All rags to riches stories are inspiring in many ways. They highlight struggles, unyielding spirit, and handwork that finally paid off. We often read them in fiction pieces, but to see them unfold in real life can be a blessing. The story of billionaire entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria is one such example. He lived on the streets twice in his life but never lost hope to pursue his dreams. His success is the result of his unstoppable will to achieve and his compassionate heart.
Born and brought up in a compassionate household, John Paul DeJoria learned to acknowledge others’ pain. At the age of six, he was inspired to donate to the Salvation Army because his mother told him that even a little help can go a long way. With such an empathetic heart, John Paul DeJoria was destined for great things.
Unfortunately, he became homeless at the young age of 22. He lived on the streets with his two-year-old son to take care of. DeJoria has worked as a salesman selling encyclopedias and shampoo on the street. He had to sacrifice a lot to survive on minimal earnings. These challenges not only came as hurdles to his life but as lessons that made him understand the pain of homelessness. He struggled for years to put his entrepreneurial skills to use and finally had the chance in 1980. He partnered with Paul Mitchell in 1980 to start a haircare brand with a capital of just $700.
Within a short period, the Paul Mitchell brand became a household name in hair care products. Soon after the company started scaling up, Paul Mitchell passed away. DeJoria took over the company and brought it to new heights, generating an annual revenue of over a billion dollars.
The success of DeJoria’s first business venture encouraged him to try his luck in a new venture: distilleries. He started the brand Patrón Tequila as his second business. The brand took off, becoming a common name in tequila products. It is the product of Patrón Spirits Company based in Mexico. To ensure the distillery follows a sustainable distilling process, the company uses recycled bottles for the product and uses leftover distilled water as fertilizer. This eco-friendly initiative shot up the sales to more than 2 million cases in a year.
DeJoria believes in giving back. He never sets wealth as a benchmark to measure his success. He loves to help people in need and actively donates to numerous social causes, especially to eradicate homelessness. DeJoria feels that since he is financially blessed, he can help others in their struggle. Having faced severe challenges in his life, it’s a way for him to give back to life for all that he has achieved so far.
Being a true philanthropist at heart, DeJoria signed Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s “The Giving Pledge” campaign in 2011 wherein he donated half of his earnings to help underprivileged people. He is also the founder of JP’s Peace Love & Happiness Foundation, an organization that conducts fundraisers to help those in poverty and protect the rights of animals. DeJoria wants to continue his journey for the rest of his life because nothing contents him more than helping those in need.