Area student cashes in on passion for hair cutting

Published 12:10 am Thursday, February 7, 2008

NATCHEZ — Ronnie Brooks is a teen with a passion — a passion for cutting hair.

And that passion just won him some cash.

Brooks said his mother, Angela, convinced him to enter a scholarship contest sponsored by Family Dollar entitled “Pursue your Passion.”

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Brooks won $2,500.

Brooks’ essay was selected as one of 20 submitted from 6,500 stores nationwide.

Brooks said in his essay he talked about his desire to become a professional barber.

He said his mother was a bit concerned about the content of his essay.

“Not too many people want to be barbers,” he said. “But I really like to cut hair.”

And for just 15 years old, Brooks has cut his fair share of hair.

Brooks gave is first hair cut at just 11 years old.

His first unofficial customer was his uncle.

“It wasn’t perfect,” he said. “But it was pretty good.”

When customers are scarce, Brooks has no qualms about practicing on himself.

“I can line it up pretty good,” he said, referring to his ability to trim and shape his own hairline.

Brooks said he has practically perfected holding a mirror in one hand and trimming his hair with the other.

He admitted he has botched his own haircut at least once.

“It wasn’t too bad,” he said. “I just wore a hood for a while. My hair grows out pretty fast.”

After hanging out with an older neighbor, who also cuts hair, Brooks said he became interested in the trade.

Brooks said whenever his neighbor was cutting hair, he would pay very close attention to everything he did.

When the neighbor moved, Brooks took his spot.

And before long, Brooks was cutting hair in his neighborhood.

While Brooks said he does not have a set clientele he does have a technique for getting new customers.

“You only charge $3 for the first haircut,” he said. “That shows them you can do a good job.”

After the customer can see the quality in the work, Brooks said he raises the price of the next haircut.

And it’s that type of progressive thinking that helped Brooks to develop a loose business plan at a young age.

He plans to attend a four-year-college to study business, after college, get a beauticians license, then open his own chain of barbershops.

If all goes according to plan, the first shop will open in Chicago where most of Brooks’ family lives.

And his mother thinks his plan just might work.

“With his good attitude he can do anything he wants to,” she said.