Daymond John | Elite Daily Interview | Valuable Lessons [VIDEO]

DAYMOND-JOHN, JOHN-DAYMOND, HUGO-AVILES-BLOGDaymond John is one of the most intuitive branding geniuses of today’s entrepreneur era. He is known as the Retail King and consults several of today’s top retail brands. Most entrepreneurs know him from the hit show, “Shark Tank”.  The following 20 minute video was filmed by Elite Daily and covers several important lessons in what it takes to build an International Branding Conglomerate.     

I took the time to transcribe the first 10 minutes of the Daymond John interview into four valuable lessons.  Please disregard the sentence structure as Daymond John has an intriguing way of speaking.   

On the lessons learned from starting his own path, and not going back to school…

I started to realize that by not going back to school that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I would be.  I took that, I am going to take a year off decision, and all of a sudden I did not go back to college. Now you have me being a waiter, I’m 22 years old and all those people I thought were idiots in school are now coming back from college, I’m serving them shrimp. It was embarrassing, as well as that whole I idea that I thought I was going to be a millionaire soon. It did not work like I thought. It was very hard to make that first million because I did not make it for many many years to come.  The in thing at the time was buying crash cars. I would buy them and resell them.  The math to me was no problem, I would buy 50 of them and sell them for a profit for an X amount of dollars and I will be a millionaire by next week.  Well, it didn’t work out like that and I was serving all my high school friends shrimp and Red Lobster when they were coming back from college, so it was embarrassing.  What changed in my life was not the fact that I wanted to be a millionaire, what changed in my life was the fact that I wanted to make this clothes for myself and my people because no one respected this market while doing something I love. Than all of a sudden, it started to take off!

On the passionate moment that flourished the evolution of his first product and brand…

When that thing gets a hold of you, and the needle is finally in the vein and you’re really hooked, it is like being in love.  It’s like you thought you liked someone when you were 13 and 14 years old and that was just something new and it was puppy love, but when you are 22 and 23 years old and you are out there making life decisions like saying that you can see yourself with that someone for the rest of your life and you get butterflies every time you see them, that is what it is like when you have a business and company that you love.  You can’t say and see anything else, and I would dress people till today, for free if I could and I’m sure that you will hear that from everybody else. An artist will rap and sing anytime they can be seen.  Just like the kids in school who got kicked out every time they were comedians, they can’t help it. They can’t help cracking a joke on the biggest bully at the schoolyard even though they are going to get there head cracked open, but they just love what they do, and that is how it is in business.  I fell in love with FUBU the first day that I was on the street and saw someone wearing my product.

On the core values that he learned to maintain from his earlier days at FUBU, and continues to emulate in his ventures…

I think that there are four levels that any brand or product can go through.  They all won’t go through the four levels.  You can have an item and that item is alright I’m making bottle is water, and water can begin anywhere from the fountain to the steam where you put it in the bottle. You can then have a label, you can put any label on there because you go into the store and you say well that’s bottled water I don’t know the labels name per say, then you have more of a brand. Dasani. It’s a brand we don’t know much about but then you can become a lifestyle, Evian, vitamin water, you know? so a lot of us don’t get to the level of lifestyle where if you copy a piece of paper somebody my say go Xerox it when really Xerox is a company, or you ask for a soda and somebody calls it a coke where it basically categorizes everything. When you search for something they say Google it no matter how you’re searching, then that becomes a lifestyle.  It’s a challenge to go through those processes and what I do with all my companies is sell the truth. The easiest thing to do is sell the truth.  Back in the days, it was if you make it, they will come, even if you dress it in pigs. But in this world of transparency you can create the biggest lie and campaign that you like, but one person in your office can send out a tweet and say that it is all garbage, and your over.  So if you understand that the easiest thing to do is sell the truth and you know your DNA, and you put that out there, then people will understand it and respect it. At least if you lose, you know they were just not feeling you, but you at least know what it was.

What his work ethic was like during his first years as an entrepreneur…

I would not be telling you the truth if I told you that the first year of business is going to be so difficult because the first year of business you’re still learning, often you are small enough and agile enough that you can make corrections and learn from your mistakes.  I would say that the first year when you have employees and you have responsibility is where you learn the challenges. I have been fortunate enough to be the entrepreneur residency at Babson University in Boston Massachusetts this year, and there was a book written by the President Leonard Scenester, and it taught entrepreneurship. I never thought that you could be taught entrepreneurship; I know that you can be taught business, but not entrepreneurship.  The thing that all entrepreneurs have in common, is that every entrepreneur makes an affordable step forward no matter what it is, than they learn from that and they repeat it.  That means when you are in the dark, than you take a small step and feel around, then you keep going. Then you might step back because you stepped on something and that is the first 1, 2, 3 years of business.  Entrepreneurs make that affordable step.  Other people who are not entrepreneurs and do it for the money, make unfortunate steps, they say to themselves. “I need to make a million dollars and that is going to cure the problem.” Well now they have a million dollar problem.  If they make bad steps because they want to get money cause they just want to get the money. Then they end up in a place where they do not want to be. Sometimes they end up in a place non-existing at all.  So you always have to be someone who loves what they do and takes affordable steps forward while learning, then repeat.    

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