When Daymond John was in his early 20s, his mother said to him, “Listen, you’re going to have to figure out what you’re doing the rest of your life, one way or another.”
Growing up in Hollis, Queens, as the only child of a single mum, John had wanted to run his own business since grade school and was inspired by his mum’s advice that a day job would never make him rich, but dedication to his own venture could.
So he told her one day in 1992 that he wanted to build an apparel company for young men called FUBU. She taught him how to sew, and he started making and selling hats. After seeing how passionate her son was about the project, she mortgaged her home to raise $US100,000 in funding and turned half of her house into a factory, working alongside John when she could.
Six years later the company was an international sensation that brought in $US350 million in revenue.
John recently sat down with his mum, who goes by Ms. John — or as her son now prefers, “Shark Momma John” — for a video produced by the Understood foundation for learning disabilities (John is dyslexic).
“We did it, and I believed in you because I saw how excited you were about being an entrepreneur, about making your own money, about making your own product,” Ms. John told Daymond.
Today, John is in charge of a diverse investment portfolio under his company Shark Branding, which includes many companies he has invested in through the hit show “Shark Tank.”
He told Business Insider last fall that his mother gave him his favourite piece of business advice: “Money is a great slave but a horrible master,” she told him.
“I think that in the earlier days, when I was a ‘wantrepreneur,’ I was really doing things because I thought what I wanted was to be rich. For the most part, those businesses failed, and then later when I started doing something casually because I loved it, that business burst,” he said, referring to FUBU.
In FUBU’s infancy, Ms. John moved out of her house so that her son and three business partners he added could have more room to create apparel to meet increasing demand.
She was confident that Daymond had finally found what he wanted to do with his life.
“Any parent would have been so happy just to see their child so excited,” Ms. John said.
You can watch the full interview below:
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