The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Beloved barber: Quintin Chothem

Hairstylist displays dedication, engagement with haircutting craft
CLIPPER+COMMITMENT.+Quintin+Chothem+creates+relationships+with+his+clients%2C+making+sure+they+have+the+best+experience+possible.+Outside+of+the+barbershop%2C+Mr.+Chotem+enjoys+engaging+with+his+community+with+service.
Alex Diamond
CLIPPER COMMITMENT. Quintin Chothem creates relationships with his clients, making sure they have the best experience possible. Outside of the barbershop, Mr. Chotem enjoys engaging with his community with service.

In his childhood home on the Southeast side of Chicago, a young Quintin Chothem discovered the art of being a barber in an unexpected way. Armed with determination and a pair of clippers, Mr. Chothem set out to cut his brother’s hair for picture day. 

Little did he know, this seemingly ordinary haircut would ignite Mr. Chothem’s passion for cutting hair, setting the stage for a journey into the world of cutting hair.

“My little brother had a picture day, but I told my mom I would save her the trouble,” Mr. Chothem said. “I just practiced on his head, and soon his friends just started coming, and eventually I was just cutting the whole neighborhood.”

Quintin Chothem has made a name for himself in the Hyde Park area as a skilled and dedicated barber. Mr. Chothem is now 31 but grew up in Jeffery Manor, a neighborhood on Chicago’s Southeast side about 20 minutes south of Lab. He now lives in Hyde Park along with a couple of his family members. 

Before attending a formal barber school, Mr. Chothem’s early experiences as a barber sparked a natural talent for the profession. These experiences laid the foundation for his journey into hairstyling and engaging with the community.

“It was rough at first. I had my own bowl cut disasters, but I always had a knack for creativity,” Mr. Chothem said. “Haircutting became my outlet, my creative space.” 

Reflecting on his early years of learning how to cut hair, Mr. Chothem recognizes how his confidence quickly backfired as he attempted a design in his own hair.

“In high school I was cutting everybody’s hair, and I started getting confident with my designs. Eventually someone dared me to do a design in my own head,” Mr. Chothem explained. “You know, I was so confident in myself that I could do it, but you know, I got nervous while I was doing it and ended up with a bald patch on my head for the week.”

Mr. Chothem has become a go-to barber for multiple students at U-High. One customer, junior Arhan Ganapathi, finds Quintin’s service reliable and trustworthy.

“It’s kind of hard to find a good barber, you know? I feel like it’s a lot of trust to put into someone,” Arhan said. “But Quintin listened to me from the jump, so over time I started to build more trust with him.”

In addition to appreciating his reliability, Arhan also finds the service quick and well priced.

“The haircut only takes about 20 minutes and it’s only like $20, so I think it’s really good, all things considered,” Arhan said.

Beyond his technical skills, Mr. Chothem’s success can be attributed to his commitment to community service and his desire to be known in Hyde Park. He values building relationships with his clients and taking the time to understand their interests and preferences in addition to being attentive to all clients.

“To build a relationship with my clients I really just see what they are interested in,” Mr. Chothem said. “The best way to relate to somebody is to be personable and just see what they are looking for.” 

Mr. Chothem’s connection to the community extends to the younger generation as well. When entering the shop, Mr. Chothem is often giving haircuts to young children, who tend to be more distracted and squirmish. For situations like these, Mr. Chothem emphasizes attentiveness and patience to the child’s needs.

“It’s mainly patience man, a lot of the times you just got to reach people where they at, and every kid is different,” Mr. Chothem said. “Every kid needs a different amount of attention and patience. It’s really about being attentive.”

Challenges have always been a part of Mr. Chothem’s journey, and he acknowledges the diversity in his clientele as a constant learning experience. 

“Everybody is different, so you have to approach each client professionally. It’s about adapting and learning patience,” Mr. Chothem said.

For Mr. Chothem, the most rewarding aspect of his profession goes beyond the money.

“It’s the relationships,” he says emphatically. “Building connections with people, hearing their stories, and becoming a part of their lives – that’s what makes it truly rewarding.”

As Mr. Chothem continues to excel in his career, he has valuable advice for aspiring barbers, especially those still in high school. 

“You really gotta love it,” Mr. Chothem advised. “Figure out if it’s your passion. It can’t be just for the money; it has to be something you genuinely enjoy. The time and effort it takes will be worth it if you love what you do.”

What began as a simple act to help his mom and cut his brother’s hair evolved into a thriving career for Mr. Chothem, showcasing his commitment to his craft and community. But for Mr. Chothem, his story is not just about cutting hair; it’s about building relationships, embracing challenges and finding fulfillment in a profession driven by passion and dedication.

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About the Contributors
Milo Platz-Walker
Milo Platz-Walker, Reporter
Milo Platz-Walker is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as a reporter. He joined the staff as a ninth grader in 2021 and returned as a junior. Outside of journalism, Milo competes in karate, listens to music and spends time with friends and family.
Alex Diamond
Alex Diamond, Photographer
Alex Diamond is a photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2026. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking photos. Outside of photojournalism, Alex enjoys hanging out with friends and learning new things. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, feature photo

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