Solemates Enter the ‘Shark Tank’: A Look Inside the Company

Solemates, plastic protectors that eliminate heel sinkage in grass, entered the Shark Tank in Season 8.

We interviewed co-founder Monica Ferguson about the New York City-based company’s beginnings, their celebrity fans and feedback from adoring customers.

When asked about her future plans, she said, “World domination, one plastic heel cap at a time…just kidding. We absolutely will be introducing new products, both on the wedding/outdoor event space and in the shoe care space. They are very different businesses, but we have a well-placed foot in both markets, forgive the pun.”

Here’s what else she told us about…

How the Idea Came About

Personal necessity. We were tired of ruining our shoes when we went to weddings, outdoor parties or walking down the treacherous streets of New York. Cobblestones, subways grates and cracked sidewalks were the nemesis of the stiletto until we invented Solemates.

Celebrity Clients

Carrie Underwood has been wearing Solemates on her Storyteller tour while performing on stage and it’s been incredible to see. Other celebs include Demi Lovato, who was seen wearing them at the World Series when she sang the National Anthem on the the grass at Citi Field, Lauren Conrad, Fergie, Robin Wright and Oprah!

Pros & Cons to Running a Business in New York City

The pros are access to talent, proximity to media, influencers and events. The cons are cost of doing business. From rent to talent to taxes, it’s oppressive and highly anti-small business.

A Touching Customer Story

Not long after we launched, a customer called to thank us for having invented our product. She said she had first seen our product at a young person’s wedding but then repurposed her Solemates when she had to attend the funeral of a close friend. She said she was expected to speak at the burial and would obviously be in grass. She said she was so relieved to have had Solemates on her shoe that day because the last thing she wanted to think about was sinking or tripping or appearing anything but strong on that day. We never anticipated the reach of intended use would be so wide, so fast.

Applying to ‘Shark Tank’

We initially applied through a competition that Columbia Business School was hosting. We made it to the final round, but not the taped round. We were so disappointed, but we didn’t give up. We asked if we could apply again and cited reasons as to why we would be an even better fit, and we were luckily granted the right to submit another tape. The rest is ABC history!

Going Inside the ‘Tank’

We were not really nervous in the Tank, but we were excited for the experience. We had never done anything like it so we viewed it as a fun adventure. We knew we were completely prepared; we knew our business inside and out. What we were not prepared for the level of chaos that met us upon the start of the Q&A, but I think we acclimated decently.

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