Just a barber...
"What do you do?"
"Oh, you just work in a shop?"
"Is that only a side hustle? What do you do full time?"
"Can you really support yourself with that?"
I take a deep breath then speak my mind with words I can't write here.
How many of us have been asked these similar, or perhaps even more insulting and ignorant questions? Is there a profession that gets questioned more or more challenged and harassed than the barber/ beauty industry? Besides being one of the world's oldest professions, the barbering industry by itself is a billion-dollar business in the United States, $5 billion to be exact in 2021. Combined with salon revenue, and this amount skyrockets past $50 billion.
We are independent contractors and business owners — entrepreneurs to the fullest who own shops, work with celebrities, all while making as much or more than teachers, lawyers, and doctors without the student loans. Why are barbers and stylists belittled and made to feel that our chosen careers and passions don't align with societal standards or expectations? With the boom of the barber industry and its promotion on social media, a lot more attention and light has been cast on us in recent months and years. We are resilient. We kept the lights on during 2020 and kept edges sharp and fades blurry, providing essential, qualified services upon the country opening back up. We were the first wave!
Your friends, neighbors, and fellow church members who are "just barbers" and "just stylists" own homes, cars and raise families on the income made doing what we love, creating art, making our clients feel great — all without hating our jobs and bosses. We network, have multiple income streams and are in high demand. The pandemic and rise of Zoom meetings proved just how essential we are to daily life. So the next time that someone says, " Oh you're just a barber", smile then tell them you're changing people's lives for the better each and every day and getting paid for it on your own terms. Maybe even offer to shape them up (for your highest fee, of course). I guarantee they will have nothing to say!
Keep shining! Go, be good and continue making people feel good by helping them be their best selves! After all, everything is better with a fresh cut.
Undaunted. Outspoken. Trailblazers. Trendsetters. Khane Kutzwell, Kiah Lyles, Oyinlola Isiaka, and Onyinye Obasi are just some of the women in barbering who are blazing trails as barbers and busting down toxic ideologies that have had a hold on barbering for entirely too long.