Shark Tank Superstar Daymond John Urges ASI’s Chicago Audience To “Keep Swimming”

Reality TV host and FUBU founder shares secrets to success with entrepreneurs at annual trade show

TREVOSE, PA – July 13, 2017 – Reality TV co-host and FUBU founder Daymond John delivered a rousing motivational keynote on Thursday at a trade show hosted by the Advertising Specialty Institute®, urging a standing-room-only audience of entrepreneurs to “just keep swimming.”

Throughout his fast-paced presentation during ASI Show®Chicago at the McCormick Place convention center, John challenged suppliers and distributors in the $23 billion promotional products industry to follow his five “Shark Points” to achieve success in both life and business. But in the end, he said, “It all comes down to love.”

John punctuated his talk – which was funny, poignant and jam-packed with inspiration – with videos, sound effects, funky music and personal photos of celebrity friends like Michael Jackson, Muhammed Ali and Prince. “Never forget that you are the brand,” he said, advising the audience to choose a handful of precise words to describe themselves, adding, “When you know that, then you can master the pitch. On Shark Tank, we do not invest in companies, we invest in people.”

 Raised by a single mom in Queens, New York, John got his entrepreneurial start selling hats, marketing his fledgling brand by spray-painting FUBU throughout the city. After achieving phenomenal success, he transitioned to TV, co-hosting the Emmy Award-winning Shark Tank, in which budding entrepreneurs compete for the chance to make their dreams reality.

“The keynote with Daymond John was very inspirational and definitely gave me fuel to go back and kick my own brand to a new level,” said Brian Stout, of Go Earn It (asi/208849). “The biggest thing by far I got from him was that you need to represent the brand – you are the brand.”

ASI Show Chicago, which opened Tuesday, was attended by 615 exhibitors and 3,776 distributors from 44 states and 13 countries, including 541 companies from Illinois, 242 women-owned companies and 215 minority-owned companies. All told, 19 distributors also chose ASI Chicago, the largest promotional products trade show of the summer, to host their sales meetings, 15 of which are Top 100 companies.

Distributor Christine Marion, of Fully Promoted (asi/384000), raved about the show. “ASI Chicago is the one show I come to that the vendors want to take the time to share with you their great ideas, new products and, most importantly, how to use them and how to solve problems. Our group comes to shows like this to get ideas, learn how to use products differently, build relationships and network.”

Supplier Carthage Barry, of Landway (asi/66238) said his company has exhibited at ASI Show Chicago for over 10 years because it’s the biggest show in the Midwest. “Attendance this year has been great,” said Barry. “I’ve had a lot of good conversations with distributors, some new, but also a lot of our existing customers. We’ve been around for a while and have established ourselves in the industry, so it’s great that our customers now make it a point to stop and see us.”

Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, senior vice president and general manager of ASI Show, said she was thrilled with the encouraging response and was already looking forward to ASI’s 2018 shows in Orlando, Dallas and Chicago. Registration opens July 31.

“ASI Show is proud of our long record of consistently delivering trade shows that offer great value for both attendees and exhibitors,” said Ugianskis-Fishman. “No matter how far we advance in terms of online gatherings, nothing will ever replace the value of face-to-face product sourcing, networking and relationship building.”

Timothy M. Andrews, ASI president and chief executive officer, said he was particularly delighted with the strong attendance on Education Day and hoped all distributors continue to advance their sales and marketing skills by taking full advantage of ASI’s free online classes. “Education really is the key to success,” said Andrews.

On Wednesday, at a prestigious black-tie event at the historic Morgan Manufacturing, ASI also announced winners of the 2017 Counselor® Awards, including Boundless CEO Henrik Johansson as Person of the Year and PFConcept CEO Ralf Oster as International Person of the Year.

The awards, chosen by the editors of ASI’s award­-winning Counselor magazine, recognize outstanding individuals and companies in 11 categories. Click here for stories and videos on each of the 2017 award recipients and here for a photo gallery from the Counselor Awards ceremony on ASI’s Facebook page.

Go to and for complete coverage of the show. 
To learn more about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities for 2017 and 2018, contact Beth Gordon, ASI Show’s director of sales, at [email protected].

About ASI Show
The ASI Show Family of Events – ASI Show, fASIlitate, ASI Roadshow, ASI Canada Seminars and Engage – fosters business-building relationships among ASI member distributors and suppliers, and includes options to meet the needs of the entire membership base. ASI Shows, the flagship series, are large-scale convention center trade shows held in Orlando, Dallas and Chicago. fASIlitate is a hosted buyer event that brings together the industry’s elite – top suppliers and million-dollar distributors – for three days of scheduled one-on-one meetings in resort venues across the country. The ASI Roadshow visits top cities across the U.S. and gives distributors an opportunity to escort their top clients. The ASI Canada Seminars serve our Canadian-based membership with intimate roundtable engagement in targeted regions of the country. Engage will continue to evolve, and serve as a hybrid event, combining the best of all event formats. Visit for more information about our full event portfolio.