Quality S.H.O.P: Student Uses Talents and Education to Provide Service to Peers

Story by Alysha Lewis photos and videos courtesy of Rondall Murray Jr.

Most college students scramble to find jobs on campus or nearby. This recent Central Michigan University grad, however, took the initiative to make money by doing something he knew how to do best- cutting hair.

Rondall Murray Jr. from Detroit, MI graduated from CMU this past Dec. with a Bachelor of Science Business Administration degree in accounting. When he wasn’t in class though, Murray spent his spare time cutting hair.“I started cutting hair when I was 18,” Murray said. “It was during the first semester of my freshman year here at CMU. I didn’t trust anyone to cut my hair up here, so I started cutting my own hair. Soon after, I stared cutting one of my friends for free.”

As a freshman, Murray did not initially think cutting hair would become a part of his college experience. That wasn’t until summer 2015 that his clientele began to grow, and in that moment, he realized he needed to be more serious about his business.

“The demand for my services grew high, and as an accounting major I understood how to conduct business,” Murray said. “Soon after, I began to brand myself.”

As a young entrepreneur, Murray had to find a space that would allow him to service his growing number of clients, and in doing so he had to get creative.“I started cutting hair in my dorm room,” Murray said. “Then I began to cut hair in my apartment. I changed my living room around to give my clients more of a barbershop feel.”

Murray was a full-time student all the while cutting hair, and taking accounting classes allowed Murray to use the knowledge he obtained from his schooling to help guide him as a businessman along the way. Throughout the years, Murray managed to balance his class schedule and his work schedule to accommodate as many customers as possible while still getting his school work done.“It was hectic, but it definitely required balance,” Murray said. “Budgeting out time was an essential way of life. I had little time to just sit around and chill.”

Due to the growing number of clients, Murray had to figure out a way to schedule his clients without overlapping in his class schedule. Eventually, Murray created a scheduling website allowing clients to schedule appointments around his class schedule. Murray was able to gain a following by word of mouth, however it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Murray had to put into a lot of hard work to improve his work and come up with a strategic marketing plan.

“I knew I had a good thing going, when my potential clients all came off the word of other clients,” Murray said.

Murray began to notice his weekly revenue growing rapidly over the years. At first, Murray charged $8 for a haircut. The prices then went up to $10, $12, $15, and now $20. His work speaks for itself, not one customer leaves his chair dissatisfied.

As a recent grad, Murray no longer has a reason to stay in Mount Pleasant, however, Murray goes the extra mile to drive back and forth from Detroit to Mount Pleasant to continue to serve CMU students.

“My clients are the heartbeat of my business,” Murray said. “I grew relationships with my clients and thought it would be a great long-term business move to finish the year out cutting hair.” If there was any advice Murray could give to young entrepreneurs, it’d be a quote by Andy Andrews, “Adversity is preparation for greatness.”

To learn more about Quality Shop and the man behind the cuts, follow Murray on Instagram @__rmj or search the hashtag #TheSHOPCMU.