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May 26, 2018
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Slovakia: Romani barber builds salon in small town despite local prejudices

17.4.2018 9:07
Hairdresser Dalibor Ferenc serving a customer in his salon. (PHOTO: Personal archive of Dalibor Ferenc)
Hairdresser Dalibor Ferenc serving a customer in his salon. (PHOTO: Personal archive of Dalibor Ferenc)

Dalibor Ferenc has fought to the end and won what he has long been desiring, namely, the opportunity to build his own hairdressing salon in a small town in the Žilina Region in northern Slovakia. The 23-year-old has managed to overcome a difficult period during which strong prejudices from those around him arose as barriers to his plan to open the salon last year, forcing him to move his business into a new space.

Today Ferenc has regular customers and hopes to open a barber shop specializing in above-average care for gentlemen's beards and hair. "Last year I had the opportunity to launch the operation of my own hair salon. The owner of the space where I was meant to open it was eventually persuaded by a woman from the shop next door not to sign the contract with me because she strictly refused to have a 'gypsy' next door," Ferenc recalled for news server

"I've already closed that chapter. The woman, naturally, has never apologized to me, but that's already behind me. Even though it was very complicated to find other spaces, I take this experience as something that made me stronger, and now I am mainly focusing on my salon," he explained.

According to the young hairdresser, when looking for a new location he had the good luck to find a person who does not listen to gossip or prejudices against Romani people. "After meeting the owner of the space in person, we agreed on the conditions and I opened my salon on 6 December, right on St. Nicholas Day," he told news server enthusiastically.

Currently he is gradually acquiring and expanding his clientele, who regularly return to the salon. "I even have two customers who come every week. That's brilliant. In the future I would like to expand my business to include a specialized barber shop where I would focus on gentlemen's haircuts and beard trimming," he said.

Barber shops are becoming more and more popular, and in the Czech Republic there is one called Laky Royal Cut in the center of Prague where the Romani rapper Rytmus goes for his hairstyles. That business was established by Lukáš Vlačuha, nicknamed "Laky", who is a leading barber in the Czech Republic.

Vlačuha grew up in a children's home in Opava, where he trained as a hair stylist. After leaving the home he got into problems and ended up on the street.

Thanks to the aid of his stepsister he came to Prague and gradually worked his way up from being a waiter to owning his own barber shop. Richard Samko interviewed him recently for the "10 Minute Insight" program on ROMEA TV.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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