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How did the American clothing line FUBU rise and fall?

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Quick Answer

FUBU didn't fall after rising, per se, but the company did experience a decrease in U.S. sales because of market saturation, according to one of the brand's founders. In 2003, the company left the U.S. market to do business overseas and subsequently achieved an annual revenue of approximately $200 million.

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Full Answer

During its most successful period, the FUBU brand achieved sales of $350 million circa 1998. In 1992, Daymond John and friends founded FUBU, which stands for For Us By Us. The first FUBU products were hats. LL Cool J, who was an early supporter of the brand, donned a FUBU hat during a commercial for The Gap, and the brand's notoriety subsequently soared. NSYNC also donned FUBU at one point.

During the brand's infancy, John and his partners appeared at a Las Vegas trade show, where they made $400,000 worth of sales for clothing that didn't exist. Consequently, John mortgaged his house and turned it into a mini workshop with sewing machines and tables serving as fabric cutting boards. When FUBU branched out into clothing, John and his friends cut most of the fabric themselves.

In 1995, Samsung invested in FUBU. LL Cool J and Ludacris began to wear FUBU in music videos, and brand recognition increased dramatically. Carlton Brown, FUBU's co-founder, established FUBU records in 2001. The venture lost the company approximately $5 million. By this time, FUBU was producing clothing and accessories, such as hats, belts and sneakers.

Daymond believes that an abundance of product led to FUBU's demise. Market saturation resulted in FUBU products ending up in mark-down bins at major retailers. FUBU has since acquired other brands, including Heatherette and Crown Holder.

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