"Shark" on ABC's "Shark Tank"
Daymond John is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Over the past 20 years he has gone from sewing logos on hats in his basement to establishing an international clothing empire, earning himself the iconic title "Godfather of Urban Fashion." In addition to his success in style, John has become one of the world's most sought-after branding experts and motivational speakers.
As President, CEO, and Founder of FUBU, John revolutionized the sportswear industry in the 1990s with a distinctive line of fashionable attire that transcended the underserved urban market and became wildly popular in the mainstream teen market. He has since gone on to own and operate several other lines, including Crown Holder, Kappa USA, Coogi and Heatherette.
John's first foray into the apparel market came in the early 1990s. He was looking to purchase a tie-top hat but was put off by the high prices. Taking this discovery as an opportunity, he began to spend his mornings producing his own tie-top hats and his nights selling them on the streets of his Queens neighborhood. John recruited his friends to help him with the production and, after making an $800 profit in the first day of his new venture, it became clear that they had discovered an untapped market. John and company soon created the distinctive FUBU logo and began sewing it on hockey jerseys, sweatshirts and t-shirts. Soon famed entertainer LL Cool J, a neighborhood friend and music idol of the time, agreed to wear one of John's shirts in a picture that would become the centerpiece of FUBU's first promotional campaign. In 1992 FUBU premiered at the MAGIC fashion trade show in Las Vegas. The line of distinctively cut and vibrantly colored sportswear was an instant hit, garnering $300,000 in orders and securing the company a contract with New York City-based department store powerhouse Macy's. A landmark distribution deal with Korean conglomerate Samsung soon followed, allowing FUBU to be manufactured and distributed on a massive scale. In 1998 FUBU made $350 million in revenue and John's neighborhood tie-hat business was suddenly in direct competition with well-known brands like Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger.
Often touted as a "branding genius" in the marketing world, John's services have been courted by Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, Turner Networks and Nike. In response to this demand, he established the branding firm Shark Branding, separate from his apparel businesses. Specializing in brand strategies, brand development, licensing, artist relations and marketing, John and Shark Branding have perfected the methods for ingraining companies, brands and products into the social consciousness. He has recently used his marketing techniques in the tech space in working with Mobli, EzVIP, TicketLeap, Shopify and Resultly. In addition, the thriving marketing company recently added a celebrity brand management division anchored by John's extensive experience working with superstars such as Muhammad Ali, Pitbull, Idris Elba, Lennox Lewis, and the Kardashians.
In 2007 John entered the literary world with his first book Display of Power: How FUBU Changed a World of Fashion, Branding and Lifestyle. A roadmap for success in business and in life, his first pass as an author was selected by the Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2007. He went on to release the second nonfiction offering from his best-selling Display of Power series, The Brand Within: How We Brand Ourselves, from Birth to the Boardroom, an examination of celebrity-fueled brand loyalty, consumer impulses and purchasing habits.
In addition to his ventures in the fashion, branding and literary worlds, John is an active angel investor in a range of businesses from fashion to health clubs to his new priority, technology. He has also lent his business acumen to famed institutions including Brandeis University, the University of Southern California and Harvard Business School. He currently serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at Babson College.
John's revolutionary contributions to fashion and American business have been recognized by many organizations that have honored him over the years. His achievements include Brandweek Marketer of the Year (1999), the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign (1999), the NAACP Entrepreneur of the Year Award (1999), Crain's Business of Forty Under Forty Award (2002), and Ernst & Young's New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2003). In 1999 FUBU the Collection became the first company to receive the ESSENCE Achievement Award.
You can follow John on Twitter @TheSharkDaymond
HOMETOWN Hollis, Queens, NY
BIRTHDATE February 23
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