John Paul DeJoria’s message is simple. Regardless if you have $1,000 in your bank account or $1 billion, everyone can do their part to help their fellow man and the planet whether through their time or donations.
DeJoria, the co-founder of Paul Mitchell Professional Hair Products and Patron tequila, has promised to give away at least half his fortune — currently estimated at $3.3 billion — to charitable organizations while he is alive or shortly after his death.
His message of giving was presented in the film “Good Fortune,” which was shown before a packed house at the Sedona Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Feb. 25, during the Sedona International Film Festival.
The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell, tells the story of DeJoria’s rags-to-riches life and his decision to help others. “Good Fortune.” DeJoria also received the festival’s Global Humanitarian and Philanthropist Award.
“When you get to know this human being, it does something to your heart,” Josh Tickell said to the audience of the film’s star.
DeJoria was on hand to answer questions following the film. But prior to its showing he met with members of the media to talk about his life and “Good Fortune.”
The message of giving was instilled in DeJoria at a young age by his mother, who was raising him and his brother alone after their father had left them.
He recalled one Christmas in the early 1950s when his mother gave him and his brother a dime to put in a Salvation Army kettle.
They were shocked because at that time a dime could buy two large sodas or three candy bars.
“She said that we could only afford a dime that year but we could still afford it,” he said. “She said that we always want to give because there are always people who need it way more than we do.
“Whether it’s a dime, a penny or just your time, you should always give if you can.”
As a young adult, DeJoria twice found himself homeless as well as being a single father and was once part of a motorcycle gang. To make ends meet, he sold encyclopedias door to door for more than three years.
“I started out with so little in life and at times I was so low that I joke that I’d have to look up to see an ant walk by,” he said. “Fifty doors may get slammed in your face but you have to have the same enthusiasm at door No. 51 because you can never give up.”
After being fired from several different hair care companies, DeJoria teamed up with his friend Paul Mitchell [a Los Angeles hairstylist at the time] to start their own company.
They found a financial backer but at the last minute that person dropped out of the deal. Between the two, Mitchell and DeJoria had just $700 and a dream.
They were able to get a small order of their now signature black and white plastic bottle because they couldn’t afford color. DeJoria again hit the streets, selling their products to salons in the Los Angels area.
Their product would eventually take off and by the end of the decade the two would be multi-millionaires. But in 1989, Mitchell died of cancer, leaving the company to DeJoria to run himself.
As the company grew, so did DeJoria’s desire to help others. Today, his foundation contributes to more than 150 organizations worldwide from helping homelessness in America to hunger in Africa to helping those looking to save the oceans and the creatures that inhabit it.
“We are inundated by people who need help and sadly we can’t help them all but we do what we can,” he said.
“The message we want to leave with people is that success unshared is failure.” BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS