Jabu Stone sells 'African' dreadlocks to US
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Jabu Stone's plan to start an exclusive dreadlock business took a while to get off the ground.
But now Stone, 45, from Daveyton, is exporting his dreadlock care products and is going to be training Americans on how to do dreadlocks "the African way".
He has secured a deal to supply 3 000 US stores and in April he will open his first salon in Manhattan.
Stone is an electrical engineer by profession. His elder sister, who ran a salon, introduced him to the world of perming and plaiting.
At weekends he would go for training at Alex Hair, owned by Alex Molokwane, "the guru at that time".
Stone later joined his sister's business full time.
"I thought there should be something non-eurocentric besides braiding and plaiting, so the idea of dreadlocks started creeping in," says Stone.
"I approached somebody who had a chemistry background, a Dr Hansel, and I told him that I wanted to have a product that would twist and lock the hair and not be harmful to the scalp."
The product they came up with worked, but he says he had to play dirty to force cosmetic shops to stock his products.
"I would bring six containers (of products to a shop) and tell my friends to buy all the products so that the companies could demand more," says Stone.
In 2004, he was part of a delegation to the US to sell South Africa as a brand by the International Marketing Council.
"The response from African-Americans was amazing," he says.
Last year, Jabu Stone US Inc was registered.
Stone plans to send a shipment to the US every 10 days, and will start training Americans on how to use his product and do dreadlocks the "South African way" at the end of this month.
He said the product was "a national asset".
"I want to take it all over, not only to America but to the rest of Africa and the world. It is my contribution to Nepad and the African Renaissance."