‘Barber Mike’ a cut above for volunteer work for local Boys & Girls Clubs


Barber Mike Boys and Girls

by Carrie Baggaley Rasmussen

It’s 9:30 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving when I walk into Prolific Hair Design in Des Moines. The TV is on college basketball – North Carolina vs. Butler – and the guys in the shop are already deep in conversation talking about growing up and where they are spending Thanksgiving.

Barber Mike Marcotte is already halfway through his first cut of the day and one thing is evident – if you are not a Seahawks fan, you may end up one by the time you leave. From pictures on the walls and full length mirror to the hand mirror which sports a Hawks logo – this guy has pride in his team.20141126_095810

I jokingly tell the guys in the shop they are about to learn more about Barber Mike – his response “I’m going to do this interview like Marshawn…every answer is going to be, ‘Yeah.’” Everyone laughs and we spend a few minutes talking about the NFL rules on interviews. His first cut of the day is done. Let’s get one thing straight, this is the type of place where haircuts are concluded with a “take it easy, see you next time” and you know that person is going to be back. It’s a easy, laid back feel here. The conversations flow – I am the only woman in the shop and I have the inside track as to what guys talk about – family, vacation, school, work – what to eat on Thanksgiving, what not to…

Mike’s next appointment Danny, sits down and we all start chatting. I have seen recently on social media that Mike is getting around, not just in Des Moines, but specifically at the Boys & Girls Clubs in White Center, cutting the kids hair for free.

So what motivated you to become involved with the club?
“Growing up I lived in White Center and it wasn’t cool, it was tough. The Boys & Girls club was where we could go kick it.  It was a place we could go for late night and it was a cool hang out.”

Did you always know you wanted to be a barber?
“I moved to the East Coast and when I was 12 – I knew I wanted to try cutting hair but no one would let me so I found some clippers and shaved down my own head – I was an awesome child protege! No, I kid, but I knew then I enjoyed cutting hair.  My sophomore year I moved back to White Center and graduated from Evergreen High School.”

So what was the motivation to become specifically involved with the club?
“I have a friend who works there and when I was in barber school he just suggested to me to come over and do some cuts. I figured it would be a good way to give back and get some practice in. That was June of 2013 and we’ve been going now, more recently, like once a month.”

Mike when you say “we” who do you mean?
“Well it’s not just me, Danny Ye, Avery Wilcox, Gabino Meija and Joshua Mensah have all been contributing and we do it at the Tukwila Community Center and both Boys & Girls Clubs in North Seattle and White Center.”

20141126_103617What are you getting out of it? Do you feel like you are mentoring or leading these kids? It’s an impressionable age.
“Growing up I remember looking at guys like me, guys in their 20’s, and thinking that’s what is cool – people just want to tell these kids what they should be doing, like, you should do this or try this, but I want to listen, I want to show them that there are people who care, that I care. Most of these kids have never been able to pick out their cut or where to get it. It definitely boosts their self confidence….sometimes the parents are the ones more excited because they don’t have the money for a cut like that. You can tell when you start seeing them taking selfies.”

Mike’s phone rings and he answers, “This is Mike, naw man I am booked up solid till 8:15 tonight.” It’s easy to see why Mike is staying busy.  He and his client Danny are chatting about a recent post I saw too. He received a call about cutting hair for a musical group who was on tour and performing at The Showbox – the referral came from another guy Mike has cut for, a retired wide receiver and Super Bowl Champion. Not too shabby for a kid from White Center who had it tough and it’s clicking, I know why Mike spends so much time cutting the kids hair at the Boys & Girls Club. Danny chimes in that he’s going to follow Mike wherever he goes – he’s that good.

But don’t let his recent notoriety fool you. Mike is a humble guy and a perfectionist who isn’t going to let you leave unhappy. I can see this as Danny check’s his hair and Mike makes a few more adjustments. He tells me he cuts hair of all ages “the youngest was like 11 months old to elderly, all ages, races, women with shorter hair, musicians, cops, athletes, warehouse workers – every walk of life.” It’s one of his favorite things he takes pride in he says. “It doesn’t matter who you are, I am going to give you a great cut because I am a good barber and I take too much pride in what I do so I’m going to cut everyone’s hair like they are a celebrity. When you get a good cut, your renewed. You feel like you can take on the world!”


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