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Today, businessman Daymond John is best known as a wealthy star of the American TV show Shark Tank. However, John amassed his incredible wealth with his massively successful sportswear line “For Us By Us,” also known as FUBU. He founded the company in 1992, and it quickly became synonymous with hip-hop.
But the beginning of the brand’s journey was anything but glamorous.
Before John built his $350 million empire, he started off sewing hats and sweatshirts in the living room of his childhood home. At the time, he lived with his single mom, who struggled to make ends meet. Despite such harsh beginnings, John was able to build a clothing empire from scratch, all on his own.
John credits hip-hop music for inspiring him to create FUBU. Today, John is living the ultimate American dream, managing a multi-million-dollar empire tied to fashion, philanthropy, and media.
John is the true definition of a self-made millionaire, despite the odds stacked against him in his young life. He grew up in a lower-middle-class area of New York, Hollis Queens. His life truly embodies an American Success Story.
From Hustling on the Streets to Building a Fashion Empire
Daymond John’s parents were adamant about working hard for anything and everything they wanted, and John inherited this mentality. When John was 10, his father left. Before he was out of elementary school, he became the man of the house overnight. Despite his extraordinary success, John hasn’t seen nor spoken to his estranged father since.
John describes his hometown as a “beautiful place to live,” saying his family fit in with the community.
The neighborhood is located between the world-renowned JFK and LaGuardia airports. So, growing up, John saw people making a living shoveling bags at the airport. The future millionaire started working at the age of six.
The young hustler started his career selling small pencils in school, then shoveled snow in the winters and raked leaves during the fall. Shortly after John’s father left him and his mother, he became an apprentice electrician, where he would wire PX cable in abandoned buildings throughout the Bronx.
During John’s teen years, hip-hop music was born in the Bronx, eventually making its way into Queens, and John quickly fell in love with it. He describes the music as “today’s Twitter.” It was a way for people to convey their hopes and dreams. In other words, it was a powerful form of communication that held people together.
How Did Daymond John From Shark Tank Get Rich?
John quickly noticed that this rap music was more than a way to talk — it was a way to dress.
This sparked the young dreamer’s interest in streetwear. During hip-hop’s rise, John took note of a man in Queens who was becoming very well-known in the community for his music. At the time, the future businessman had no idea it was possible to make a living doing something you love.
The man from Queens was none other than Russell Simmons, who proudly expressed his culture alongside his brother and two friends. (They formed the band Run-D.M.C.) John admired this and wanted to be part of it as soon as possible. At this point, his journey was beginning.
His heavy interest in becoming part of hip-hop culture prompted him to dress in that style of clothing. However, he quickly learned that the major designers behind the clothes didn’t want ordinary people wearing their designer apparel. This lit a fire in John, who gathered a couple of his close friends and started the company FUBU.
Upon creating the company, John and his friends wanted the brand to be inclusive and to showcase the pride embodied by hip-hop pioneers (who first wore this style of clothes). John wanted his line to be about a culture, not a color. With this idea in mind, they created the name FUBU, or “For Us By Us.”
The Rise of FUBU and Daymond John’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Because John had worked hard since he was young, his hustler mentality was useful during marketing. Initially, he and his friends placed ads in various publications to promote their brand. Grunge kids and teens in Japan were the first people to purchase FUBU, alongside teens from Seattle who loved hip-hop.
Not long after starting the company, they began placing their clothing in videos. For nearly two years, the team would bring ten shirts to an artist and then take them back and put them on another artist. This routine helped the brand garner notoriety, and FUBU became a large and prosperous clothing company, producing various styles of shirts.
According to John, this is where things became extremely challenging for the brand. He had to take his clothing line to the next level. He started considering financing and compensation. Things became so stressful for John and his fellow FUBU partners that they even considered quitting.
The Unexpected Opportunity That Changed Everything
The brand’s first couple of big breaks came when Miss Jones and Brand Nubian started wearing FUBU’s clothing in their music videos. Following this milestone, hip-hop music video director and DJ Ralph McDaniels put John and his business partners on his video shower and said, “These are the next guys to look out for.”
John’s next big break came when his mom placed an ad in the New York Times that said, “Million Dollars in Orders. Need financing.” A total of 33 people called: 30 of the callers were loan sharks, and two of them — Bruce and Norman Weisfeld — became his partners. Norman was the president of Samsung’s textile division.
In 2009, John received a call from Mark Burnett, the producer of Shark Tank. This American television series allows aspiring moguls to present their ideas to five successful entrepreneurs. To John’s surprise, Norman offered him a distribution deal that would change things forever.
Burnett asked John to join the prestigious cast of Shark Tank, which led to a series of other opportunities, one of which involved the White House. John was formally asked to be a part of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, along with other successful individuals like Alonzo Mourning, John Legend, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Daymond John’s Wife
You’ve heard it many times before – behind every great man is a great woman. Daymond John’s wife, Heather Taras, led a promising career as a medical professional before stirring up a romance with John.
Before the two met, Taras kept a low profile. She dreamed of becoming a professional model and working in the fashion industry. Although this wasn’t in the cards for Taras, she’s still led a fulfilling life.
Taras is a mother and a fitness enthusiast. She has a background in natural wellness. It’s unclear when the romance between Taras and John began; however, she posted a throwback photo from 2009 of the pair as they prepared to leave for Dubai to celebrate her birthday.
John’s marriage to his ex-wife, Margot John, crumbled after being blinded by the massive success of his brand. Although his first marriage didn’t last, his marriage to Taras is thriving. Unlike her famous husband, she prefers to spend time away from the spotlight.
