Shark Tank’s Daymond John

Joining me is Daymond John. He’s one of the stars of Shark Tank, the incredibly popular show where entrepreneurs try to raise money from him and other investors.

I heard of Daymond back when I worked for my dad’s store as kid in Brooklyn. One day this guy walked into the store wearing a FUBU logo. A few days after that it felt like everyone was walking around in FUBU, which stands for “For Us, By Us.”

I will always remember how authentic that brand was and the sense of pride people had who wore it. In this interview I want to find out how he built that company. I also want to find out about the investments he’s made on Shark Tank and how he thinks about investing in companies.

And I’ll ask him about his latest company, Blueprint + Co. Blueprint + Co is a co-working space where you get more than just a desk. It comes with the conveniences of cafes and concierge and support for founders.

Daymond John

Daymond John

Blueprint + Co

Daymond John’s latest company is Blueprint + Co, a co-working space where you get more than just a desk. It comes with the conveniences of cafes and concierge and support for founders.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: This audio interview is sponsored by the company that will help you hire your next great developer, it’s called Toptal, and by the company that will allow you to close more sales. It’s called Pipedrive. Here’s the interview.

Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I’m really excited today because joining me is Daymond John. He is one of the stars of “Shark Tank,” the incredibly popular show where entrepreneurs try to raise money from him and other investors.

But before that, I’ve heard of him and his company back when I worked for my dad’s store as a kid on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. I remember one day, this guy walked into the store wearing a FUBU logo. And then a few days after that, it felt like everybody was walking around with a FUBU logo.

I heard someone say that FUBU stood for, “For us, by us,” which meant that my Persian dad who owned the store, never fully understood it, let alone figured out how to actually get FUBU into our store. I always remember how authentic that brand was, how people who wore it felt a sense of pride because they were in a club. They got it.

And in this interview I want to find out how he built up that company. I also want to find out about the investments that he made in “Shark Tank” and how he thinks about investing in companies. And I want to ask him about his latest company, which is Blueprint + Co. Blueprint + Co is a coworking space where you get more than just a desk. It comes with the conveniences of cafes plus concierge and the support that founders get for marketing, funding, branding and more.

Daymond, welcome.

Daymond: Thanks for having me. I didn’t know your dad had that store. That’s a great intro.

Andrew: Oh yeah. Man, did I see that. It really made my dad understand he probably was never going to fully get it and should not have a store on Myrtle Avenue.

Daymond: Why not?

Andrew: Because things were changing.

Daymond: Of course not. You know, a lot of times people thought that FUBU was purely only for a certain color and it really wasn’t. It was created for a culture. So whether it was Persian, white, whatever the case was, it was created for those people who loved hip-hop. We were always an inclusive brand. Some people took it the wrong way and some people took it the right way. I’m very proud of people like your dad who were entrepreneurs who helped spread the FUBU word and the legacy. So tell Dad I said thank you anyway.

Andrew: I will. And you know what? What I didn’t realize until I read your autobiography, “Display of Power,” was you got LL Cool J to help promote it–actually, LL Cool J gave you advice on how to promote it. He said, “You need to go after certain people like a crazy pregnant lady.” What did he mean by that and how did you end up working with him?

Daymond: He lived in the neighborhood. We didn’t really know him that well, but we were on tour with him because the whole neighborhood would go on tour and kind of push speakers around and go get the artists lunch or get the band members lunch, whatever the case is. When I came up with the idea, we went over to his house because we needed our Michael Jordan of Nike.

So we go over to his house. He gives me this great advice on how you have to go after all these artists and you have to kind of stalk them. We figured there was no better artist to stalk than him. We started doing that. You know, honestly, though, of course in the book I have to fast forward and cut over some things.

The reality of it is the same way you opened up the conversation with you saw one person walking in and it looked like everybody was wearing it–LL himself also had noticed that people in the neighborhood were wearing it and the right people were wearing it, the people who had a passion about it, the people who were influencers, just on a different level. He felt safe in regards to wearing the product too because it was kind of cosigned on by other people.

