15 December 2023

From refugee camps to his own main street barbershop: Adil is shaving his way to the top

| Jarryd Rowley
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Adil giving a customer a haircut

Adil Sulaiman has built a solid reputation as one of Wagga’s most trusted barbers and has opened his own shop on Baylis Street. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

For many in the Wagga Wagga community, barber Adil Sulaiman is well known as the go-to-guy for a slick and stylish haircut.

Now, after several years working and building his reputation at Big Barber in the Wagga Wagga Marketplace, the 19-year-old has branched out on his own.

His new venture, Adil’s Barbershop, opened last week and he has already seen a large number of people walk through its doors.

Although the early success has been encouraging, Adil admitted it would not have come together without a lot of hard work.

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In 2017, Adil and his family fled from Iraq to Turkey, spending a number of years in and out of refugee camps before arriving in Wagga in 2019. During this time, Adil began cutting friends’ hair and his passion ignited.

“I began cutting my friends and my brother’s hair at the end of 2018,” Adil said.

“In refugee camps, there is no money in the budget for people to get regular haircuts. I would do it without charge because it was a nice thing to do and they really enjoyed it.

“There were a lot of big changes wherever we went, my family and I would always say, ‘We’ll be alright.'”

When Adil and his family arrived in Wagga at the end of 2019, they knew very little English. Adil explained that he was enrolled into Year 10 at Mount Austin High School and began to learn the language.

“I was lucky that the school had barber classes,” he said.

“I learnt how to cut hair while I was learning to speak English. I knew how to cut hair, but I was not professionally skilled, so like learning a new language I knew that with practice I’d get better at both.

“I think learning both at the same time really helped me.

Adil spent several months learning how to cut hair professionally and during that time his English kept on improving. Once he was confident in both, he landed a position working with the Big Barber team in the Marketplace.

“They helped me dramatically,” Adil said.

“I started with them as a qualified barber, through my training at Mount Austin it meant I didn’t have to be an apprentice. I worked casually for a couple of years, Monday to Friday I would go to school and on the weekends I would work.”

Adil explained that his time working at Big Barber helped him build confidence in greeting and building relationships with customers and ultimately creating a bit of a reputation.

“I spent a lot of time getting to know people, saving money and building a reputation. My time there was really beneficial and I’m thankful, but my dream was to open my own store.”

And now his dream has become a reality.

“I decided to name the shop after myself because it is personal and easy to say,” Adil said.

“People know my name and they know who I am, so when people say, ‘Oh I got my haircut from Adil’s,’ others will know exactly what they’re talking about.”

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Despite only being open for a couple of days, Adil’s Barbershop has already proven to be quite popular.

“The shop has been quite busy this first week,” he said.

“I’m lucky to have the shop in such a good location. I worked with Fitzpatricks Real Estate and they helped me secure this spot and I am very happy.

“I’ve had a few of my regulars from Big Barber and a lot of foot traffic; it has been very exciting this first week.”

Adil admitted that one day he would like to see his small business grow and potentially become a franchise, but for now, he is more than happy living out his dream.

Adil’s Barber Shop is located at 175A Baylis Street, Wagga Wagga. It’s open from 9 am until 7 pm Monday to Friday, and from 8 am until 5 pm on weekends. To keep up with Adil, check them out on Facebook, TikTok or give him a call on 0492 469 455.

Original Article published by Jarryd Rowley on Region Riverina.

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