Following the debut of the inaugural Beauty Pitch event during PBA Beauty Week 2015, ESTETICA had the honor of sitting down with industry icon John Paul DeJoria to give our readers insight into the event.
John Paul spoke of the importance of being business minded in the beauty industry and how entrepreneurs can benefit from this generation and opportunities that can lead to success.
1. Can you share your experience about being involved in the Beauty Pitch first edition?
“I got a phone call from the executive director, Daniella, and she said, ‘John Paul, your friend Mark Cuban is going to be in an event, similar to Shark Tank but you get to help out every entrepreneur with ideas, and help them think a little more.’ I have been on Shark Tank obviously, I was a guest and he was a regular. It’s good for the beauty industry – some will be only professionals, and others will be consumers as well, but people who attend this will really be interested in the industry, so I thought, what a great opportunity. It shows everyone that people like Mark and myself want to participate and help others out. And it goes back to my slogan – ‘Success unshared is failure‘. I think we were helpful to every one of those entrepreneurs today. The 5 finalists in this first edition were all unique and different. Some of them have to polish up their service or product a little bit, but they all know what to do. It was fabulous, each one had something unique going on.”
2. You spoke today about the importance of passion, and the tenacity of getting over 50 doors slam in your face. Was that the case for John Paul Mitchell Systems?
“More like 100 doors! We knew we had such a unique product. Shampoo you could use once, a conditioner you could leave in your hair that did five things – we knew that if we talked to the right people we could make it. We didn’t have any kind of advertising money or anything, but we knew that somebody would listen, they would use it, and the majority of people would love it and want to order it again. It was only a matter of how many people can we reach. So we actually knocked on hundreds of doors to get us new customers. Little by little we built up and never gave up. Some people ask, when was the moment you knew you made it? We were two years old. And in two years, it was the first time we were able to pay our bills on time. Not pay off the bills but pay them on time… So you have to believe in what you have and no matter what someone says you just have to keep going. You have to have the passion, know what you are doing and who you are doing it for.”
3. You also said something that surprised me today – that it is easier to start a company today than it was 30 years ago. Why?
“There’s fewer companies. Before, there were twice as many distributors than there are today, and many more product lines. When I started in the beauty industry there were many big leaders, and just so many companies out there. Some of those companies just aren’t in the industry anymore. Every one was really bogged down and had to really fight. Today there are fewer distributors doing more and fewer companies out to compete with. Plus, in the technological edge, you can use your computer for so many things that back then I had to do by hand!”
4. Smaller companies have the luxury of adapting quicker to change. What do you do to at Paul Mitchell to keep up and be as quick as possible given your company’s size?
“I knew when I was little that we could make many moves. As I grew larger and larger worldwide, I realized how slow things were going. So I streamlined everything so we could make other moves, quicker, ourselves instead of waiting as long as we were. So I cut out doing what other companies do and I said no, let’s go back to innovations. If something isn’t right, let’s make the decision and switch it out.”
5. We spoke to your daughter Michaeline DeJoria for our latest issue and she said that one of her mantras is “Be a leader, not a boss.” Is this something that is in your genes?
“Yes, I worked for other bosses before when I worked for other campanies, and they just were not as nice as they should be to people. They were a boss; do it because I say so; do it because I am your boss; do it because that’s what you’re supposed to do – period, no questions asked. And that’s not right. A leader is someone that says, ‘Hey, let’s do this together. And here’s what I want you to do and here’s why we should do it, and do you have any better ideas?’ And listen! Make them be leaders too.”