Daymond John – A Short History of FUBU
Daymond John is a very famous American entrepreneur, the founder of the popular clothing brand FUBU. He is also an investor and a TV star. Since 2009, he has been participating in the popular reality show ‘Shark Tank’. He is one of the sharks there – 5 famous business managers who decide whether or not to invest money in ideas presented by normal people.
Daymond John was born on the 23th of February, 1969 (currently 44). As a child he lived in the Queens neighborhood of New York with his mom and 7 brothers and sisters. While he was attending Bayside High School, he participated in a co-op program which made it possible for him to work a full-time job and in the same time to attend school weekly. This was when the business spirit was conceived in him.
During the 80s, wool hats with cut tops were very popular among rappers. The big companies sold such for around $20 which was a little high amount of money for that time. This is where John spotted an opportunity. He went home and shared the idea with his friend and neighbor Carl Brown. They both made around 80 hats themselves and went in front of the New York Coliseum in order to sell them. They put a
price tag of $10 for a piece and actually managed to trade all of their production for just a single day. This is how they ended up with $800 in the evening. This was an immediate success. John went home and persuaded his mother to take a loan, mortgaging their apartment. They borrowed $100 000 in start up cash and invested the money into the business. This is how FUBU was born. At the beginning they started sewing the FUBU logo on t-shirts, jackets and other clothes trying to make the brand popular. This didn’t have a great effect and the business wasn’t really booming. John had to work full-time as a waiter in Red Lobster restaurant. He worked on his business during his spare time. Things were tough, but luckily he had a friend that would later change his life. This friend was the rapper LL Cool J, who was living in the same neighborhood and knew Mr. Daymond since a while. John managed to persuade the rap singer to wear a promotional t-shirt with the FUBU brand on it on some of his videos (around 40). Later, LL Cool J wore a FUBU hat while shooting a short video clip for The Gap. This gave a good initial boost to the company.