First Huge Success:
FUBU clothing line earned $350 million in 1998.
Did You Know?
He started out making and selling tie-top hats on the streets of Queens, NY.
Here's a true entrepreneur who keeps us dressed to the nines while we play hard on both field and walk down the path of life.
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 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 asked his mother to teach him how to use a sewing machine, and he 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 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 the $100,000 in start-up capital. Even more amazingly, she then moved out so the quartet could use the home as a makeshift factory and office space.
FUBU officially emerged in 1994 when Daymond and his partners traveled to an industry trade show in Las Vegas. Buyers liked the distinctively cut, vibrantly colored sportswear, and 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.