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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette student opens basement barber shop

Zabdiel Pozos-Lopez’s business is located in his basement in far Southwest Milwaukee.

Sometimes the best things are found where you least expect them; like a fresh haircut in an unfinished basement.

Zabdiel Pozos-Lopez, a first-year in the College of Health Sciences, started cutting hair in high school. He said he was inspired by the hairstyles his peers’ had. 

“I thought it was so cool, everyone came into school with their high-fade, mid-fade, low-fade,” Pozos-Lopez said. “I wanted to learn all that.”

Pozos-Lopez said he began learning how to cut hair, training with barbers JP Perez, Sergio Armenta, Gio Sanchez and Flako at Flashy Faded in Bayview. Pozos-Lopez said he swept floors for a year and a half in exchange for knowledge. He started his own business once he began attending Marquette. 

As a commuter student, Pozos-Lopez at first began traveling to his clients’ dorms at Marquette. As he acquired more clients and less time, he moved his business to the basement in his home in the far southwest side of Milwaukee. All of his clients drive to Pozos-Lopez’s house off 90th street to get their hair cut, styled or shaved.

There is a blurred line between client and friend in Pozos-Lopez’s business. Most of his clients are friends he met through schools or other activities, or recommendations from current clients.

Junior Romans, a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences, is one of Pozos-Lopez’s clients. The two met through the Urban Scholars Program at Marquette.

“It doesn’t feel like I’m really getting a haircut, it’s more of a home-type feel,” Romans said. “We can talk about anything.”

His goal? Pozos-Lopez said it is to bring confidence to his clients and make them feel good.

Hunter Yang, a first-year at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is one of Pozos-Lopez’s non-Marquette clients who experiences this exact sensation when he walks out of the makeshift salon.

“After getting my cut, looking in the mirror, I couldn’t feel any more confident in myself,” Yang said.

Daniel Levit, another one of the barber’s clients and a first-year in the College of Health Sciences at Marquette, said haircuts boost his pride in himself whenever he gets one. Levit said it means so much more when he can give credit to his friend, according to Levit.

“My friends are like, ‘Who cut your hair? It looks super nice’ and this and that, and I’m like, ‘That’s my boy right there,’” Levit said.

Pozos-Lopez wants to help people gain confidence again, though according to him, he didn’t always have it himself.

A Nicaragua native, Pozos-Lopez moved to the United States when he was four years old. 

“It was really hard because I did not know English, so I spent about six months learning the language,” Pozos-Lopez said. “It was a struggle because all of the kids had made friends and I didn’t have any friends.”

He is the first of his family to attend university. He isn’t attending Marquette to study hair, however. It was his orthodontist in eighth grade that inspired him to begin studying teeth and dentistry. He juggles his studies as a biomedical sciences major on the pre-dental track at Marquette along with his appointments.

Pozos-Lopez schedules all of his appointments through Instagram, @zabdiel_x0, where he also uses as a platform to display his passion for fashion with posts of photoshoots.

“I deal with a lot of people’s outer appearance and I think that’s really important,” Pozos-Lopez said. “I love seeing all of my clients walk out of here happy.”

This story was written by Sarah Richardson. She can be reached at [email protected]

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