I had the pleasure of meeting Daymond John of FUBU apparel and the Shark Tank TV show fame in June 2019, and his presentation was essentially his entrepreneurial journey set to music with video (he even brought his own DJ). It was fun and at the same time offered a very frank look behind the curtain beyond what most see on TV. He shared how he had worked at Red Lobster for 5 years after starting FUBU and that he didn’t regret it because by not having to survive off of his baby business financially he was able to provide $150,000 of revenue that enabled it to survive and grow. He shared how he really got to know his market and what they were looking for by being engaged and present. Daymond mentioned that the very brand name itself For Us By Us, FUBU, was a declaration of his desire to be different, relevant and supply a need that the big manufacturers either despised or looked at as a financial opportunity but nothing more.
Despite all of his success, Daymond shared that he regretted losing his kids when his wife divorced him because he simply was never present. He was always away on business, or caught up in the lifestyle of fame and fortune and missed the mark. He shared that now he makes time for his three daughters and his second wife, and says that family and health and using your gifts for good are what matters in life. Daymond spoke of how his mother had sacrificed to make him and his business a success, even going so far as putting the family home up as collateral on a loan to fund FUBU’s expansion. He mentioned that his first wife told him that he needed to remember that his success was a gift from God and he needed to not squander that and to give back. That’s why he got involved in Shark Tank, to help others succeed.
He shared these five take away points:
Set a Goal – Write it down. If it’s not written, it’s not real.
Homework – Learn your key numbers, metrics and analyze your successes, your failures and your market.
Amor – Love. Love those you’re doing this for, love those who are helping you succeed, who are or have sacrificed to help you.
Remember – Describe yourself in 2-5 words. If you don't define yourself, someone else will. Know who you are at all times and what matters.
Keep Swimming – Don’t give up. The award goes to the diligent, not the quitter.
A final thought from Daymond’s mother: "Responsibility must be taken, not given."