hip hop barber

Masury barber Mark Zamora cuts the hair of customer Joe Goudy at his hip-hop-themed shop. Zamora, 23, blends his artistic talents with his barber skills by trimming designs into today’s most popular hairstyles.

The Shenango Valley’s newest barber and his hip-hop-themed shop are doing more than just turning heads.

Since it’s opening four months ago, In Tha Cut and barber Mark Zamora have helped customers find a new sense of style.

“I kind of brought the barbershop to a younger crowd,” said Zamora, 23.

Customers of the new shop at 890 S. Irvine Ave. can relax and play a video game while Zamora styles their hair. Others can shoot pool or watch a movie while waiting.

Posters of hip-hop music icons known for their own originality like Jay-Z, Obie Trice and the duo OutKast decorate the shop’s walls, while some customers allow Zamora to trim original designs into their hair.

Zamora said he knew when he graduated in 2004 from Sharon High School that he wanted to put his artistic skills to work but wasn’t sure how.

After trying to make coin working several jobs he called “horrible,” Zamora said, “I told myself, ‘Man I’m not doing this anymore.’ ”

Living in Columbus, Ohio, and still trying to find a career path that suited his talents, Zamora said it finally hit him.

“I just kind of put two and two together,” he said.

Zamora, who had cut hair since he was 12 years old for friends, began taking classes at the Ohio State College of Barber Styling in Columbus.

He quickly honed his craft, learning the technical and practical aspects of hairstyling.

“The practical part of it was learning different types of hairstyles,” he said.

One thing Zamora didn’t learn at barber school, however, was how to trim designs to go along with the haircuts.

“That’s pretty much something you got to teach yourself,” he said.

Zamora has cut everything from shapes and symbols to logos for sports teams and clothing companies into the sides of his customer’s heads.

The barber also painted a grafiti-styled mural on the side of his shop and carved a sign using a jigsaw.

The shop, with its unique ways to entertain customers, put it a cut above competitors and almost make it a prototype of the barbershop of the future, Zamora believes.

Zamora said the idea’s always been in the back of his mind and just because the shop’s geared toward a younger generation doesn’t mean older folks can’t stop by for a haircut and maybe even a few laughs.

With so much to keep them occupied, customers don’t really mind the wait, especially during busy times like Friday and Saturday afternoons, he said.

“Everybody likes to get fresh right before they go out,” Zamora said.

Business has been so good the shop is looking to hire an additional barber or cosmetologist, he said, preferably with an Ohio license.

For Zamora, the best part about being a barber is having an opportunity to put his creativity to work and feeling good when a haircut turns out just right.

“And feeling good about someone else feeling good about it,” he added.

In Tha Cut is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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