From a smoky barbershop in Manassas, Va., to a dorm room at Belmont University, Chip Hubbard loves working with and meeting new people, but not the way most college students do it.
Hubbard, a sophomore design communications, is an apprentice barber who has been cutting classmates’, friends’, and family’s hair since his junior year in high school.
Now he cuts hair in Kennedy Hall.
“The summer after freshman year of college to work on friends, I went back down to that smoky shop that I started at, and the 75-year-old man, my mentor, watched me give a haircut,” said Hubbard. “He told me I was ready to be in the shop.”
Hubbard has come a long way since he started, and has been persistent to not forget his teachings moving forward.
“He enjoyed teaching me by waiting until I made a huge mistake, and afterwards correcting me,” said Hubbard. “After a while, I would get really frustrated with things, so he would only help me if I asked for it.”
This method of teaching allowed for Hubbard to turn his craft into his own.
“Cutting hair just makes sense to me, and continues to even more as I learn new things,” said Hubbard.
Something has obviously been making a lot of sense, because since he has been at Belmont, he has built a clientele of anywhere from four to eight customers a week.
And the best part, the haircut is only $10.
Everett Lee, a sophomore and Hubbard’s suite mate had nothing but good things to say about Hubbard and the service he is providing to his customers, but he jokingly did have one complaint.
“Having a professional barber use the bathroom for his shop does prohibit you from using the restroom quite a bit, because there is usually someone in there and you don’t want to be rude,” said Lee.
Hubbard and his friends have unofficially coined his shop as “Chip’s Clips.”
“I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had an entrepreneurial spirit about things as I started to expand,” said Hubbard. “I started with nothing, but had the materials to do it, so I just did it.”
Hubbard isn’t merely cutting hair the same way someone would sell lemonade on a hot day to make a few extra bucks.
“You learn a lot about people in a barbershop setting. I am a social person, so I enjoy sitting down with strangers and getting to know their story,” said Hubbard.
All the while, he is a professional providing a service he loves doing, to whoever is interested.
“He has got this motto—“you’re not getting out of this chair until you are 100 percent satisfied” and he will stay there as long as you need in order that you leave happy,” said junior Travis Harrell, a customer.
Communication is key when it comes to haircutting Hubbard said.
“What makes my haircuts better is that unbeknownst to the customers, they are actually giving me all the input I need to be a better barber,” said Hubbard. “All because they are communicating with me.”
A huge problem Hubbard sees in the barbershop community is the quality of the haircuts being compromised due some barbers’ inability to work through adversity.
“What some barbers don’t understand is that you have to speak up, whether it is fixing up sideburns or anything; the customers see things better than I can sometimes,” said Hubbard.
And Hubbard’s customers keep coming back.
“He has always done exactly what I have asked him to do with my hair, and does it in less than 45 minutes,” said Lee. “It is not only the cheapest haircut I’ve ever had, but also the best I’ve ever had.”
He has never once advertised himself, and has relied on word of mouth, and that has proven to be quite successful.
“His creativity and ability to adapt to different hairstyles is really what sets him apart from the rest,” said Harrell.
One thing nobody has to worry about by visiting Chip’s Clips is leaving dissatisfied.
“If someone says that their haircut looks “fine,” I won’t let them leave because I am not the guy on campus who gives just “fine” haircuts,” said Hubbard. “I give great haircuts.”