The Rise of the Urban Barber Shop

In cities nationwide, clients are now requesting cool designs, logos and words be emblazoned in their hair cuts. Rappers like Kanye West and Chris Brown can be seen with intricate geometric patterns on the back of their heads. The popularity of the urban barber shop continues to rise, and clients are flocking to these specialty barber shops more than ever. Using clippers and straight razors, artistic barbers are shaving stars, logos for the New York Knicks, and peace symbols on the heads of clients who know what they want.

Urban style barber shops are growing in rapid popularity in small cities. Students in barber schools are deciding to open up their own shops upon graduation, which is what Tyler Goolsby and Joe Rodriguez in Dodge City, Kansas (Photo by Nancy Calderon, Dodge Globe – we cannot take credit for this great picture!) decided to do. Taking a risk, they decided to invest in a small shop and see where their business took them. On the opening weekend, the two were flooded with patrons from Dodge City and surrounding areas.  The shop is called “The Chop Shop” and operates throughout the week.

Barber school graduates like Goolsby and Rodriguez are starting their own urban shops due to the high demand in small towns. Typical barbers in small towns like Wichita or Dodge City do not offer the more edgy and artistic haircut designs as one of their services. Younger generations who have a specialty in shaving lightning bolts and other creative symbols can get an edge in attracting clients in these small towns.

Urban barber shops are even taking the fashion world by storm. One barber, Scott Herlinger, has had his barber designs featured in some of the hottest fashion magazines. Herlinger is a stylist at Debonaire’s Barber Shop in Topeka, Kansas. As a barber in Topeka who has a passion for cutting intricate designs in patrons’ hair, his designs have been featured in magazines like Lowrider. Herlinger receives an average of 10 clients a week who want a specific image or design cut in their hair. For his clients, the Nike swoosh symbol is the most popular design of choice.

Herlinger notes that on occasion some of his clients ask for special designs cut into their eyebrows or facial hair. With a photograph, Herlinger will recreate any image or design that his clients ask of him. He is even willing to cut special patterns in the long hair of women. Herlinger continues to be successful in his particular niche of barber work, and the clients keep coming back for more haircuts from him.

The revival of the urban barber shop continues to strengthen. Clients want the edgy styles that only a barber with an artistic touch can provide. They are sometimes even willing to pay  upwards $100 for a cut that features a symbol or design that holds special meaning for them.