The Future of Beauty: Michaeline DeJoria of John Paul Mitchell Systems On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Beauty Industry
Do something nice. Even if it’s asking the barista how his weekend was when you would normally be quiet. Any little thing you can do in that moment to spread a little joy- do it!! You will feel that much better, and it becomes a pattern. There is NOTHING more striking than a joyous smile and kind eyes- nothing! And it’s free, instant, and available to everyone every second.
As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michaeline DeJoria.
Michaeline DeJoria, daughter of John Paul Mitchell Systems® co-founder John Paul DeJoria, has fond memories of growing up in Los Angeles and visiting her dad’s office as a young girl. Now she’s the CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems®, where she directs the company’s future development for all brands. Michaeline started out working in various departments before arriving at her current position; it was important to her that she immersed herself in all aspects of the business before taking on a leadership role. This experience informs her managerial style to this day — making processes and departments streamlined and organized, with an emphasis on finding new opportunities for improvement. Michaeline studied Product Development at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, as well as Organizational Communications and Industrial Psychology at Pepperdine University. She is an avid traveler, enjoying an appreciation and understanding of many cultures throughout the world. Philanthropy also plays a big part in her life — she makes substantial contributions to local children’s shelters, Los Angeles schools, and various health and research causes. Michaeline sits on four Executive Boards, two of which are non profits.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you for having me! I was born into the business, so it’s always been a huge part of my life. Watching my Dad work, and seeing his passion for it, was always captivating to me. I adored the office, the people, and the industry- all of it. They got my heart from the very beginning, and I was self-driven toward this goal for as long as I can remember. It felt like a natural calling, truly. I fast-tracked myself through school because I wouldn’t wait to start working.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I have one that comes to mind. I was in a meeting once, very early in my career, and I suggested looking at a specific item that was more eco-friendly. The vendor rep in the meeting looks at the “decision maker” who he had worked with thus far and- right in front of me- points to me and says “Who’s this? Do I actually have to bid that?” I couldn’t believe how disrespectful it was, and I was just glad it happened to me and not someone else on my team! No one should have to be spoken to like that. Lesson learned everyone: always be kind. You never know who you are talking to or what their story is. Most importantly, it shouldn’t matter — always be kind anyway!
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
There have been a few. The first one was with the first campaign I did, back in 2007. It was called “Head For Change”, and it was something we had never done before. They trusted me, and we went for it, and it was a success. That’s the first moment I knew “Ok, my instincts are solid, and I’ve got this”. From there I continued to grow within the company, and had several successes along the way. I see “failure” as a success too- because every experience comes with a lesson or two. Never stop trying, and always take something away from every experience- that is how you truly gain wisdom and growth.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Luke Jacobellis, our former president. He was my mentor and guide from day one of my career. He lifted me up when it was deserved, he corrected me when he needed to, and he never stopped listening and talking with me. I owe him a debt of gratitude for helping shape the business person (and person, actually) that I am today, without question.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?
At JPMS, we’re always looking to the future! Our culture is based on finding new ways to help salons and stylists grow their businesses. Last Fall we had our first technology launch when we debuted Hair AI. It’s a professional-only device that gives hair and scalp analysis, which is a valuable tool for future professionals and stylists to use on their clients.
○ Hair AI uses proprietary technology and advanced artificial intelligence to display magnified images and evaluate the conditions of the scalp and hair strand.
○ These recommendations can be shared on the spot, in person or via email — giving professionals an opportunity to offer their guests a personalized regimen tailored to their guests’ unique hair needs.
○ Our exclusive device has the potential to transform guests’ salon experience while empowering stylists to provide education, precise recommendations for improving hair’s appearance and feel.
Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
Not with this technology, no. This is a tool that is used to strengthen the relationship between the client and their stylist, by giving them information that they can use to provide the best experience and the best product recommendations. Most people don’t know the true status of
their hair, and for some stylist they may be making their best conclusion- but to have the validation of science, and the ability to quickly allow their client to purchase the actual best products for the result they want- is incredibly helpful. Knowledge is power, and in this case we are using technology to STRENGTHEN human relationships, not to REPLACE them- which is a key driver for us, always.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?