So I think the moral of that story really is that you don’t need to go after the LL Cool Js at first. Seed whatever you have with the people who are already passionate about it and then with influence the bigger and better people that you may be trying to go after.

Andrew: I see. It was first selling to the people who had the credibility and helped build your credibility and then LL Cool J said yes. He wore the shirt, you took a photo of him and then you used at Magic, the big convention for the garment business. Did he get paid for that, for helping you guys?

Daymond: No. He didn’t. So he said, “I’m going to take a picture for you. If you ever get anywhere. . .” He really didn’t think we would because it was never done at that scale before. He said, “Just take care of me.” We made 300 copies of that picture. We sent it out. We mailed it to everybody prior to going to the show. So there was this anticipation that we were going to be somewhere at the show and they were looking out for us, all the small store owners.

We would end up later on inking a deal with LL Cool J and thank god we did take really good care of him because he took really good care of us. I think one of the main reasons the brand became a global brand was due to his appeal and his authenticity in regards to supporting the product. He was not a person who would be paid by Pepsi and drink Coke. He lived the product.

Andrew: So I talked to my audience. I said, “What do you guys want to learn?” They said it’s interesting about the early days how Daymond and the FUBU brand used to hustle at black expos and promote themselves on a small basis. But what we really want to know is how he grew it big, how he took it way beyond what seems like an individual should be able to do. Magic, that show, that event, seemed to be a big part of it. Can you talk about what you did there to help get more sales than you ever had before you went?

Daymond: Well, we basically–so, first of all, FUBU, I closed it down three times from ’89 to ’92 because I ran out of capital but I only ran out of a small amount of capital. Then my friends came and moved into my house and we kind of try to put it all together. By ’95, that’s when people started to see it around and that’s when we went to that big tradeshow, ’94, ’95, something like that.

We went to the tradeshow first. We walked the show. We didn’t go and setup a booth because we didn’t have enough money for it. We got to see what was going on at the show. Then we went to the show again and we did setup a booth, but we set it up at the Mirage Hotel a couple of miles away from the trade show. That’s when I sent all those fliers to everybody and there was an anticipation growing, so proving the concept.

Andrew: So it was the anticipation, then, that got people to make the trip to go see you even though you weren’t at the heart of the show.

Daymond: Correct. When they started to come to the hotel room, we wrote $300,000 in orders and that was because there was this built up demand which we call in the market proof of concept. We were sprinkling the product out there even though we didn’t have enough to make the product for a large amount of people.

But the beauty of music videos at that time is we took ten shirts and we would just keep recycling the ten shirts on a bunch of different videos. So people though we were a huge brand. It’s the same with social media today. Everybody keeps seeing the stuff on Instagram. You build up this anticipation for it.

So now we come back and we try to get financed from the banks. I get turned down by 27 banks. I turn my house into a factory. I take out as much money as we can on the house. I start manufacturing clothes because I didn’t want to trust my money overseas because there was no Alibaba at that time. I didn’t know what to do and where to go.

But now, the next stage of proof of concept happens. We start selling to the stores. The stores start selling out of the goods. The stores themselves start telling manufacturers and producers and other brands, “Wow, this company is moving a lot of goods.” And we made sure we only sold to a couple of small stores.

Again, it’s another form of proof of concept. You see people come on the “Shark Tank” and they want to raise $1 million to sell to a bunch of sources. You don’t. You just need small proof of concept. So whether it’s that one cool kid in the neighborhood that LL Cool J looks at and says, “I like it,” whether it’s that one small store in Queens and then the bigger companies start looking at it, we just kept doing that on a different level and a different level. Then we had a distribution deal by Samsung.

Andrew: So the distribution deal with Samsung, how did that work? How did Samsung help you guys grow?

Daymond: So Samsung, it’s almost like any kind of factory or manufacturing. So once Samsung took at us and said, “You have $300,000 in orders. We’re calling around to all the stores. They’re saying they can’t keep the stuff on the shelves.”

