Behind the Barber Chair

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While Ethan won’t have “barber” on his diploma from Cairn, he will graduate with a new and lasting trade that he picked up early in his undergraduate career.

In his Introduction to Marketing course, he was tasked with creating a business plan for a service that would help the student body. He had the idea for an on-campus barber shop, and after turning in his assignment, he decided to make it a
reality. Only one problem: He didn’t know how to cut hair.

Like many in his generation, Ethan learned by studying on YouTube. He then found a few brave and patient friends who would let him practice, even when that meant sitting in a basement for two hours as the “barber” re-checked his technique by consulting a tutorial.

With each cut, Ethan grew more confident, and he further invested in his craft by purchasing more haircutting tools and uploading comedic promotional videos to Instagram. Word quickly spread around campus, resulting in more and more men—including professors—seeking out Ethan for what is referred to as “the E-Butter Effect.”

Business was booming. Then, it got an upgrade. A local barbershop owner, whose parents, sister, and wife are all alumni of the University, saw Ethan’s work online and invited him to receive professional training, noting that his shop needed more Christians. Ethan quickly accepted, moving his operation from the laundry room of Stillman residence hall to Josiah’s barbershop, Fusion Fades.

Josiah mentors Ethan in the art of barbering, overseeing his haircuts and providing guidance, tips, and new techniques. Josiah also serves as a spiritual mentor, teaching Ethan how to minister to clients in the chair.

“Since Christ saved me in 2020, I’ve wanted to preach the Word and be some sort of pastor,” said Ethan, in response to why he chose to be in the dual-level biblical studies program at Cairn. “But I realize I’m not mature enough to fill a pastoral role yet.” In the meantime, he says, God is giving him the opportunity to cut hair with ministry in mind:

“As convenient as an on-campus haircut was, getting the students off campus and in a public barbershop is better. We are showing the community what Christian brotherhood looks like. We talk about things deeper than cars and sports, and then others catch on and are interested in what we have to say.”

Ethan feels called to one day stand behind a pulpit, but he is content with his current position of standing behind a barber chair: “This is what God is putting in front of me right now. I can work hard at what he’s given me because I know what my purpose is: I’m going to know and enjoy him first and foremost, the rest will follow, and he will make my life something for his glory.”