The right haircut makes you feel great, the right barber can inspire you. Roy Stubbs, Owner of Clipper Over Comb Barbershop, has worked extremely hard to pursue his passion for barbering. Clipper Over Comb is located at 5 E. Bayaud Ave, in the Baker neighborhood of Denver. Stubbs moved to Denver from Nebraska in 2016 because there were more heads of hair to cut here, but he honed his barbering skills in the military, where he served in the army.
“I cut a bunch of heads while I was in the military. And then after the military, I got a little bit better, and I decided to make it a trade. And that’s where I became a barber,” says Stubbs. “It was one of the easiest routes in order to open a business to start.”
Stubbs has visited many barbershops throughout his life. He said he specifically remembers one barber who consistently cut his hair well and influenced him to buy his first clippers. “I had a kid who’s really good at a very young age, cut my hair, and he’s super good. So, I bought some clippers just for play.”
Through his own personal experience, Stubbs learned that many barbers struggled to cut his hair because it was curly. He said that growing up in Nebraska, many of the barbers that he would go to either did not have time to learn to cut curly hair or they refused to learn on the spot.
“So that was another inspiration for me to actually become a barber. I had to like depend on trying to find somebody that knew how to cut ethnic hair,” Stubbs said. “I went to school with quite a few black folks, and they taught me how to cut and how to perfect the craft for ethnic hair.”
Stubbs worked for a shop that went out of business right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He began to consider opening his own shop, but the pandemic caused him to hold out longer due to the uncertainty that came with it. Then he decided to go after his dream!
“I found a small enough barbershop that I could add more chairs, but I can also take care of by myself,” said Stubbs.
Roy signed the lease to his shop in March of 2020 and Clipper Over Comb Barbershop opened in August. Opening his shop during the pandemic did have some downsides. Mandated closures and safety concerns were at the forefront. They opened when they could and were sure to accommodate their customers.
“Right away, we had all kinds of support really, from everybody in the neighborhood,” he said. “I try to go out of my way for my clients and my clients have definitely went out of their way for me too.”
The neighborhood supported Stubbs by immediately scheduling appointments and visiting his barbershop frequently. Stubbs returned the favor by always accommodating his customer’s needs. He wanted to make each client feel comfortable in his shop. “Welcoming the LGBTQ community and all the BLMs and all that, you know, trying to make it a very unity in the community type project.”
Stubbs found that it was much easier to work during such a difficult time because of the amazing customers that frequented his shop. “I don’t have any clients that aren’t family,” said Stubbs. “We talk about the most deep, craziest stuff that you could really even think of.”
Stubbs explained that barbers talk about whatever makes their clients comfortable. He said that there tends to be a barber creed for when they discuss more sensitive subjects.
“Barber talk, I think could range from anything with your basic weather, sports, you know, down to those intimate, like real deep conversations, you know, mental health and physical health and all that. So that’s where barber talk really covers a lot of the grounds,” he said. “I’ve sat there and cried with a client about his daughter’s freakin’ quinceanera, you know how sweet it was. And we were like in tears. Now’s the moment I was like, shoot, I’m tight with my clients.”
Stubbs has worked hard to make Clipper Over Comb Barbershop more than just a place to receive a haircut.
“A lot of people open up barber shops to make a ton of money. But for me, I always looked at it as an opportunity to solidify the passion that the people are trying to have, instead of making it more complicated.”
Stubbs takes great joy in helping his barbers accomplish their goals in life. Whether it be improving their barbering skills or starting a family and buying a house.
“So that’s what I like is seeing my barbers succeed, grow and not only with their skills but outside in their life, whether it be, buying a house or buying a car or starting a relationship and a family. And all that stuff is awesome to be able to support. His passion for his clients and the community has driven him to inspire people from all walks of life, especially young men who need to talk to someone.
“There is three big influencers in a man’s life, his father, his coaches, and his barber.”