Co-founder of Paul Mitchell visits ToledoWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria and motivational speaker Winn Claybaugh celebrated the grand opening of Paul Mitchell The School Toledo with an enthusiastic crowd on Nov. 4.
The cosmetology school, the fourth Paul Mitchell academy in Ohio, is 13,000-square-foot and located at 5549 Monroe St., Sylvania. Students started their first wave of classes in early September. Another round of classes is set to begin Dec. 2. The 1,500-hour program typically takes a little less than a year to complete.
The grand opening was also attended by the school’s owner Linda August and Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough.
DeJoria, John Paul Mitchell Systems co-founder and CEO, and hairstylist Paul Mitchell started the hair empire in 1980. Mitchell died of pancreatic cancer in 1989. DeJoria went on to start several other ventures, including The Patron Spirits Company, JPSelects.com, DeJoria Diamonds and John Paul Pet.
“I knew the American dream would work, but I had no idea that it would be this good,” DeJoria said in an interview with the Toledo Free Press.
DeJoria said he ended up in the beauty industry “totally by accident.”
“I tried a series of jobs over a decade and didn’t really like anything in particular,” he said. John Capra, now co-founder of John Paul Pet, was an employment counselor at the time and approached DeJoria about a job in beauty sales.
“[Capra] said, ‘There’s no limit to where you can go.’ And he was right,’” DeJoria said with a laugh.
DeJoria places an emphasis on helping others in his role as a businessman. He is a supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where he spent time as a child, and often speaks at schools, centers and shelters. He has also worked alongside Nelson Mandela to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among other charitable efforts.
In 2010, DeJoria launched Grow Appalachia, an organization that teaches the impoverished people of Appalachia about organic food growth, preparation and preservation. He said the program might come to Ohio in the near future.
This philosophy of helping others is carried over into Paul Mitchell Schools, DeJoria said. During annual fundraising drives, the schools have raised $11.2 million to give to charities over the past 10 years.
The need to give back was instilled in him at a young age, DeJoria said. He recalled going to Downtown Los Angeles department stores during the holiday season and seeing Salvation Army representatives.
“At 6, my mom gave [my brother and me] a dime and told us to each hold half the dime and put it in the bucket with the man that’s ringing the bell. And we said, ‘Mom, why did we give away a dime?’ Because in those days – it was 1951 – that’s two big Coca Colas; that’s three candy bars,” DeJoria recalled.
“She said, ‘Because that’s the Salvation Army. And boys, remember no matter how little you have, there’s someone who has less than you.’”
Claybaugh, also founder/dean of Paul Mitchell Schools and author of “Be Nice (Or Else!),” said that “being nice” and enthusiastic is an important part of the school’s culture.
His passion is one major reason for his own success, Claybaugh said.
“Some people say I make coffee nervous,” he said, adding that he has never been asked for his resume.
“This is an industry based on your passion,” Claybaugh said.
Good or lean times
The beauty industry has done fairly well in the recession, DeJoria said.
“Let’s go back to 2008 when things turned a little bit here. People did not stop going to beauty salons,” he said. “The big thing is instead of going every four weeks, maybe [customers] went every six weeks so they still came.”
“During times of good or times of lean, the beauty industry always seems to do well. Because people want to take care of their hair. They want to take care of themselves.”
DeJoria encouraged anyone interested in a new career path to stop by the Toledo school.
“If they come out of our schools, [the students] will be great haircutters, great hair colorists, great hair stylists and they’ll know about marketing, merchandising, displaying and how to make … the salon experience a great experience for the customer,” DeJoria said.
To learn more about future employment opportunities or apply for school, contact Ashlee Harris at (419) 885-5191 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Financial aid packages are available.
Tags: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Coca Colas, entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, Grow Appalachia, HIV/AIDS, John Paul Mitchell Systems, John Paul Pet, JPSelects, Linda August, Paul Mitchell The School Toledo, Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough, The Patron Spirits Company, Winn Claybaugh