Whether you are a Gen Z’er, Millennial, Gen X’er or Boomer, you have probably seen Daymond John on TV. Elder Millennials, Gen X’ers and Boomers probably remember John from the iconic FUBU brand launched with famed spokespeople like LL Cool J during the 90s. Meanwhile, younger Millennials and Gen Z members may only know him as one of the main angel investors on the hit ABC reality show, “Shark Tank.”
Wherever one remembers him from, Daymond John has become a fixture in the investor circuit and a strong example of Black Excellence fueled by entrepreneurship. From working behind the scenes when Hip-Hop expanded beyond the music industry to becoming the face of helping small business owners skyrocket to success through shrewd business deals, he has proven his business acumen time and again. Which leaves just one question — how much is Daymond John Worth?
Daymond John’s Early Life
Like many people in and around Hip-Hop during the early years, Daymond John is from New York — Brooklyn to to be exact. Born in 1969, he later moved to Hollis, Queens, a neighborhood made famous by both Run DMC and LL Cool J. The latter of the two was a close friend who he would call on later in life for a very big favor.
By the age of 10, John was working and even in high school he enrolled in a program that allowed him to simultaneously attend school on alternating weeks while working a full-time job. Early jobs included working at Red Lobster as well as managing a commuter van service.
Daymond John Starts FUBU
For Hip-Hop fans, FUBU is most likely the first time the name Daymond John entered pop culture. The brand, which was short for “For Us, By Us,” has humble origins, and started in his mother’s house. He wanted to create a clothing line for young men and his mom encouraged him by teaching him how to sew.
He also brought in his friends as co-founders, Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin and Carlton Brown. Initially, the brand was simple and only offered homemade ski hats and later screen printed tees that were usually sold on Jamaica Avenue in Queens. Often they would work on consignment, attending live events where they could sell directly to attendees.
Product Placement Launches FUBU to New Heights
In the early days of FUBU, John and his mother mortgaged the home they shared to free up $100,000 in capital to help push the business forward. At this point, the four co-founders began putting the FUBU logo on more apparel like hockey jerseys, sweatshirts and even T-shirts.
But John’s old neighborhood friend, LL Cool J, would give the brand the push it needed. John convinced his friend to wear a tee in a promotional campaign in 1993. On top of that, LL Cool J chose to wear a FUBU hat in a television ad for The GAP, and even included the line “for us, by us” while he rapped in the spot. After this, the brand was suddenly on the radar of retailers from coast to coast.
Macy’s department store came calling in the mid 90s and John even recalled receiving as much as $300,000 in orders during this time. After being denied for a second mortgage on his mother’s house to help finance order fulfillment, his mother took out an ad in The New York Times which resulted in FUBU making a deal with Samsung Textiles to complete the orders.
Although FUBU is no longer as ubiquitous as it was in the 1990s, it is still a powerhouse in the streetwear retail niche and is still in production and sold in stores around the world. To date, FUBU has amassed over $6 billion in global sales. Even better, the brand is featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
Daymond John Becomes a Shark
Younger readers are probably going to be more familiar with the impeccably dressed, suit wearing version of Daymond John that appears weekly on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” The long-running show began in 2009 and follows aspiring small business owners hoping to receive critical cash infusions from shrewd investors. Usually, the goal is to scale the business or be bought out for a hefty payday.
John has been a member since the beginning of the show, appearing in all seasons that have aired. Since its inception, he has invested $8,567,000 of his own money into multiple “Shark Tank” companies. Notably, he has shared that his favorite investments are Bombas Socks (season 6) and Al “Bubba” Baker’s boneless ribs (season 5). He is credited with helping Bubba’s-Q Boneless Ribs grow from $154,000 in annual sales to $16 million in 3 years. Meanwhile, with Bombas Socks, John helped the firm scale from $450,000 in total sales to $12 million.
Because of his position on “Shark Tank,” Daymond John has become an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere. As a result, he created The Shark Group, a consulting and brand management firm that helps businesses position themselves to scale, attract investors and solidify their positions in their respective industries. Meanwhile, he also co-founded Daymond John’s Success Formula, a program that also teaches entrepreneurs how to start and grow a business.
Daymond John’s Current Net Worth
Daymond John’s current net worth is estimated at $350 million as of the time of publication for this article. Much of this can be attributed to FUBU, which is still a privately held company. Meanwhile, he has a 17.5 percent stake in Bombas Socks, which could be worth as much as $17.5 million given the company’s current $100 million valuation.
And if that is not enough, a 2016 report from “Variety” states that the sharks make roughly $50,000 per episode for appearing on “Shark Tank.” While those figures aren’t confirmed, with the show now into its 15th season, that’s a nice seasonal paycheck. Finally, John has penned several books focused on business development as well as a children’s book titled, “Little Daymond Learns to Earn.”