For Us, By Us…what a concept!
Daymond John, the genius behind the clothing line FUBU, started the company after realizing that others were neglecting the untapped urban market.
FUBU’s entry into the clothing marketstarted when Daymond began to manufacture “tie-top” hats which he sold on the streets of his hometown of Hollis, Queens. With the sewing skills his mom had taught him, Daymond simply sewed a string from the top of wool hats creating a “tie-top” effect. Eventually, Daymond added rapper, LL Cool J, and a close-knit circle of friends to take his company to great success.
At its peak in 1998, FUBU had sales of $350 million. With this skyrocketing success, you’d think FUBU clothing would still be a staple in many national retailers. The sad news is that I can’t recall the last time I saw a FUBU shirt or pair of jeans in a store. And with African Americans spending over $25 billion each year on clothing and with the majority of the urban market still going untapped, an important question to ask ourselves is: What ever happened to FUBU?
I believe one or more of the following occurred:
- Daymond John had the opportunity to either sell FUBU or enter into a marketing/distribution agreement with one of its investors, Samsung Electronics. By leveraging either of these options, Daymond was positioned to walk away with a great sum of money. He chose the latter option and I’ve read that his net worth is now between $100 million and $250 million. Clearly he’s in a great position to leave a lasting financial legacy for generations to come. I’m not mad at Daymond and his business dealings with Samsung as many wealthy business people have sold their businesses or given up some level of ownership for the sake of earning large sums of money.
- Daymond wanted to get into writing books, public speaking, investing in start-up companies and TV—which is what he’s currently doing. Daymond has had a steady presence on the acclaimed business-entertainment show “Shark Tank”, which has been airing on network TV for years now.
- And, thirdly, here’s an option African Americans, as oppressed people, should seriously be thinking about:
There’s a chance that the unseen powerful people are enjoying lucrative successes at the expense of our communities. Perhaps Daymond was approached by such people—those with an agenda to keep our communities indefinitely dependent—with a plan to make him rich and keep us poor? After all, somebody is getting rich from the more than $25 billion blacks spend on clothing!
With their strategic planning machines always on the lookout for ways to gain a competitive edge, these powerful people can quickly discern when financial success is within the grasp of an oppressed people’s economic freedom. And FUBU’s ongoing success would have definitely provided a solid platform for developing an economic plan for the more than $1 trillion that blacks spend annually.
Just think about the name itself, “For Us, By Us”. Building on that branding alone would have continued to inspire black consumers to buy all kinds of products and services from a company we could take pride and cultural ownership in. If FUBU decided to give a portion of its profits back to our communities, African Americans would have rejoiced at the opportunity to support such a company. I truly believe that! But instead, FUBU abandoned its mission of catering to the African-American market and the economic empowerment of blacks was yet again waylaid.
African Americans have long been in dire need of a do-for-self economic plan to equip our communities for success. But instead of FUBU building on its great success and beginning this process, others, including FAMDO, are committed to answering this calling. We seek to return as much of the more than $1 trillion—which blacks spend each year—as possible for the empowerment of our communities.
Fam, this may not be a rah-rah message, but it is real talk. What are your thoughts?