Delaware’s female barbers are proving they can cut it in a male dominated industry.
Lina Rosser owns Get the Look barbershop in Wilmington. She said giving clients their preference will keep them coming back to your chair. “I have been giving him the same haircut every week, twice a week for 15 years. Barbering is about being consistent and giving the client what they want.”
Rosser had an unconventional start into her profession. The Wilmington shop owner was so eager to cut hair that she dropped out of high school and went right to work. “I [cut hair] for 22 years without a license. No one asked me any questions.”
Her clients may not have questioned her, but some of the male barbers she worked with had a lot to say. “I worked at barber shops with men. I got into fights with men. I went through a lot to become a barber.”
Delaware’s self-proclaimed “first female barber” said she was able to hold her own because she had a steady clientele and refused to let those other barbers “break my spirits to stop.”
While her clients were pleased with her cutting skills, she knew she could do better if she went to school to become a legal barber.
So after years of cutting hair without a license, Rosser got her GED and went on to cosmetology school. It took her a year and a half to get her license.
Having that license has allowed Rosser to offer more services to her clients. “I’m a master barber so I’m able to work with chemicals. I can do finger waves and braid hair. I can curl hair and cut hair. I’m like a beefed-up cosmetologist in a sense.”
Rosser has her own barber shop now on Philadelphia Pike, and she’s looking to hire others to cut hair in her shop.
However, that’s been a difficult task. She feels some of the gender discrimination she felt during her early years of barbering is still out there. “I had probably eight to ten barbers under me in the two to three years of me doing this, and no one is consistent. I should have a team [by now], but I think that most barbers are intimidated by me and that’s how it’s always been. I’ve experienced a lot being a barber and being a female barber.”