ClipDart Founder and CEO Kyle Parker has a vision for the potential of hair treatment, a person that addresses the lack of accessibility for persons of shade even though increasing general psychological wellness.
Prioritizing your psychological health is essential, but sure facets, this kind of as hair treatment, can effortlessly be taken for granted. Working out, a well balanced diet or maintaining a nutritious rest timetable may possibly be the to start with matters that appear to head when on the lookout at strategies to boost one’s psychological health.
By means of the lens of intersectionality, however, it is simple to see that the business does not similarly cater to anyone. Folks of colour, the LGBTQIA+ local community, individuals battling economically or who encounter homelessness can be heavily influenced by this absence of accessibility, Parker saw.
Acquiring expert a piece of this firsthand, Parker sought to address these challenges through ClipDart, delivering totally free, top quality hair care to all those in need. Nowadays, individuals companies are provided in 15 distinct states. House base, having said that, is Arizona — ClipDart will work with 30-in addition non-revenue all through the condition — and it all stems from human connections created in Phoenix when ClipDart was in its early preparing levels.
Hailing from the south facet of Chicago, Parker under no circumstances experienced a tricky time locating a barber that could get him wanting right. What ever cut he needed, he experienced access to it.
“I never experienced an challenge locating a barber, discovering a stylist. Just currently being from one of the most varied metropolitan areas in the world,” Parker instructed the Arizona Republic. “You know, I went to a primarily black store but if that was not readily available I could go to the Puerto Rican neighborhoods, the Mexican neighborhoods, Korean neighborhoods, there is constantly likely to be somebody that can slice our variety of hair.”
As a young Black guy rising up in the internal-city, barber outlets served a further objective, he stated.
“Expanding up in these type of communities, barber outlets, hair salons are really cultural establishments. Areas where by they ended up selecting individuals battling with homelessness, people today having difficulties with mental ailment, disabilities just to sweep the flooring,” Parker mentioned. “Wherever I was from, these places ended up safe and sound havens. You can find not a lot of safe havens on the south facet of Chicago.”
The outlets all over the town helped Parker know their value, not only as cultural cornerstones but as a sort of therapy.
“When you are in a battling local community each and every working day, it would not have to be south side of Chicago but really considerably anyplace you are, and you can go to a place like a barber shop, like a hair salon, it can make yourself feel complete and nicely and make you experience a lot more like on your own. It really is very essential to your mental wellness,” Parker reported.
For 18 years, having a haircut became a regime for Parker, that is until he moved to Grinnell School in Iowa to engage in basketball.
“With my naivety, which is the type of obtain that I believed I was just likely to have for the rest of my lifestyle,” Parker stated with a snicker. “I lost total access to any variety of hair care out there. It was the full reverse of the south aspect of Chicago.”
The transition was rather a lifestyle shock for Parker. During some of what he calls the “most opportune instances” in his life, he felt he failed to appear his most effective, getting a toll on his mental wellbeing.
This ruined Parker’s self-confidence in terms of interactions, career interviews, housing interviews and his most important outlet, basketball. It received to the position wherever his brother flew out to Iowa just to give him a haircut ahead of a video game, Parker shared.
At his wit’s close, Parker understood something wanted to be accomplished, so he commenced to lay the basis for a remedy.
Actualizing a vision: The birth of ClipDart
Parker’s original vision was the way to solve the lack of access to good hair care by the development of an app with a operate related to Uber or DoorDash, but for a barber.
Improvement commenced in 2016, through his junior year of faculty, with programs to launch that calendar year or in 2017. Eventually, as perform ongoing, the app’s launch was pushed back again, with a scheduled fall day of March 15, 2020.
Even so, that program would also tumble through offered the shutdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020.
“It was devastating, you know. For our staff to function four straight many years on this app, and then we just could not launch it,” Parker said.
Oddly plenty of, this would basically transform out to be a blessing for Parker and group, as the effects of COVID limits reopened his eyes to a much larger difficulty.
“We ended up able to comprehend through that position in time, no person was really finding haircuts, so we started out to notice, ‘What if you will not have a telephone?’ or ‘What if you happen to be not into technologies,” Parker explained. “Our mission is not to just create this great application, our mission is to strengthen mental wellness.”
A tricky determination was then made to forgo the application — monetarily supported by Parker’s specialist basketball career in Germany — and make the pivot to a company-to-business product, in line with his primary mission.
“Businesses throughout the entire world, colleges, where ever there could be that absence of access to hair treatment, we can associate with them,” Parker stated. “The enterprise would acquire the charge, so it’d make it cost-free for the individuals in will need, and we ended up ready to do the business enterprise that way and actually began to mature points exceptionally.”
With the refined route, ClipDart would place on its 1st party at Luther College in Iowa, down the avenue from Parker’s outdated stomping grounds.
