A business mogul (Jabu Stone) who has introduced natural hair conditioning products disclosed how Stephen Bantu Biko’s ideals, philosophies and motivational tales solidified his resilience as a youngster when he formerly launched his business in 1994.
Jabu Stone revealed that he started as an unskilled labour working for a company called Standard Telephones Cable (STC) in 1981, within the company he seized an educational up-skilling opportunity where he studied and attained an electrical engineering qualification, but he later developed a new passion after he decided to help his sister who owned a salon in their parents’ home.
He uttered in full detail how his transition from being an employee and becoming a businessman simultaneously developed, saying: “When I completed my electrical engineering course which granted me formal employment in the company that funded for it, my sister was operating her own salon in our home, so one day when I returned home I saw people in a long queue waiting for my sister to offer them her services, people coming as far as Tembisa, Nigel and other various areas.
“I decided to help her to service the huge number of customers, and after that I never looked back as I continued working with my sister, however while I was working with her in the salon I decided to enroll for a course at Wits University, which was called the Retail development programme, and I learned a great deal in that course concerning business management, and it was significantly improved when a man helming an entrepreneurship programme took me under his wing.
That propelled me to be a marketing agent in my sister’s business and it was doing well, we even opened another salon branch in the Benoni CBD; so I decided to quit my job and I instantly joined my sister working for her full time. What encouraged my decision is that I realised that my qualification wouldn’t grant me a chance to be an entrepreneur, which is what I immensely desired at that particular time,” he shared.
He continued expressing himself, stating that, “when I was working in the salon I witnessed that Eurocentric relaxing and conditioning hair products we were using were massively damaging our clients’ scalps, hair and making them uncomfortable as they sought beautifying, restoring and conditioning their hair, so I came up with a solution to create my own Afrocentric Jabu Stone organic products that will offer the same service without damaging their scalps and hair which will also alleviate the discomfort .
“My only challenge was that when I introduced my Jabu Stone organic products most people were doubtful of them and it didn’t end there, because most businesses that I targeted for displaying and selling my products, rejected and doubted my products as well; they didn’t believe in them, but I had to convince everyone to accept my Jabu Stone products; and make sure they know what type of purpose they serve and indeed I achieved that although it was difficult, I solely believe that Stephen Bantu Biko’s influence and spirit played a crucial role in my life.
“Nevertheless, lately I prioritise ploughing back to the community by empowering and assisting other young entrepreneurs, in order for them to be fully equipped in their business ventures so that they don’t repeat the same costly mistakes that I made in my entrepreneurial journey,” Jabu Stone disclosed.
By Matampane Raymond Mokwena