Many entrepreneurs have a moment they see, in retrospect, as the one that set them on the path to success. Shark Tank investor Daymond John has often credited his mother for many great things that happened to him in life — in an August, 2015, Inquisitr report John was quoted as saying he “couldn’t let her down,” — and that includes teaching him a skill that would lead to the creation of his company FUBU. In a new article in Maxim, it was reported that John’s mother taught her 20-year-old son how to sew so he wouldn’t waste any more money on wool beanies.
John spent $40 on fabric, created a huge supply of hats in his home, and sold his inventory for $800 outside a mall. Now realizing there was significant profit to be made in his hobby, he started to sell t-shirts for $20, making a healthy margin over his $6 cost. Eventually, the outfit became FUBU, but not after a series of money-draining activities that led John to wait tables while he was building his enterprise.
With her house mortgaged and the family facing dire straits, John’s mother took out an ad in the local paper saying the company had orders that needed financing. According to CNBC, she exaggerated by saying there was “$1 million” of orders on the line. At the end of the day, FUBU made a deal with Samsung as a result of the ad, which funded manufacturing. Although the Samsung deal came with the contingency that FUBU would have to sell $5 million in three years, the gamble paid off, as the company sold $30 million in a few months.
The story is a clear example of John’s persistence. Before placing the ad, Daymond sought a business loan and was rejected by no fewer than 27 banks. In an event called Forefront in New York City, CNBC quoted John’s speech where he outlined how, despite his challenges, he was able to become a successful business person and a member of the Shark Tank panel. John was clear he did not have anything handed to him (except perhaps a mother who taught him how to sew).
“You either think like a shark or you don’t. If you think that anything can hold you back, well, I am dyslexic. I am short. I got left back in school. I didn’t go to college. I don’t know anybody with a famous last name. I am not a relic of anybody with a famous last name. I could call Elton John and tell him I am his son, but he probably wouldn’t believe me. I can’t sing rap, I can’t shoot a basketball, can’t play basketball, or whatever you do with a basketball.”
“[Yet] I am here with you.”
John’s first experience with financial wealth did not come without some personal costs. Another CNBC piece describes how John’s now ex-wife was the target of social isolation from those who thought the Johns had no problems as a result of newly earned wealth and from those who had money but objected to the FUBU style of clothing. John himself admits he was also an absent father to the couple’s two daughters.
Now, engaged to be married again and with a new baby, John has discovered a new kind of success and has again, like with his mother many years ago, looked close to home to his new daughter to find inspiration.
“Life never stops because mentors are sometimes those beautiful new people in your life that inspire you and make you want to keep swimming and keep trying. You must keep swimming.”
Shark Tank airs Friday nights on ABC.
[Featured Image by Monica Schipper/Getty Images]