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  • The house on Salt Spring Island where Knotty Boy launched its first website

    Adrianna, Knotty Boy co-founder and dread wax creator, way back in... oh, let's just say a while ago.

  • The very first Knotty Boy website launched in 1998!

    Andrew, Knotty Boy co-founder and original Knotty Boy Dread Wax testing monkey! (And you thought we never tested on animals.)

  • The very first Knotty Boy Dread Wax and Dread Shampoo labels from 1999

    Andrew with Isadora, the first person they'd ever met - at a Rage Against the Machine show, no less - from this magical island called Salt Spring.

  • Another version of the Knotty Boy website circa 2002

    The tiny cabin in the woods on Salt Spring Island where Knotty Boy grew from 1998-2000. And their 80cc scooter/pickup/delivery truck.

  • Adrianna hanging out on the old Knotty Boy company van, The Toaster.

    The first photo shoot. Pretty darn DIY. Sorry guys, we really didn't know what the hell we were doing back then.

  • Knotty Boy at Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, 2002

    A few of the first REAL labels! As in, not printed on a dot matrix printer!

  • The Knotty Boy Lock Shop & Salon

    Where the magic happened! Also endless shipping, receiving, packing, labeling, quality checking, storing and crying after too many 16 hour days.

  • The Knotty Boy Website 2005-2011

    Help was needed desperately, which is when Krystl came to the rescue early on as chief order packer!

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Long before e-commerce ever hit the internet there was verrry old school, manual credit card processing, Gah, you guys ordered a lot. This used to take forever!

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Upgrade from scooter came with 'The Toaster' in 2001, when deep roots were pulled up to make the painful but necessary move back to Vancouver to keep growing.

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Very first tradeshow! Seattle Hemp Fest 1999. Note the totally homemade banner and do we even have anything on that table?

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Adrianna helping someone get her dreads did at Seattle Hemp Fest. So fun!

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    This must be a later tradeshow as we've definitely got our shiz together better on the packaging and display. Same home job banner, though. Oh well.

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Krystl & Andrew man the Summersault 2000 table. Big show! Foo Fighters, Deftones & Smashing Pumpkins plus a bunch of Canadian bands no one knows.

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Andrew meeting Rich Beddoe from Finger 11 after HE approached US about sponsoring him. Knotty Boy's first big sponsorship - yeah!

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, 2002! Table display looking better and better, thankfully.

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    And suddenly - bam! - we have a shop! The Knotty Boy Lock Shop & Salon opens 2004, quickly becoming a destination hair salon for clients worldwide.

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Probably the earliest version of knottyboy.com we still have a screenshot of, circa 1999.

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Look familiar? This Knotty Boy website design was most recently used before this, our latest, and greatest update, and lasted the longest from 2005-2011.

  • Knotty Boy versions throughout the years

    Behold the evolution of the Knotty Boy himself! He's gone through a lot of changes over the years but he still loves his snug orange t-shirt the best.

  • Meet the people behind Knotty Boy! Since the beginning, Knotty Boy has remained a small company with a family feel, and we're proud to show you exactly who we are. Say hello!

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OUR STORY

Once upon a time, way back around the year 1997 when the world had only dial-up Internet, there lived a boy who had wild and unruly hair.

His name was Andrew, and no matter how hard he tried to tame his big, curly mane, it had a mind of its own and grew wild like a raspberry bush. It seemed his hair had finally won when Andrew decided to try the very last thing he could think of - dreadlocking it. But it wasn't so simple.

At that time it was difficult to find information about dreadlocks. No dedicated websites existed and certainly no dreadlock-only hair salons. Andrew knew he could neglect his hair for a very long time until it eventually locked on its own in the traditional way, but it was important to him that his locks be washed, groomed and sweet-smelling from the start. No such locking method seemed to exist, so Andrew made an appointment at a local Afro hair salon thinking surely they would be able to help him in his quest for quick, clean locks.

As it turned out, his loctician had never worked with his hair type before, which is probably why Andrew didn't end up with the locks he was hoping for. To make matters worse, the products recommended to keep his soft, loose, white-boy curls together just left them greasy, wet and, saddest of all, unlocked.

Luckily for Andrew, he knew an innovative girl named Adrianna who had been making natural body products in her home as a hobby. Scouring libraries for recipe books, herbals and biographies on Rastafarian and other dreadlocked subcultures, she learned as much as she could about the ancient hairstyle and natural hair-product creation. Then, right on her kitchen stove, concocting a recipe of beeswax and natural oils, Adrianna whipped up a small batch of hair wax they quickly discovered miraculously held Andrew's new knots in, while allowing his hair to be washed like normal!

