John Paul Jones DeJoria (born April 13, 1944) is an American entrepreneur, a 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.
DeJoria spent two years in the United States Navy, serving on the USS Hornet. 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 entry-level employee of Redken Laboratories. He was fired from this position. 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. In 2008, DeJoria became an advisory board member for The Beauty Channel; a streaming beauty and fashion-focused television station.
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. With a 2017 net worth of US $3.1 billion, he is the 3rd richest "shark" of all time on the show, behind series regular Mark Cuban (2017 net worth: US $3.3 billion) and fellow "guest shark" Sir Richard Branson (2017 net worth: US $5.1 billion).
Patrón Tequila Express
DeJoria owns the Patrón Tequila Express, a historic private railroad car. It was built in 1927, and was previously used by the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad as Car No. 50. DeJoria bought the train car in 1996 and spent $2 million to renovate it. The train car is 85 feet (26 m) long and contains three staterooms (each with a bathroom and shower), a kitchen, a dining room, an observation room, and an outdoor deck. In addition to the mileage fees paid to Amtrak to transport the train car across the United States, it costs $10,000 a month to staff, maintain, store, and insure the Patrón Tequila Express.
DeJoria is married. He and his wife, Eloise (née Broady), have contributed over $4,000 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 Mobile Loaves & Fishes, 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 Food4Africa. 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.
In 2017, a documentary named Good Fortune was released depicting the struggle and philanthropic work of DeJoria which later won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Sundance.
In 2012, using a video, he showed his support for Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, when Watson was detained in Germany for interfering with shark finning operations.
In 2019, he purchased the 80-acre former McDonald's global headquarters campus. This acquisition includes the Hamburger University training facility, in addition to the Hyatt-branded and managed hotel, The Hyatt Lodge.