Ray is in control: Multi-talented barber has a passion for success

Ottawa residents are being surprised with free street-side haircuts, courtesy of barber Ray Huang. Each day, Huang sets up a chair at a location and asks people walking by if they would be interested in getting a free haircut. “I do this for the community,” he said. Because he was unable to get proper haircuts […]
Photo: Annika Schlarb
Ray Huang works on Jonathan Fletcher's hair at Blessed Barber Shop. "When I'm doing a line-up everyone as to be quiet. Focus is key."

Ottawa residents are being surprised with free street-side haircuts, courtesy of barber Ray Huang.

Each day, Huang sets up a chair at a location and asks people walking by if they would be interested in getting a free haircut.

“I do this for the community,” he said.

Because he was unable to get proper haircuts himself, he wants to help others who may have the same struggle.

Huang grew up cutting his own hair. As he was self-taught, he had no technique just a razor and an uneven haircut.

“At the time my mom couldn’t afford for me to go to a barber,” he said, but Huang began to find enjoyment in cutting his own hair.

One day when he walked into a barbershop, and the barber noticed Huang’s hair was a mess.

“I told him I wanted to learn,” said Huang.

Ray is dedicated to helping his clients look their best and feel "blessed" after his service.
Ray is dedicated to helping his clients look their best and feel "blessed" after his service. Photo credit: Annika Schlarb

The barber agreed to teach him how to give a proper haircut, and Huang showed up every day after school. Since he was only 14 years old at the time, they didn’t hire him immediately.

Six years later, he has gained lots of practice and expertise in the barbering profession and now works at Blessed Barber Shop on Iris Street, near Algonquin College.

Working alongside his uncle, Jonathan Fletcher, and shop owner, Saleh Abdullah, Huang and the barbers at Blessed Barber Shop are eager to help clients look their best and go out of their way to make them feel blessed.

“I normally cut my own hair, but when I want a taper cut I let Ray do it,” said Fletcher.

Huang has developed interest in other creative pursuits, such as photography. He is currently enrolled in the photography program at Algonquin and enjoys capturing photos to build his portfolio. His artistic abilities have earned him first place in a Nikon photography competition, making him enthusiastic to participate in future contests.

His photography skills complement his barbering expertise and generate social media content, showcasing the haircuts he does for clients. People can follow Huang on TikTok and Instagram to see him give haircuts in different places around Ottawa, including at Bayshore Mall and the Algonquin College campus.

“My goal is to open a barber and photography studio in the future,” he said. He also plans to continue growing his social media presence and reach a bigger audience to spread his business and outreach to the community.

Identified as a barber, photographer and artist, Huang continues to pursue his passions, seeking to improve his skills and his community.

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