When Sean Adams got his first job at age 16, his father decided he should start paying for his own haircuts. Adams wasn’t a fan of the idea. “I don’t like resorting to other resources if I can figure out how to do it myself,” he says.

So, Adams learned to cut his own hair. Once the Memphis native had arrived at Mizzou, he extended barber services to other students. Adams marketed to incoming freshmen because many hadn’t yet settled on a local barber. When he realized some students had trouble getting to a barber shop, transportation became part of his business model. “I would go to campus, pick them up, take them back to my place, cut their hair, have a good time [and] good conversation,” he says.

20161029_sean_adams_463_web

Senior Sean Adams puts the finishing touches on a client’s haircut. The entrepreneurial barber also developed his own line of hair products.

Adams reached out to students through the Mizzou Black Men’s Initiative, where he works as a Program Assistant. He also reached out to members of the Zeta Alpha chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., his fraternity. He created business cards and posted pictures on his social media accounts. Over time, students came to recognize him as “Sean the Barber,” and eventually as “The Mizzou Barber.” Adams has also branched out into creating and selling hair grooming products in his line, Ashé Grooming Essentials.

When he isn’t cutting hair, Adams pursues career goals as a personal financial planning major. He worked as a teller at Commerce Bank during his freshman year and joined Bank of America his sophomore year. Adams was selected for an internship with Edward Jones for the summers of 2015 and 2016.

Although Adams isn’t sure whether he wants to keep cutting hair after graduation, he says his journey at MU has helped him grow into a well-rounded person. “I strategically picked a college town because I didn’t want outside distractions, and Mizzou has taken care of me,” Adams says. Part of that care taking has come from conversations with fellow Tigers. “They’ve helped me grow into a person with awareness on different social levels, whether it’s sexuality, masculinity, anything like that. I’ve become a lot more woke.”