Growing up in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, John’s family got by but were fairly poor. He had to help support his family, starting at the age of nine, by selling Christmas cards. As a teenager, he got caught up with street gangs and did lousy in school. One of his teachers said he was “least likely to succeed.”
When he was 22 he found himself homeless and collecting pop bottles for refunds for money. He finally found some steady work at a haircare product company. In 1988, he and a hair stylist named Paul planned to launch their own line of haircare products. Meanwhile, John and his wife hit a rough patch. John decided to give his wife all his money and move out. A backer was going to give John and Paul $500,000 for their product line, but the money never came and again, John found himself homeless — he lived in his car for the next two weeks.
John and Paul were able to get a $700 loan and started selling their hair products door-to-door. Today, Paul Mitchell Systems brings in $100 billion a year. John Paul DeJoria also started Patrón Spirits as a hobby in 1989. Patrón is one of the best selling top-shelf tequilas in the world. Through both of his businesses, John Paul DeJoria now has a personal value of $4 billion.