In Damascus, Maher Mansour (39) had two busy hair salons where many celebrities would visit to get groomed. He appeared on TV regularly, fully indulged in a profession he loved so much. But then the war came and he fled to the Netherlands five years ago.
Now Maher has opened another two hairdresser salons in Utrecht, the largest of these is on the Amsterdamsestraatweg in Utrecht. Three of the fourteen people employed by Mansour also worked for him in Syria. They found out about his new businesses by word of mouth and contacted him for a new job.
Maher’s customers come from wide and far. Customers usually take their new look far from home, possibly just before their vacation. They are often complimented on their new style and that results in more customers for Maher. Some are even willing to travel a few countries to visit his salon and get the chance to feel like a celebrity. Maher admits that most of his best customers are through word of mouth.
During an interview, he told about the complexities of his work; how every hair type is different and how some types are genuinely harder to cut. It goes without saying that Maher is truly a specialist in his field. He has obtained qualifications in hairdressing from all over the world including Italy, France and Dubai. He has been styling and grooming customers since he was 20 and has no plan of giving up anytime soon. In Syria, he knew exactly what women wanted in a new look and he is striving for the same perfection now for his Dutch clientele.
After fleeing his homeland, Maher ended up in a small Frisian town. He had nothing with him except for his mind, his hands and his experience. Things weren’t working out for him there so it didn’t take long before he was convinced it was time to move somewhere else to get his business going.Maher found out through a few acquaintances that a salon was looking for a new hairdresser to boost the business. He applied and got the job shortly after. He would travel up and down to Utrecht from Friesland every week while learning Dutch every morning to give him a head start. This was the first phase of Maher’s success in the Netherlands and the start of a new beginning in hairdressing.
Some time later, Maher met a Moroccan woman who convinced him to start his own business. She also spoke Arabic and she assisted him in negotiating a place where he could start for himself. He received a loan for the first month rent and within weeks he already was able to rent an extra space next to his initial location to accommodate the growing influx of customers. Just this year, he has already gone and opened a second branch in Rotterdam
He now has the ambition to open his own school in hairdressing and is planning to inaugurate as soon as he has more time for himself.