There are certain individuals that aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and instead carve a path of their own and go on to become wildly successful.
In the social media era, one of the first ones that comes to my mind is that of Daymond Garfield John.
Daymond John is an American businessman, fashion designer, author, motivational speaker, and television personality.
Many of us know him as a successful investor on the reality series titled Shark Tank.
However, some of us also know him as the person who created the clothing line, FUBU, that went viral back in the late 80s and early 90s.
Having a current net worth of $300 million, John has indeed managed to create quite a name for himself.
Let me take you through his life, his career, his current ventures, and everything that makes him such an enigmatic personality to look up to.
Born on February 23, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York City, Daymond John spent most of his childhood days in the Queens neighborhood of Hollis.
John was a driven person even as a kid. He started working at the young age of 10. His parents went through a divorce when he was really young, and the financial condition of his family was pretty weak.
He took on a job that had him handing out flyers for $2 per hour.
By the time John reached high school, he had managed to enroll himself in a program that enabled him to have a full-time job while also going to school every alternate week.
This is what sparked the entrepreneurial drive within him, and John also credits this experience for instilling the fire he continues to have to this day.
Even after being done with high school, John continued to work despite the jobs having quite a meagre pay rate. This is when he started a business of his own.
Not only did he work tables at Red Lobster, he also started a commuter van service.
The popularity of John can be linked to his present role as a Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank.
On this show, the contestant come up with business ideas to propose in front of a panel of investors. However, this wasn’t his ticket to success.
He sprung to popularity at a period when social media wasn’t even around, and all of us were still only getting used to the idea of technology causing major changes.
This was when he started his clothing brand known as FUBU, which stood for “For Us By Us”.
The company started out small and took birth in the house of John’s mother in Hollis, Queens. He wanted to make clothes for young men, and his mother supported him greatly, and also taught him how to sew.
During this period, one of the things that was popular in the world of fashion was wool ski hats with their tips tied off with fishing line, and John decided to take advantage of this.
These hats were sold for $20, and John knew even then that they were too expensive.
Therefore, he and his neighbor got together to sew about 90 such hats.
These homemade hats were being sold by them for $10, and the duo managed to earn $800 on the same day.
After this success, John decided to delve deeper into the clothing world, and they began creating t-shirts that were screen-printed.
This was John’s way into the world of selling, where he made money through orders and large events that took place all over the northeastern part of the United States.
While this does indeed sound like a golden scenario to us, John knew that the road was still much longer. This is probably why he continued working at Red Lobster, and did his work for FUBU in between his shifts.
As we’ve already seen before, John’s mother was a vital part of his overall success.
Once John’s clothing business started to take off, she ended up mortgaging their house for $100,000, and this money enabled them to get the startup capital they needed for FUBU.
John made use of this money to hire his friends, Alexander Martin and Keith Perrin, for his business. The logo on FUBU was sewed on several of the clothing items, such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, as well as jerseys.
John and his team knew even back then that the best way to reach out to their audience was by going after the people everyone looked up to.
This is why they loaned about 10 of their hockey jerseys to rappers who made hit music videos. Therefore, this serves as one of the examples how John used smart marketing to get the word out about his business.
Can you imagine what would have happened if social media marketing existed at that time? FUBU probably would have been able to reach out to its target audience sooner.
The importance of intellectual marketing, therefore, can never be overstated, and that’s the first lesson for anyone trying to open a new business.
With the help of a comprehensive marketing platform such as Systeme.io, we can aid our business touch the peak of success that we have envisioned, much like Daymond John did himself.
Once these jerseys were sent out, the reaction was impeccable, and John even managed to convince an old neighborhood friend, LL Cool J, to put on a FUBU tee at one of his promotional campaigns in 1993.
FUBU received even more attention when Cool J was seen wearing a FUBU hat in an ad for The Gap. The commercial even had “For Us By Us” incorporated into the rap.
After this, John made almost $300,000 from the orders that came along. Post this, he also received an offer to participate in Macy’s at a fashion trade show in Las Vegas.
The financial situation during this time got a little tight, due to which they had to get a second mortgage on the house of John’s mother in order to complete all the orders.
They went from bank to bank, but were turned down by 27 of them. As a last resort, they used the last bit of the cash to get an ad printed in the New York Times, to which Samsung Textiles replied, and they were able to fulfill the orders.
The initial struggle for John, therefore, was a lot and long-term. However, it all turned out positive in the end.
The popularity of FUBU rose sky high during the 90s and early 2000s, and it has earned $6 billion in terms of global sales so far.
The brand also featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and it was just one of the many ventures John has associated himself with so far.
The popularity of Fubu dwindled by 2009, however, success came to John in the form of being a cast member of Shark Tank, which was the newest reality business show on ABC.
The show, as previously mentioned, has contestants presenting their business ideas in front of a panel of investors. These investors then provide the contestants with money that serves as the start-up capital.
The investors receive a bunch of options in return, which could be a stake in the company, a section of the sales, and so on.
This was how John became a celebrity and investor in the world of television. The show is currently in its 11th season and John has invested more than $8.5 million of his money into it.
He says that one of his most memorable investments from the show were Al “Bubba” Baker’s boneless ribs and Bombas socks.
John continued to involve himself with new companies and new groups over the next few years.
He also happens to be the CEO and founder of The Shark Group, which is a brand management and consulting firm located in Manhattan, New York.
Designing, branding, speaking, manufacturing, sourcing, integrated marketing, and social media are few of the element this group specializes in.
They have worked with the likes of The Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Chase, Forbes, Miller Lite, and even The White House.
In addition to business, John has dabbled into writing, motivational speaking, consultancy, and so on.
He makes use of his public speaking skills to collaborate with celebrities and companies that lead to more streams of brand extensions and revenues.
Not only does his clientele include Pitbull and Miss Universe Organization, but he’s also the brand ambassador of Shopify.
Among the many reputed places and events he has spoken at, some of them include the Babson College School of Entrepreneurship, the Creative LIAisons program at the annual London International Awards, the California First Lady Maria Shriver’s 2010 Women’s Conference, Rutgers University, and AT&T’s History Makers Tour.
John also went on to become the co-founder of Success Formula, which is a program that instructs entrepreneurs and business owners about how to start a business and make it grow.
The program was rebranded to the Formula to Next Level Success in September 2019.
As a prolific and influential motivational speaker, John obviously has numerous pearls of wisdom that can serve as motivation for us all.
Let us look at some of the most inspiring quotes from him that can really be the positive push we all need:
Daymond John has written many books that can be useful to anyone looking to start a business of their own.
Some of the titles that we should all be looking up include The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage, Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life, The Brand Within: The Power of Branding from Birth to the Boardroom, Display of Power: How Fubu Changed a World of Fashion, Branding and Lifestyle, Powershift: How to Master the Three Prongs of Influence to Close Any Deal and Achieve Any Outcome, and eSCAPE: The 4 Stages of Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur (with Anik Singal).
Being a reader himself, John also has certain book recommendations from his side that he feels are must-reads for many of us.
Some of those recommendations are Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money– That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Life is a Series of Presentations by Tony Jeary, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, and The One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.