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Whatever Happened To Spergo After Shark Tank?

If you ever feel like an underachiever, it may help you to know that Trey Brown — the founder and CEO of the fashion brand SPERGO — didn't cross $1 million in sales until he was 50 years old!

Wait a second, we heard wrong... he was actually 15. Sorry.

In all seriousness, Brown's "Shark Tank" pitch is one of the most impressive and uplifting in recent years. It's hard not to root for the teenager as he faces down the panel of celebrity investors, describing how he took his business from less than $200 in birthday money to nearly $2 million in gross revenue. This level of persistence would be understandably daunting to anyone of any age embarking on a new business enterprise, but Brown — who shared that he felt surrounded by violence and drugs while growing up in Philadelphia — was determined to inspire kids around the world and to show them that there were other ways to thrive.

"I wanted to be the light and role model for, you know, not just youth in the city of Philadelphia, but all over ... to show them that it's possible," he told the Sharks in 2021. "That you can chase your dreams, and you don't have to be violent or you don't have to get into drugs to make money." Brown said his interest in fashion came by way of his mother, Sharell Peterson, a seamstress who appeared with Brown on the show, as well as his family's tradition of wearing their finest attire to church every Sunday. There's no disputing that Brown is one of the most accomplished teenagers in the country, but the Sharks rarely show mercy even to the youngest of prey.

Trey Brown's Shark Tank pitch couldn't have gone better

While Trey Brown and Sherell Peterson pitch the clothing company SPERGO (a stylized portmanteau of "sport," "hero," and "go") in Season 13, Episode 6 of "Shark Tank," they value the company at $3 million. In exchange for an investment of $300,000, they are willing to part with 10% of the company.

This arguably more than reasonable ask combined with Brown's clear and effective pitch makes his hour in the "Shark Tank" an unusually pleasant one. For the majority of his presentation, the teenage billionaire-hopeful meets direct questions with equally direct — and impressive — answers, leaving the sharks absolutely enamored as they study the careful embroidery, learn how consistently Brown invested his profits back into the business, see the steadily increasing profits year-to-year (to the point that SPERGO's net revenue was well over $300,000 after Brown and Peterson took salaries for themselves), and hear how Brown earned a $25,000 grant from Sean "Diddy" Combs to open a retail store. In fact, Brown's business was so obviously consistent and successful on its own, the sharks are left confused as to what they'd bring to the table.

This is especially true for Lori Greiner and Kevin O'Leary, who feel they don't have the fashion experience necessary to be useful to SPERGO. Robert Herjavec, meanwhile, confesses he isn't sure how to scale a clothing business that wasn't based online. Just as the waters seemed deadly quiet, fashion mogul Daymond John came in with an offer, and — despite some competition from Mark Cuban — accepted a counter from Brown. John got 20% of SPERGO, and the mother-son duo walked away with the $300,000 investment they needed — as well as a perfect shark in their own tank.

SPERGO's story made headlines

After SPERGO's episode aired in 2021, Trey Brown and Sherell Peterson received a massive influx of orders, experiencing firsthand the phenomenon known as the "'Shark Tank' Effect." In the days following their appearance, SPERGO saw an increase in orders of over 2,000%. In addition to being featured on the wildly popular ABC program, the uniqueness and positivity of Brown's story caught the attention of various news outlets, ranging from CNBC to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

In the latter publication, Brown and Peterson marveled at their own post-Tank success and expressed their gratitude to Daymond John for taking a chance on SPERGO. There was no official public record of whether or not the company closed their deal with John immediately after the show (normally there's at least a few month's worth of due diligence involved), though he too seemed optimistic about their future together when the episode aired, tweeting, "So proud of my newest business partners @OfficialSPERGO!! You've already accomplished so much and I can't wait to see what more you'll achieve."

Did SPERGO close their deal with Daymond John?

In the years since SPERGO's more than auspicious "Shark Tank" pitch, it seems unclear if Daymond John is still involved with the clothing website. The dedicated "Shark Tank" online journal and database Shark Tank Blog claims without citation that the deal he made with Trey Brown and Sherell Peterson did, in fact, formally close. However, it's worth noting that there's no mention of John or SPERGO's appearance on "Shark Tank" anywhere on the company's website. This would be unusual for any other clothing company but is especially so for SPERGO, which — like most fashion startups — proudly boasts any and all celebrity involvement to reassure consumers of their brand's credibility. Of the dozen celebrities named in the company's About Us section, John is nowhere to be found.

The company is still in business as of writing, with new designs seemingly being unveiled on a regular basis judging by their somewhat tepid social media presence (200 likes is a rather icy response for a post from an Instagram account with over 100,000 followers, and their Twitter isn't any hotter). SPERGO has an average star rating of 3.6 on Facebook and 3.9 on Google Reviews, with a troubling amount of one-star entries alleging similar problems, such as a lack of customer service and items that never arrive or arrive months after their expected date.

What's next for SPERGO?

There are two major hurdles for SPERGO to overcome as Trey Brown pursues his dream of becoming a 21-year-old billionaire. The first appears to be giving the quality product SPERGO offers the support of the global brand it aspires to be, complete with reliable fulfillment and customer service. In terms of style, flair, and that ineffable but necessary air of cool, there isn't much that separates SPERGO from brands like Champion, Supreme, or Off-White (depending on one's personal taste, of course). And when it comes to price, SPERGO is surely a cheaper option. The biggest gap Brown needs to close is not in terms of output or presence, but in boring, behind-the-scenes operations.

Of course, closing that gap will prove expensive and time-consuming, which may become a deal breaker as SPERGO approaches its second hurdle: its CEO is about to reach college age. Perhaps Brown will choose not to go to school in order to focus on his career (and, given his success, it'd be hard to blame him), though it wouldn't be surprising if he wanted to enroll in a business program or any other undergraduate program, which, while beneficial, would sap time, money, and energy.

Far be it from us to recommend any course of action to the young entrepreneur — we're still picking our jaws up off the floor from his 2021 presentation. But Brown and his family will have to make some difficult choices as they continue to chase his billionaire dreams the SPERGO way.