ClipDart teams up with CIES


Gil Jordan gives a haircut to Kritib Bhattarai (‘23). Photo courtesy of Serenity Figueroa (‘23).

A barber shop experience has been created in CFA for students of color that are in need of a

haircut. On-demand barber company ClipDart, founded by Kyle Parker, recently partnered with the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Support (CIES) to provide free haircuts for students in need. Students are able to sign up for an hour long appointment with a professional barber through the ClipDart app. The sign up is available every two weeks on the CIES newsletter email.


ClipDart’s founder is no foreigner to Iowa. Parker attended Grinnell College for three years before he decided to leave due to his mental health. Similar to Decorah, Grinnell is a small town with a population of about 9,564, according to the 2020 census. Parker points to the importance of having hairdressers and barbers who are skilled in cutting ethnic hair in these small towns.


“Graduating from a diverse high school and going to Grinnell College was an extreme culture

Shock,” Parker said. “I had lost complete access to hair care. The closest city was three hours away. College is the most opportunistic time in your life, and if you go through those times just not ever being able to look your best, it can really take a toll on your mental wellness.”


Soon after his leave from Grinnell, Parker founded ClipDart. The project began as a pilot in March of 2021 when Parker began reaching out to various institutions about his mission to provide haircuts. Luther’s former Vice President of Equity, Inclusion, and Student Success Lisa Scott contacted her personal barber Gil Jordan to inquire if he would be interested in working with Luther and ClipDart. Since then, Jordan has been traveling to Decorah from Rochester to provide free haircuts to students of color bi-weekly on Mondays.


Director of CIES Wintlett Taylor-Browne described her personal experience with her hair and its significance within her culture.


“In most cultures, our hair is most important—it’s an important part of our identity, [and] it says

something about mental health,” Taylor-Browne said. “Going to school and living in a community where there are no barbers or hair dressers that know what to do with your hair can be depressing.”


Jordan explained that in inner cities, barber shops are pillars of Black and brown communities. They often provide jobs to those that are down and out and provide a sense of community amongst men as they engage in conversation while getting their hair cut. 


“I go to eight different colleges, [and] most of these colleges are in the middle of nowhere.

A lot of these kids are from inner cities or are international students,” Jordan said. “They need

that little piece of home. A haircut goes a long way because it’s bigger than just the hair cut.”


Jordan will be back on campus October 24th in the CFA green room for those with an appointment.