Daymond John was born on Feb. 23 1969 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City but spent his childhood in the Hollis neighborhood of neighboring borough Queens during the 1970s. An only child, he grew up in a single-parent household headed by his mother, who was a flight attendant for American Airlines but often held more than one job.

John’s first foray into the apparel market came from sharp pangs of disappointments. He wanted a tie-top hat and was put off by the price. Daymond asked his mother to teach him how to use a sewing machine, and he began making the distinctive tie-top hats in the morning and then selling them on the streets of Queens in the evening hours.