Daymond John

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Daymond John
Opening Plenary - Becoming Investor Ready (19956321702) (cropped).jpg
Born (1969-02-23) February 23, 1969 (age 52)
OccupationBusinessman, investor, founder and CEO of FUBU
Known forCEO & founder of FUBU
Net worthUS$300 million (2020) [1]

Daymond Garfield John [2] (born February 23, 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 . Based in New York City, John is the founder of The Shark Group.


Early life

John was born February 19, 1969 [3] in Brooklyn, New York City, [4] but grew up in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens. [5] He began working at the age of 10, when his parents divorced; one early job entailed handing out flyers for $2 an hour. [6] [7] 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. [8] After graduating high school, he started a commuter van service and waited tables at Red Lobster. [5] [6]



John started FUBU in his mother's house in Hollis, Queens. [9] When 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. [10]

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. [11] He went home and sewed around 90 hats with his next-door neighbor. [12] They sold their homemade hats for $10 each on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and made $800 in a single day in 1992. [13] [14] 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. [15] To make ends meet, John held a full-time job at Red Lobster, working on the FUBU business in between shifts. [16]

Sensing potential, John and his mother mortgaged their house for $100,000 to generate start-up capital. [14] 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. [14] They loaned about 10 of the hockey jerseys out to rappers for their music videos for 2 years and got product placements in about 30 videos. [17] They were perceived as a large clothing brand, despite being a relatively small company and stores started requesting their brand. [15] In 1993, he convinced LL Cool J, an old neighborhood friend, to wear a FUBU T-shirt for a promotional campaign. [18] 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. [16] [19]

In 1992, [20] or 1994, [14] John received $300,000 in orders and also an offer for participating in Macy's (M) at a Las Vegas fashion trade show, MAGIC. [20] They had to take out a second mortgage of his mother's house in order to fulfill the orders. [15] [21] After being turned down by 27 banks for a loan, his mother used the last of their money to take out an advertisement in the NY Times. [22] As a result of the ad, FUBU made a deal with Samsung Textiles, allowing them to complete their orders. [22]

FUBU has earned over $6 billion in global sales. [23]

FUBU is featured at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History and Culture. [24]

Shark Tank

In 2009, John received a call from Mark Burnett asking him to join the cast of ABC's new reality business show Shark Tank , which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their businesses to investors, or “Sharks” in the hopes of receiving an investment. The show is now in its 11th season. John has invested $8,567,000 of his own money in Shark Tank companies as of May 12, 2017. [25] [26] [27] [28] His favorite investments on record by 2015 were Al "Bubba" Baker's boneless ribs and Bombas socks. [29] In 2016, Shark Tank won an Emmy Award, and won Outstanding Reality Program from 2012-2014. [30] [31]

John invested in Bubba's-Q Boneless Ribs on Season 5 of Shark Tank and has helped grow the company from $154,000 in sales to $16 million in 3 years. [32] In 2017, Bubba's-Q Boneless Ribs partnered up with Carl's Jr. to create the limited-edition Baby Back Rib Burger. [32]

On Season 5 of Shark Tank, John made a unique deal with 15-year-old Moziah “Mo” Bridges, who is the owner of Mo's Bows. John decided not to invest in Mo's Bows but instead to mentor the young entrepreneur. [33] [34] Recently, Mo's Bows agreed to a seven-figure licensing partnership with the NBA to create bow ties that use the teams' logos. [35] During an update on the show, Mo's Bows were being sold at Neiman Marcus.

After investing in Bombas Socks on Season 6 of Shark Tank, total sales for the company increased from $450,000 in the first nine months to $12 million. [36] For every pair of socks sold, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. [37] [38]

John invested in Sun-Staches on Season 6 of Shark Tank and they have done over $4.2 million in sales. [32] [39]

Shark Tank has won 4 Emmy Awards and has been nominated 9 times. [40]

The Shark Group

John is the CEO and founder of The Shark Group, a brand management and consulting firm. [41] The Shark Group office is located in Manhattan, New York. [42]

Consulting and speaking

John has become a public speaker. [43] [44] 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. [45] John is also a brand ambassador for the e-commerce company Shopify. [46]

John has been a motivational and business speaker at engagements include California First Lady Maria Shriver's 2010 Women's Conference, [47] AT&T's History Makers Tour, [48] Babson College School of Entrepreneurship, [49] Rutgers University and the Creative LIAisons program at the annual London International Awards. [50]

More recently, he signed a deal with Audible. [51]

Next Level Success

In 2015, John co-founded Daymond John's Success Formula, a program designed to teach business owners and entrepreneurs how to start and grow their business. [52]

In September 2019, Daymond John's Success Formula rebranded to Next Level Success. [53]

One of the organizations the program works with is the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. [54]

The program offers a $1,500 scholarship to two students a year. [55] This scholarship is given in hopes to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. [55]


John has released four books throughout his career, including Display of Power, The Brand Within, The Power of Broke, and Rise and Grind.

John also has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans.

Awards and recognition

John is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author. [67] [68]

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). [16] [25] [69] [70] [71]

In 2015, President Obama appointed John as an ambassador to promote underserved entrepreneurs. [72]


Personal life

John is dyslexic. [73] Two of his favorite books are Think and Grow Rich and Rich Dad Poor Dad . [16]

In April 2017, John was diagnosed with stage II thyroid cancer. [74] [75] John successfully underwent surgery to remove the cancerous nodule. [76]

In 2018 John married Heather Taras, his second wife, with whom he has a daughter named Minka Jagger. He has two daughters from his first marriage, named Destiny and Yasmeen. [77] [78] [79]


John is on the Board of Overseers and volunteer as a host or judge at NFTE events. [80] [81] NFTE is a global organization with chapters in 12 countries that teaches the value of entrepreneurship and core competencies to students in low income areas. [82]


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