“We partnered with them in 2020, and they’ve been finding haircuts 2 times a thirty day period given that that time,” Parker explained.
Next its inaugural celebration, ClipDart would start to blossom, partnering with upwards of 40 unique universities across the place, according to Parker, with the objective to retain coming back.
“Ninety p.c of those people educational facilities, we are there every single single month. So it is really not like we are just popping up, performing publicity stunts, taking sweet pictures, but truly reducing their hair treatment inequity,” Parker explained.
That frequency nevertheless holds these days, as the 501C3 has expanded its get to much past just colleges, heading on to continuously spouse with a slew of various corporations which include hospitals, nursing households and shelters.
General, ClipDart’s access has developed into 15 distinctive states, with designs to go worldwide by subsequent 12 months setting up in England and Germany.
The Arizona connection
Even though Parker is from Chicago, ClipDart’s primary headquarters are found in Phoenix.
The reasoning at the rear of this is about as previous as the non-profits’ inception, as with designs to sector his app — Parker required to shoot a professional with his brother, a videographer, who life in Phoenix.
With the location in thoughts, Parker began reaching out to a laundry list of local barbers to star in his promo.
“I imagine I could possibly have messaged a hundred barbers by DM on Instagram just looking at if they wanted to be a element of the professional,” Parker reported.
Only a single particular person, Dre Flores, would react, however. Luckily for us for Parker, Flores noticed what he was striving to establish and preferred to be a component of it.
“At this place, it was just the application. There was nothing at all about organization-to-organization, no non-gain, none of that. I pitched him on the idea, he cherished it and so it commenced to expand with him,” Parker reported.
The initially time the two satisfied for the shoot, their partnership was virtually intended to be.
“When I met Kyle, he experienced a bracelet on, and on this bracelet was actually my most loved bible verse that has kept me heading by way of some of the ugliest chapters of my existence,” Flores stated. “Being a male of faith, I was like, ‘this is ridiculous, which is the sign.'”
So nuts, in simple fact, that a 7 days later, Flores dropped every little thing to accompany Parker on a trip to New York in 2017 to recruit some East Coastline barbers to the cause. On his own dime, far too.
“He gave me the dates, I reported I will see you out there in New York Town, bro,” Flores claimed. “Upcoming day I referred to as him, I explained ‘I just purchased the plane ticket, I’ll see you out there subsequent week.'”
All over that 7 days, the pair would travel to all-around 300 barber retailers in just the condition not only pushing a job but sowing the seeds for their eventual achievement.
“He under no circumstances complained the full time, he was just seriously concentrated on pushing the mission. So which is when I knew, about 2017 or 2018, that he’d be any person who’d be with us for a extended time and these days. With no him, there is certainly definitely no ClipDart,” Parker said.
The partnership with Flores, who is now the Advertising and marketing Specialist and U.S. Crew Guide for ClipDart, would verify vital in developing them as a critical player inside the Grand Canyon State because of to Flores’ connections in the slicing local community, producing it easier to create out trustworthy groups to company these in want all through the Valley.
A person of those group customers is Arizona Workforce Guide David Rodriguez, who joined in 2021 and quickly rose by means of the ranks.
“Having Kyle rely on me so early, I feel even a lot more grateful due to the fact I come to feel like he understood I had the qualities to do so, but I am discovering every single day to be far better with just about every small area,” Rodriguez said. “I am increasing with the company, is what I like to say.”
A notice continually echoed by the likes of Flores, Parker, and Rodriguez is that essence of progress, considerably of which comes from those people they are caring for.
“We test to lover with any individual and all people, so we can be reoccurring. We comprehend that consistency is key as very well. If I can see you as soon as or two times a month then we are definitely talking simply because then you really feel at ease, you seem fantastic, we have a connection, existence commences changing just like that,” Rodriguez reported.
In accordance to Parker, the non-earnings at present has 40-plus companions through Arizona, with no options of slowing down both. In June, ClipDart secured a $100,000 grant from the Maricopa County Office of General public Health to deliver month to month haircuts above the subsequent calendar year at 13 various Senior Centers in Arizona’s greatest county.
The grant, in substantial section, is a large signifier of the grounds ClipDart has ongoing to crack over its less than two-year operate as a non-financial gain, becoming the initial hair care corporation to receive the honor from the Section of Public Health.
The figures justify it as well. Nationwide, ClipDart provided a overall of 2,620 no cost haircuts in 133 appointments in 2022, a overall that was subsequently smashed halfway by means of 2023, as the business has supplied over 3,600 free haircuts and counting this yr.
“It truly exhibits you the require and demonstrates you that there is certainly no one else doing this on a substantial amount,” Parker explained.
Individuals fascinated in attending an upcoming ClipDart function or are intrigued in joining the workforce can go to their web-site at ClipDart.com, downloading the ClipDart app or by subsequent them on Instagram @clipdart.