Many may not recognize the name John Paul DeJoria at first glance, but you probably know one of his brands.
How can a once homeless salesman rise to such success? Hear in his own words:
John Paul Jones DeJoria was born the second son of an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother in Los Angeles in the mid-1940’s. His parents divorced by the time he was two years old, and at nine he began selling Christmas cards and newspapers with his older brother to support his family.
When his single mother proved unable to support both children, they were sent to an East Los Angeles foster home.
As a youth, DeJoria was a member of a street gang, but he decided to change his life after being told by his high school math teacher that he would “never succeed at anything in life”.
He graduated from high school in 1962.
When he was 22, his then-wife abandoned DeJoria and their two-year-old son. She secretly took the rent money from months past and the only car they owned. Two days after she left, DeJoria and his son were evicted from their apartment for nonpayment and forced to live on the street. This was the first, but not the only time, DeJoria became homeless.
DeJoria spent two years in the Navy. After that, he held a series of jobs including janitor, door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, and insurance salesman.
DeJoria entered the world of hair care as an employee of Redken Laboratories. He was fired from this position, he claims over a disagreement on business strategies. In 1980, he formed John Paul Mitchell Systems with hairdresser Paul Mitchell and a loan for $700 and while living in a 20-year-old Rolls Royce automobile.
DeJoria co-founded the Patrón Spirits Company in 1989, he is a founding partner of the House of Blues nightclub chain, and has interests in Madagascar Oil Ltd., Pyrat Rum, Smokey Mountain Bison Farm, LLC, Ultimat Vodka, Solar Utility, Sun King Solar, Touchstone Natural Gas, Three Star Energy, Diamond Audio, a Harley-Davidson dealership, a diamond company (DeJoria), mobile technology developer ROK AMERICAS, the John Paul Pet Company which does hair and personal grooming for animals, and J&D Acquisitions LLC, the parent company for the Larson, Striper, Triumph, Marquis and Carver boat companies formed with Minneapolis-based investor Irwin L. Jacobs.
DeJoria has been active in the film industry as an executive producer and actor.