By Vasilis Vasilas
An amazing theme of small business is definitely coming across the dynamic duo of husband and wife teams. Working alongside each other by day, and resting together at home by night; their lives are intertwined 24/7! But what wonderful chemistry drives husbands and wives to become business partners, and to work side-by-side? Over the years, it is admirable to see their relationship grow, parallel to the growth of their business too…
One of the dynamic duos- of husband and wife- in small business is George and Lucy (nee Petrou) of the award-winning Hair Appeal and Beauty Connection, Revesby; George and Lucy’s story is simply great angles whether their important role they play in servicing the local community or the continual recognition they receive for their high-quality work and service.
George, with his parents, Stavros and Maria, and siblings, Magdalene, Katina and Angela, migrated from Rhodes, Greece, in 1961, when George was only two years old. Lucy, with her parents, Kyriakos and Despina, and siblings, Angela, Georgia, Andrew and Maria, migrated from Cyprus in 1972, when Lucy was ten years old.
After finishing school and working a couple of jobs, George got an opportunity to commence his apprenticeship as a barber at his uncle’s barber shop, Terry Trippis Barber, at Lindfield. With his growing reputation, George becomes the journeyman of barbers, working for the Cordoni family and studying for another two years at TAFE for hairdressing. His first business experience was with Mario Parisis when they opened a hairdressing salon, Hairem International, in Dulwich Hill; after two years, George moves on.
It is when George found work in John Kostakis’ Compass Hair Salon, Bankstown where, between perms and colouring hair, he met the love of his life, Lucy Petrou, a hairdresser there… George continued working in various hair salons from Castle Hill to Parramatta.
After marrying Lucy, another business opportunity arose, to take over a barber shop in Burwood; unfortunately, it did not work out. But fate does reward good people; it was Lucy’s father, Kyriakos, who found a vacant shop on River Road, Revesby, and George and Lucy take the chance to start up- from scratch- their own business, Hair Appeal, in 1988.
George recounts how difficult the early years were, as Lucy and he balanced raising a young young family and running a business, ‘In the early days of our business, we had a shed in the rear of the property; we transformed it into a nursery and our sons, Stephen and Kieran, practically grew up there. My mother-in-law, Despina, nurtured and raised them in our nursery! Our sons played with a toy dinosaur and that toy dinosaur is still around. Today, we have children who play with the same toy dinosaur while their parents are getting their hair cut or styled, and we explain to them our children used to play with it too…when they were young.’
Over the years, Hair Appeal has grown from strength to strength, to the point where they introduced the beauty salon section to their business 11 years ago. Hair Appeal has continued to grow….
Business names and buildings are just that; it is the shop-owners who make them successful, as George pays tribute to Lucy’s love and support in their business, ‘We could not have been so successful and happy, without Lucy. I know I would have been totally lost without her! Our salon is not a salon… without her! At the end of the day, our customers ring up for either Lucy or me, or both of us. This business may be called Hair Appeal but for our customers, Lucy and I (with our dedicated staff), make up Hair Appeal. This business is about people…’
And what does it mean to run a small business in the same area for over thirty years? George is ever-so-grateful for the local community’s enormous support and attributes Hair Appeal and Beauty Connections’s success to this, ‘In Revesby, we have been lucky to work in such a local community. People here are welcoming; they are loyal and true. If I walk down to Revesby shops, so many people will greet me. I feel that Lucy and I are part of Revesby’s community!
‘We have customers like Connie Trutwein (nee: Iofrida) who have been coming here from the day we opened. Her sister, Sylvana, worked for us for over 15 years. People like Connie are not customers; they are like family!
‘So many people have moved out of the area, yet they still come here to get their hair cut and styled. We get customers coming from as far as Canberra, Sussex Inlet and Port Macquarie!’
Over thirty years with Hair Appeal and Beauty Connection, George and Lucy have grown together and so has their business… alongside the Revesby community…