“Success unshared is failure.” John Paul DeJoria
Billionaire John Paul DeJoria is a classic American tale of rags to riches. Known for his hair care brand Paul Mitchell Systems, which DeJoria co-founded in 1980 with friend Paul Mitchell. At the time, DeJoria and Mitchell launched their hair care company they started with three products sold door-to-door and only $700 while living in a 20-year-old Rolls Royce.
Born in 1944, DeJoria had a turbulent childhood that involved going in and out of foster care as well as selling newspapers and Christmas cards at just nine years old to help support his family. DeJoria says that his giving nature may be accredited to his mother who, despite having very little money, still made sure they gave any little bit of change they could to the Salvation Army.
Before co-founding Paul Mitchell systems DeJoria served two years in the U.S. Navy before going on to be a janitor, door-to-door encyclopedia salesman and insurance salesman. DeJoria worked for Redken Laboratories as an entry-level employee as his entrance to the hair care world and after being fired took out a $700 loan with Paul Mitchell, a hair stylist and friend, to start Paul Mitchell Systems. The company’s products started out with only three products and has become a pioneer in cruelty-free hair care. After two years, DeJoria said that himself and Mitchell knew they had ‘made it’ because at that point they were able to pay bills on time.
In 2011, DeJoria and his family founded JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation. According to the foundation’s website, the foundation serves as a “commitment to spreading peace, love & happiness through investing in people, protecting animals and conserving the environment.”
Some of the foundations and organizations they have directly worked with areGrow Appalchia, Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army, Selfless Love Foundation, SAFE and Keep Austin Fed. The organizations express extreme gratitude for DeJoria’s foundation. President Alan Graham of Mobile Loaves and Fishes proclaims, “The halo impact that JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation has had on our vision to empower communities into a lifestyle of service with the homeless has been tremendous.”
As the first professional beauty company to publicly stand against animal testing, Paul Mitchell Systems gives back to multiple charities that support and fight for animal rights. One of those organizations being Sea Shepherd, a marine wildlife conservation organization that has saved nearly 100,000 baby seals from being hunted. DeJoria and his daughter, Alexis, were on board for the mission, exemplifying their dedication to the cause.
Along with Paul Mitchell systems, DeJoria co-founded Patron Spirits Company in 1989 with Martin Crowley and St. Maartens spirit company. Some of DeJoria’s other business ventures include being a founding partner of the House of Blues nightclub chain, a Harley Davidson dealership, guest starring as an investor on the ABC reality series “Shark Tank” and founding John Paul Pet which formulates safe grooming products for animals.
Since DeJoria’s major business and personal success, he has devoted impressive amounts of time and money towards various causes. With the Paul Mitchell brand in 2008, he was able to aid over 400,000 children with much needed food by working with Food 4Africa. In 2022, due to his naval history, DeJoria pledged around $24,000 to save the HMS Unicorn, a 19th century frigate ship that is one of the oldest surviving ships.
DeJoria uses his self-made wealth to repeatedly give back to not only his community, but others all around the world who are struggling and suffering. DeJoria has not forgotten where he came from and his mother’s teachings to help others whenever he can.
DeJoria’s work has not ended, and he has received praise for his philanthropy over the years. The 2017 Sundance award for best documentary was given to “Good Fortune,” a film about how DeJoria turned his past struggles into success which he uses to give back. In a 2017 interview with Kathleen Elkins of CNBC, DeJoria tells her “Success unshared is failure.”
Edited by Makenzie Hurt