Daymond John, founder, president and chief executive officer of the $8 billion clothing brand FUBU and investor on the ABC show “Shark Tank,” came to the District on Oct. 13 to offer Black entrepreneurs tips for success.
John sponsored a “Road to Black Entrepreneurship’s Day presented by Chase for Business” at the Gathering Spot in Northwest. The event served as a part of Chase for Business efforts to reach out to minority businesses to assist them in coaching, accessible education, and banking solutions.
LaGreg Harrison and Muhammed Hill are co-owners of The Museum DC, a fashion and arts premium boutique located on Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast. They participated in a panel discussion led by John on what it takes to be an entrepreneur and the programs Chase for Business offers.
Harrison said he looked forward to interacting with John.
“Daymond John is considered a legend in the fashion industry,” he said. “He started in fashion and has moved on to real estate and other areas. I am grateful for his advice.”
The Museum DC
The Museum DC has collaborated with the Seth Curry brand and Under Armour, based in Baltimore, to re-release the Curry, a shoe the NBA star wore during his first MVP and NBA championship wins in 2015. The Curry shoe has a D.C.-inspired colorway.
Additionally, The Museum is curating a small business incubator in Ward 8, called Incubate the Eight, that will begin with fashion and lifestyle products with plans to expand to food and beverages.
Harrison and Hill also partner with D.C. public and charter schools to offer a student merit program. Those students with good grades can receive exchange vouchers for exclusive Museum gear.
Darla Harris, a senior vice president and business consultant for Chase, said The Museum DC owners worked well with the mentoring program.
“They are doing phenomenally,” Harris said. “They know what it takes to succeed and what the community wants. They have a passion for what they are doing, and they love it.”
Daymond John’s advice
John said he, like The Museum DC owners, started from humble beginnings and had to work hard with the help of his mother to build FUBU.
“My mother took out a $100,000 loan on the house she owned and where we lived,” John said. “I used the house to sew and manufacture my clothes. At one point, I tried to get a loan for my business but got turned down 27 times.”
However, John said banks shouldn’t be viewed as insensitive to the needs of struggling entrepreneurs.
“The bank is there to advise you,” he said. “It’s a tool. It is how you use that tool. A lot of people in our community use the checking cashing store as a bank. They take 6% out of your paycheck. At the bank, there is no fee. A lot of people, including entrepreneurs, say that banks aren’t for me. Not true. It is for you. If you have simple knowledge on how they work, it will take you a long way.”
Kristina Sicard, a senior vice president and business consultant for Chase, said she gets many funds requests from entrepreneurs at all stages of their operations.
“When they ask me for money, I say to them, ‘Get more clients,’” she said. “It is important to build relationships with different types of people. You need a relationship with a CPA, an attorney, an economic development specialist, and someone in the mayor’s office.”
John agreed with Sicard on the importance of entrepreneurs’ growing professional contacts.
“It’s about networking,” he said. “People love to get behind a winner. I got to where I am by networking.”