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How marketer weaved his way into hair styling

Ever since Fredrick Somu, a stylist started his business, fortune has been on his side.

The former marketer who had worked for different companies, selling a variety of products, ventured into the hair business cautiously and is now reckoned to be among the leading dreadlocks stylist in the city.

Unlike many youths, he said his decision to become a dreadlocks stylist did not just come about due to lack of a job, it started as a passion back in his high school days.

“Every time we were on holiday, I would style my neighbours and friends to get pocket money,” he said.

After school, he joined a college in Kampala where he studied sales and marketing and worked there for a while. He also had a side job as a dancer for a Congolese music group for over a year.

“I would style my colleagues every time we went to perform and soon I started toying with the idea of becoming a full time stylist,” he said.

Go to college

In 2007, he quit his marketing job and music and enrolled for a three-month part time course to specialise in dreadlocks styling in Uganda.

Since he did not have enough capital to start his own salon, he worked for a friend for one year.

In 2012, after saving Sh600,000, he opened a salon at Veteran House, Kimathi Street and named it Benzo Locks Clinic, a name he borrowed from his former dance group. 

He hired two assistants but as the business grew, he moved into a bigger room in the same building and now has eight staff.

“I receive between 25 and 30 customers daily, and that has been the joy of my heart. My dream has come true as the business grows daily. In fact, I have had to send away some clients because of the overwhelming numbers,” he said. 

Styling fresh locks costs Sh3,000 and retouching old locks costs Sh1,000.

His favourite pastime is surfing the Internet and mostly keeping in touch with friends on social media.

Travelling, especially out of the country and interacting with other people to learn the latest styles in the market also take a bit of his time.

He said he sometimes comes up with new styles and he gets most of his customers through referrals and his skill in the largely women’s field is his greatest tool for marketing the business. 

Apart from dreadlocks, he also does pedicures, manicures, facials and braids.