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Daymond John was not a rapper. He couldn't sing or dance. But as a young man, he latched onto the emerging '80s rap scene in Queens and the Bronx as his path to success.
John began working as a roadie for now legendary acts Run DMC and LL Cool J. Along the way, he found his passion-fashion. "I couldn't rap or sing," John tells SUCCESS, "but I loved fashion. That's one of the most important things if you want to be successful as an entrepreneur. If you're doing something you love, you will always succeed."
And John knows what it takes to be successful. The founder of the urban clothing line FUBU (For Us, By Us), John has built his empire through perseverance, creative marketing techniques and groundbreaking branding strategies. Today, he's known as the "Godfather of Urban Fashion," runs multiple multimillion-dollar clothing businesses, and offers his marketing and branding expertise to some of the leading companies and figures in the world.
But back in Queens in 1992, John wasn't a success yet-far from it. He had little direction and virtually no understanding of business. He did possess a strong desire for a hip tie-top hat. When he priced a few available styles, he realized he couldn't afford what he wanted, so John designed and made his own instead. Then he made a few more. He and a friend took to the streets of Queens, and after a particularly successful night with $800 in sales, John knew they had something special.
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