She cuts hair: Dorm barber handles heads and hearts

Dayna Little considers herself a “shop baby” having grown up working in hair salons and barbershops.

By Capri Starling

Dayana Little is playing an outsized role at Howard University despite the modest name of her business --- Little by Littles. She became the first woman barber at the all-male Drew Hall when the university opened a barbershop on campus in 2017. She provides free haircuts to first-year students in Drew and Cook halls.

The Philadelphia-born Little established her career cutting heads at Howard, when she became everyone’s go-to barber as student. Little was an obvious candidate when the barbershop opened. She stands out in a male-dominated field in which one of only 16 percent of 135,000 barbers on record in the U.S. in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dayana Little finishing a haircut in the Drew Hall barbershop.

“The idea was to have a place for people like Dayana… young entrepreneurs,” said Mervin Augustin, the community manager for Drew Hall and Cook Hall dormitory. Little serves as the official barber for the Drew Hall but has extended her clientele beyond the campus.

The Philadelphia-born Little considers herself a “shop baby” having grown up working in hair salons and barbershops. She began became a shampoo assistant for her late aunt as a teenager when sparking her interest. In fact, she attributes the name of her business to her late aunt who served as a mentor, friend and provided crucial support to her success as a barber.

Outside of the students she meets on Howard’s campus, Dayana has developed valuable relationships with her clients dating back to over three years. Her success can be credited not only to her skill in barbering but the relationships she’s built over the years. She has become a mentor and friend to many of her clients in which she cites as one of the most rewarding aspects of her career.

“Little by little, I’m trying to help people,” Little said. “I’ll provide my services as long as it’s helping somebody somewhere…and I feel like that name speaks to that.”

Her people skills have been noticed, Known on social media as @Daythebarber, Little has become a popular stop.  “I love the way she interacts with students,” says Augustin, referring to Little as an unofficial hall manager who serves as an advocate and liaison between the students and residence life.  

Little pictured servicing clients in the Drew Hall Dormitory barbershop.

Vincent Roofe, an electrical engineering major cites Little’s shop as  “safe space” where her clients and students can “freely talk about anything and have somebody who would listen to them.”

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