— Gain helpful information about your hair/skin/body. Again, knowledge is power. With that, you can best provide self-care and make smart purchases.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
– Losing the relationship between stylist and customer. I fear that technology (and lockdowns certainly didn’t help) is going to be such an increasing convenience that people won’t really need to leave their homes or interact with others anymore. As of now, technology brings us food, basic needs, it socializes for us… it can replace a lot of human contact. BUT, you can not replace relationships or the experience of going to get your hair done by a professional. I feel a huge responsibility to remind people of that. On a personal note, this is my biggest fear as just a human right now. Don’t get so caught up in convenience that you forget to be a human!
– Our social impact. We have a responsibility to lift people up, not tear them down. We have always been a company to tell you what you need to look good, we provide products, tools and education so that you can feel free to express yourself in a multitude of ways that make YOU FEEL good! Market to empower people, not to change them.
– Our environmental impact. We all make products in this industry, and we all have to do business. I get it. BUT, how can we continue to evolve in the sustainability space and make the necessary adjustments so that our impact becomes positive? Right now there is a great movement where people are becoming more conscious of their impact on the world, and that’s wonderful. Keep that momentum up, because it’s not one thing now it’s an ongoing and on-growing process that needs to never stop. We have been a conscious company since day 1- long before it was cool, but it’s just our ethos. It’s exciting to see other brands doing the same!
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
– Quoting my mom here (childhood flashbacks!), but it’s a good one. Whenever I used to leave the house she would say “Remember who you are, and that I love you”. If we can tell ourselves that- not just say it to ourselves, but truly tell ourselves- you instantly feel more beautiful. Who you are is EVERYTHING, and feeling that love will glow you from within. Try it!
– Find beauty in the ritual, not the end result! When I wash my face I act like an aesthetician. I use nice strokes, I give myself a few extra seconds on my eyes… it’s like a little 2 minute spa moment. In the end- I see a face that was cared for and looks relaxed, and I feel calm. I am not looking to wash my face and see skin like a 20 year old. Its the experience, not the finale. Lean into those opportunities.
– Feeling beautiful, for me, is feeling at peace. As soon as I get home (or stop working if I’m home that day), I wash my face and put on my “cozies” (a pajama set- which I live for by the way- and slippers). I know, it’s very Mr. Rogers, but it completely shifts gears in my mind. I go from being productive to being settled. And if I glance at myself in a mirror: that’s what I see, someone who is at peace: and that is beautiful! I feel so pretty in them- even if I’m in a face mask and blowing kid noses. It’s the mindset that makes me feel beautiful. Find your little fancy “thing” and bring it into your life. It could be as simple as sipping tea from a mug during the kids’ bedtime ritual, or putting on music and sipping a glass of wine while you cook (and do homework and a million other things!). It can cost nothing- just find a little something special that makes you feel beautiful, special, and deserving!
– Do something nice. Even if it’s asking the barista how his weekend was when you would normally be quiet. Any little thing you can do in that moment to spread a little joy- do it!! You will feel that much better, and it becomes a pattern. There is NOTHING more striking than a joyous smile and kind eyes- nothing! And it’s free, instant, and available to everyone every second.
– Put good stuff in and on your body. I see a huge change in my skin, hair, eyes, body (and mood), when I’m putting junk in my system. Beauty really is from the inside out. Don’t eat processed foods, embrace water, and enjoy the amazing bounty that nature has provided- treat your body like it’s the only one of its kind- because it is!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love this question! Can listening to each other be a movement? We are in an exciting time of social movements and the digital age with a ton of information swirling constantly. But, there is also some danger in how quick we are to judge. My hope is that we come to a place where we can be open and want to hear one another and help one another- where we can lift people up and be humans together instead of cancelling everything and everyone that isn’t perfectly aligned with an individual’s narrative in that particular moment. I see the danger in people becoming so fear-based, that we have stopped wanting to actually converse. We are so afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing that we simply
“don’t”- and that is scary. My movement would be something more evolutionary and forward-thinking. Maybe instead of #cancelculture we could trend #collaborationculture … anything that reminds us to enjoy life together and be good to one another!
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