‘Shark Tank’: Why Daymond John Says Launching a Fragrance is ‘Overrated’

Daymond John was a household name long before he debuted on Shark Tank in 2009. Building his FUBU empire from the ground up, John’s fashion brand offers apparel, jewelry, eyewear, and cologne. Yet the millionaire investor revealed that dabbling in the fragrance category isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Daymond John on the panel of 'Shark Tank'
Daymond John of ‘Shark Tank’ | Christopher Willard via Getty Images

FUBU owner Daymond John isn’t too fond of fragrance

A-list celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and some of the Kardashian crew all have marked territory in the fragrance space. While becoming a player on the scent scene appears to be a sign of success, John noted the stiff competition within the field.

“It seems so glamorous,” the Shark Tank star told NPR in October 2020. “It is overrated. The shelves are stocked with a bunch of fragrances that never sell. I mean, launching a fragrance is a very challenging business.”

The FUBU founder explained that the cost involved in casting a new fragrance on the market may not be worth the investment.

“The juice, the fragrance only costs a dollar,” he said. “But to pay for all the blow-in cards that you see in the magazine, to pay for all the people who are waving the scents when you walk through Macy’s and all that other stuff and the billboards, that rolls out to be about $3 million. And you probably could do something better with the money.”

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‘Shark Tank’ star Daymond John says it boils down to habit

John stated that while the cost of the actual perfume is low, marketing the product brings the price tag up for consumers. The Shark Tank investor also doesn’t find fragrances to be distinctive enough.

“That’s why bottle cost about 80 or a hundred,” he remarked. “If you’re wearing a fragrance right now, I can’t tell. When you’re walking down the street, I can’t tell what it is. I can tell what a Mercedes Benz is. I can tell what an Apple computer is.”

Revealing he’s worn the same cologne for decades, John hasn’t seen evidence that people are willing to change scents if they have a longstanding favorite.

“So you have to break people’s habits of the fragrance that they’re the currently wearing,” he commented. “I’ve been wearing Obsession for 20 years. Why do I want this new fragrance? So fragrance and liquors are very, very hard to put out.”

Another item Daymond John considers ‘overrated’

John started FUBU in his Queens home with his mom and some friends. He used his van as a store on wheels.

“On the weekends I would take the seats out of that 15-passenger van, pack it full of FUBU and go down to a festival and sell FUBU,” he told CNNMoney. “Then sleep at night in the van, to then go to another festival.”

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The fashion mogul built FUBU to become a multimillion-dollar brand. When asked on NPR if he now thinks of having money as underrated or overrated, John surprisingly chose the latter.

“It can’t buy you happiness,” the Shark Tank investor said. “Do I believe that you should be able to have the money when, God forbid, something happens to your family, you have the resources to take care of yourselves? Absolutely. But a billion dollars? I have no idea what I would do with it.”

Shark Tank airs on ABC on Friday nights.