SYCAMORE – Andre Powell, 32, of DeKalb, loves when a customer visits his barbershop and asks for something new.
“I love having the freedom to create,” Powell said. “I love putting a look on customers that they’ve never had before, a look that will win them over.”
Powell, a 2001 graduate of DeKalb High School, owns In & Out Cuts Barbershop, 1963 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore.
Powell opened the barbershop in 2016, for all ages, races and types of hairstyles. Children age 2 and older can visit the barbershop and will receive a certificate if they visit for their first haircut.
“A lot of different barbershops are divided by ethnicity: white only do white, black only do black,” Powell said. “We can service anyone that walks through our door. We want everyone in town to walk through our door.”
Powell said his barbershop can do “any type of cut.”
“We do hot towel shaves, straight razors, comb over fades, skin fades, traditional cuts, we do it all,” he said. “The majority of our customers are men, but we do have some women that come in with short hair styles.”
The barbershop has four barbers, but had seven before the pandemic. The barbershop averages 14 cuts a day.
“Our barbers are all ethnicities, different languages and backgrounds,” Powell said. “We’re not limited to younger or older customers, we have a mix of everything. I’m proud to be a Black-owned business, but it’s all about diversity. My goal is that people from all walks of life understand each other. Maybe they won’t get along, but they can talk to each other.”
Powell wasn’t always a barber, he’s held many jobs, including working at factories.
“I worked at Nehring Electrical [Works] making $10 an hour and I can do a haircut in 30 minutes and make $25,” Powell said. “I used to play around with clippers a little bit. I was trying to figure out my way through life. I realized that hair was my niche, something I was good at and could be successful in.”
However, Powell said the process of becoming a barber was difficult because there wasn’t a local barbershop school. He had to attend classes for his certificate in Schaumburg.
“I’m working with another barbershop in Sycamore to create a local barber school, Legacy Academy,” he said. “There’s no barber schools nearby, and there’s a shortage of barbers.”
Luke Davis of DeKalb, 22, said that he’s been to other barbershops in DeKalb, but In & Out Cuts Barbershop “is different.”
“It gives me a home feeling and an all-around better experience,” Davis said. “With a new haircut, I feel like a new man that can take on the world. The first thing after [a new haircut], I take a picture and show everyone.”
In & Out Cuts Barbershop guarantees that customers will like their new hairstyle.
“If you don’t like it, it’s free,” Powell said. “A haircut will definitely change the way you look at yourself and how you feel. I love everyone’s reactions when they look in the mirror after a cut or shave.”
Instead of art or paintings on the barbershop walls, Powell hangs photos of his customers’ new hairstyles.
“It’s a wall of appreciation,” he said. “Some stores and shops might have something from IKEA or art, but I have my customers on my walls. It’s because I appreciate what they’ve done for me.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle