It’s been nothing but positive love and support for Dorm Room Kutz, the newest business to open in the historic LSU Student Union. Owner Jamel Bowser says its been an idea for a while. When the window of opportunity presented itself he and his friend, Vincent Shaw, were prepared to follow their guts.
“We did a Go Fund Me but the students actually helped us out so much that we didn’t even need the Go Fund Me very long. They are the reason we are here,” he said.
Word spread quickly once the barber shop opened on campus in December of 2016. “People were tweeting and spreading the word that there was a Black Barber Shop now on LSU’s campus. Everyone felt proud and excited,” said Bowser. There was a shop occupying the barber space in the union before but never one owned and operated by African-Americans. However doing a little research of his own, Bowser found out even better news. “We aren’t just the first black barber shop on the campus, we are the first black owned business period on the campus,” he said. There have been others to set up vending stations but Dorm Room Kutz is the only black owned business planted on the campus.
The shop has been open on the campus for two months and Bowser says the university has provided the utmost support and help in making their business successful. “First of all this shop is more than just hair. LSU is the centerpiece of this community. It is the mouth of Baton Rouge civilization. Some of the greatest minds in the world are being cultivated on this campus and we get to groom their hair while they are here,” he said with enthusiasm about a school very dear to he, his wife, and Shaw.
Bowser is originally from New Orleans. He went to barber school in Houston. “While I was in Houston I met my wife. She was gorgeous. She was an LSU student. All I knew is I wanted to be wherever she was so I moved to Baton Rouge to be near her,” he said. He and Monika Bowser have been married for six years now and they have two kids.
Vincent Shaw, the silent partner of the two, doesn’t speak much but he is vey enthusiastic about their business and what it means to the community. Vincent, however, went to LSU Medical School and studied undergrad at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The two friends shared their ambitions with each other and realized they had similar dreams. “Dorm Room Kutz is the result of two dreamers working together to create something meaningful to the students, the community, and for ourselves.”
While the shop is black owned, the 4 barbers and 2 beauticians, all get support from various ethnic groups. “This campus is very diverse. We have Black customers. Asian customers. Indian, White, and even a Hispanic clientele too. The conversation in the shop is always energetic and positive. It is slowly becoming the place people of all nationalities meet up,” Bowser explained.
Not only has the shop received support from current students, such as Running Back, Leonard Fournette, but former students have also blessed their business. In the shop, customers get to autograph their Spirit Wall. Among those who have supported the shop in one way or another include NY Giants Receiver, Odell Beckham, Jr., Chicago Bears Running Back, Michael Ford, Cincinatti Bengals Halfback, Jeremy Hill, Boston Celtics Forward, Jordan Mickey, and many others. All of the players were former members of the LSU Athletics Program. “Its good to see these guys carry out their athletic ambitions. They were all model brothers on the campus and had no problem autographing our wall to show their support to our business,” said Bowser.
Dorm Room Kutz is open on the campus, Mon-Fri (8am-8:30pm), Saturdays (8:30am-5pm) and Sundays by appointment at 225-578-6609.
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