Kyle Parker ’17

by Melanie Drake ’92

During his Grinnell student days, Kyle Parker ’17 found himself either asking basketball teammates to cut his hair or trying to navigate his full schedule and find transportation to get to a barbershop in Des Moines.

Eventually, he reached out to his Des Moines barber and asked if he would come to Grinnell to provide haircuts. The result was overwhelmingly positive — the clients were multiple, and the barber’s travel and time were well-compensated.

Parker knew he was onto something. That year, he founded ClipDart, an on-demand mobile barber service for people who do not have reliable access to barbershop services that focus on their specific hair care needs.

“For Black and Latino people, part of our culture is our hair. Our barbers can be therapists. They provide safe havens in the community,” he explains. “Some people know their barbers as well as they know their parents. When you go away from that, you feel like a part of yourself is missing.”

After the pandemic halted his professional basketball career in Germany last year, Parker returned to the United States and launched an app for ClipDart. The service has resulted in a new way to do business for barbers and a boost in positive self-esteem for clients, he says.

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