John Paul Jones DeJoria (born April 13, 1944) is an American entrepreneur, a self-made billionaire and philanthropist best known as a co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products and The Patrón Spirits Company.
Early life and education
John Paul Jones DeJoria was born the second son of an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother on April 13, 1944 in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. 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. He grew up in Atwater Village on Garden Avenue and then Revere. He attended Atwater Elementary School and John Marshall High School. 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.
In 1966, 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 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, 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. He made a cameo appearance as himself, in the 2008 comedy You Don't Mess with the Zohan, and also in The Big Tease as the fictional John Paul Mitchell. DeJoria also made a cameo appearance in the Showtime series Weeds season 2. He narrated and appeared in television commercials for Patron in November 2011. He appeared on the November 1, 2013, broadcast of the ABC reality series Shark Tank as a guest investor, replacing series regular Robert Herjavec. He is the 2nd richest Shark of all time on the show after Mark Cuban.
DeJoria is married. He and his wife, Eloise (née Broady), have contributed over $48,000 to the political campaigns of Senator Ted Cruz and over $5,000 to Texas Governor Rick Perry, among others, as well as to the DNC and many Democratic political candidates.
DeJoria is a supporter of Food4Africa, Mineseeker, and Blazer House. In 2008, DeJoria traveled to sub-Saharan Africa to join Nelson Mandela in his efforts to help feed over 17,000 orphaned children through . In the same year his company Paul Mitchell helped provide over 400,000 life-saving meals for the children. Dejoria is a co-creator of Grow Appalachia, an organization begun in 2009 which helps promote healthy food and teaching farming skills.