When you walk into Jake Garrity’s room in International Hall, you can expect at any time of day to see a few people playing Xbox and someone sitting down draped in a barbers cape–along with the sound of scissors snipping, a buzzer buzzing, and music coming from his Bose speaker. It’s a lot of commotion for one college dorm room, and that is just how Garrity likes it.
Garrity is a Sophomore here at Springfield College. Last year he found his own answer to the question most freshman ask themselves when they come to college, ‘how do I meet new people?’ and ‘how can I make some extra money?’ For him, the answer was cutting hair.
Originally, Garrity’s idea to start cutting hair came about as a way to save money.
“In high school my mom told me that I had to start paying for my own haircuts,” said Garrity. “So I decided to save some money by buying my own clippers and getting after it.”
Garrity quickly found that he had a passion for cutting hair. This led to him eventually branching out and cutting other people’s hair.
“Cutting my own hair eventually evolved into cutting some of my friends’ hair,” said Garrity. “I started by giving buzz cuts to people. I then moved on to using scissors, but I didn’t know how to use them correctly at first. So I started going on YouTube and looking at videos on how to use them properly. The more people I gave haircuts to, the better I got. I learned how to fade in correctly, how to use the proper tools and how to give people exactly what they want.”
Garrity is not only into cutting hair for the money he makes from it. He values the social aspect of cutting hair just as much as the money he makes.
“I am proud of the fact that I am able to bring people together that may have otherwise not met each other,” said Garrity. “Just one haircut in my room can lead to listening to music, or playing video games or a trip to Cheney. To me my favorite aspect of cutting hair is that it’s more than just a haircut, it creates a connection with people.”
Garrity recalls back to a little over a year ago when he gave his first haircut at Springfield College.
“This kid on my floor in Gulick was walking around asking people if they knew how to give haircuts,” said Garrity. “I stood up and said ‘right here, let me get my set!’. He looked at me nervously and told me he wasn’t sure if he trusted me. Some people on the floor supported me and told him to give it a shot. Thankfully he trusted me and it came out great.”
Sophomore Jakob Calvini, Garrity’s current roommate, remembers that first haircut.
“I thought it was really cool,” said Calvini. “I watched him give my old roommate a haircut last year, and I thought that he was pretty good at it. My old roommate had some really long hair and Jake cleaned him up really nice.”
Calvini also agrees that Garrity’s haircutting ability opened things up socially for not only Garrity, but everyone else as well.
“I feel like him giving haircuts broke the ice for everyone on the floor,” said Calvini. “I can honestly say that there are some people that I would never have talked to if it weren’t for Jake’s haircuts bringing us together.”
After he gave his first haircut, most people in Gulick started to hear good things about ‘Jakey Snips’ on 1C, but Garrity wanted to branch out past the halls of Gulick.
“Eventually I decided to hang up some signs around Gulick,” said Garrity. “In doing so I was able to meet even more people. Eventually word spread to Massasoit and Reed, as well as some upperclassmen. There are a lot of ways to meet people at college, but to meet people in this unique way and creating a connection with people is special to me.”
Garrity is now in his second year cutting hair here at Springfield College, and he does not plan on stopping soon.
“My motivation to keep cutting hair comes from making people feel confident,” said Garrity. “A big part of it is also the ability to bring people together, that is something that I take pride in being able to do.”
Gage can be reached on Twitter at @GageNutter