Trans-owned business scores big investment on Shark Tank

Sock Drawer Heroes and Dr Catriona Wallace on Shark Tank Australia

A trans-owned company scored an impressive investment deal on Shark Tank Australia, all while representing the LGBTQ+ community on national television.

Erin Spencer and Bec Cerio are the founders of the Sydney-based company Sock Drawer Heroes.

The retail company specialises in affordable gender-affirming products that help people to express their gender identities and feel more comfortable in themselves.

Products include chest binders, binding and tucking tape, STPs, and packing or tucking underwear.

Spencer and Cerio, who have been together since 2016, launched the company in 2018 after Spencer found it hard to find the gender-affirming products they needed as a trans-masc non-binary person.

After much success, the pair opened their first physical shop last year, where they sell life-changing products and offer a safe, supportive space to LGBTQ+ people of all ages.

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Spencer and Cerio appeared on this week’s episode of Shark Tank Australia to offer the sharks an eight per cent stake in their company in exchange for an investment of $120,000.

The pair immediately caught the attention of sharks Dr Catriona Wallace and Jane Lu. The pair first agreed to make a joint investment for the full $120,000 in exchange for a 16 per cent stake, but when Lu was forced to drop out because she had a “limited capacity”, Wallace made the business a final offer: an eight per cent stake for $60,000.

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Sock Drawer Heroes on Shark Tank Australia
Erin Spencer and Bec Cerio are the founders of the Sydney-based company Sock Drawer Heroes. (Channel 10 Australia)

Lu, still interested in giving the trans-owned company a helping hand, offered to give them pro-bono e-commerce, social media, and website advice.

During negotiations, Dr Wallace surprised the Sock Drawer Heroes owners when they revealed that they identify as nonbinary.

Commenting on the investment, Spencer said: “Little did we know that one of the Sharks was going through their own gender identity journey. 

“We are not only grateful for Cat’s investment, which will help us grow our business, but we are so excited to have welcomed Cat into our queer family.”

Spencer added that their Shark Tank success wasn’t all about the money. What was more important to them was bringing trans and non-binary representation to television.

Dr Catriona Wallace on Shark Tank Australia
Dr Wallace surprised the Sock Drawer Heroes owners when they revealed that they identify as nonbinary. (Channel 10 Australia)

“If just one kid watches the show and sees a positive future for themselves, that’s the most important outcome. That’s worth more than any amount of money,” they said.

“As we said in our pitch, it was very important to us that anyone we work with is an ally to the trans and gender-diverse community.” 

Meanwhile, Dr Wallace described their investment as an “easy decision.”

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“I have been a long-time supporter and ally of the LGBTQ+ community so my attention peaked as Erin and Bec entered the Tank. The pitch from Erin and Bec was very compelling with Sock Drawer Heroes being one of the best companies we had seen on the show,” they said.

“It was an easy decision for me to invest – the founders were excellent, the business was profitable, it serves an important community, and I identify as nonbinary and genderqueer. I am very happy that I can continue to support the community through my involvement with Bec and Erin and Sock Drawer Heroes.”

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