4 Friends Prove Fubu No Boo-Boo

When buyers from the biggest stores in the world gathered in Las Vegas last spring, most agreed the best bet was Fubu, reports CBS News Correspondent Harry Smith.

It has a label and a logo so hot it seemed everyone had to have it; they are street clothes the kids in the suburbs want.

"Fubu is a phenomenon. Is it hot? Ultra!" Says Ruby Azrek.

Fubu is a phenomenon because just six years ago, it was little more than the dream of four lifelong friends.

"This is where it all started. Farmer's Boulevard, Hollis, Queens," says Fubu CEO Daymond John. "This is where we all moved in, made the factory, started just shipping the clothes -- not knowing what we were doing, of course."

Hollis, Queens -- a tattered, blue-collar section of New York City -- is a place where many talk big, but fail even bigger. Not these guys.

"Every day we woke up at 8 and just put in a whole day's work - 10, 12 at night.. .And just kept doing it," says John.

The Fubu founders -- Daymond John, Carl Brown, Jay Alexander Martin and Keith Perrin -- spent every waking hour designing and sewing and selling clothes. Sales will top a breath-taking $100 million this year -- thanks in large part to rap giant LL Cool J. He wears Fubu all the time.

But when the guys first approached LL Cool J, he said he didn't like their stuff. So they showed up in his driveway every day for months with a new batch of threads.

"It's all persistence. That is the key," says co-founder Carl Brown.

Hip-hop met the work ethic in Hollis, Queens. And a philosophy was created along the way. Fubu means "for us by us."

"We're basically making these clothes for ourselves and for people who understand what we're doing," says John. "And if you understand what we're doing, it's for you and it's by us."

The Fubu formula for success includes preaching what they practice. They are fixtures in the schools and churches of Queens.

"...we want you guys to keep your heads straight, have a good heart, stay in church because it keeps you grounded...and if you have education...we're here to say nobody, nobody can stop you," says John to a group of applauding school children.

On the street where they started, they are greeted with warmth and affection because the four old friends never forgot where they came from.

"That's what you gotta do," says John. "You got to pull everybody up the ladder and let 'em know that it's out here and you can get it if you really work for it."

Reported by Harry Smith
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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