Within a few short months, and for the first time in his life, Andrew had hair he could not only manage, but that he loved. People stopped him in the street to admire and ask how he had made such great-looking locks. His hair troubles were finally ending, but unbeknownst to this new knotty boy, or Adrianna, something bigger had begun...

Two years later, the friends found themselves on Salt Spring Island, a forested wonderland nestled off the coast of Vancouver where traffic lights don't exist and living in tree-forts is not unusual. Winter was coming, which, for this small, tourism-based community, meant far less jobs. Out of work but not wanting to be forced to leave this magical new place, Adrianna and Andrew racked their brains for a way they could stay. They test-marketed a slough of ideas from super-food pancake mixes to vinyl record cleaners with no real success. Discouraged, it looked as though they may have no choice but to head back to the big, bad city. Then it hit them like a lightening bolt: Andrew's locks were looking really good...

And there were still no dreadlock-specific hair products out there. Was it because nobody wanted them? Adrianna and Andrew were about to find out. For the first time in years, Adrianna gathered the original ingredients, bought a few jars from the dollar store and put the Wax formula to melt on the stove. With only a couple photos, basic directions, a price and address, the first one-page Knotty Boy @ Angelfire.com website was hesitantly launched.

The very first jar of Knotty Boy Dread Wax.

The very first jar of Knotty Boy Dread Wax, made on Adrianna's kitchen stove on Salt Spring Island back in 1998!

The Wax Thickens {How Knotty Boy Grew}

Within five days, handwritten notes and cash began arriving from as far as Australia and Japan. Within a few weeks, the mailbox was overflowing with orders for the World's first all natural hair product for starting and maintaining dreadlocks. In utter disbelief, Adrianna and Andrew worked non-stop, surrounded day and night by bubbling pots and jars of cooling Wax. It didn't take long for them to buy out every last ingredient available on little Salt Spring Island. The two had no choice but to ferry over to larger Vancouver Island to begin knocking on farmers' doors, doing 60 km/hr on the highway on a tiny scooter with 100lbs of raw beeswax between their knees.

Just like a baby, Knotty Boy grew. The next three years were a waxy whirlwind. Sales exploded, along with the Internet, and online shopping became less risky. Requests were pouring in for more dreadlock products and Knotty Boy, listening carefully to their customers, added the World's first all natural Dreadlock Shampoo. The manufacturing space on Salt Spring Island, which by now had expanded to other Islanders' kitchens, quickly became too small for the burgeoning business. It was obvious that to keep up, Knotty Boy needed to find a bigger crib.

In 2001, Knotty Boy relocated to Vancouver, where the very first jar of Wax had been created years before, and teamed up with a local body-product manufacturer who shared, and still shares, the same fierce commitment to all natural, ethically sourced ingredients. With more resources and experience on their side, Knotty Boy worked hard to develop a complete family of natural dreadlock care products as quickly as customers asked for them. The unique Knotty Boy line popped up on store shelves worldwide, and back home, people from far-flung lands themselves were dropping in to get their hair locked at Vancouver's first extreme-hair destination: The Knotty Boy Lock Shop & Salon, opened April 20, 2004.

Since 1998, Knotty Boy Natural Dreadlock Care has been dedicated to all natural, ethical, gimmick-free products, prompt and friendly customer service and big-time purpose beyond profits. We believe this commitment is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of Knotty Boy products sold, thousands of photos from happy customers in the Knotty Boy Dreadlock Gallery and our wonderful, growing, international Knotty Family.

The Knotty Boy story begins with just one boy, but in the end, it's all about you, Knotty ones. Thank you for taking the time to read about our humble beginnings. Knotty Boy is still a small, independently-owned company and has been nothing short of a gift and a blessing from day one. We simply couldn't have done it without you!


Andrew Power Memorial - Knotty Boy co-founder and original Knotty boy
Nathan Matthews Memorial - long-time Knotty Boy graphic designer and friend
Bill Hepper's Survival Story - Knotty Boy's first Sales Manager and Adrianna's Dad

FIND OUT MORE

 

Who Cares?

Who Cares

So you know how it all began, but in the grand scheme of things why does any of this dreadlock stuff even matter? For insight into what makes Knotty Boy tick, check out our Who Cares? page to find out why frankly, my dear, we do give a damn. Who Cares?

Giving Back

How We Give Back

Sharing IS caring, and we're tickled pink - err, orange! - to give each of you the opportunity to support charitable efforts just by picking out your favorite Knotty product. Take a moment to see who benefits, and why giving back is such a vital part of the Knotty biz. Giving Back

Stay Connected

Contact Knotty Boy Dread Stuff

Wondering what we're up to right now? Join the Knotty Boy Family in various exciting ways for additional locking tips, tricks, new product announcements and to connect with your knotty brothers and sisters all over the world. Come on people, now! Don't Be a Stranger!

 
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