The Daymond John Story

You likely know him from the hit TV series, Shark Tank. However, before Daymond John rose to fame, he got his start with the clothing line, FUBU; a company he is still CEO of more than 20 years after it launched.

“It’s my baby! And the more I operate it, even today, it’s a whole different way of operations than I would’ve done 20 years ago. There wasn’t social media conversion; there weren’t all these other ways to digitally sell products of that nature. So I’m still learning and it’s helping me every single day in all my other businesses,” says John.

When the 49-year-old is not busy with his many businesses, he finds time to share his knowledge with others. That’s what his latest venture, The Daymond John Center for Entrepreneurship is all about. It’s his opportunity to teach what’s he’s learned, especially since he didn’t go to college. More importantly, he wants to help minorities who might find inspiration in him.

“If you look at me, I’m somebody who got left back, didn’t go to college. I’m a little brown boy from Queens, dyslexia and raised by a single mother with no money. If I can make it, anybody can. I can’t sing, can’t dribble a basketball, throw a football or hit a baseball. All I have is drive and desire. So if I can do it, anybody can.”

John is now worth $250 million. Now a little older with more money in his bank account, his focus and priorities have shifted.

“I’m more of a family man, concerned about my health more than anything else. The Daymond John without money was just a hungry young man; he could work 24 hours a day but he was really, really scared about the mistakes he made.”

He chuckles as he says that because mistakes, in his opinion, are necessary to pave the way to success.

“You have to make mistakes. If you’re not making enough mistakes, you’re not making enough moves. If you really look at true entrepreneurs, they fail so many times; and every time they fail, they learn something and then equipped themselves as they start to grow and become more successful.”

However, he also says it’s important for entrepreneurs to believe and invest in themselves. The New York native suggests going to the library, going online, talking to mentors, networking with the proper people on where you want to go. But a major problem he sees over and over again is people jumping into the deep end before knowing how to swim.

“Don’t let the world tell you to go out there and risk everything. Take very small steps; create a group of people, whether it’s mentors on one side and group of followers that already respect and value you on the other. They can all be your ambassadors out there. That way, you’re learning as you go but still have support.”

The Shark believes the secret to success is pretty common; challenge yourself every day, love what you’re doing, surround yourself with great mentors and people and fail fast. And although business has changed with the use of technology, John says the foundations of a successful business will always remain the same.

“You have to create a huge and massive following; make sure they’re honest with you, over deliver to your customer and know the customer is most important, always.”


Article Written by: Javier Soto, Good Morning Arizona Anchor & Reporter