Daymond John on Starting Up, Lean Growth & Partnerships


Daymond John is best known for creating the clothing brand FUBU, and starring in ABC's reality TV show Shark Tank. In the video below, Daymond lays out his keys to successfully creating a fashion & apparel powerhouse - but his advice on entrepreneurship, lean growth, and strategic partnerships applies to all ecommerce businesses. 

All the advice Daymond shares come from his own experiences. Daymond built FUBU in 1992 with only a few dollars, and in six years his company returned $350 million in revenue. To date, FUBU has amassed over $6 billion in global sales. This guy knows what he's talking about. 
Here are Daymond's 6 keys to success: 

1. Define Your Customer 

Find out what your potential customers are willing to spend. Will they pay $20 for a t-shirt, or $100?

2. Don't Spend Too Much on a Sample Line 

If you're looking to create a clothing line, don't cut patterns and go to China and make a whole product line before getting a proof of concept. The reality is you might not sell anything. Start lean: Go to a seamstress and get her to sew a couple pieces, or do it yourself. 

3. Get Proof of Concept

Don't get a $100,000 loan before you sell anything. Don't try and judge how big your company is going to be from selling to your friends. Naturally, your friends love you and want to support you. You can only judge if you have a viable product if a stranger will buy a t-shirt. Get your proof of concept by selling to strangers. 

4. Sell Online

With social media, Google AdWords and all of today's marketing advancements, it's so easy to spread your brand online. 

5. Get Your Product in Stores 

A lot of people want to immediately get into Macy's but that's a mistake. Always start with by getting into a local store. Become a local hero. That's how you get attention. Look at music artists... they need to get popular in their hometown before they go national. Don't scale too quickly until you start to sell, see what works, what doesn't work, and sell again. Get the bugs out of the line, then look for distribution. 

6. Don't Sell Out Too Early

Too many people are eager to sell a portion of their company. OPM shouldn't' be other peoples money. It should be other people's mind power, manufacturing, marketing, and mistakes. Get creative and think outside the box when it comes to strategic partnerships and co-branding opportunities. 

Join Shopify's Build-A-Business Competition

Daymond John is one of the mentors in our Build-A-Business competition. Existing and new Shopify ecommerce stores can still register to participate. You'll have a chance to win one of four prize packs that include a $50K investment, a VIP trip for two to NYC to meet the mentors, $20K in Google AdWords credits, and a feature article in Fast Company.