Daymond John puts his money where his mouth is, and who’d expect anything less of a hungry, sharp-toothed shark? Yes, John is not just the creator/boss of the gazillion-dollar FUBU apparel label and not just the author of Display of Power: How FUBU Changed a World of Fashion, Brand and Lifestyle, but he’s one of the sharks vying to back/finance/promote entrepreneurs on the ABC reality show Shark Tank. The series will wrap up its first season at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Oct. 20, and TVStar snagged a few minutes of John’s time to talk about the show, his experience on it, and the odds of a second season.
What was your initial reaction when you heard about Shark Tank?
I don’t know why anyone would want to invest and spend their own money. And then I remembered my own start as an entrepreneur. I remember my drive, my passion, and the sacrifices that I had to make in order to start my career. I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine in the morning and then sold hats on the streets of New York at night. And in order to grow the business, we mortgaged our home for $100,000 so we could come up with start-up capital for FUBU. And then my mom moved out so we could turn the house into a makeshift factory and office space.
Some businessmen prefer to stay behind the scenes and others are very much the face of their company. How comfortable were you with the idea of suddenly being on TV and potentially recognized by millions of people? Has it been good for business?
I have been the face of the my company, FUBU, for many years, so there was no difference. I have been on TV many times before. That is nothing new. In terms of business, yes, it’s good for me. It helps bring awareness to my personal brand and the aspect of how I work with other brands by consulting and advising them as well as running own company.
What have been the most interesting people/things you’ve seen when it comes to entrepreneurs and products? Anything you’re kicking yourself over for not biting on or not biting hard enough?
The most interesting people I have encountered have been Lisa Lloyd, Treasure Chest Pets, Gayla Bentley, and Mr. Todd’s Pie Factory. And I am kicking myself on Cover Play. Should have hit that harder. That was a great idea.
What’s the likelihood of a season two? And how interested would you be in doing another season?
Season two is in the hands of the powers that be. I like the cast and the concept of the show. And depending on my availability, I would love to do it again.
What else do you have going on at the moment?
I am currently running my fashion business, releasing my new book in early 2010, and consulting with a few new brands.
If they had a show like Shark Tank on the air when you were an aspiring businessman starting out, how likely would you have been to go on as an entrepreneur?
I wouldn’t have made it on the show. I would have overvalued my company and I would have failed.
Written By Ian Spelling (Contributing Writer)