They said, “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to basically factor you. If you bring in orders–say you bring in 1 million, 2 million, 10 million, 100 million, whatever the case is–we’re going to take a small percentage to manufacture and distribute the clothes and then you’re going to be able to take the rest of the money and you’re going to be able to handle your marketing, advertisement, you’re going to handle your office, your salaries, everything else, but we take a small piece for our servicing of manufacturing and producing.”

It’s the same as the factory business. If you have what we call paper, you go and you have $1 million worth of orders from credible resources, meaning Macy’s and Dillard’s and all that type of stuff where they can check their credits, then a factory will give you 80% of the money and you will then go out and make the goods and do what you need to do. So they basically underwrote our orders, our purchase orders.

Andrew: I see. So it was them manufacturing it, not so much opening the doors. It was you guys opening the doors, getting companies, getting stores to sell it and then manufacturing it and allowing you to afford to do that. Is that right?

Daymond: Correct. They weren’t necessarily manufacturing. They were just financing the manufacturing. It’s like a bank. They were taking a percentage of it. Everything else was our job, every single thing else.

Andrew: And this through these two guys, Norman and Bruce, I think. Is that right?

Daymond: Yeah. Norman was the president of Samsung’s textile division. It was just a small division of Samsung. Samsung may have 200 divisions. Everybody thinks about them for phones, but they have everything from dog food to textile divisions. So the textile division wasn’t a big division of Samsung. Textiles were really–what they were doing, they were basically making a bunch of white T-shirts and maybe coats, the no name stuff and they would probably private label it for people.

That’s pretty much what they were doing. Now we had the ability to go in there and utilize their ability to make goods at a cheaper price or a more affordable price because they were running off a massive amount of raw goods. We were able to put our stamp and our identity on it and go out and market and brand and sell all the goods.

Andrew: So what did you do to get more stores to carry your brand?

Daymond: Well, at that point, we would have to scale slowly. We would have to, at first, the big department stores wouldn’t touch our brand. They didn’t know if urban was really going to be what it was at the time. Then by the time one person who had a specialty store in the neighborhood, by the time two years had passed and then they had seven because FUBU and Karl Kani and all these other brands were doing so well, the big stores started to say, “Wait a minute, we need to get onto this.”

But it started to scale that quick. Now we’re talking about FUBU from ’96 all the way to 2000, it was a massive run because every year we would take on another 100 or 200, 300 stores. Then we would start to license our territories internationally. We would start to go into Japan and South Africa and Brazil and Mexico and things of that nature and we brought on people who understood licensing.

At the end of the day, when you start to scale, you need to bring on executives and/or people who have been in that position before and they know how to scale.

Andrew: What percentage of the business did you end up owning?

Daymond: What percentage of the business did we end up owning?

Andrew: You personally.

Daymond: Me, the whole brand? I wouldn’t tell you that.

Andrew: Really?

Daymond: That’s a privately held company. You kidding me? How much money do you have in the bank right now?

Andrew: That’s a good question. I see what you mean.

Daymond: There you go. Isn’t that a great question?

Andrew: What about this then–I’ve seen you say it was a $6 billion brand. Do you say what the annual revenues are?

Daymond: No because over the course of the years, we did about $6 billion in sales. The annual revenue would fluctuate. It would obviously go to $50 million, go as high as $300 million, $350 million. Then it would go down to $100 million, $50 million. So it would fluctuate.

Andrew: And you still own it today, a piece of it anyway, right?

Daymond: Yeah, we still own the brand today.

Andrew: Okay. At this point, I’ll take a quick break from the interview to tell you about a sponsor whose software enables us to get Daymond John and people like him on Mixergy. It’s called Pipedrive. Pipedrive is software that’s built to help sales people and sales organizations close more deals.

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If you want to try it, they have a special URL just for us where they will give you free time to use Pipedrive and actually close some sales so that you can see how powerful and organized this software is. Go check them out at Pipedrive.com/Mixergy. That’s Pipedrive.com/Mixergy. All right, back to the interview.

