How has Solemates changed since the episode was first recorded? Since it aired?

Absolutely. Since the first episode aired, our sales have been significantly stronger, the volume of international distributors has grown, and lots of retailers are interested in speaking with us.

Is there anything you would have changed about your time spent in the tank, including your pitch and valuation?

For the most part, no. We worked hard in preparing for the pitch and we were happy with how it came out. Our actual time “in the tank” was something like 90 minutes, and what was shown on TV was a fragment of that time.

Who’s your favorite shark?

We love them all but obviously we have a soft spot for Robert!

Do you think “Shark Tank” was the right move for your business?

One-hundred percent the right move for us. Our goal has always been to build awareness for our product and brand, and “Shark Tank” was a great platform on which to do that.

What are Solemates’s next steps?

We are in the process of working with a number of new retailers as well as building an awesome new ecomm site.

Where do you see the shoe care industry in 5-10 years?

We think we have made a small splash in what will become a large movement for care products. Our products are natural, non-toxic beauty products for shoes. Shoe care to date feels more like the brainchild of chemists than beauticians; our brand marries the effectiveness of the former with the positive experience of the latter.

What would you say to people who want to start their own business?

We live in the greatest country in the world for a number of reasons but among those is that we, as a culture, and by the design of our government, encourage innovation and creation. We’re so lucky to live here and have this unique platform on which to test things out and contribute to the world. If you have an idea for a product or a service, and you have the means to execute (financially, intellectually, and emotionally), do it. The worst thing that happens if things don’t go as you planned, is that they go another way. You will undoubtedly come away from the experience richer; either richer in character or in pocket – and ideally in both.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to make it on “Shark Tank”?

Be confident, be calm and be excited. It’s such a fun and unique experience. Enjoy it! When we made our final submission tape, we had FUN doing it. We laughed, we stumbled, and we had fun doing it.

We had so much fun being a part of the “Shark Tank” family. From the casting directors to the producers to the often unsung heroes of the art department, to the hair and makeup team, to the show runners…everyone is so extraordinarily passionate about what they do (and they are all so nice). We had an overwhelmingly positive experience being a part of the show and are so grateful to everyone who made it possible.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Being an entrepreneur or being successful in just about any field is about “being comfortable being uncomfortable.” You have to enjoy the sensation of being a little out of over your skis. Being on “Shark Tank” is the embodiment of this notion.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length

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