Daymond Garfield John (born c. 1968/1969) is an American businessman, investor, television personality, author, and motivational speaker. He is best known as the founder, president, and CEO of FUBU, and appears as an investor on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank. John is the founder of The Shark Group.
He is based in New York City.
John grew up in the Queens neighborhood of Hollis. An only child, John was raised by his mother and grandfather. Early jobs included handing out flyers and waiting tables at Red Lobster. He attended Bayside High School. In high school, he participated in a program that allowed him to work a full-time job and attend school on an alternating weekly basis, which he credits with instilling an entrepreneurial spirit. After graduating high school, he started a commuter van service.
Daymond John started FUBU in his mother’s house in Hollis, Queens. When Daymond John first had the idea for a clothing company for young men, his mother taught him how to sew and supported him by allowing her house to be taken over to grow the business.
Wool ski hats with their tops tied off with fishing line were popular, and John noticed them being sold for $20, which he considered overpriced. He went home and sewed around 90 hats with his next-door neighbor. They sold their homemade hats for $10 each in front of the New York Coliseum, and made $800 in a single day. After the hats, they began selling screen printed T-shirts. To break into the market, they sold on consignment and at large events around the Northeast. To make ends meet, John held a full-time job at Red Lobster, working on the FUBU business in between shifts.
Sensing potential, John and his mother mortgaged their house for $100,000 to generate start-up capital. In addition to Brown, he recruited longtime friends J. Alexander Martin and Keith Perrin into the business, and began sewing the FUBU logo onto hockey jerseys, sweatshirts, and T-shirts. They loaned about 10 of the hockey jerseys out to rappers for their music videos for 2 years. They were perceived as a large clothing brand, despite being a relatively small company and stores started requesting their brand. In 1993, he convinced LL Cool J, an old neighborhood friend, to wear a FUBU T-shirt for a promotional campaign. Later, while filming a 30-second advertising spot for The Gap, LL Cool J wore a FUBU hat in the commercial and incorporated the line "for us, by us" in his rapping.
In 1992, John received $300,000 in orders and also an offer for participating in Macy's (M) at a Las Vegas fashion trade show. They had to take out a second mortgage of his mother's house in order to fulfill the orders.
FUBU has earned over $6 billion in global sales and maintains its worldwide presence.
FUBU is featured at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
In 2009, John joined the cast of Shark Tank, a show in which John and four other business executives listen to business pitches from everyday people, and decide whether or not to invest money in their projects.
John has invested $7,667,000 dollars in Shark Tank projects as of August 6, 2015.
Consulting and speaking
John has become a public speaker. He works with brands and celebrities to create additional revenue streams and brand extensions; some of his clients include Pitbull and the Miss Universe Organization. John is also a brand ambassador for the e-commerce company Shopify.
John has been a motivational and business speaker at engagements include California First Lady Maria Shriver's 2010 Women’s Conference,. AT&T's History Makers Tour, Babson College School of Entrepreneurship, and the Creative LIAisons program at the annual London International Awards.
Awards and reception
John has received numerous awards, including Brandweek Marketer of the Year, the NAACP Entrepreneurs of the Year Award (which he won twice), the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, the Essence Award, Crain’s New York Business Forty Under Forty Award, Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Brandeis University International Business School’s Asper Award for Excellence in Global Entrepreneurship, Details 50 Most Influential Men, and the Congressional Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship (which he won twice).
FUBU has received attention from the sports and entertainment industry, and has been worn or endorsed by LL Cool J, Janet Jackson, Will Smith, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Magic Johnson, Lennox Lewis, and Whitney Houston.
John has published three books: Display of Power, The Brand Within, and The Power of Broke. Display of Power is an autobiography that details John's life and early business career. The Power of Broke is a motivational business book that features stories from 15 entrepreneurs, including Steve Aoki, Rob Dyrdek, Kevin Plank, and Loren Ridinger. Released in January 2016, it appeared on the WSJ and NYTimes bestseller lists, and received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Instructional Literary Work.