T-Snips Blindsided With Forced Closure


Daniel Kochupura and Ben Winslow

“A profound loss for our school and our community,” was how one student described the shuttering of beloved Winchester institution T-Snips Barbershop. The brainchild of Thomas Harrison ‘23 had been firing on all cylinders when the order came from the administration Monday the 31st. It was a sudden change for Harrison and the T-Snips team, who had previously come to an agreement with the administration and were not prepared for such a situation. The T-Snips experiment was approaching its two-month birthday, but orders from Winchester have brought the operation to a screeching halt, suspended until at least the spring.

T-Snips Barbershop first exploded in popularity through their social media presence which triggered a trail of discussion about the transformation of upperclassmen boys’ hair—a trend had emerged when individuals began disappearing during the lunch period and returning soon after with a “fresh fade.” The force, as it was soon discovered, was none other than junior Thomas Harrison. Posting before-and-after pictures to social media, the T-Snips team worked through lunch to provide friends and fans with haircuts at no charge. 

The barbershop began when current T-Snips social media manager Toby Kaufman asked Harrison to give him a haircut. The now-barber bought some “bad” tools online, gave Kaufman the cut, and created an Instagram account to show friends the result. As he took on more clients, the T-Snips acquired better tools, loyal customers from all four grades, and an Instagram fan base of over 150 followers. Harrison was soon known throughout the school as “T-Snips,” and his operation became a popular topic of conversation throughout thy pillared portals. 

A number of Voices writers had received haircuts at T-Snips, and more still planned on getting theirs in the coming weeks. Said one of the T-Snips customers, “it was the best haircut I had gotten in years: great cut, very organized, fantastic experience. I was going to go again.” Another staff member, who planned on getting one soon, expressed disappointment that they would no longer be able to: “I was honestly pretty excited to go. People had been recommending them a lot.” 

Voices was made aware of the school’s decision late Monday night. The newspaper had previously reported on the shop weeks ago, following a surge in positive recognition from students and an official acknowledgement from the school. T-Snips, at the time, had been countenanced by the administration with certain rules that the barbershop had respected. 

The student body has gathered in solidarity to support the T-Snips team after the loss of their shop. Students have raised concerns about the message that the forced closing sends to students: “His passion is being discarded. They aren’t helping him to nurture his creativity,” one student remarked during our conversation. Other students said: “What is wrong with haircuts? I don’t see any harm in that,” “FREE T-SNIPS. He did nothing wrong,” and “I was planning on getting a haircut there!” 

Voices reached out to an individual close to the T-Snips operation shortly after learning of the school’s decision. This person said they felt “Winchester offered us support and then pulled it away” and that they were under the impression that T-Snips Barbershop would be “supported for the rest of the year.” The situation was “frustrating” and “tough to deal with” for an operation that was “just trying to give people quality haircuts.”

Winchester’s directive calls many to wonder whether how much the school supports vocational interests, especially those that might not be as lucrative or traditionally prestigious. It also has led many to wonder what this year’s large-scale success of the high school will be, a seemingly annual tradition where a student creates something massively successful which the whole school gets behind. The T-Snips situation follows the dissolution of the high-flying FFL intramural football league months ago, which, in its first year, helped a staggering one-third of all boys in the high school to participate in touch football games outside during lunch.

The newspaper eventually got in touch with Thomas Harrison, the barber himself who gave his perspective Wednesday at lunch. He said that the school was “constraining his abilities and plans for T-Snips Barbershop.” Harrison said he felt “betrayed” by the administration and its “unreasonable” decision. He knew that “the folks who I had initially talked to were in support, but the school saw it as a liability.”

On Wednesday afternoon, T-Snips sent Voices an advance copy of the press release they were to send out later that night. It reads:

“On Monday the 31st, T-Snips Barbershop was informed that its permission to carry out operations had been revoked. This was a complete surprise to us. We had previously received support from the school, and we were not expecting nor prepared for it to be so suddenly taken away. T-Snips has served so many. We wanted to help people. That is what we have done. T-Snips Barbershop is saddened by recent developments and hopes to repair relations with the administration.”

T-Snips hopes to return in the Spring when the weather is warmer and he can cut hair outside. Voices will continue to report on developments regarding T-Snips Barbershop.