Then you got into “Shark Tank.” I remember talking to Barbara Corcoran who told me that she was turned down from “Shark Tank” and she went to Mark Burnett’s office and she convinced him to change his mind and have her on. What was it like for you to get on “Shark Tank?” How did you get on there?

Daymond: I turned “Shark Tank” down. Barbara got turned down by “Shark Tank.” I’m not sure why. I think they had a couple of people that they were considering. But when I first got the call, I said, “This is crap. Nobody’s going to watch five business people talking about business.” Then they told me that Mark Cuban was going to be on it and I said–I didn’t know Mark at the time–I said, “The big head guy that likes to throw chairs on the basketball court? The guy who has more money than God and can be on TV any time he wants?” I said, “That’s crap. He’s not going to be on the show.” He wasn’t on the first season. I was like, “You guys are just full of it.”

So I said, “I don’t think I’m going to do the show.” Then they told me I couldn’t do any other show but theirs. I was in charge of the product integration for the Kardashians for their first three years and I had already promised the girls that I was going to be on their show a couple times, three separate times. “Shark Tank” said I couldn’t do that either. I said, “All right, then I’m not going to do the show.” Khloe Kardashian found out that I was going to turn down “Shark Tank” because of her, and she said she would never get in my way, so she asked me not to be on her show.

Now all of a sudden, I’m considering going on the “Shark Tank.” Then I said, “I’m only going to do it if I can pitch Mark Burnett my show ideas,” because I had some really good show ideas. “So I’ll go out there and shoot the stupid show that’s never going to work and I’ll get to pitch Mark Burnett.” So I go out there, I shoot the show. They pick up the pilot. Then I finally get to pitch Mark Burnett my three show ideas. He shot them down in like 30 seconds apiece. They were all garbage. But I stayed on “Shark Tank.” So that’s how it worked out.

Andrew: Garbage was his opinion or now your opinion in retrospect?

Daymond: Well, I think both of our opinion. I think even when I’m pitching him I’m like, “Man, these are crappy ideas.”

Andrew: What were you doing with the Kardashians? What does it mean that you were doing products with them or what were you doing with products with them?

Daymond: Product integration. So the girls, I was in charge of all the brands you would see in the girls’ show for the first three years. I was in charge of some of their sponsorships.

Andrew: I see. They were getting paid for these brands and you helped select them and make those deals?

Daymond: Correct.

Andrew: I see. Wow, which kind of makes sense because you were the guy who used to hustle outside of video shoots and get your FUBU clothes on artists and then like you said earlier, take them, have them clean and then worn by the next artist. I see, coming full circle.

Daymond: At the end of the day, they did that because probably around 2000 to 2007, I probably did most of the product integration you would see in music videos. Reality shows and music videos, I was probably putting what was my product, another product, another car company, a liquor company, I probably put products in about 250 videos every year. So everybody in the industry knew me for that because that was my form of guerilla marketing.

Andrew: So what I’m wondering is what happens you make a deal on “Shark Tank?” I’ve heard that as many as 30% of the deals actually don’t go through. Is that right?

Daymond: It all depends. Season one, I think 30% of the deals did go through and 70 fell through. I think season two, it went up to 40% closing, 50% closing. I close approximately 80% of the deals now. The deals started to get better because first of all, season one, season two, the companies weren’t that great. The show wasn’t that well known. Also the sharks, we didn’t have our staff that every year we hire two more people to help manage these things. So we all got better and better as the show proceeded.

Andrew: When at first a deal didn’t happen, what would keep it from happening? Is it that the numbers that somebody shared on television were wrong? Is it that you guys couldn’t keep up with the deal? What was going on?

Daymond: It could be anything. When you see the show, that pitch could be an hour or that pitch could be two and a half hours. You just see eight minutes of it.

Andrew: Wow.

