July 18, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers students operate barber shop out of Senior street house

Photo by Instagram |

Three students launched 23 Cuts last summer. The business, which operates through a house on Senior street has since gained popularity on campus as a go-to for Rutgers students.

Rutgers students have a new and unique option for affordable haircuts on campus. 23 Cuts is a student-run barber shop that operates out of a student's house on 23 Senior St.

Since opening last summer, the business has garnered significant popularity.

“At first it was a joke,” said Ronit Hemrajani, a School of Engineering sophomore and one of the barbers. “But then we realized a lot of people liked the haircuts. Some kids live far from home so they can't go home for haircuts.”

23 Cuts has become more refined since it first opened, Hemrajani said. He was giving his friends haircuts for fun and, at the time, his craft was limited by the quality of the equipment he was using.

Because they have no formal training, they have been learning from online sources like YouTube and through trial and error, he said.

Although their business has become quite popular, they are still learning as they go, Hemrajani said.

“Recently one of the clippers started making loud noises,” Hemrajani said. “So we had to start messing with it. Take the screws out, adjust it, stuff like that. Sometimes during the haircut, it'll just start making some random noise and the person will start freaking out.”

Despite their popularity with students on campus, Hemrajani said that they are still amateurs. Cutting hair is not their first priority.

“We don't skip class to cut hair. School first, and when we have time, we cut hair,” he said. “Last semester it helped me a lot. If someone says to me, 'Can I get a haircut at two?' then I have to get all my work done before two o'clock. So it helps keep me on track with school too. We're not doing this for the struggle of paying rent. It's a hobby.”

23 Cuts began with a small clientele, comprised mostly of the barbers' personal friends, said Dhruv Patel, a Rutgers Business School sophomore and another one of the barbers. As customers told their friends about 23 Cuts, the business grew by word of mouth.

Since then, they have invested in more barber equipment, such as buzzers, straight blades and scissors, he said.

Now that they have more experience, the business schedules appointments through their Instagram account, 23cuts, Patel said.

“Our hours are whenever we're free. People DM (direct message) us and whatever works for them,” he said.

In the near-future, 23 Cuts hopes to organize a fundraising event, Patel said. If people are willing to pay for haircuts, the proceeds will go to a charitable foundation chosen by the founders.

Brian Yeung, a Rutgers Business School sophomore and 23 Cuts barber, said that he got his hair cut at the house before he started working with them.

“I knew Ronit was cutting hair just for fun, so I asked him to cut my hair. I was like, 'Is it because of the clippers that we can't get actual nice haircuts?’” he said. “Then I had an opportunity to buy nicer, professional clippers. When I bought that, he started cutting, and I was like, 'I gotta try too.'”

The barbers are planning an event where they will give free haircuts and accept donations, Yeung said. They will also sell shirts and hats designed with their new logo, which is currently displayed on their Instagram account.

“Every haircut we're getting better,” Yeung said. “We used to get these little lines, we'd call them ‘thuggahs.’ We didn't want to say, 'you missed a spot,' because you don't want to scare people ... so we'd be like, 'Hey, there's a ‘thuggah’ there.'”

Maxwell Marcus is a School of Arts and Sciences senior. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

Maxwell Marcus

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Targum.