For nearly two decades, Rodriguis Hampton has spent his time cutting hair for residents who live in and around West Chester, where he opened X-Quisite Cutz barbershop.
During the pandemic, he decided to take his passion a step further by opening a barber school in Middletown, Ohio.
“I saw people losing their jobs and not being able to find work," he said. "So, I said, 'You know what, let’s open up a training facility, get people to come in and I train them how to be a barber, how to be self-employed, and they can go anywhere in the United States and work.'"
A prospective student, Angel Lagrandier, walked into the school while Hampton talked to WCPO. Lagrandier said X-Quisite Cutz opening so close to his home was an answer to his prayers.
“A lot of schools that I’ve been trying to go to have been difficult to get in because of the capacity, and with COVID, it’s been difficult just to claim to be a barber and do what I love to do,” he said.
Langrandier is about to become a father and wanted to find a reliable trade for his family.
“Right now, trades are in,” said Lagrandier. “Instead of going to college, spending a lot of time to end up working a 9-to-5 job and end up getting paid just as much as anyone doing a factory job, you can go and be in a barbershop or salon, or garage…you can create opportunities for yourself and your family.”
Hampton said barbering is important even during times of crisis.
“Even in a pandemic, everyone wants their hair cut,” he said. “Being the first Black-owned barber school in Butler County, I’m able to do that. I'm in a great location in Middletown, where I can bring that diversity.”
X-Quisite Cutz Barbering School is located at 3230 Roosevelt Blvd, Middletown, OH 45044. The program has a rolling admission and new students are encouraged to apply.