Part II of Shark Tank's Daymond John conversation with LinkedIn Executive Editor Dan Roth. John weighs in on the struggles of starting FUBU in the mid 90s, being an entrepreneur and how being dyslexic has shaped him.
For part I, click here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-i-have-learned-my-seven-years-shark-daymond-john
"We were going to have a great little boutique. When we got to 10 million, I was like, "Holy crap." When were up to 350 million, I was like, "Wow." I hate to say it, but we all put a glass ceiling on ourselves and I never thought I would be at Nike. Believe it or not, I though that maybe other people putting that on us. We were very, very fortunate, and I always looked at it with the healthy paranoia, such us traditional clothing lines come and go within five to seven years. We are not different. That's why we started to acquire other brands like Willie Esco, and Coogi, and Heatherette, and things of that nature, so I never had that theory. Now all the people have that theory. I called Phil Knight one day and said, "Hey, how are you doing? I heard you are getting into hip-hop and all that kind of stuff, and Nike needs to do that," and he was like, "No, we've just hit the tip of the ice berg when it comes to sports, good bye." Click, he just nicely hang up on me, and I realized that that man is super focused, and that's his drive.
"I love brands that come, and go, and float, and fluctuate. If you look at the brands that really pass the test of time, what do you have? 50? You have Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Ralph Lauren. Other than that, all the rest of them, Benetton, Coach, all these other ones that come and go. That's just the process.
"I tell entrepreneurs always to think about things with first of all, somebody wants to kick your butt, number one. Number two is your customer will grow out of what you wear. If you're wearing something at ten years old for five or five years, when you get to be 22, you really want to still want to wear Garanimals in college? You grow out of it and a new market finds you. I always tell people that. I always say, you are not going to create anything new. Somebody else is going to create the same exact thing and put a different angle to it. That's what's going to happen.
"I only realized that I was dyslexic ten years ago. I didn't even realize what the challenge was, but the work around and being dyslexic was first of all, I was more of a visual person. I can see the end goal happening. Also, when I went to school, to not have to go to English and the place that I had challenges with. I was a killer in math, I was a killer in science, I was a killer in all those. I went and I started a co-op program where I would work one week in high school and then I would go to school the next. What did that do? It put me at First Boston as a messenger out here, and I started to realize there was so much business being done and what was happening."