When Josh “J” Braverman arrived at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this year, he immediately knew he wanted to make a statement. So, he decided to do what he’s been doing for years — cut hair.
“I got to Wisconsin and was like, ‘I wanna keep cutting hair,’” Braverman said. “It’s a good way to put money in my pocket and network while doing something [I] like to do.”
“Everyone needs a barber,” he added.
Braverman is from Milwaukee and started working in a barber shop when he was a sophomore in high school. At UW, he usually charges $30 a haircut in the second floor bathroom in Witte Residence Hall or elsewhere on campus.
He uses Snapchat and other social media platforms to spread the word about his Witte-based barber business, showing off his process and results. He has a “barber workshop” travel bag with clippers, sprays, combs and other tools to take his show on the road if needed as well.
However, Braverman is not the only UW-Madison student who’s made a buzzing business for Badgers. Abdul-Rasheed Flythe, a first-year student from Washington, D.C., started cutting hair following his high school graduation in May 2022 and knew he wanted to continue doing it when he got to campus.
“There are people sitting in chairs waiting, talking like ‘I want to get a haircut from this guy,’” said Nicolás Rovira, a first-year student from Puerto Rico who is also Flythe’s roommate. “It’s an event — some 18-year-old cutting students’ hair.
“Barbering is a profession. It’s not something people usually do on the side, but this guy’s got it down to an art,” he noted.
Flythe said this experience has helped him establish entrepreneurial skills.
“When I got here I focused on the business side of being a barber, and it turned into something really entrepreneurial,” Flythe said. “What you need to do to get clients and have your own business is literally my major: managing people’s time and complying with their schedule, and being able to give them a great service.”
But, for Flythe, the on-campus haircutting operation is more than just a business endeavor.
“I love seeing the glow up, that’s what keeps me going,” said Flythe. “I want to see people coming out looking better than when they came into my shop.”