Here's What Went Down With SoleMates After Shark Tank

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

When Monica Ferguson and Becca Brown appeared on Season 8, Episode 4 of Shark Tank in 2016, they had built their company, SoleMates, on a singular product: the high-heel protector. A heel cap made of flexible plastic that could fit any heel snugly and prevent it from sinking into soft soil or getting stuck in cracks and steel grates. It's a two-in-one solution for protecting expensive shoes from possible damage and for providing more balance and stability to the wearer. Much like many other founders who tried to secure an investment on the show, Ferguson and Brown came up with this business idea after discovering an innovative fix to yet another high-heel problem they had encountered themselves.

Seven years later, and SoleMates' product lineup has expanded to include solutions to shoe-caused foot problems and other footwear issues: anti-friction balms, shoe cushions, heel guards, sole guards, deodorizers, and more. "From high heels to flats to tennis shoes, we created the best solutions to preventing shoe damage and foot discomfort," the brand's About Us section stated — and a number of celebrity clients seem to think so too. Oprah Winfrey described the signature high-heel protector as "genius" and Demi Lovato and Viola Davis have been spotted wearing them.

Before the success that SoleMates currently enjoys, let's take a look back at how Ferguson and Brown presented their company and their product to a panel of investors who were 90% cisgender men.

An investor believed SoleMates was creating a new category

When the two co-founders made their pitch, SoleMates had been in business for five years already, with a valuation of $5 million and on track to earn as much as $1.5 million in revenue in 2016. They'd raised $1 million in investment so far and were asking for $500,000 more in exchange for 10% equity. They also offered the investors an opportunity to try out their product, even bringing out high heels the men could wear with the SoleMates protectors. 

After everyone had a laugh, the Sharks began asking serious questions. Lori Greiner didn't think the high-heel protectors were something people needed badly. "What about those who don't wear high heels?" she asked before passing on investing. The numbers didn't add up for Mark Cuban, either. He declined the deal, saying he couldn't imagine SoleMates making $50 million so he could recoup his investment. Daymond John agreed, adding that making profits for any investor would already be out of the question.

Robert Herjavec saw potential in SoleMates, though, and believed the company was creating a new category in the market. With the resources needed to expand, he presented $500,000 for a 25% stake, saying, "You get a partner ... to help you scale this company to a substantial size." Kevin O'Leary offered $100,000 in investment for 10% equity plus a $400,000 loan, but Ferguson got to bargain Herjavec's possible equity down to 20%. SoleMates walked away with him as an investor.

SoleMates got to scale even after its Shark Tank deal fell through

As enthusiastic as they were on the show after coming to an agreement, Ferguson, Brown, and Herjavec's deal didn't push through, with the SoleMates co-founders declining it post-show. However, both discovered a community of fellow entrepreneurs through their appearance. In SoleMates's wholesale website blog, Ferguson said, "We found ourselves in ongoing dialogues with many other brands that were on the show and we are constantly sharing resources, best practices, and bouncing ideas off of each other. It's been an unexpected and awesome perk."

On Instagram, the brand currently has more than 16,000 followers and it enjoys 36,000 likes and 35,000 followers on Facebook, although its last posts on both social media platforms date back to 2022. While SoleMates already had a website dedicated to wholesale purchases, its official website seems to have consolidated its wholesale partnerships with event and wedding planners, boutiques, venues, and more into one of its pages.

Prior to their Shark Tank appearance, SoleMates was already sold in 3,000 retail stores, including at Nordstrom's and David's Bridal. Thanks to the buzz created by the exposure and because it had already been tapping into the bridal market, the company made $1.8 million in revenue in 2018. It also secured a deal with CVS, making SoleMates products available in more than 4,000 stores, and they're sold as well on Amazon. All in all, the company has proven to be another successful Shark Tank alum.