John Paul DeJoria was born in LA in 1944, the son of an Italian immigrant father and Greek immigrant mother. His parents divorced when he was just two years old and by the age of nine he was selling Christmas cards and newspapers with his older brother to support the family.

A member of a street gang as a youth, DeJoria decided to turn his life around when his high school math teacher told him that he would “never succeed at anything in life.” He graduated from high school and spent two years in the United Stated Navy, after which he held a wide range of jobs from janitor to insurance salesman.

The biggest hurdle is rejection. Any business you start, be ready for it. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is the successful people do all the things the unsuccessful people don’t want to do. When 10 doors are slammed in your face, go to door number 11 enthusiastically, with a smile on your face.” – John Paul DeJoria

In 1980, he took a $700 dollar loan and formed John Paul Mitchell Systems with hairdresser Paul Mitchell. Initially, he went door to door, selling products and living out of his car while doing so.

Eventually the company took off and JPM systems have annual revenue of nearly $1 billion. Not content with sitting back, DiJoria co-founded the Patrón Spirits Company in 1989 and has interests in a wide range of ventures including oil, diamonds and mobile phones.

Photo via State Farm

Photo via State Farm

He’s also active in the film industry, as both an executive producer and an actor, making several cameo appearances in big productions, even appearing as his former business partner, Paul Mitchell, in the 2008 comedy You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.

DeJoria is also a supporter of Food4Africa, joining Nelson Mandela in 2008 to help feed over 17,000 orphaned children. In this same year, his company provided over 400,000 lifesaving meals to children.

Not bad for a man who once had to live in his car selling shampoo door-to-door.

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