Daymond John, the founder of FUBU and a mainstay investor on the hit ABC show, Shark Tank, has a very surprising history and unlikely partnership with the Kardashian family and their show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
While John certainly came from humble beginnings before making it big with his FUBU brand years ago, after successfully designing a handful of other clothing lines, he was hired by the Kardashian family for a specific role within the show involving the attire they wore and how it was represented in the filming of KUWTK. His position with the family wouldn’t last, though, as he was later fired.
In the first few seasons of E!’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which first appeared in 2007, John was hired by the family to integrate product placement within the show. Essentially, his role was to find brands of clothing for the family to wear or talk about, in order to give those brands exposure.
John shared that it was tough at first. None of the Kardashian girls were anywhere close to what they are now in regard to their fashion empires and modeling clout. “Nobody would do it; they didn’t believe in these girls,” John said on the Wendy Williams Show in 2017. During his time working on the show, he would oftentimes incorporate his own brands for the family members to wear.
John had contractually agreed to appear on a finite number of episodes fo KUWTK, but then a dilemma came along that would change his life forever. In 2008, John was approached by ABC to star in their new show, Shark Tank.
Initially, he turned it down, though, when he found out that he was going to have to be spending his own money while appearing on the show. “In 2016, he joked during an interview ‘when I found out we were going to spend our own money…’ referencing him declining the opportunity to star in Shark Tank. At the time, John also thought that the show would ultimately be a failure and not make it.
Things changed for John when the recession hit in the mid to late 2000s. For John, there was never a better time to diversify his portfolio. “I had 10 clothing companies, eight of them weren’t doing well because nobody’s buying clothing; they can’t pay the mortgage,” he said. “So, I said to myself, ‘I’m only getting pitched clothing companies. I need to get pitched other things.”
Suddenly, the idea of Shark Tank became more appealing for John, but there was one catch. ABC would not allow him to work on KUWTK and Shark Tank at the same time, leaving him with a tough decision.
When Khloe Kardashian found about John having to make a decision between the shows, she fired him. According to John, ‘she basically fired me from the show’ so that he could pursue his next opportunity on Shark Thanks. “She said she would never get in my way,” John recalled.
The fortuitous firing would go on to benefit John as he’s gone on to build a number of successful brands since his time on the ABC show. As for his relationship with the Kardashian family, everything seems great. “You always had respect from me and you always had the ability to see things others couldn’t!” Khloe tweeted when John shared his story about working on KUWTK. “Now… everyone sees keep on shining only love over here.”
As for John’s point of view, he replied, “Say what you want about the Kardashians, but they are a force to be reckoned with and care deeply for the people they love.”