“The future is so bright. Being here has made me feel like someone important. It has given me power and has made me dependable. I have had so many doors open and have so many opportunities to help others.”

Damalie Tryan

Anyone who has been through a challenging health condition or treatment will be aware of the importance of hair. Damalie Tryan experienced this first-hand after the birth of her daughter, when she began to lose her hair. Having just arrived in Australia with her newborn in tow, Damalie couldn’t afford to go to a salon. So, rather than wallowing, she did what any budding entrepreneur with a knack for learning would do … She made her own wig! 

“Each week, I would save to get the materials I needed,” Damalie said. “I would go onto Gumtree to buy used hair very cheaply, and then weave by weave, eventually, I had a wig.”

It seemed that it wasn’t just Damalie who was impressed with her new style, as very quickly, friends and women in her network began asking for Damalie’s secret. “First, one of my husband’s friends asked me to make a wig for her. Then, another woman asked me to make five. I had broken even in one week.”

Fast forward a few years, and The Wig Chic now has a wide selection of wigs, servicing women with a variety of conditions (or who may simply be having a bad hair day), and the brand has created a life for Damalie that is a far cry from her life as a child in Uganda. 

“My childhood was not an easy one,” she said. “I lost both my parents at a very young age, and was brought up by my grandmother. I faced many hardships – from financial hardships to child abuse – but I survived it and made it to Australia.” 

Damalie says that life in Australia is like a dream come true. “I have gone from 0 to 10000 chances,” she said. Since arriving in Australia, Damalie has adopted and looked after her younger sister (who is now 18) and has had two children. And despite a very challenging childhood, Damalie said that nothing prepared her for the experience of postnatal depression. “It was hard to not have family around, or the neighbours who felt like family. It was a hardship that I thought I wouldn’t survive. But somehow I picked myself up and I am a hustler and a survivor!”

When asked about what it’s like to live in Australia now, Damalie says, “The future is so bright. Being here has made me feel like someone important. It has given me power and has made me dependable. I have had so many doors open and have so many opportunities to help others.” Starting with helping us all to find the right wig.

Published by Amy Malpass-Hahn, Freelance writer

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