TWO years after he started his first business in Newcastle, Syrian immigrant Darwich Sido has launched a barber shop with his sons at Marketown.
Mr Sido, who fled the war in his homeland before resettling in Australia, opened Sido Tailors at Jesmond Central, utilising the skills he learnt from the age of 12 when he trained as a tailor in his father's large tailoring business in Aleppo.
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This month he and sons Khalil, 20, and Mohamad, 22, opened Newcastle Barber Shop using the business savings of Mr Sido and wife Zaynab, the savings that Khalil made during his lengthy barber training, and a loan from Sydney not-for-profit group Thrive Refugee Enterprise. They have also been supported by The Business Centre in Newcastle.
Mr Sido is assisting his sons in the administration of the business before they eventually take full control.
Speaking through a translator, the 45-year-old said he was proud to have found his feet in Australia using the skills he learnt in his homeland.
"The moment I opened my first business I felt like I had achieved something and my confidence came back being able to provide the services that I had for such a long time. It has been a career highlight," he said.
Mr Sido had taken over his father's business before he was 30 but fled to Lebanon in 2012 when war broke out in his homeland. He worked in Beirut for four years before coming to Australia as a refugee with his wife and three children.
"Before coming to Australia it was stressful because we were coming to a new region and didn't know anyone or what would happen in the future," he said. "When we landed in Sydney airport we felt very at peace because of the the warm welcome we got from many refugee organisations."
Moving to Newcastle, the children began attending local schools but Mr Darwich struggled to find work because of the language barrier. He worked in Cardiff at a laundry business before he was supported by a local not for profit to land a job at iconic Newcastle business Rundle Tailoring.
Opening Sido Tailor, he and his wife have built the business and feel supported by the Newcastle community.
"Everyone has started to shop there, people come from all over, and the business is known for its express service, and also high quality," says his translator
Mr Sido is now supporting the dreams of his sons, with Khalil inspiring the new business.
"When I was younger I was always dreaming to be a barber and we are here now and when I was at school they asked me what I want to do and I said a barber," Khalil says.
He worked after school in numerous barbers and then studied to get his barber certificate at TAFE after he finished school.
A social person, Khalil likes to work in the barber industry because he likes people and listening to their stories.
"Customers when they come in to his shop like to express their problems, issues and talk and try to find solutions, chit-chat," he says.
Newcastle Barber Shop does hair cuts, shaves and beard care and is mostly for men, and Khalil, who is training Mohamad, is happy to do maintenance trims for anyone who walks in.
The target market is young customers aged up to 30 and, he says, the mullet and rat tail are on trend.
Keen to give back all the support he received when he arrived in Australia, Mr Sido is offering free haircuts to homeless people referred to him by local support groups.
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