John Paul DeJoria is an American entrepreneur who is the founder of The Patrón Spirits Company, and a co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products. A self-made billionaire, he has been through his share of struggles—he was twice homeless and lived out of his car, selling shampoo and encyclopedia door-to-door to make ends meet. He finally struck gold after he teamed up with Paul Mitchell in 1980, and turned a $700 investment into the John Paul Mitchell Systems, now going strong with $1 billion in annual revenues. As their company took off, Mitchell died of cancer, and DeJoria took over. He is the founder of more than a dozen other businesses—from Patrón Spirits to the House of Blues to DeJoria Diamonds. He is interested in a range of industries like life sciences, telecom and yachts. DeJoria, as a philanthropist, has signed a ‘Giving Pledge’ along with 150 billionaires to give 50% of his earnings for the improvement of the world. He supports over 160 charities worldwide. An avid animal lover, he vowed never to test his products on animals, and instead opted to test on himself. Today, he lives in a $50 million estate in Malibu, California, with all the luxuries one can think of. Even though he is in his 70s, he still works hard, and gives back as much as he can. All his business decisions are always in line with philanthropic aspects. He believes that “in the end, everything will be ok, and, if it’s not ok, it’s not the end.” He also believes that when you do something to help somebody, that’s what real success is all about.
Childhood & Early Life
Born as John Paul Jones DeJoria on April 13, 1944, in Echo Park, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, he was the second son of an Italian father and a Greek mother. He was two years old when his parents divorced. Hence, to support his mother, he started selling Christmas cards and newspapers at the age of nine, along with his older brother.
He grew up in Atwater Village on Garden Avenue, and later in Revere. So he went to Atwater Elementary School and John Marshall High School. He graduated from high school in 1962. When his mother failed to support him and his brother, they were sent to a foster home in East Los Angeles.
As a directionless teen, he became a member of a street gang, but decided to mend his ways when his high school math teacher told him that he would never succeed in life unless he give up the dark life.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
At the age of 17, John Paul DeJoria joined the United States Navy as USS Hornet and served for two years. When he got out of the Navy in 1964, he didn't have the money to go to college. So he worked as a salesman for Collier's Encyclopedia. In fact, he did a string of jobs, including as a caretaker, a door-to-door salesman of shampoo, and also an insurance salesman, over the next few years.
He acquired knowledge about hair care products when he worked at Redken Laboratories in 1971, as a representative selling hair care products. After a year and a half, he started looking after two divisions—scientific schools and chain salons. In 1975, over a disagreement on business strategies, he was fired from the job.
Next, he joined Fermodyl Hair Care, where he trained the management and sales force on how to sell. Despite the sales going up by 50%, he was fired, as the company said that he didn’t fit in.
He joined the Institute of Trichology and started selling their hair care products. He earned $3,000 a month and 6% commission on the new business he brought in. After a year, he was fired as the company couldn’t afford his salary anymore.
In 1980, his hairdresser friend Paul Mitchell was also struggling, so they decided to start a business together, and founded John Paul Mitchell Systems on a loan of $700. They decided to develop products for professional stylists that would help to reduce time needed to do a client's hair. The first products they created were a single-application shampoo and a leave-in conditioner.
While they struggled for the first two years, in the third year, the company made $1 million gross revenue, and the products got rolling, finding their way into thousands of salons.
DeJoria has always supported environmental issues. In 1986, Michael Gustin, a businessman, asked him to fund a company that would do advanced exploration of gas and oil with ecology in mind; DeJoria agreed, and they started Gustin Energy Cos.
In 1989 Paul Mitchell died. DeJoria then started the Patrón Spirits Co. with his friend Martin Crowley, with the aim of making smooth tequila. His product turned out to be expensive, but even at $37 a bottle, he knew there were people who were ready for a high-end product. As of 2011, they had sold about 2,450,000 cases. DeJoria owns about 70% of Patrón.
He is a founding partner of the House of Blues nightclub chain, and has interests in Madagascar Oil Ltd., Solar Utility, Sun King Solar, Ultimat Vodka, Pyrat Rum, Smokey Mountain Bison Farm, llc, Touchstone Natural Gas, and many other ventures. He is also active in the film industry as an executive producer.
Continue Reading Below
John Paul DeJoria is best known as the co-founder of the John Paul Mitchell Systems (Paul Mitchell) range of hair care products and styling tools. Along with being a multi-million dollar company, the organization is also known for its ethical principles—in the early 1980s they became the first professional beauty company to take a stand against animal testing.
Awards & Achievements
John Paul DeJoria received the coveted Lone Sailor Award in 2012, for his service to the country and community.
In 2014, The Dream Foundation honored him with the Humanitarian Award for his significant contributions to Dream Foundation programs.
In the same year, Beauty Industry West’s Board of Directors honored him with Legend of Beauty Award for being an innovator, whose thinking, commitment and practices have changed the direction of the beauty industry in significant ways.
In 2014, he also received the Lifetime Humanitarian Award by T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research, for being one of the world’s most celebrated business leaders.
In 1966, John Paul DeJoria’s first wife left him and their two-year-old son. She took all the money they had, as well as the only car they owned. As a result, DeJoria couldn’t pay rent of his apartment, and was forced to evict it and live on the street with his infant son.
In 1993, he married Eloise Broady whom he met on a blind date. DeJoria has six children, three of them from Eloise.
He is a supporter of Food4Africa.In 2008 he joined Nelson Mandela in his efforts to feed over 17,000 orphaned children through Food4Africa. In the same year, he provided over 400,000 life-saving meals for the children. In 2009, he founded Grow Appalachia, an organization that helps promote healthy food and teaches farming skills.
In 2012, he showed his support and campaigned for Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, when Watson was detained in Germany for interfering with shark finning operations.
He expects to provide about 700 full-time jobs to the locals of the island of Barbuda, off the coast of Antigua in the Caribbean, which he purchased for real estate purposes. He also promised that 1% of everything sold on the island will stay with the local people.
DeJoria also keeps himself busy with activities like helping diffuse landmines, helping the homeless, and working with different organizations to save wildlife and the environment.
He has made several cameo appearance in films like ‘You Don't Mess with the Zohan’ and ‘The Big Tease’. He appeared in the series ‘Weeds’ season 2, and in television commercials for Patron. He also appeared on the ABC reality series ‘Shark Tank’.
He has a net worth of $3.1 billion.