“It was in the summer of ‘89. I remember it like it was yesterday. And every week, I would get in front of the mirror and cut it and make it all even,” McLemore said. “My friend saw me doing it, and he said, ‘You cut your hair? Do mine.’”
Soon, McLemore said, he was cutting the hair of many of his friends and neighbors, but after being reported by a jealous barber in Franklin for cutting hair without a license, McLemore said he decided to go to barber school and start his professional career as a barber.
“The state board came to my house and gave me a warning. They told me I can’t be illegally cutting hair, so I went to barber school and international barber college. So it was one of the best things that ever happened,” McLemore said. “He turned me in, but it was that push on through the door, and it was something that I needed to do anyway.”
McLemore, a Franklin resident, began cutting hair professionally in 2000 at Quina’s on 9th, a barbershop in Franklin that has since closed. He started Cuts N Blessings in 2007. The name of his business, he said, pays homage to all of the blessings he has been given in his life and career.
“We have a motto for the shop that says, ‘We give the cut, and God gives the blessings,’” McLemore said. “All I can do is cut your hair with the artistic ability that God blessed me with, but the blessings come from the environment that God has created, through the people that come through this door. We’ve had people get married that have met each other here and became couples. Guys have gotten jobs here. We’ve seen so many things happen that have been so good here.”
A good barber, in McLemore’s opinion, is someone who is patient, detailed and, overall, a craftsman who takes pride in their work.
“Good barbers look for reasons for everything to look good,” McLemore said. “You don’t have to be a perfectionist to be a good barber, but you’re very much flirting with it. ... When I cut somebody’s hair, whether they gave me $1,000 for a haircut or [they] didn’t pay me a dime, I’m going to make your haircut look exactly the same. My effort is to put the quality in my work and get paid for what I like doing, not for me to just get a paycheck for what I do.”•