At 15, Trey Brown has been a business owner for one fifth of his life. He was just 12 years old when he used his birthday money to start “SPERGO,” a colorful, sporty apparel company. The business began on his mother’s porch, which it eventually outgrew. In just a couple of years, it passed the million-dollar mark. How’d he do it? Brown, who is mentored by P. Diddy Combs, has been featured on a billboard in Times Square. He has also had ads on CNN and won a program for small business owners with the Philadelphia 76ers. Brown uses his charisma and positive attitude to inspire kids and adults alike. And now, he’ll appear on Shark Tank this Friday, November 5.
WHYY afternoon drive host, Cherri Gregg, caught up with Trey Brown to discuss this latest milestone.
I feel like I’ve watched you grow up.
Trey Brown: I remember, like, I think, you were one of my first ever interviews.
That’s all right. So first of all, you got on Shark Tank! How in the world did that happen?
One of the producers, they had reached out to me in an email. This was about two years ago. You know, everything ended up happening now. You know, I feel like it’s the right time and everything like that, but we made it happen.
So this has been an evolution. For our listeners who may never have heard of you, you have a company called SPERGO. What do you guys do? Explain it.
SPERGO is a lifestyle, designer apparel company. … When I was 12 years old, I came up with the name SPERGO, combining the words “sports” and “heroes.” I added the GO at the end because SPERGO is for the go-getters and everything like that. But, you know, SPERGO is just a clothing brand promoting, like, positivity.
And the crazy part is I’ve seen everybody on social media dressing their babies in SPERGO. Tell me some of the folks you’ve been able to reach with your brand.
SPERGO has been supported by a lot of people like, you know, Da Baby, you know, Mr. Sean Diddy Combs, Lil Durk, Mr. Wallo267. Everybody been rocking SPERGO and we just, we growing every day.
I remember coming to your house. You had transformed your porch area into like a little boutique with all kinds of stacks. And then you guys outgrew that and had to get a warehouse. What was that like?
It was definitely like a great experience when I first got my warehouse because I always like spoke into existence that, you know, I was going to get a warehouse. One day I was going to get a store one day, you know. The porch was getting way, way, way, way too stacked up, you know, so we had to get a warehouse. And my first headquarters, you know, in the building, it was a store and a warehouse in the same building. That was great. You know, so everything was all together.
So what do you think makes SPERGO so different?
It’s like a young brand, you know? And also, like we got really like high quality, you know, for being like, you know, a young brand. Also, what makes SPERGO different? You know, I’m an ordinary kid, you know, doing extraordinary things.
How do you balance your business in school?
You know, I’m homeschooled, so it helps me manage my time because I travel a lot and different things like that.
I got to ask you, did the pandemic impact you at all? I mean, people did start wearing a lot of leisure wear.
The pandemic, you know, impacted us like positively. I opened, you know, the SPERGO headquarters, my first store during the pandemic and the city of Philadelphia was just showing us a lot of love. It was just like a big win for the city because during the pandemic, you know, it was just like a lot of losses and a lot of people weren’t happy. But when I opened the store, I brought a lot of hope to the city.
Where do you get your motivation from?
I get my motivation really from myself, a lot of the times. Just wanting to be better from yesterday, for real for real.
What is the lesson you would tell other kids who look up to you? Because I mean, you’re almost 16. You were 12 when you got this idea. And there’s a lot of 12-year-olds that are looking at you now like they could be you.
I would give them my five keys to success. Number one is to find your passion: Find something you love, and run with it. And number two, after you find your passion, is to stay consistent. A wise man said, “If you’re persistent, you will get it. But if you are consistent, you will keep it.” Number three is your network is your net worth. Because if you hang around five millionaires every day or five people doing the right thing, you’re going to be the sixth one. And if you hang around five people that’s doing the wrong thing, you’re going to be doing the wrong thing. So your network is your net worth, and the people that you hang around is really important. And then number four is you can never learn too much. You can learn a lot from your parents. You can learn a lot from reading or just from wherever, but just don’t ever feel like you outgrown learning. And then number five, just say affirmations in the morning or say affirmations anytime you get a chance, like when you wake up. Make sure you bring positivity into the atmosphere because it’s a lot of people in a world that might say negative things to you. But affirmations just bring positivity to you. You know, when people say negative things, [affirmations] block off the negativity because you already believe in yourself. So affirmations like, “I’m powerful, I’m strong, I’m a leader, I’m successful, you know, I’m a winner.” These things, you know, just bring positivity. So these are my five keys to success.
So do you do the affirmations every day for yourself?
Yeah, I do my affirmations every day.
What does Trey Brown say to himself every day?
I am successful. I’m a billionaire. You know, I say I’m a world traveler. I’m happy. I’m a child of God. I’m nice. I say all them different things to myself in the morning.
P. Diddy Combs is one of your mentors. Now you’re on Shark Tank. That experience on Shark Tank. Can you give us any clues?
It was a great experience. This is going to be epic, tune in this Friday.
What did you learn from that experience?
Always stay ready, and stay prepared at all times, in any way.
Well, I wish you luck, Trey.
Trey Brown and SPERGO will be featured on Shark Tank November 5. Check your local listings. To find out more about SPERGO go to spergo.com.