For Jason Boatright, moving to Madison was a tough transition. Hours away from his large family and friends in Joliet, Illinois, he was tempted to fall back into bad habits, but instead he chose to become a professional barber.
“When I came here I was bored,” Boatright told Madison365. “Instantly I tried to get back into the same things I was doing before, but then I stepped back and looked at myself in the mirror and said, ‘Do you want to bring that here, or do you want to elevate yourself to something better?’ And that’s what I did.”
Boatright opened his own barbershop, B. Right Barbershop, located at 511 W. Main Street in Sun Prairie on March 6, and with only a week of business under his belt he’s already proud of what he’s done.
Originally intending to attend school in Illinois, Boatright had to change his plan after abruptly moving to Madison. Once here, he got a job for a large company, but after being looked over for a promotion he realized he no longer wanted to work for someone else.
“It just hit me,” he said. “Why waste all my time with these jobs when I have skill that can make me a successful career and set me apart from other people?”
Boatright graduated from Madison College in 2016 with a degree in cosmetology and went on to work at Atwood Barber Shop, though his experience cutting hair started when he was just a teenager.
After complaining about the haircuts his father gave him growing up, Boatright made a failed attempt to cut his own hair. After experiencing the humiliation of wearing the botched haircut he vowed to get it right and eventually began to cut the hair of his 9 younger brothers.
Still, barbering as a full time profession did not seem like an option for him.
“I just didn’t take it seriously because I didn’t see any instant money in it,” he said.
Now he’s taking it very seriously, saying that the one-person suite that currently houses B. Right Barbershop is only the beginning.
Boatright plans to expand in a year adding more barbers. He is also inspired by the work of other local barbers, like Jeff Patterson of JP Hair Designs, who aim to be pillars in the community.
“I want to educate and be a Good Samaritan to help a lot of young Black men,” he said.
Boatright said he wants to see a chain of Black barbershops like Cost Cutters or Sport Clips and even if he doesn’t start it, he wants to inspire someone else to.
“I really want people to be able to look at me and say if I can do it, they can too,” he said.