Daymond: We’re sending a bunch of questions at these people and we make best efforts to close the deal. Afterwards, I may say to somebody, “I’m told you owe $1 million in taxes.” I would say, “Why didn’t you tell us that when we were asking you questions?” They were like, “Well, you didn’t ask that question.” So it could be that. We couldn’t find out that they thought they had a trademark but their ex-wife really owns the name of the company or they never really registered it.

Andrew: I see.

Daymond: So it could be so many different things or we just don’t like them or they don’t like us.

Andrew: I see.

Daymond: The numbers can be great but then you find out the person morally is not the person you want to deal with or maybe they just don’t like us. It can be various different things, but to close on 80% of those deals is extremely good because in the venture world, you usually close on only 20% of deals.

Andrew: I’m just amazed that you can keep up with all of it. I shouldn’t be so shocked because I read your story. As a kid, you’re a guy who used to do everything from like drive a car service, your own personal car service following the buses, you used to sell super squirt guns, you used to sell hats. Your mom–this was shocking to me–your mom gave you condoms when you went to camp. You took them and you sold them instead of using them, which is such a hustler move.

Daymond: It’s not a hustler move. It means that I wasn’t getting that lucky at camp so I had to do something.

Andrew: Did you not have your swagger at that point? It seemed like your mom thought you were old enough to. Did you not have your swagger?

Daymond: I did. You didn’t want to see the potential people to spend the swagger on.

Andrew: I see.

Daymond: Trust me. It was worth doing what I did.

Andrew: What I’m wondering is how do you now manage all these different investments you make through “Shark Tank?” You mentioned you were hiring extra people to help. Can you give me an overview of the way you manage so many investments?

Daymond: So it is very hard. It’s time-consuming. You have to think about like this. If I have, let’s say, 80 investments. Let’s say 20 of them are kind of just chugging along or lying dormant because they’re eight years old and they haven’t been doing that great. You have another 20 of them who have excellent CEOs and operators who damn near don’t need me. I’m there when they need me, but they are operators that I’m probably learning more from than they’re learning from me.

And then you have the ones that are a little more kind of in that middle area and they need a little push and a little love here and there and we need to work with them. They’re not all just heavy, heavy daily calls and things of that nature, but we also have 20 people that also service them and then bring–they’re like department heads and they bring them all to me. At a certain point, we review them and we work with them. It is time-consuming.

But at the end of the day, that’s just the way business is. It’s taken still eight years to really get up and get this system going and it’s every day you’ve got to improve the system.

Andrew: What is your personal system for being productive? I’ve heard your phrase rise and grind, which I freaking love. What’s your system for staying on top of stuff?

Daymond: My system is first of all goal setting, also maximizing your time as much as you can. We’re doing this podcast. I wouldn’t be able to do this if I was at the office because I need to have that time to have the face to face interaction. I’m here in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the moment. I’m going to knock out things like this and my emails here instead of when I’m there, I’m going to prioritize things.

I’m also going to make sure that I have good management. Good management is almost the most important thing–people who are problem solvers. By the time they come to me with a problem, they’ve already had ten different ways that they’ve tried to solve it and then I’m going to be the last resort and they’re going to be like, “We have two more ways to try it, which one do you want to do?” So it’s really about good management and good execution around you.

Andrew: I noticed that. The guy who helped book this interview, Ethan, that guy called me up today an hour before the interview, called me up 20 minutes before the interview. This was like to make sure that everything was in line. We were not going to waste a second of your time. I always love seeing that kind of operation.

Daymond: People who are very methodical about things and they stay on it, they’re essential. You look at somebody who’s a boss and everybody thinks the boss is like Batman and everybody is Robin. But most of the time, I’m Robin. If I hire somebody to do something and I trust them, then I need to follow their lead as well.

Andrew: What’s the biggest mistake you made with your investments?

Daymond: It’s hard to say one big mistake, but the two general mistakes is number one, not trusting your gut. No matter how good things may seem, if you don’t trust your gut, your gut is going to tell you how you feel about it. Number two is homework. Not really investigating what you should about it. So those are the two things I think. And trusting your gut really means you have a passion, whether about the person or about the product.

Every time that I’ve failed, it all came back to three separate things. It came back to number one, I didn’t do enough research on it. Number two, I didn’t spend enough time on it. Number three, I didn’t put the right people around it. All that really comes back to your gut and loving it and having passion.

Number one, if you were passionate about it, then you would have spent way more time on it because you would have been happy about it or you would have spent way more time researching it because it would have been fascinating to you or you would have been out of the way and found the right people. If you didn’t have your passion or your gut told you not to do it, that’s usually why it fails to me.

Andrew: I’ve got a list of all the investments you made on “Shark Tank.” Is there one you were especially excited about, that you maybe spent more time than you should have as an investor because you’re so passionate about the product?

Daymond: You know what? That’s like trying to pick your favorite kid.

Andrew: It won’t be like a favorite kid, just one example that gives us an illustration about how you feel about a lot of your kids.

Daymond: TITIN Vest I spent a lot of time on, Bubba’s–Al Bubba Baker’s Boneless Ribs and Bombas Socks–those three are all in different areas and those three are the ones I’ve spent a lot of time on.

Andrew: I see, TITIN because you work out so much and it feels like such a natural fit.

Daymond: And the entrepreneur, Patrick, is a great entrepreneur. I had suffered from a double hernia because I was wearing some of those weighted vests that really didn’t do anything besides giving me a double hernia. So I think I related to the product so much. That’s why I love it. I love the entrepreneur.

Andrew: I see.

Daymond: So, yeah, it’s something that, again, I resonated with.

Andrew: Once again, I’ll take a small break from this interview to tell you about a company called Toptal. If you listen to this interview, you might hear me mention Barbara Corcoran and maybe you’ll go back to the site and search for her to find her interview. Well, if you were to do that a few years ago, you couldn’t find her interview or anything else because I’m pretty prolific. As I scaled up to over a hundred, then hundreds, then over a thousand interviews, it became really hard to find content on my site.

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You mentioned goal setting earlier. I know that you work with Cathryn of BestSelf.co, the journal that helps people set goals and stay on top of them. I’m wondering what your goal setting process is?

Daymond: My goal setting process?

Andrew: Yeah.

Daymond: Well, my goal setting process started when I was 16 years old when I first read the amazing book, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. My goal setting process is I have ten goals that I read five times a week every single night out of those five times and every single morning.

When I read them at night, it’s the thing I think about when I’m sleeping. When I wake up in the morning, I read them in the morning. I usually take action on those goals first, whether it’s making the call, whether it’s in the right direction or whether it’s drinking a green drink because I said I’m going to drink one green drink a day to keep my health up.

The goals–six of them expire in six months and the other three–no, sorry, seven of them expire in six months and the other three, one expires in five years, one expires in ten years, one expires in 20 years. The seven that expire in six months, when the six months come up, I reset them. I set them again. So whether it’s getting down to the ideal weight, whether it’s spending more time with my kids and my family, I just keep resetting them to make sure that it’s something that’s on my mind daily.

Andrew: I see. It’s always a set of six-month goals?

Daymond: Always a set of a six-month goals because what happens is you can visualize that they need to be done within this time and when the six months is coming around, I feel this kind of like anxiety. It puts this pressure on me. I don’t realize why until bang, “Oh, those are my goals.”

Andrew: What’s the one that’s 20 years in the future?

Daymond: The one that’s 20 years in the future is where will I be 20 years in the future and to visualize where you will see yourself.

Andrew: Where do you see yourself 20 years from now?

Daymond: You’re asking me so much personal crap.

Andrew: Is it too personal? It’s a goal, bring us in.

Daymond: No. No, no, no. You know, it’s looking at a certain place. My personal one is the house I visualize with the beach, how my kids will look around me, how my grandkids will look around me. It’s not things that are materialistic.

Andrew: You visualize it? You have them in your mind’s eye.