Who Is the Richest Shark Tank Cast Member?
The smash hit Shark Tank is flooded with multi-millionaires – but who is the wealthiest out of all the cast members? The castmate with the lowest net worth is real estate tycoon Barbara Corcoran, who’s worth a whopping $100 million.
Following Corcoran is the queen of QVC, Lori Grenier, whose net worth is estimated at $150 million. With $200 million to his name, the Croatian-born investor and founder of BRAK Systems Robert Herjavec is the fourth wealthiest cast member on the show.
At number three is Daymond John, whose net worth is an impressive $350 million. On the show, John has invested over $8 million of his own money into several companies.
Kevin O’Leary’s net worth is over $400 million, making him the second wealthiest individual on Shark Tank. He co-founded Software Products, which was later sold to Mattel for more than $3 billion.
The most successful cast member on the show is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who sits on a $4.6 billion empire. As a kid, Cuban would sell stamps door-to-door to make money.
Is Daymond John a Billionaire?
As of now, the tycoon’s net worth is a staggering $350 million. To become a billionaire, an individual must amass a net worth of at least a billion dollars — or a number followed by nine zeroes.
The world’s most famous billionaires include Rihanna, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Like Rihanna, John constantly looks for ways to grow his wealth and achieve greater success. Similar to John, Rihanna’s empire began with music. The singer entered the business world, founding her cosmetics line Fenty Beauty in 2017.
While John isn’t a billionaire just yet, he’s well on his way to becoming one.
How Much Is FUBU Worth Today?
FUBU has earned more than $6 billion in worldwide sales. As of 2023, the clothing brand is still making money as it is relatively popular with young people. Its success in the 1990s made FUBU one of the most legendary sportswear lines in history.
In June of 2022, FUBU partnered with Forever 21 to launch expansive men’s, women’s, and children’s collections. After 30 years in business, John still proudly owns the company with his fellow founders.
The brand is relaunching its name three decades after its launch through licensing deals and collaborations aimed at younger generations.
Lessons From Daymond John’s Success
Daymond John credits his mother for his impressive triumphs, not just in his business ventures but in all aspects of his remarkable life.
John recalls her always pushing him to do his best, and she always led by example. He says she worked hard to be able to send him to Hawaii to live with her girlfriend on an Army base because she wanted him to grow up with a “worldly view.”
She encouraged him to be around intelligent people with big aspirations so that he could learn from them.
One thing’s certain: it all worked out very well for John. Because the business mogul has accomplished so much in his life, some might think it would be difficult for him to stay motivated. To keep himself driven, he reads his goals every morning before starting his busy day.
How exactly does the multi-millionaire define success? What does it mean to him after having accomplished so much? He classifies success as doing what you truly want to do every day of your life alongside the people you truly want to be around.
On top of that, John says it’s also “knowing that you define who you are” and that “you don’t need anyone else’s validation, unless the validation is out of love.” Rather than an inheritance, John wants to leave his children with a lasting legacy.
That is John’s true definition of success. John is active on social media, posting daily motivational messages for his followers. John also answers questions about business and investing.
Learning From Daymond John’s Journey to Financial Success and Building Your Own Net Worth
Considering John had an entrepreneurial mindset at a very young age, his book “Little Daymond Learns to Earn” is bound to have some valuable advice for young readers that will instill the qualities and characteristics of an entrepreneur. In other words, you’re never too young to learn about business.
Despite his incredible rags-to-riches story, John has always remembered where he came from. His roots are what inspired him to dive into the world of business. Although he’s garnered an impressive net worth over the years, John refuses to equate money with success.
He classifies a successful individual as someone genuinely happy with their life. His brand’s longevity came with a lot of hard work, sacrifice, loss, and time. However, John’s story is inspiring, as his brand influenced an entire generation of people.
FUBU’s legacy began with Daymond John and his dream to create an inclusive clothing brand. His dreams certainly took him far, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Use John’s story as a testament that you, too, can achieve financial success if you’re creative and put in the work. Whether it’s starting a blog or building the next fashion brand, a world of possibilities awaits you.
Barbara Corcoran’s Net Worth
Born in the small town of Edgewater, New Jersey, Corcoran built a real estate brokerage from the ground up with just $1000 that was loaned to her by her former boyfriend. The real estate tycoon was working as a waitress when her boyfriend convinced her to work for a real estate company in the 70s.
Today, The Corcoran Group is worth an estimated $5 billion. Corcoran herself is worth approximately $100 million.
Mark Cuban’s Net Worth
By far the wealthiest of the Shark Tank tycoons, Cuban made his fortune founding MicroSolutions in the 1980s, a computer consulting service. At the time, Cuban was living in Texas, working for a computer software company.
He was later fired after a minor conflict with his employer, who allegedly asked him to clean instead of completing a sale. As of 2023, Cuban is worth $5.1 billion.
Kevin O’Leary’s Net Worth
In 1986, O’Leary started Softkey in a Toronto basement with his co-founders, Gary Babcock and John Freeman. Born to a middle-class family, O’Leary worked his way up the ladder to amass his $400 million net worth.
Robert Herjavec’s Net Worth
Like Mark Cuban, Herjavec was also fired from a technology company. After being fired, he launched BRAK Systems alongside Warren Avis. Herjavec started the company from his basement, like Kevin O’Leary, and it quickly became Canada’s largest internet security company.
After selling the group to AT&T in 2000, Herjavec is now worth $300 million.