Chris, 36, has been barbering since he was a teenager

Last week, Austin resident Jeremy Polk interviewed Chris (we’re only using his first name), who owns his own barbershop in Austin. Chris, who is also a lifelong Austin resident, talked about how he started cutting hair and the benefits of a visit to the barbershop. Here’s an excerpt of that discussion.

How’d you get started cutting hair? 

The first time I picked up clippers was at 15. 

What started me off doing this is, because I wanted my haircut all the time and my mom wouldn’t take me as often as I wanted to so I learned how to cut my own hair. Then, I started cutting my father’s hair and I liked it. After high school, I went to barber school and went from there. 

Went to His and Hers Barber School and graduated from there. It took me two years. That was because I went part-time starting off, because I was taking college courses at Harold Washington. Normally people can get out in like six months. 

What’s the demographic  breakdown of your clientele? 

It’s a good mixture. It’s African American men. I got Hispnanic guys who come through. A lot of younger cats come. Women who get their hair cut here. Anybody who got hair and they want a cut, they come here. 

Why the barbershop is so therapeutic 

It’s almost like mental therapy when you come into the barbershop. You can talk about anything in the barbershop. 

Nothing is off-limits. Of course, you have to pick and choose what you say, but for the most part everybody needs that outlet. Everybody needs somebody to tell their problems to and who will listen to them. 

And at the same time, you come out looking good so it’s a win-win.