Daymond: And it’s to have health, yeah. It is the way you look 20 years from now with your health, with your family, whether you’re a spiritual person you want to be around or maybe I’m going to turn into the guy with a million cats around me. I don’t know.

Andrew: What about a dollar amount? I know Napoleon Hill used to talk about being that clear. Do you get that clear about your net worth or your revenue or anything like that?

Daymond: No. I don’t. I do not get that clear about that. I used to when I was much younger. I used to come up with a dollar amount, but I don’t do it anymore. Revenue is not in the goal.

Andrew: It’s not.

Daymond: In any of my goals, it’s not.

Andrew: That’s shocking. I would have thought that would be a big one for you, but I get it.

Daymond: No, no.

Andrew: You wrote this really moving piece a while back, I’ll let people go and get it, about how you made so much money and how it affected your family life. It actually hurt your family life and you were really open about that. I can understand with that in the background why you’d want to think beyond just revenue.

Daymond: I think I learned a long time ago, like you said, about the moving piece, but I learned that there’s not a number that will make–well, to me, but I’ve never met a person that had a number that would make them happy. Once they achieved the number they thought would make them happy, then they had this kind of emptiness in them because they realized that it didn’t buy them anything that they wanted. So I think that’s probably it. Success is not money. I always say success drives you up to your problems in a limousine.

Somebody asked me the other night. There was a paparazzi. He was outside and he had the camera in my face and he was like, “How does it feel to be rich?” I said, “Is wealthy being successful?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Doesn’t that just drive you up to your problems in a limousine?” He said, “I’d really rather drive up to my problems in a Ferrari.” I said, “What if your problem was you had stage II cancer. Is that going to help you? Is that Ferrari going to help you?” He put down the camera and he left me alone.

Andrew: What happened to Grim? Wasn’t Grim supposed to be the guy keeping those kinds of people away from you?

Daymond: Yeah. He’s still my bodyguard, but he moved over into logistics in my company because even big guys like that have dreams and aspirations and I’m no longer the young guy running around in the urban scene with a lot of jewelry on because that was part of the promotion. Plus I was young and I was wearing a lot of jewelry and I was at a certain stage in my lie.

I want people to feel like they can approach me. That’s why I call myself the people’s shark. What are they going to do? All people do when they approach me is tell me how they want to help feed their families and their hopes and their dreams. I don’t need a bodyguard to push them away. I want to actually hug most of them.

Andrew: You know what? It’s so interesting to hear you talk this way because I think I have a different vision of you. I have a vision of you as a hustler who in my mind, you probably are sewing are something right now as we’re talking or signing contracts just reading what you did.

Daymond: I am hustling right now because you and I are on a podcast, right? We’re going to share my concepts, whether it’s Blueprint + Co or whether it’s my history. At the end of the day, that will get people to know me other than the guy they see on “Shark Tank” in a three-piece suit where I’m edited purely as a business guy because a lot of people want to know what goes on behind that. So I did take the time and you took the time to interview me so people know it’s still a hustle no matter what.

Andrew: Yeah. I want to close out with just asking you about Blueprint + Co. Tell me about this. Why create this? What’s the hole in the market that you’re filling?

Daymond: Yeah. So Blueprint + Co is a coworking shared space. There are a lot of coworking shared spaces out in the market and I found that nothing fit me. Nothing fit me where maybe I wanted to meet with an Andrew, I’m going to meet with a Cuban or somebody else.

There are ones for startups, which I think are great and it’s called the power of broke. If you’re a startup, you need to go to some other ones out there. Don’t go build a huge office. Go to some of those coworking shared spaces. But I myself, a Damon John, it’s a little too young for me. I can’t go and find the right people I need there to hopefully find best practices and work with.

There are also the private clubs where there’s a cigar lounge, where there are golf clubs or a golf resort or some of those athletic clubs, some of those clubs where people are socializing. I can’t park two or three of my top innovative people over there because people are there drinking and partying and relaxing and they’re not trying to do business.

