You Don’t Always Need Dollar before You can make Sense: Daymond John from Fubu to Shark Tank

By: Mercedez McIntyre


Some of you presently know him as the quick-witted Shark Tank investor. Others may remember him for turning his brand FUBU (for us by us) into a multi-million dollar company. Many are still connecting the latter. No matter how you look at it Daymond John is a perfect example of learning to start over, multiple times. Hailing from  Queens, New York John was raised by a single mother who showed him the value of hard work. In return, he grew frustrated with not being able to end the cycle of financial hardship. Like most of us, that frustration showed him more of what he lacked than what we had. Feeling as if he had no musical, artistic or athletic talent he racked his brain with "What can I do to change my future?".


Daymond John Fubu

Daymond realized all the brands worn by him and his friends were not by recognizable members of his community. With that in mind, he decided to start his own. All he knew was he wanted to create a fashion line for urban men that was affordable and that his mother had taught him to sew. With only $40 Daymond sewed together homemade hats and sold them in front of the New York Coliseum. Revealing what we now know as FUBU (For Us By Us). In the first day making about $800, selling for half the price of other vendors. From there he connected with friends, and friends of friends to the point he hustled his way onto music video sets.


Little did people know what appeared to be a full fashion line was Daymond recycling the same shirts and hats. He let artists wear them and received the clothing back to do further video shoots. He asked his old neighborhood friend LL Cool J to wear shirts for additional promotion. From there, LL Cool J even wore his hat in a GAP commercial and rapping the slogan "for us by us".  


Eventually, people were ready to support the brand mission & buy his merchandise. Trusting this was a success in the making Daymond John and his mother mortgaged their house for 100,000 to attain the ability to make sure their startup was ready for the overflow of orders. From there Daymond was able to attain funding to actually begin his clothing line. Before the world knew it FUBU was everywhere turning $40 into $6 billion!


These days Daymond John invests in other entrepreneurs not only financially but with mentorship. He has faced many trials and tribulations even after attaining millions. With every blessing given, there will always be new levels to learn. Although Daymond was able to learn how to turn nothing into millions he then had to learn how to balance new finances, family, marriage, entrepreneurship, etc. Through mentorship, Daymond steers the entrepreneurs with the wisdom of understanding how to turn whatever you have into a valuable resource and refrain from excuses.


To build on his legacy Daymond John opened Blueprint + Co, a 20,000 sq ft Midtown Manhattan penthouse as a place for fellow revenue building entrepreneurs to continue growing their businesses with a strong foundation. The facility leases out space from $250-$1,000 alongside membership costs. A small price for an entire space designed for thought collaboration with every resource an entrepreneur can ever need. Daymond says "technology is developing at rapid speeds, and if you are stuck only in your office how can you keep up?". Great point! In a world full of distrust and solitary thinking, many startup companies are stunted in growth due to not seeing the world beyond their office.

Recently Daymond has been diagnosed with stage 2 thyroid cancer and spoke out about men's health. After having the tumor removed this summer he is showing no signs of giving up on continuing a life of dreams well lived.


To learn more about Daymond John please visit:

Blueprint + CO: