A success story, an industry leader, a young entrepreneur, a man who has reached and surpassed new heights of commercial and financial success - just a fraction of classifications used to describe Daymond John. Over the last 18 years, Daymond has evolved into one of the most successful fashion icons in business today. Known as the “Godfather of Urban Fashion,” Daymond is also regarded one of the most sought after branding experts and motivational speakers in the country.
Daymond John’s creative vision helped revolutionize the sportswear industry in the 1990s. As founder, president and chief executive officer of FUBU -- “For Us, By Us” -- Daymond created distinctive and fashionable sportswear and a host of other related gear. FUBU’s phenomenal success made mainstream apparel companies realize the potential for fashionable sportswear that appeals not just to trendsetting urban youth but to mainstream teens as well.
Daymond John was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn but spent his childhood in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens during the 1970s. An only child, he grew up in a single-parent household headed by his mother who was a flight attendant for American Airlines but often held more than one job. His first foray into the apparel market came when he wanted a tie-top hat and was put off by the price. Daymond began making the distinctive tie-top hats in the morning and then selling them on the streets of Queens in the evening hours.
One day in 1992, he and his friend sold $800 worth of hats and realized their ideas had definite potential. They created a distinctive logo and began sewing the FUBU logo on hockey jerseys, sweatshirts and t-shirts. Daymond lured some longtime friends into the business and asked his old neighborhood friend, L.L. Cool J., to wear a t-shirt in a photograph for a FUBU promotional campaign in 1993. Daymond and his mother mortgaged the home they collectively owned for $100,000 in start-up capital. Soon, the home was turned into a makeshift factory and office space.
FUBU officially launched in 1994 when Daymond and his partners traveled to an industry trade show in Las Vegas. Buyers liked the distinctively cut, vibrantly-colored sportswear; Daymond and his partners returned to Queens with $300,000 worth of orders. FUBU soon had a contract with the New York City-based department store chain Macy's, and they began expanding their line to include jeans and outerwear. A distribution deal with Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung allowed their designs to be manufactured and delivered on a massive scale.
As CEO and President, Daymond guided FUBU to a staggering $350 million in revenues in 1998, placing it in the same stratosphere as such designer sportswear labels as Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger. Since FUBU’s launch, black business ownership has increased tenfold. Entrepreneurship is now recognized as an MBA concentration at some of America’s top business schools and the world’s largest corporations have African American senior executives. This may seem commonplace now but Daymond’s impact in the business arena stirred a more public presence of minority ownership while inspiring a new generation of power players and challenging corporate America to match his $4 billion in retail sales.
Daymond John is the pioneer of utilizing music and celebrity in the game of product placement. He put FUBU in music videos long before other major brands thought to do so. From American Express to Lincoln to Hewlett Packard, everybody has jumped on the celebrity endorsement bandwagon; but it was Daymond who first made this strategy mainstream.
The FUBU movement and legend has even infiltrated the political world most recently in January 2008 when former Democratic Presidential Candidate and current President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, mentioned FUBU and its mission in one of his speeches:
"Hope is the bedrock of this nation. The belief that our destiny will not be written ìfor us, but, by us.î By all those men and women who are not content to settle for world as it is. Who have the courage to remake world as it should be."
- Barack Obama
In the world of marketing, Daymond is often called a branding genius. Fortune 500 companies flock to him for advice and consultation, so much so that he has formed a branding corporation, Stealth Marketing Corp., separate from his diverse apparel businesses. Stealth Marketing handles the high demand for his advice on branding, product placement and marketing. Daymond has the pulse and feel on how to brand businesses today. In addition, he consults with companies on how to improve their profitability by enhancing their marketing strategy.
While in an interview recently, he was asked about our current, challenging economic times and advice he has for those just getting started in (fashion) business. Interestingly, Daymond’s response was “I’m young enough AND old enough to have experienced this kind of challenging economic climate three times in my career thus far. All you have to do is look back at 1992 and even 1995. Interestingly, ‘T-shirts’ always last and other garments are suddenly forced to adapt to societal changes. Most importantly, in creating and launching any brand, the DNA needs to be set,” he says.
His newest book, The Brand Within: How We Brand Ourselves, From Birth To The Boardroom is the second nonfiction book in the best-selling “Display of Power” series. The Brand Within examines the loyalty of relationships companies seek to establish by attaching celebrities to their brands and the instantaneous impulses consumers exhibit when purchasing a product. Drawing on his cutting edge experiences in the fashion business, as well as his hard-won insights developed as a sought-after marketing consultant to trendsetters and tastemakers, the author argues that branding relationships have now seeped into every aspect of our lives.
In his first book, "Display Of Power: How Fubu Changed A World Of Fashion, Branding And Lifestyle", which was named one of the ‘Best Business Books’ of 2007 by the Library Journal, Daymond relays the story of his awe inspiring journey and provides a roadmap for those who aspire to succeed in business and in life. With an office that boasts views of all five New York City boroughs, he is literally sitting on top of the world and it becomes clear why those who yearn for success in all their endeavors could learn a few tips from him. Display of Power does a magnificent job of translating this presence and charisma in print and Daymond gives an honest and unadulterated account of his failures as well as his many triumphs. The book’s personable tone and content easily translates to inspiration for every reader as well as an appreciation and admiration for what this one man endured on his way to realising his dream.
In 2009, John joined the cast of the ABC hit reality series, Shark Tank, produced by acclaimed TV producer Mark Burnett. Each week, Daymond, along with four other successful multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons, advises eager entrepreneurs if their product (or service) is effective enough for him and fellow investors/sharks to put up their own money in return for a percentage of ownership. Matt Belloni of Hollywood Reporter said that ABC’s “Shark Tank” is .."brisk, sharp and surprisingly emotional.” New episodes of this hit reality series will air in 2010.
Daymond’s charisma and knowledge have earned him numerous appearances on television and news programs as he has been a choice expert on CNBC’s Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and MSNBC’s Your Business. Other TV credits include appearances on CNN, CNNfn, BET News, ABC’s The View, CBS and PBS. He has also been featured in many publications including Crain’s Business, Black Enterprise, Current Biography, Newsweek and People to list a few.
In recognition of his contributions to fashion and the face of American business, Daymond has been celebrated with some of the most prestigious awards including: Brandweek Marketer of the Year (1999), the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign (1999), NAACP Entrepreneur of the Year Award (1999), Crain's Business of Forty Under Forty Award presented to Daymond (2002) and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2003).
In 1999, FUBU the Collection became the first recipient of the first ESSENCE Achievement Award given to a company. In addition, FUBU was a 2007 finalist for Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. And in 2004, Brandeis University presented Daymond and his other FUBU partner/owners with the first Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship.
Currently, Daymond shares his life and business experience in a weekly blog for mobile marketing corporation, UrbanWorld Wireless. In addition, he is an avid participant in the social networking phenomenon with sought-after blogs and daily updates on Twitter, Facebook and Myspace with thousands of followers.
Daymond is also very instrumental in giving back to the community. FUBU teamed up with TV personality Montel Williams to donated approximately $1 million dollars of clothing to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Daymond, Williams and FUBU co-founder Keith Perin personally handed out goods to those in need in the Gulf Coast.
Having graduated from waiting tables at Red Lobster to being the CEO of a multi-million dollar enterprise, complete with sky rise offices in the Empire State Building, Daymond John is living “the American Dream.”
Daymond John shares a free E-book version of his best-selling first book, "Display of Power: How FUBU Changed a World of Fashion, Branding & Lifestyle". Click on the link below and use the promo code to find out a little about Daymond's background and rags to riches story before meeting him in person.