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Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation: Part 3!

Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation: Part 3!

We’re thrilled to welcome back one of our awesome guest bloggers, Robert Cradle! Robert is a Master Barber and founder of Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation (RBCF)–a nonprofit organization located in Maryland whose mission it is to support projects dedicated to improving the grooming, hygiene and well-being of individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford these services.

Rob uses SurveyMonkey as not just a survey platform but it also serves as RBCF’s client database. He’s been relying on SurveyMonkey since 2008 to help track his 6,000+ clients and provide real-time reports on how RBCF is doing for anyone who requests.

We’re proud that we can help support an amazing organization like Rob’s and really happy he’s here to share some of the data that RBCF has collected.

The floor’s all yours, Rob!

It goes without saying that regular hygiene and personal care is a must for individuals. Maintaining one’s self-image, preserving good public health and providing an overall sense of well-being are all important reasons. In our 12+ years of providing grooming services to the homeless and individuals living in poverty, Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation has collected a great deal of anecdotal data. As a result, we wanted to learn more about the demographic that we help the most frequently. So who are our clients? The data revealed RBCF’s clients to be primarily African-American men with an average age of 48 years old. Over half (54%) of the 13,458 haircuts that our projects provided have been for this specific population.

Now for the insights–Why are forty-something African-American men our biggest clients? Since 2001 to date–2,681 African-American men have indicated to RBCF that our services were amenities that they were currently unable to afford. This equates to 1/3 of those individuals that we’ve served since our organization’s inception. Why? Is it because the Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that unemployment for African-American males over twenty years of age rose to 14.2% in the third quarter of 2012, while overall unemployment in the US was just at 8.2%?

In effect, African-American men aren’t getting as many professional haircuts–or none at all–because with the lack of jobs, they simply don’t have the ability to pay for them. If an African-American man can’t get a haircut, it might be safe to assume that trying to get a job is that much harder. It’s yet another barrier to the achievement of your average African-American Male who lives below the U.S. poverty guidelines.

Some might assume that African-American women would have been the group most unable to obtain grooming because their services tend to be more expensive than those for men. However, let’s end that assumption because women can typically resort to pulling their hair back into a ponytail, opt to wear a wig, or just “go natural”. Women also possess a variety of accessories that can augment their lack of regular hair grooming where men don’t.

For men–African-Americans in particular–they need a motorized clipper along with the skill and dexterity to produce a decent haircut and facial trim. Visiting a professional barber to perform a haircut is a must and shaving one’s head isn’t as easy as it might appear. Using a razor can be unsafe, requires a lot of practice and maintaining a bald head is actually more time-consuming than maintaining a basic haircut.

Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation believes that an individual’s success, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or age, has a lot to do with whether they like what they see when they look in the mirror. Therefore, we’ll keep working on projects that will make these services available to ALL who lack access to regular grooming services and products.

For more information on Rob’s Barbershop Community Foundation and learn how you can help support, please visit their webpage

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