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Who is Shark Tank Guest John Paul DeJoria?

John Paul DeJoria’s journey is a quintessential rags-to-riches story, embodying the American Dream’s essence. Born on April 13, 1944, in Echo Park, Los Angeles, to immigrant parents, DeJoria’s early life was marked by financial hardship and adversity.

After his parents divorced when he was just two years old, DeJoria and his brother were raised by their single mother. The financial constraints of his family meant that from a young age, John Paul learned the value of hard work and resilience. By the age of nine, he was already selling Christmas cards and newspapers to support his family financially. This early introduction to entrepreneurship and the hard knocks of life laid the foundation for his future successes.

As a youth, Dejoria was a member of a street gang.  After graduating high school, he spent 2 years in the Navy.


The Path to Entrepreneurship

After the Navy DeJoria’s to series of jobs that included janitorial work, insurance sales, and even a stint as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman.

Despite the myriad of challenges and jobs that seemingly led nowhere, DeJoria’s relentless spirit and unwillingness to give up kept him moving forward. It was his venture into the world of hair care that would eventually change his fortunes. In 1980, with just $700 and a dream, DeJoria and his friend Paul Mitchell founded John Paul Mitchell Systems, a company that would revolutionize the hair care industry.

John Paul Mitchell Systems: A Revolutionary Idea

The inception of John Paul Mitchell Systems was marked by significant financial constraints, with DeJoria living out of his car at one point. However, his belief in the quality of their products and the vision of providing affordable luxury to hairstylists across the country drove the company’s early days.

Despite initial setbacks, including rejection from numerous distributors, DeJoria’s unique marketing strategy, which involved demonstrating the products directly to salons and offering a money-back guarantee, gradually won over the market.

John Paul Mitchell Systems eventually grew into one of the largest privately-owned salon haircare lines in the world, known for its innovative products and commitment to cruelty-free testing.

Expanding the Empire: Patron Tequila and Beyond

John Paul DeJoria’s entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop with hair care. In 1989, he co-founded Patron Spirits Company, introducing ultra-premium tequila to a market that was largely unfamiliar with high-quality tequila. Just like with John Paul Mitchell Systems,

DeJoria’s approach to Patron was marked by a commitment to quality and luxury. Patron Tequila quickly became a status symbol in the spirits industry, known for its smooth taste and artisanal production process. In 2018, DeJoria sold Patron to Bacardi for a reported $5.1 billion, a testament to the brand’s incredible success and DeJoria’s business acumen.

John Paul DeJoria on Shark Tank: Sharing Wisdom and Wealth

John Paul DeJoria’s appearance on “Shark Tank” was a highly anticipated event, not just for the entrepreneurs seeking investments but also for viewers at home who looked up to him as an embodiment of success and resilience. His journey from homelessness to billionaire status has made him a legend in the entrepreneurial world, and his participation in the show brought a unique blend of compassion, experience, and business acumen to the tank.

On “Shark Tank,” DeJoria stood out for his empathetic approach to dealing with the aspiring entrepreneurs. He listened intently, often connecting with them on a personal level. He did invest $150,00 in tree T-PEE.


Selling as a Strength-“Successful People Do What Unsuccessful People Won’t”

One the things DeJoria credits to his success was his ability to sell. When living in Los Angeles, he eventually landed a job selling encyclopedias. In 1966 John received “Man of the Year Award” from Collier’s Encyclopedia for being their top salesman.

To really see how well DeJoria can sell, take a look at the video above.

Legacy and Life Philosophy

John Paul DeJoria’s life and career are a testament to the power of determination, hard work, and a positive outlook. His journey from living in a car to becoming a billionaire is not just a story of financial success but a reminder of the impact one individual can have on the world through perseverance and a generous spirit.

DeJoria’s philosophy of “Success unshared is failure” resonates through his business practices and philanthropic efforts, making him a true inspiration for entrepreneurs and individuals worldwide.

John Paul DeJoria’s legacy is not merely in the businesses he has built or the wealth he has amassed but in the countless lives he has touched through his work and philanthropy. As a guest on “Shark Tank,” DeJoria brought not just his financial investment but his wealth of experience, wisdom, and a deep-seated belief in the potential of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

His story continues to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs, reminding them that success is not just about making money but about making a difference in the world.

Thomas Martin
Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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Tom is a member of the Editorial Team at StartUp Mindset. He has over 6 years of experience with writing on business, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He mainly focuses on online businesses, digital publishing, marketing and eCommerce startups.

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