No big fashion designers were paying attention to the urban market when Daymond John began building his business in 1989.
That changed with FUBU, or "For Us, By Us," the apparel line started by John that proudly reflected its rap and hip hop roots. Since then, FUBU has become an international brand, reaching $350 million in sales at its peak. It opened the doors for other popular fashion lines such as Jay Z's RocaWear .
And it has made John a star. He's now well known as a brand and marketing expert, as well as one of the "sharks" on the television show "Shark Tank," featuring entrepreneurs pitching their ideas before John, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and three other investors.
It took some unconventional moves to get there.
FUBU started with a tie-top hat John had seen on a rap group in a video. The hat wasn't widely available and John, whose mother had taught him to sew, decided to make a few of his own. His friends liked the hats, too. So with about $40 in material, he produced a few dozen. In one day, he sold all of them on a street corner in Queens, New York and made $800 in cash.
"I learned that I was on to something," he said.
But because he lacked the funds, he shut down and restarted the business three times before it began to get its footing.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page