Black #Disability History: Daymond John, Entrepreneur

Daymond Garfield John (Feb. 23, 1969 – )

“My mother always said, ‘It takes the same energy to think small as it does to think big, so dream big and think bigger.”

Image: Daymond John; a bald African American man in a dark suit, white shirt and silver tie

Image: Daymond John; a bald African American man in a dark suit, white shirt and silver tie

Daymond John might be most familiar to folks as one of the investors on Shark Tank, but in addition, he is an entrepreneur, author and founder/president/CEO of the clothing line FUBU.

John’s progress in school was uneven. He would excel in math and science, yet would struggle with reading. “Literally, I couldn’t spell the word ‘because’ for 4 or 5 years. I wouldn’t know how to spell my middle name, Garfield. When I read a book, I got tired.” He had severe dyslexia, a learning disability.

John credits his high school’s cooperative program, where students worked full-time one week and went to school the next with fostering his entrepreneurial spirit. Skilled in creative and analytical thinking, he focused on his strengths, eventually founding the urban apparel company he named FUBU (For Us By Us). It all started in 1992 with John sewing simple tie-top hats out of his childhood home for $10 apiece. Today, the brand is worth over $6 billion.

You can read about Daymond John and his dyslexia here: http://dyslexia.yale.edu/daymondJohn.html

You can read about how Daymond John started FUBU here: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/14/style/trying-to-stay-true-to-the-street.html?pagewanted=3&src=pm

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