When I was 24, I spent months brainstorming business ideas. I knew that I wanted to start a business but wasn’t sure how a young guy with little money and experience could start one. I had already learned all about Richard Branson and how he defied the odds to become a rich, successful entrepreneur, but there was something else missing from the puzzle. Weeks later I was browsing the bookstore and picked up a book that looked interesting: Rise and Grind by Daymond John.
I Immediately loved this guy’s story. It wasn’t an autobiography like Richard’s book, but his upbringing inspired me. Daymond grew up in a poor neighborhood in Queens, living with just his mother. His mother had to work long, hard hours to support the two of them and pay for the house, so Daymond picked up side jobs starting at the age of 10. The main thing though was that when he got older he had an idea for an urban apparel company. Daymond worked hard after school and work to sew different designs on shirts and hats. Then he would find customers and deliver the merchandise to them. He started this hustle with some of his friends and it slowly grew. Their whole idea was to make clothes that represented the people and style around them in Hollis, Queens.
Today Daymond is the owner of FUBU, a successful urban apparel company that has made over $6 billion dollars in sales to date. He is also on the panel of Shark Tank, a show you should check out. Another cool thing is that Daymond never sold out. He hustled hard and turned nothing into a wildly successful company. FUBU means ‘For us, By us’, showing how he stayed close to his roots and never forgot the neighborhood he came from. I have a lot of respect for a man who makes the most out of his situation.
Learning his story helped inspire me to start my first business. I was studying SEO at the time and found a free online course that talked about how to ‘drop ship’ t-shirts to customers and build a brand. I decided to also sell shirts and hats, but I put my own twist on it. I sold clothes with an urban style that had political and social messages on them. It wasn’t something I saw anyone else doing and I figured there was a market for it. My business ended up failing, but for the year or so it was around I loved doing it. Scheduling the social media posts, creating advertisements, designing the website, working with models and graphic designers, it was a thrilling experience. And while I was doing this, I imagined a young Daymond John staying up late sewing his own shirts and hats.
Like other great entrepreneurs, he has a TON of hustle, determination, and smarts that got him to where he is today. I continue to look up to people like Daymond that just killed it in the business world. He has taught thousands of people to hustle hard, never give up, be thankful, and to never forget where you came from.