Jabu Stone on the key to longevity and his new book

Jabu 'Mr Dreads' Stone has recently published a new book titled 'Turning Passion Into Profit'. We sat down with him to find out more

Jabu Stone, the man behind one of South Africa’s most successful haircare brands and someone who was part and parcel of the pioneering natural hair movement in SA, recently launched a brilliant handbook for entrepreneurs.

Titled Turning Passion into Profit, the book follows Stone’s business journey from the beginning when he says many people failed to understand his vision. The book charts the brand’s growth to becoming a leading and respected dreadlocks-care brand.

“I started writing the book based on the talks that I do. I realized that a lot of young people asked me the same questions. They would always ask if I was a chemist; how one becomes a manufacturer; how does one list products, and so on,” Stone tells DESTINY.

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“These answers are so easy for me because I’ve done it before but are not so easy for someone starting out. This is why I knew I had the responsibility of putting together a body of work that would answer these questions,” Stone says.

The Jabu Stone haircare brand was  established in the early 1990s and is still as relevant now as it was back then, which begs the question: how does an entrepreneur keep a product relevant, especially considering the wave of natural haircare products flooding the local market?

Stone says the answer is quite simple; that it has everything to do with catering consistently to the needs of the consumer.

“I always go back to the market and find out what the trends are, what consumers are looking for and what consumers are talking about. You need to fit into the trend and perfect the products catering to these trends and people will continue to follow you,” Stone says.

Over time, because you’re doing what you love and are perfecting it, the money will come

He explains that he had initially wanted to go into the engineering business but felt, at the time, that it might have been too difficult for him to pursue and so he rather pursued one of his greatest passions – hair.

“I went into business like any other young man with dreams of wanting to create a better future for myself. I realised that the easiest thing for me to pursue, and something that I also loved, was hair. But I didn’t want to go into the chemically treated hair business,” Stone says.

“I was highly influenced by the teachings of Steve Biko and it was important for me to enhance the Afrocentric beauty standard instead of the Eurocentric one that many were following.”

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Having been out of the spotlight for quite a while, Stone says that he’s been busy with manufacturing new products and he’s been doing a number of motivational and business talks across the country and abroad – hence the new book.

“I always address about 300-500 at a time and this is part of the reason I wrote this book. With the book, I realised that I could reach a much wider audience and offer advice to a much larger population,” he says.

“The book is also about teaching young people that it’s not about making money, but about passion. When you are passionate about something you don’t have to invest as much effort as you would in something you’re not passionate about because you’re doing what you love. Over time, because you’re doing what you love and are perfecting it, the money will come.”

The book is available to purchase through Exclusive Books at R175. Click here for more.