Albrim Zhuta was the first victim of Besjan Kamberi’s haircuts. “Don’t do that, don’t do that Besjan” he yelled from the bathroom while Kamberi, his older cousin was experimenting with his hair.
We all have great ideas of what we want to do in life but it takes that special spark in someone to move forward and to actually make something of them. Besjan Kamberi a young entrepreneur, who has been making strides forward to pursue his career goals.
Kamberi has been cutting hair in a small room in his house for three years, he dedicates about 20 cumulative hours a week to giving haircuts. Kamberi has spent around $600 on equipment. He spends $120 on clippers, $60 on balders, $60 on trimmers, $30 on scissors, $20 on straight razors, and $15 on shaving gel.
What made Kamberi want to start cutting hair was his drive for change.
“All I saw was the same hair cut between people in town, I didn’t see any fades or different types of hair styles, so I thought to myself ‘what if I bring something new?”
Kamberi taught himself how to cut hair by watching videos and by trial and error.
“On my free time I would watch Youtube videos on how to do certain hairstyles and learn the basics of styling hair, my first haircut was on my little cousin he was kind of my practice dummy.”
Kamberi hopes to pursue this as a career in the future, he sees himself owning a barbershop in less than 10 years and hopes to return to Ketchikan in the future to open a new shop.
“College has never been something of interest to me, the thought of going to more and more school isn’t how I want to spend my life, I want to go to barber school which isn’t nearly as long as actual college. I can get a degree in cosmetology then open my own barbershop/salon and maybe even come back later and open a good shop down here in Ketchikan and bring something new to Ketchikan.”
So what made people trust Besjan to cut their hair? Especially since he didn’t have much experience as any other shops in town? Senior Jackson Kaye said he wanted to support a friend willing to take a risk.
“For me it wasn’t really about trusting Besjan to give me a good haircut, when he started out all I wanted to do was support a friend even if there was a chance of it being bad.”
Kaye has been very satisfied with Kamberi’s work.
“He’s always given me good cuts, one thing I love about Besjan’s haircut is that he takes his time giving me the best cut he possibly can, you can’t say the same about the other places in town.”
Kamberi has been an easy and quick resource for high school students. He is available at any time of the day as junior Patrick Garcia said, “He always has time even if it’s 10 p.m. he’ll be ready to cut, he’s easy to contact and he works around your schedule if needed.”
High school hustle
The term “side hustle” has become the expression for adults who have their career, but a side job that explores a passion at some level. This isn’t typical for high school students but Ketchikan seems to be fostering the teenage equivalent.
Kayhi teacher Allegra Machado has been teaching the enterneruship class for three years and said it is no surprise that every year Kayhi has multiple young entrepreneurs. Machado thinks that this generation is big on doing their own thing and believes that kids want to make a difference and be “unique and successful.”
“I think it’s this generation in general, if you think about all the young vloggers, youtubers and people reviewing and promoting products online. I think especially with social media, if you have any product you want to market it’s really easy for people to do it from home.”
While Kayhi has an entrepreneurship class only one student that has their own side hustle is in the class this year, while the others are doing it on their own.
Riley Deal’s product is wood work, he combines epoxy and resin in a process called fractal wood burning. What got Deal to begin doing this was his love for science and gift giving.
“I love science and woodworking and I needed a gift for my dad, I came across the process and started doing it.”
Isabella Schreckhise draws and paints, and is an accomplished graphic design artist. Some of her drawings are featured at Gold Pan, around the city and even in Kayhi.
Dearly Villaflor paints hydro flasks for friends and even painted hydro flasks for the Cross Country Runners for their end of season banquet. Villflor started painting hydroflasks because no one else was doing it in town at that time. “What’s unique about me painting hydro flasks was that nobody in town was really doing it, I wanted to start something new.”
Dametre Williams-Martin makes copper and silver native jewelry. Kelleigh Nickich has her own photography page where she takes pictures of categories ranging from senior portraits to basketball game pictures and is also a lead photographer for the Kayhi Yearbook.
Lyla Seludo hand makes scrunchies she does not sell her product but gifts them for the time being.
CJ Paule and Micah Britt produce their own videography with their business JMC Productions. Britt and Paule make short films for whoever is in need of them. Paule even got a job with a home rental business and helped them with their photography and videography films. Britt is currently the Social Media Marketing Manager for Cape Fox Lodge and got an offer to film a marriage proposal at his job.
Distraction vs Product
In the entrepreneurial world, not everything is created equal. There are products that improve or add to a life and there is a separate world of entertainment. It’s no secret that humans want the path of least resistance, which is why many might look to make money on social media by creating a viewership rather than a product. A distraction or entertainment, rather than a tangible item.
Connecticut teenager Charli D’Amelio is taking over the Tik Tok realm and has gone viral simply by standing in front of her phone and recording herself dancing while Noa Mintz young entrepreneur started executing her ideas at the age of 10, she was running art classes for kids during the summer and two years later she founded a children’s party planning business. Now Mintz is 16 years old and runs a full-service childcare agency in New York City. Mintz has even hired a whole staff to help her execute her big ideas.
English teacher and freelance writer, Jeff Lund who also co-founded LMT (a lifestyle apparel brand) in 2014 but left the business completely in 2017 believes that selling a product that helps people in some way is what customers want.
“I think everything ends up being more fun and sustainable when you’re able to provide a quality product for others. Something they can use, whether it be a thing, or words or ideas. I want my readers to be people, not suckers.“
When asked if he would rather be Youtube famous or have a successful business Kamberi was quick to answer “have my own successful hair cutting business.”
Kamberi likes to serve a purpose to his customers.
“I like seeing people feel good about themselves with my haircuts. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right when they leave feeling confident and good about themselves.”