So I needed a place that I can go where I can see–I’ll give you an example of who’s coming in to Blueprint + Co. The CEO of Ashley Stewart is putting four or five of his top people over there. These are very innovation people that he already has 80 or 90 people working in his core office, but he wants those people to be around like-minded people like myself. Leesa Mattress, the people who are delivering mattresses right to your door, they want their public relations people there.

I have photographers there. JetSmarter is taking a couple of desks so when executives come in on their private jets they have a place to work. So I need to develop a place where I can go see other like-minded seasoned executives such as myself and work with them and share best practices and network. That’s what I created.

Andrew: I see. So this isn’t for the new entrepreneur who wants to hustle. This is for the person who’s got a real business and needs a professional place to keep growing.

Daymond: Correct. There are corporations in there, Fortune 1000 corporations who are saying, “We can’t get our good talent, we can’t get innovation talent to come all the way out to the suburbs or to Jersey. So we want to park five people there because they’re innovation and we want them to see what’s going on from social media conversion all the way to processing and coding.”

Then there are people such as myself who are like, “All right, I have 100 people working over here, but I need to park ten people over there,” or I need to go there myself and work with people. That’s the type of people that we have there. It’s not for startups.

Andrew: You know what? I hear what you’re saying about these coworking spaces. I looked at so many of them. The thing that bothers me about is how much they pitch you on how much partying they’ll be doing over there.

Daymond: Correct.

Andrew: “You’ll get to meet people because we’re going to have beer nights.” I’m not looking for another place to have beer night. I want a place to get stuff done.

Daymond: Exactly. That’s a prime example. We will have people there who are purely there to get stuff done. If we have something, maybe there’s one–next week, I’ll be doing a one on one with Gary Vaynerchuk and we will be talking about not startups, we’re going to be talking about where do we see business going and what’s keeping us all up at night. The next night, I’m going to have all the sharks there and we’re going to be talking about some stuff. It’s not going to be super high level, but it’s going to be talking about what are we doing with our investments.

Andrew: They’re coming to Blueprint + Co, to the office on 39th Street?

Daymond: They’re coming to Blueprint + Co to the office on 39th Street. I’m tapping into my full rolodex. So I’m bringing things there that I want to see. I want to see my interview Seth Godin one on one.

Andrew: Yeah.

Daymond: Or Randi Zuckerberg and talk about from creating Facebook with her brother all the way to where she’s transitioning now and where do we see business going. Those are the types of individuals there–no ping pong, no beer night, no Twister, none of that stuff happening. It’s about getting it done. I want to now open these up in London and California. I don’t want to do 9,000 lunches and dinners in California. I want to see everybody at the same exact time when I can.

Andrew: Yeah. The place is right in the heart of Manhattan, 39th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue, I think, right?

Daymond: Correct.

Andrew: Cool. Let me close out with this. Do you do any kind of meditation practice or anything like that? It feels like you’re very well grounded and very focused despite all the chaos around you.

Daymond: Goal setting is a form of that. When you goal set, you basically zone out and you have to not only just read these things. You have to visualize these things. That is my closest form of that. I’m an outdoors person. So whether it’s snowboarding or fishing, whenever I can, I take that time, anything to do with the beach. But really goal setting is my daily practice of getting to meditate.

Andrew: All right. Well, if anyone wants to go check out the websites, it’s BlueprintAndCo.com. Well, thanks so much for being on here.

Daymond: I appreciate it.

Andrew: Good meeting you.

Daymond: Great talking to you, man.

Andrew: Thanks. Bye, everyone.

And there’s the interview. If you like what you heard here and you want more stories from proven entrepreneurs who get into the details of how they built their businesses, I urge you to subscribe to this podcast via iTunes or whatever podcast app you like. When you do, you’ll get the latest interview complete with stories of how people have built their businesses. You’ll get it all delivered directly to your phone or other device. Go into your favorite podcast app, subscribe to Mixergy. Thanks for listening.


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