Much of what John Paul DeJoria does today goes back almost seventy years to the moment his destitute Greek immigrant mother gave him a dime and told him to go and place it in the bucket of the Salvation Army woman.
His mother didn’t have money to buy Christmas presents that year and despite her poverty, she taught her children that success— no matter how little— unshared, is failure.
This lesson in 1950— when a dime was a lot of money— was the seminal influence on the success one of the wealthiest and most successful men in the world.
Fast forward almost 70 years. Today, John Paul DeJoia is worth billions and he’s founded John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patrón Spirits— each multi-billion-dollar companies and has transformed his own success into a philanthropic machine, supporting charitable efforts from animal welfare, to homelessness and numerous other efforts.
Last year, John Paul and his team at Paul Mitchell explored ways to capture the benefits of an African nut called the Marula Nut on hair. African women have been using this natural resource in their skincare regime for over a century.
Their case studies found that it improved the condition of hair by 80 percent–reducing split ends and promoting a shiny, healthy quality. They released the product in January, simply called “MarulaOil” and have incorporated it into a line of shampoo and conditioner.
Since the launch, MarulaOil has been flying off salon shelves faster than production will allow and is already a multi-million dollar brand. Most powerfully of all, this project has created over 7,000 fair paying sustainable jobs for women in South Africa, who have had little or no opportunities.
Coming from very humble beginnings himself, the once homeless John Paul has always maintained his mother’s mantra— that success unshared is failure, proving that it’s not how much money we make, but what we do with it that counts. With decades of success and millions in profits under his belt, he has never forgetten where he came from and donates most of his fortune to charitable initiatives.
In 2011, John Paul signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s “The Giving Pledge” as a formal promise to continue giving back. The same year, he established JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation as a hub for his charitable investments, which support the core values of his companies: sustainability, social responsibility and animal-friendliness.