Have you ever wondered if your idea could get a shark to bite on “Shark Tank?” Since 2009, the well-known ABC television show has been featuring entrepreneurs pitching their inventions and ideas in an effort to secure an investment from one of six self-made, successful entrepreneurs. The group, affectionately known as “sharks”, consists of Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary, and Daymond John. All started their respective empires from the ground up and now offer advice, and sometimes an investment of their own personal money, to would-be moguls and sharks-in-training.

FUBU – “For Us, By Us”

Daymond John is the founder and CEO of FUBU, a global lifestyle brand and a pioneer in the fashion industry with over $6 billion in product sales. Starting in the 1980’s, John saw fashion as a means to make money, selling printed t-shirts with slogans often related to social issues of the time. According to The Washington Post,  “it showed (him) something about the reason people buy clothes – that when there’s an emotional slogan or emotional connection, products sell quicker.” In 1989, 20-year-old John hit the streets of Queens, N.Y. with his first batch of handmade, tie-up wool beanies. At the end of the day, the hats were sold out and he had an $800 profit. Maybe he was on to something. Taking out a $100,000 mortgage on his mother’s house, he set up his operation in the basement. Tying into the hip hop culture and enlisting stars like LL Cool J, the brand grew. Fast forward to 1998, sales reached $350 million. As with many successful brands, strategies changed throughout the years; product lines were dropped and added; new companies were acquired; the business expanded to Europe and Asia.

For his entrepreneurial work, John has received over 35 awards including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year, Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In addition to his roles at FUBU, and Shark Branding, his marketing firm, Daymond John has another unique role – that of an ambassador.

“Ambassador” Daymond John

In 2014, the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative was launched by President Obama and is chaired by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. PAGE is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a diverse group of partners: 17 celebrated American entrepreneurs, the White House, the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Small Business Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The initiative is organized around three pillars: Providing opportunities and pathways to access capital; access talent and education; and access hope and inspiration. As part of their commitment to entrepreneurship, PAGE members develop Signature Entrepreneurship Initiatives designed to inspire entrepreneurs, expand networks and global exposure of existing entrepreneurs, or increase deal-flow between investors and entrepreneurs. Participation in public events and lending support in an effort to connect with entrepreneurs domestically, as well as globally, is a key contribution of these ambassadors.

“The idea of being an entrepreneur is in the DNA of this country” – Daymond John

In his signature PAGE initiative, John will work with underserved entrepreneurs and emerging digital influencers to help them develop customer bases and brands. He will assist this audience in developing new business models that can turn homegrown operations into successful businesses. In March 2015, John teamed up with Capital One and General Assembly to launch an Opportunity Fellows Fund, which has a goal of making education for careers in the digital economy more accessible to people across the country from diverse backgrounds and communities. In addition, John announced a multi-million dollar commitment to offer digital educational and financial literacy tools for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and plans to partner with other brands to offer membership, resources, and empowerment to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Spreading the Word

C. Forbes, Inc. has designed and produced a custom, commemorative PAGE coin for the U.S. Department of Commerce that Mr. John distributes during his travels. Those travels included attending the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) with Secretary Pritzker
to discuss his initiative and the role of PAGE.  John is also scheduled to attend the seventh annual GES
Summit in Silicon Valley in June 2016, where President Obama is the featured
speaker. The nickel silver coin features the Great Seal of the United States on the obverse side and the PAGE logo on the reverse. The “Challenge Coin”, as it is often called, represents membership in, or an affiliation with, a specific group or organization. The coin is distributed to participants and individuals as a token of good will and allegiance with an initiative.

Please contact us for more information about our products and customization process. Our mission is to design, produce and present quality, custom items that tell your story. We welcome the opportunity to combine your goals with our expertise to properly commemorate your unique anniversary, event or organization.

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