Jax Wax are proud to announce their collaboration with Walkabout Barber Enterprises. Michele Hetherington, Jax Wax Australia’s National Trainer, has been talking with Brian Dowd, founder of Walkabout Barber Enterprises, about how both businesses can reach out together to help rural indigenous communities socially, physically and emotionally. She has been training the Walkabout Barber team in all aspects of waxing, so they are able to offer this service to their expanding clientele around Australia.
The Brian Dowd Story…
At the age of 22 Brian moved from Coonabarabran to try out for the Newcastle Knights rugby league team. When he didn’t make it through he went on a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol that eventually found him trying to take his own life in suburban Newcastle. “I got to the point where I just thought I’m a failure’,” Brian says. “I failed everything that I’d wanted to do, and I thought my time was over. It was the lowest point in my life, my spirit was broken.” A phone call from his mother at a crucial moment saved his life. As he explains it years later; “At 27 I was probably too young to leave this world. I’m just so glad the ancestors dealt me a really strong card that day, and protected me and kept me safe that day, and I’ve been trying to repay the favour ever since.”
Brian has been called ‘The People Mechanic’ since an Aboriginal Elder suggested that name after watching him at work with a group of strangers. Brian said that the Elder told him that, “You bring us to a location, you put us up on the hoist that we call our life, we open up our emotional hood, you look inside and you source where the damaged part of our journey is, or what needs to be fixed, and you give us the tools to do that.” Brian has been catching broken individuals after they have fallen, and carefully placed them back onto their feet for the past 13 years. His work has received many awards which includes winning a Deadly Award in 2011 for the best National Aboriginal Employment program for his ‘Black on Track’ program.
Brian decided in 2015 to further develop his ‘healing gift’ by studying a Post Graduate Degree in Indigenous Trauma and Recovery at the University of Wollongong which he graduated from two years later.
In 2017 Brian and his family return to Coonabarabran following his son’s autism diagnosis and his urge to look for traditional alternative therapies for him. It was during his return to Coonabarabran that he opened his first barbers’ shop which drew customers from near by towns. Speaking with these customers he saw a need to expand his business to service these people both for haircuts and mental support. Six months down the track ‘Walkabout Barber’ was created. “The name sticks with our culture’s way of moving around,” Brian said.
“The barber’s chair is a magical experience especially for men. I’ve built the business as a healing space, for men and women to have a chat. Our main objective is to make people fresh on the outside, and to come out fresher on the inside. We can do upwards of 60 cuts a day, so that’s a far reach,” Brian said. A fixed Walkabout Barber has opened at Warners Bay in Newcastle. Stay tuned ladies as Walkabout Beautiful is on its way , offering brow waxing, tinting and manicures because we don’t want women to feel left out .
With the philosophy of “Your life is your first job and anything after that is your part time pleasure”, Brian has put the meaning back into helping yourself before helping anyone else.
Jax Wax are proud to be associated with Brian and the Walkabout Barber team and are looking forward to a long relationship.