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General News

John Paul DeJoria on His New Ventures, Round 2 Spirits and AI Start-Up Vendidit

AUSTIN, TX – Greek-American John Paul DeJoria, best known for co-founding the John Paul Mitchell Systems hair care company and Patrón Tequila, continues to inspire entrepreneurs with his successful business ventures.

He joined the team of Round 2 Spirits in January, The Spirits Business (TSB) reported, adding that DeJoria was “joined by Ed Brown, who was CEO of Patrón Spirits for more than 20 years; Lee Applbaum, former CMO at Patrón Tequila and Grey Goose Vodka; Brad Vassar, who was COO of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits for 15 years; and Dave Wilson, who was formerly president international and COO at Patrón Spirits.”

DeJoria is a partner at Round 2 Spirits with Brown as chairman and CEO, Applbaum as president and COO, Vassar as chief commercial officer, and Wilson as chief strategy officer, TSB reported.

“We had an amazing run together. Ed Brown built a world-class team at Patrón and led that brand into the history books as one of the most successful spirits in the entire beverage alcohol industry,” said DeJoria at the time the venture was announced, TSB reported. “Along the way, all of us became very close and trusted friends, and we just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work together again, for a round two.”

Also joining the leadership team was “Antonio Rodriguez, former production director at Patrón Tequila in Mexico,” TSB reported.

“In addition to our founding partners, we’ve brought together a team of top industry talent who all share a commitment to building high-quality, world-class artisanal spirits,” Applbaum told TSB. “Our goal is to leverage our collective experience to identify scalable consumer opportunities for innovative products that aren’t being addressed by today’s brands. We’re looking at trends across the spirits marketplace to develop and build brands that capture consumers’ imagination and create memorable, shared experiences.”

“Round 2 Spirits intends to launch its first product later this year,” TSB reported, noting that “the company recently acquired and upgraded a craft distillery to support its growth.”

Dallas Business Journal (DBJ) reported on February 27 that earlier this year DeJoria “co-founded a new startup that uses artificial intelligence to help retailers instantly channel returned products to buyers in secondary markets.”

“The new company, called Vendidit, is based in Austin,” DBJ reported, adding that “it marks DeJoria’s second venture with friend and colleague Gary Stephens, who is CEO of Vendidit and co-founded Renew Logic alongside DeJoria years ago.”

“DeJoria and Stephens were recent guests on the Texas Business Minds (TBM) podcast,” DBJ reported, noting that the podcast can be heard online: https://shorturl.at/ltuVZ and on “platforms such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts.”

In the TBM podcast, DeJoria offered his advice to new founders: “Don’t give up. When I started Paul Mitchell with my assets at that time, it was all borrowed. I had no money. I lived in my car. Inflation in 1980 and ’81 was 12%. Unemployment: 10.5%. We waited in line for gasoline. And if you could get a loan, you’re paying 17% minimum interest. Boy, is that a tough time to start a business. That’s how we started Paul Mitchell, out of our cars. So things might be bad in this trying time, but if you have a good quality product or a good quality service, you’ll get a lot of rejections, but you are the one that’s going to come out on top. And if you’re prepared for a lot of rejections, it’s not going to affect you as much. Go for something, make sure it’s the best and go into the repeat business. In other words, don’t get a business to sell something, get a business to make it a repeat order,” DBJ reported.

About the company’s name, Stephens told TBM that “if you look at the actual translation of the original Latin word vendidit, it literally means sold. And so that is the key to what the company is. It’s very quickly and very simply getting rid of inventory and products that are usually problems and cost companies money.”

DeJoria added that “we might say it’s like taking something that’s worthless and costs you money and make it something that has value and, of course, taking care of the planet at the same time. It’s a beautiful combination where everybody wins,” DBJ reported.

DeJoria told TBM how he and Stephens started working together: “Eight years ago, I got involved with Gary and Renew Logic where we wanted to take things that people were taking to landfills or hiding in the closet or just trying to get rid of and do something with it to renew it – to either reuse it again or just whatever we had to do. We’d take a product that was worthless, we would take it apart, take out all that’s valuable in there and can’t be used… with ecology in mind. And that was really, really nice,” DBJ reported. Stephens told TBM that “John Paul and I were introduced to each other through friends and family, and we both shared similar passions, as well as similar backgrounds. Immediately, there was a synergy there, as well as the other business partners we have surrounded ourselves with. We started Renew Logic with the idea in mind of helping companies find profitability through inventory that ordinarily they would see as waste or byproduct or just didn’t know what to do with,” DBJ reported.

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